tech

Retweeting/Replying in tircd with Ticker Slots

tircd is a Twitter client that runs on a server, and mimics an irc channel. I have used it on and off for a couple of years, and just recently re-installed it. The biggest reason I stopped using it before was that I had to go into my browser or another client to retweet or to reply to tweets in a way that would tie the conversation together. When I recently installed it, to my surprise I found that this had been taken care of – HOWEVER, I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

A quick search on Google and the site that hosts the program resulted in no explanation of how it worked. So I poked at the code, and figured it out.

First, I should point out that my initial attempt to install tircd was a complete failure. My server runs Ubuntu (it’s a VPS and I haven’t bothered to figure out the version), and I used apt to install it. This installed a version so old that it was before Twitter forced the move to OAuth. This means it was broken. Twitter now requires OAuth for authenticating clients. My first hurdle was realizing this and installing a newer version. Adding to this confusion is that the makers of tircd have completely fubared their version numbering. The version I installed via apt was 0.8.* and older than the most recent version I installed manually which is version 0.2.*. Keep that in mind if/when you try and set this up yourself.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes: retweeting / replying from within tircd.

In the tircd.cfg config file, there is this mysterious section about ticker slots:

# display_ticker_slots controls whether tircd displays a slot-id prior to every tweet it outputs.
# This slot-id is the for selecting a tweet for retweeting or replying-to.
display_ticker_slots 1

As I mentioned, I couldn’t figure out how to actually use this. When you enable display_ticker_slots, a three character code (the ticker slot id) appears after the username and before the tweet in brackets.

Here’s an example:

(01:21:18 PM) JoshMalina: [113] I don’t want to be melodramatic about my mood, but James Cameron has never been this low.

To retweet this, I issue the pseudo-irc command !rt (!retweet also works) followed by the ticker slot id. So to retweet this tweet, I did the following:

(01:52:55 PM) crthomas42: !rt 113
(01:52:56 PM) crthomas42: Retweet Successful.

As you can see, I also got a message from the tircd server informing me that the RT worked.

It’s worth noting that this is for the new style of RT, where the tweet appears in people’s timelines as if the original tweeter twote it. This means that if the original tweet is from a private account, this will fail.

Example:

(02:36:30 PM) crthomas42: !rt f50
(02:36:30 PM) crthomas42: Retweet failed. Try again shortly.

Replies are a little more annoying, but are still functional. To reply, you issue the pseudo-irc command !reply, followed by the ticker slot id, and then followed by the username of the original tweeter. This last step seems redundant to me, but I tried it without, and the result was just a regular tweet.

Example:

(02:52:00 PM) SkinnyTieGuy: [46b] Sometimes I wonder if @crthomas42 is ever in a proper state of mind.
(02:52:43 PM) crthomas42: !reply 46b @skinnytieguy Nope. Especially not if I’m supposed to be working.
(02:52:44 PM) crthomas42: Reply Successful.

Here’s how it looks on Twitter. You can see that the tweets are successfully linked together.

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