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Pandorabots Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: November 20th, 2003

This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list is a work in progress - if you have any comments or suggestions for questions to include, please send e-mail to info@pandorabots.com with the word "FAQ" somewhere in the subject line.

A. Mailing Lists

A.1 What mailing lists related to Pandorabots are available?

There are two mailing lists directly related to Pandorabots.

Click on the above links for more information about subscribing and posting, viewing archives, and changing your subscription options for these mailing lists.

The are also a number of mailing lists about Alicebot and AIML technology hosted at alicebot.org.

A.2 How do I unsubscribe from, or change my subscription options for pandorabots-announce?

To change your subscription (set options like digest and delivery modes, get a reminder of your password, or unsubscribe from pandorabots-announce), enter your subscription email address:

A.3 How do I unsubscribe from, or change my subscription options for pandorabots-general?

To change your subscription (set options like digest and delivery modes, get a reminder of your password, or unsubscribe from pandorabots-general), enter your subscription email address:

A.4 How did I become subscribed to pandorabots-announce and/or pandorabots-general

If you created your Pandorabots.com account after February 28th 2003, you were presented in the account signup form with two check-boxes – one to subscribe to pandorabots-announce and the other to subscribe to pandorabots-general. Depending on whether or not these check-boxes were checked when you clicked on 'Submit Account Request', you were automatically subscribed to zero, one or both of the mailing lists.

You should have received a welcome email message including your password and instructions for unsubscribing from the mail list. You should also have received monthly reminder messages, again with your password and instructions for unsubscribing. If you didn't receive these messages but have been receiving messages sent to the mailing list, please send mail to pandorabots-announce-admin@list.pandorabots.com or pandorabots-general-admin@list.pandorabots.com as appropriate.

If you no longer wish to receive messages on the Pandorabots mailing lists see questions A.2 and A.3.

B. Hosting and Publishing

C. Botmaster Control

D. Instant Messaging

D.1. Can I have my pandorabot respond on MSN Messenger?

There is a 3rd party MSN Messenger Bot which takes its reponses from a chatbot hosted at Pandorabots. You run the application on the same machine that you're running your MSN Messenger client. The software is available from http://www.mess.be. Select 'Search our files' from the 'Download' pull-down and search for 'Binsonite'.

Please note that we cannot offer support for this at info@pandorabots.com. If you need support with this you should contact the author.

D.2. Can I have my pandorabot respond on IRC?

An Eggdrop TCL script is available from http://www.tclscript.com/scripts.shtml. Download alice.tcl and egghttp.tcl. A README.txt is included which gives details on how to configure the TCL script and your Pandorabot.

Note that the alice.tcl bundle contains a file named alice.html. You need to save this on your local machine and then from Botmaster Control, click on Edit for the appropriate Pandorabot. Scroll down to Personalized published html page, and enter the path to your saved copy of alice.html in the text field labelled Filename: (alternatively in IE, you can click on the Browse... button to open a File Chooser dialog to help you locate the file). Finally, click on Upload file and you're done.

D.3. Can I train my AOL IM pandorabot to respond based on the Screen Name of the user talking to it?

Yes. You need to use the (pseudo-) predicate "screename" – Pandorabots automatically sets this to be the screen name of the AOL IM user talking with your bot. You can access the predicate in templates using the <get> element and you can also use it as a regular predicate within <condition> elements. For example, the following category responds with the user's screen name if set.

<category>
  <pattern>WHAT IS MY SCREEN NAME</pattern>
  <template>
    <condition name="screenname">
      <li value="*">Your Screen Name is: <get name="screenname"></get></li>
      <li>You're not talking to me via AOL IM.</li>
    </condition>
  </template>
</category>

You can either place the above category in an AIML file to upload, or using the Training interface, cut and paste the green text as the desired response.

E. Oddcast VHost

F. Customized HTML

G. AIML

G.1 Can I change the name of my Pandorabot?

You cannot change the name of the bot as it appears in the list of bots in 'Botmaster Control'. However, you can change the bot's name for the processing of any AIML templates - this is controlled by the value of the 'name' property.

To change this, from 'Botmaster Control', click on 'Edit', change the property 'name' and click on 'Set Bot Properties'. If you then ask your bot its name it should reply with the new name.

H. Technical

H.1 What is a "botid"?

The botid is is that part of the Pandorabot's published URL after 'botid='.

For example, the Divabot linked to from the Pandorabots home page has a published URL of:

http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk?botid=f6d4afd83e34564d
So the botid is:
f6d4afd83e34564d

You can find the published URL of your bot by publishing it in Botmaster Control and then examining the URL of the link to your published bot.

H.2 Is there an API allowing other programs to talk to a Pandorabot?

A client can interact with a Pandorabot by POST'ing to:

http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk-xml

The form variables the client needs to POST are:

  • botid - see H.1 above.
  • input - what you want said to the bot.
  • custid - an ID to track the conversation with a particular customer. This variable is optional. If you don't send a value Pandorabots will return a custid attribute value in the <result> element of the returned XML. Use this in subsequent POST's to continue a conversation.

This will give a text/xml response. For example:

<result status="0" botid="c49b63239e34d1d5" custid="d2228e2eee12d255">
  <input>hello</input>
  <that>Hi there!</that>
</result>
The <input> and <that> elements are named after the corresponding AIML elements for bot input and last response. If there is an error, status will be non-zero and there will be a human readable <message> element included describing the error. For example:
<result status="1" custid="d2228e2eee12d255">
  <input>hello</input>
  <message>Missing botid</message>
</result>

Note that the values POST'd need to be form-urlencoded.