Hey! This is Chatterbot 2.0. There have been some breaking changes from older versions of the library, and it doesn't support MySQL anymore. If you are looking for the old version, you can try the 1.0 branch

Chatterbot is a Ruby library for making bots on Twitter. It's great for rapid development of bot ideas. It handles all of the basic Twitter API features -- searches, replies, tweets, retweets, etc. and has a simple blacklist/whitelist system to help minimize spam and unwanted data.

Build Status


  • Handles search queries and replies to your bot
  • Use a simple scripting language, or extend a Bot class if you need it
  • Wraps the Twitter gem so you have access to the entire Twitter API
  • Simple blocklist system to limit your annoyance of users
  • Avoid your bot making a fool of itself by ignoring tweets with certain bad words

Using Chatterbot

Chatterbot has a documentation website. It's a work-in-progress. You can also read the gem documentation.

Make a Twitter account

First thing you'll need to do is create an account for your bot on Twitter. That's the easy part.

Run the generator

Chatterbot comes with a script named chatterbot-register which will handle two tasks -- it will authorize your bot with Twitter and it will generate a skeleton script, which you use to implement your actual bot.

Write your bot

A bot using chatterbot can be as simple as this:

exclude "http://"
blocklist "mean_user, private_user"

puts "checking my timeline"
home_timeline do |tweet|
    # i like to favorite things
    favorite tweet

puts "checking for replies to my tweets and mentions of me"
replies do |tweet|
  text = tweet.text
  puts "message received: #{text}"
  src = text.gsub(/@echoes_bot/, "#USER#")  

  # send it back!
  reply src, tweet

Or you can write a bot using more traditional ruby classes, extend it if needed, and use it like so:

  class MyBot < Chatterbot::Bot
     def do_stuff
       home_timeline do |tweet|
         puts "I like to favorite things"
         favorite tweet

Chatterbot can actually generate a template bot file for you, and will walk you through process of getting a bot authorized with Twitter.

That's it!

Chatterbot uses the the Twitter gem ( to handle the underlying API calls. Any calls to the search/reply methods will return Twitter::Status objects, which are basically extended hashes. If you find yourself pushing the limits of Chatterbot, it's very possible that you should just be using the Twitter gem directly.


Chatterbot used to have some basic support for the Streaming API, but I've removed it because Twitter is removing and/or restricting access to those APIs. If you need the Streaming API, I highly recommend using the the Twitter gem. Chatterbot is built on the Twitter gem, it works great, and has support for streaming.

What Can I Do?

Here's a list of the important methods in the Chatterbot DSL:

search -- You can use this to perform a search on Twitter:

search("pizza") do |tweet|
  tweet "I just read another tweet about pizza"

replies -- Use this to check for replies and mentions:

replies do |tweet|
  reply "#USER# Thanks for contacting me!", tweet

Note that the string #USER# will be replaced with the username of the person who sent the original tweet.

home_timeline -- This call will return tweets from the bot's home timeline -- this will include tweets from accounts the bot follows, as well as the bot's own tweets:

home_timeline do |tweet|
  puts tweet.text # this is the actual tweeted text
  favorite tweet # i like to fave tweets

direct_messages -- This will return any DMs for the bot:

direct_messages do |dm|
  puts dm.text

  # send a DM back to the user
  direct_message "Hey, I got your message at #{}", dm.sender

tweet -- send a Tweet out for this bot:

tweet "I AM A BOT!!!"

reply -- reply to another tweet:

reply "THIS IS A REPLY TO #USER#!", original_tweet

retweet -- Chatterbot can retweet tweets as well:

  search "xyzzy" do |tweet|

direct_message -- send a DM to a user:

direct_message "I am a bot sending you a direct message", user

(NOTE: you'll need to make sure your bot has permission to send DMs)

blocklist -- you can use this to specify a list of users you don't want to interact with. If you put the following line at the top of your bot:

blocklist "user1, user2, user3"

None of those users will trigger your bot if they come up in a search. However, if a user replies to one of your tweets or mentions your bot in a tweet, you will receive that tweet when calling the reply method.

exclude -- similarly, you can specify a list of words/phrases which shouldn't trigger your bot. If you use the following:

exclude "spam"

Any tweets or mentions with the word 'spam' in them will be ignored by the bot. If you wanted to ignore any tweets with links in them (a wise precaution if you want to avoid spreading spam), you could call:

exclude "http://"

followers -- get a list of your followers. This is an experimental feature but should work for most purposes.

For more details, check out dsl.rb in the source code.

Direct Client Access

If you want to do something not provided by the DSL, you have access to an instance of Twitter::Client provided by the client method. In theory, you can do something like this in your bot to unfollow users who DM you:

client.direct_messages_received(:since_id => since_id).each do |m|


Before you setup a bot for the first time, you will need to register an application with Twitter. Twitter requires all API communication to be via an app which is registered on Twitter. I would set one up and make it part of Chatterbot, but unfortunately Twitter doesn't allow developers to publicly post the OAuth consumer key/secret that you would need to use. If you're planning to run more than one bot, you only need to do this step once -- you can use the same app setup for other bots too.

The helper script chatterbot-register will walk you through most of this without too much hand-wringing. And, if you write a bot without chatterbot-register, you'll still be sent through the authorization process the first time you run your script. But if you prefer, here's sthe instructions if you want to do it yourself:

  1. Setup your own app on Twitter.

  2. Put in whatever name, description, and website you want.

  3. Take the consumer key/consumer secret values, and either run your bot, and enter them in when prompted, or store them in a config file for your bot. (See below for details on this). It should look like this:

     :consumer_secret: CONSUMER SECRET GOES HERE
     :consumer_key: CONSUMER KEY GOES HERE

When you do this via the helper script, chatterbot will point you at the URL in Step #1, then ask you to paste the same values as in Step #4.

Once this is done, you will need to setup authorization for the actual bot with Twitter. At the first run, you'll get a message asking you to go to a Twitter URL, where you can authorize the bot to post messages for your account or not. If you accept, you'll get a PIN number back. You need to copy this and paste it back into the prompt for the bot. Hit return, and you should be all set.

This is obviously a bunch of effort, but once you're done, you're ready to go!


Chatterbot offers a couple different methods of storing the config for your bot:

  1. Your credentials can be stored as variables in the script itself. chatterbot-register will do this for you. If your bot is using replies or searches, that data will be written to a YAML file. NOTE this is a bad practice for scripts that are stored in a source control system such as git, or are publicly available on a site like github.
  2. In a YAML file with the same name as the bot, so if you have botname.rb or a Botname class, store your config in botname.yaml
  3. In a global config file at /etc/chatterbot.yml -- values stored here will apply to any bots you run.
  4. In another global config file specified in the environment variable 'chatterbot_config'.
  5. In a global.yml file in the same directory as your bot. This gives you the ability to have a global configuration file, but keep it with your bots if desired.

Running Your Bot

There's a couple ways of running your bot:

Run it on the command-line whenever you like. Whee!

Run it via cron. Here's an example of running a bot every two minutes

*/2 * * * * . ~/.bash_profile; cd /path/to/bot/;  ./bot.rb

Run it as a background process. Just put the guts of your bot in a loop like this:

loop do
  search "twitter" do |tweet|
    # here you could do something with a tweet
    # if you want to retweet

  replies do |tweet|
    # do stuff

  sleep 60


Not everyone wants to hear from your bot. To keep annoyances to a minimum, Chatterbot has a simple blocklist tool. Using it is as simple as:

blocklist "mean_user, private_user"

You should really respect the wishes of users who don't want to hear from your bot, and add them to your blocklist whenever requested.

There's also an 'exclude' method which can be used to add words/phrases you might want to ignore -- for example, if you wanted to ignore tweets with links, you could do something like this:

exclude "http://"

Contributing to Chatterbot

Pull requests for bug fixes and new features are eagerly accepted. Since this code is based off of actual Twitter bots, please try and maintain compatability with the existing codebase. If you are comfortable writing a spec for any changed code, please do so. If not, I can work with you on that.

Copyright (c) 2018 Colin Mitchell. Chatterbot is distributed under the MIT licence -- Please see LICENSE.txt for further details.