Don Bisdorf

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CortexPal2000 Takes Flight

Sun 08 May 2022 | Cortex

At the end of April 2022, I shut down my original Cortex dice-rolling bot for Discord, and replaced it with CortexPal2000. The new bot uses Discord's slash command feature, which is ... a little awkward. With slash commands, Discord will interactively guide you through the syntax of a bot command, which sounds cool, but in practice, I find it cumbersome. Unfortunately, Discord has begun restricting the ability of bots to access Discord messages, and using slash commands was the simplest way for me to operate with the new restrictions.

Implementing slash commands wasn't enough; I also had to have CortexPal2000 verified by the Discord admins. For this, I had to provide a series of increasingly detailed answers about how my bot worked and what it was for. It astonished me that Discord admins didn't seem to know what I meant when I said "it's a dice rolling bot. It baffled me that they wanted me to supply a list of commands that my bot responds to, because they have this information already; for the bot to function, it has to upload a list of its acceptable commands and parameters to Discord. It mystified me that they wanted me to supply a few code snippets--not the whole code base, not a link to my GitHub repository, but just a few code snippets.

Overall it appeared that the Discord folks were trying to prove that my software wasn't malicious by asking me whether it was malicious, and the problem with that approach should be self-evident. If they actually cared whether it was malicious, they should have gone through my entire code repository and tried some penetration testing and so forth. Instead, it looks like they just want to be able to show that I told them it wasn't malicious so they can assign blame if necessary.

The bright point in all of this is that this work is necessary because over 100 servers use my bot. Lesser-used bots don't get this level of scrutiny. It's gratifying to see so many people using CortexPal2000, and I hope the community finds it valuable.

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