This bot catalogues foul-mouthed Github releases

“Every time a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.” So said Peter Pan, anyway. It turns out we have something kind of similar, albeit less morbid, in the development world: every time a developer swears on Github, a bot whirrs into life on Twitter, sharing the profanity with the rest of the world. Like a 21st century swear jar, only without the economic disincentive to change.

This bot catalogues foul-mouthed Github releases

Gitlost is a bot built by Microsoft Azure engineer Will Pearson, which scans every Github release for words from its long list of profanities and shares them with the world in real time. They’re brief, charming windows into someone else’s frustration and helpfully remind you that someone, somewhere is having a worse day than you.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling what project has caused which developer to have a sweary breakdown. By design, each tweet has no identifiers included – according to Pearson, this is to stop developers using the account’s 11,000 followers for self-promotion. “I made a decision not to save that information so that people don’t try to get on gitlost intentionally for publicity reasons,” he wrote in a tweet.

That’s eminently sensible, but right now I would give almost anything to know what this is about.

The bot isn’t hugely sophisticated, and occasionally makes mistakes frequently flagging builds without any profanity – usually as a result of the Scunthorpe problem, where swear words within words trip filters up.

Somehow, this provides enjoyable punctuation to the steady stream of profanity though. And it really is a steady stream: since March 2013, there have been around 40,500 tweets, meaning you’re looking at an average of around 24 per day. Kind of a shame it’s not a swear jar, really…

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