Why have bots?
Human-moderated chat is always the best thing, because humans will make better decisions about controversial items posted in chat. But moderators aren’t perfect. They need food, sleep, and can’t catch everything. A bot can react quicker and can instantaneously bring up information in reaction to chat and make the moderator’s life much easier. The bot and the mod acting together and knowing what to assign to each is really the most powerful solution to dealing with the rowdiest chatrooms.
Each bot is custom and configurable. There is not a single best bot or way of doing things, otherwise Twitch would likely build it directly into their chat client.
The most common things a bot is used for is: instantaneously time out invalid words/links/spam, bring up custom !commands, and help with giveaways. Additional uses have been found too, such as mini-games with chat, logging chat activity, integrating with websites, but for the purposes of this discussion, we’ll stick to the basics.
Who all needs a bot?
For the very-small channels, a bot is fairly unnecessary. With 3 viewers, having a bot just wastes resources and chat space. But eventually, as your chatroom grows, you will find at some point that it’s a good idea to have.
Small channels also have to worry about repeated commands because they can really spam up the place if there isn’t much chat traffic. Another thing to watch out for is bots are usually modded if most of the chatters in chat have “green swords”, that can scare away visitors.
How do you control the bots?
…and make sure they don’t take over the earth? Bots have three main ways of being controlled:
Chat commands. Usually in the form of !
Automated moderation to warn and timeout spammers and offensive chatters. Customizable in the response, type of spam, and if you allow subscribers extra permissions.
Custom commands are some of the best, with a lot of variables, good help documentation, and the ability to run api/dynamic commands to pull in external information.
Voting and polls
A great dashboard which lets you edit settings at http://nightbot.tv. One of the unique things is that you can grant moderators the power of Sub User to help with configuration.
Ability to take song requests.
It’s easy to get started. Just go to the Nightbot dashboard, click “join”, and then run /mod Nightbot in your channel so it has the power it needs.
It is developed by the NightDev team, the makers of BetterTTV, and can be found here: https://www.nightbot.tv/
It’s easy to use, has a nice web dashboard, but above all: it’s fast and reliable.
It’s also free, with restrictions on features unless you pay.
A web dashboard that allows you to run and setup commands remotely. Like Nightbot, you can configure “Editors” to help you setup items.
Automated spam and moderation tools with settings
Raffles and polls. Better raffles than Nightbot.
Ability to take song requests
Lots of custom command options to display information pulled in from Steam, Xbox Live, and other places
Lots of paid features too, like the ability to have a custom name for moobot in chat
Can be used to generate notifications for new subs and follows
Overall, a great steady-as-rock bot for the starter streamer. I find that I often run into limits with the bot where they want paid to unlock things. Far more often than on Nightbot, so for that reason, I typically recommend Nightbot over Moobot.
Moobot is made by Moocat, a member of the Twitch staff, and can be installed and completely configured at http://twitch.moobot.tv/
Also read this setup information: Twitch Support on Moobot
This is the most advanced of the bots I’ll mention. It has no web interface or GUI of any kind. All commands are done through the chat commands. But it is very, very powerful.
It supports something called “regular expression”, which makes it harder to use, but by far the most powerful tool, since it can look for more than keywords, but can focus on dynamic patterns. Some of the largest event streams use Xanbot because it is fast, surgical, and sophisticated. But you do not want to use this if you do not know what you’re doing.
It’s completely free and unlimited to all users. No paid options, but be nice to Xangold (the Twitch staff support person who develops it) and subscribe to his channel and donate to him for the work he puts into the bot if you use it.
The most sophisticated anti-spam removal, with support of regular expression on top of the regular keyword spam filters that other bots have
Unlimited custom commands and autoreplies
Raffles and polls and a few fun features
Recently reworked loyalty point system
You can get Xanbot to come to your channel by going to http://twitch.tv/xangold and typing !join in his chat. Later, mod Xanbot in your channel with /mod xanbot
Check out more info on Xangold’s Twitch channel: http://twitch.tv/xangold
Also read this great detailed guide: Reddit Guide
A do-it-all bot has recently been picking up a lot of adoption for doing everything in one bot…
Although somewhat clunky in appearance, this bot is pretty powerful. It can do all the main things that Nightbot and Moobot can do, and can also do some more things with games, loyalty points, and rewards for veterans of your stream.
Customizable username for your bot
Follow and sub notifications
Ability to track statistics about your viewers
Full channel commands with variables
Mini-games with chat, including betting, bankheists, drag races, and arena.
Song requests, which can cost currency
The ability for users to send sounds, interact with OBS settings, and display images on the streamer’s command from only a chat command (this is very unique, and you can lock it down to cost currency or for mods-only)
It currently costs $10 to get into the beta, and there is also a VIP program that costs monthly for certain functionality. A downside of the bot is that it’s running on your personal computer and you can’t grant moderators the ability to assist past the chat commands, which don’t do everything that a streamer can do.
Find more info at http://deepbot.deep.sg/
For those interested, there are tutorials for each feature of the system from the developers channel: YouTube Playlist