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Updating Ticket Dates and Speaker Call Windows via @ConferenciaBot


Screenshot 2016-08-01 10.20.20One of the first things built on conferencia.io was the main event page where all current events (and some recently ended ones) are listed. There’s even a tab called “my events” (it’s a third tab if you’re logged in). In these listings for each event, conferencia attempts to tell you when tickets are available and when speaker applications are being accepted.

If an event is not being manually managed by a conference organizer or representative, conferencia attempts to find out on it’s own regarding ticket and speaker calls. And while we are gradually tweaking the formula, speaker calls are still the hardest to figure out automatically.

Wait… we are getting to the point… I promise.

So we want it to be easier for organizers to control these things so that the event list is more accurate. So one way to make this faster and easier is to bypass logged in and manually updating these variables. Hence, @conferenciabot is born.

@conferenciabot is simply a twitter account that you can send requests to. Right now, an authorized twitter account can request the bot to update the starting or ending dates of the tickets and speaker call windows.

Here’s how it works:

  1. @conferenciabot only responds to Twitter accounts that are associated with conferencia events. For WordCamps this is usually the official Twitter account for that WordCamp.
  2. Screenshot 2016-08-01 10.15.31A flip must be switched for each event by the event organizer that permits @conferenciabot to make changes on request.
  3. A tweet is sent. The tweet must have the hashtag for the event (#wcmia for example) and either a #tickets or #speakercalls hashtag. The tweet should also be similar to “@conferenciabot tickets available today #wcmia #tickets” or “@conferenciabot speaker calls open 6/13 #wcmia #speakercalls” or “@conferenciabot tickets available tomorrow #wcmia #tickets”. Screenshot 2016-08-01 10.16.57
  4. Eventually our bot will look at Twitter and process the requests.
  5. If the process is successful, @conferenciabot will reply back to the Twitter account.Screenshot 2016-08-01 10.17.15

We beta tested this over the weekend and so far it’s been working nicely. However it still needs alot more testing, and we still need to document this so new conference organizers to conferencia can get up to speed quickly.

Hopefully this feature will allow at the very least conference organizers to keep the conferencia.io/events list more accurate and therefore more valuable to everyone.