IRC Services

The infrastructure team runs a number of IRC bots that are active on OpenStack related channels.

Channel Requirements

In general, discussion for OpenStack projects is preferred in #openstack-dev, but there are many reasons why a team would like to have their own channel.

Access

Register the channel with ChanServ and give the infrastructure team account founder access to the channel with:

/msg chanserv register #channel
/msg chanserv set #channel guard on
/msg chanserv access #channel add openstackinfra +AFRefiorstv

This is good practice project-wide to make sure we keep channels under control and is a requirement if you want any of the project bots in your channel.

Join #openstack-infra if you have any trouble with any of these commands.

NOTE: Channel admin should issue the access commands above BEFORE adding channel to gerritbot and accessbot, otherwise Jenkins will fail tests.

Meetbot

The OpenStack Infrastructure team run a slightly modified Meetbot to log IRC channel activity and meeting minutes. Meetbot is a plugin for Supybot which adds meeting support features to the Supybot IRC bot.

Supybot

In order to run Meetbot you will need to get Supybot. You can find the latest release here. Once you have extracted the release you will want to read the INSTALL and doc/GETTING_STARTED files. Those two files should have enough information to get you going, but there are other goodies in doc/.

Once you have Supybot installed you will need to configure a bot. The supybot-wizard command can get you started with a basic config, or you can have the OpenStack meetbot puppet module do the heavy lifting.

One important config setting is supybot.reply.whenAddressedBy.chars, which sets the prefix character for this bot. This should be set to something other than # as # will conflict with Meetbot (you can leave the setting blank if you don’t want a prefix character).

Meetbot

The OpenStack Infrastructure Meetbot fork can be found at https://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack-infra/meetbot. Manual installation of the Meetbot plugin is straightforward and documented in that repository’s README. OpenStack Infrastructure installs and configures Meetbot through Puppet.

Starting a Meeting

To start a meeting, use the command #startmeeting followed by the meeting name. For instance, if you are having a meeting of the marketing committee use the command #startmeeting Marketing Committee. This will cause logs to automatically be placed in a meeting-specific directory on the eavesdrop log server. The output directory will be automatically lowercased and non-alphanumeric characters translated to ‘_’, so the above example will record to the marketing_committee directory. Be sure to use a consistent meeting name to ensure logs are recorded to the same location.

This feature is specific to the OpenStack Infrastructure Meetbot fork.

Voting

The OpenStack Infrastructure Meetbot fork adds simple voting features. After a meeting has been started a meeting chair can begin a voting block with the #startvote command. The command takes two arguments, a question posed to voters (ending with a ?), and the valid voting options. If the second argument is missing the default options are “Yes” and “No”. For example:

#startvote Should we vote now? Yes, No, Maybe

Meeting participants vote using the #vote command. This command takes a single argument, which should be one of the options listed for voting by the #startvote command. For example:

#vote Yes

Note that you can vote multiple times, but only your last vote will count.

One can check the current vote tallies using the #showvote command, which takes no arguments. This will list the number of votes and voters for each item that has votes.

When the meeting chair(s) are ready to stop the voting process they can issue the #endvote command, which takes no arguments. Doing so will report the voting results and log these results in the meeting minutes.

A somewhat contrived voting example:

foo     | #startvote Should we vote now? Yes, No, Maybe
meetbot | Begin voting on: Should we vote now? Valid vote options are Yes, No, Maybe.
meetbot | Vote using '#vote OPTION'. Only your last vote counts.
foo     | #vote Yes
bar     | #vote Absolutely
meetbot | bar: Absolutely is not a valid option. Valid options are Yes, No, Maybe.
bar     | #vote Yes
bar     | #showvote
meetbot | Yes (2): foo, bar
foo     | #vote No
foo     | #showvote
meetbot | Yes (1): bar
meetbot | No (1): foo
foo     | #endvote
meetbot | Voted on "Should we vote now?" Results are
meetbot | Yes (1): bar
meetbot | No (1): foo

Logging

Meetings are automatically logged and published at http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/meetings/

The bot also has the ability to sit in a channel for the sole purpose of logging channel activity, not just meetings. Standard channel logs are sent to http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/irclogs/

The configuration for specific channel logging can be found in the public Hiera data file, system-config: hiera/common.yaml.

Statusbot

Statusbot is used to distribute urgent information from the Infrastructure team to OpenStack channels. It updates the Infrastructure Status wiki page.

It supports the following public message commands when issued by authenticated and whitelisted users from the channels the bot is listening to, including #openstack-infra:

#status log MESSAGE
Log a message to the wiki page.
#status notice MESSAGE
Broadcast a message to all OpenStack channels, and log to the wiki page.
#status alert MESSAGE
Broadcast a message to all OpenStack channels and change their topics, log to the wiki page, and set an alert box on the wiki page (eventually include this alert box on status.openstack.org pages).
#status ok [MESSAGE]
Remove alert box and restore channel topics, optionally announcing and logging an “okay” message.

It supports the following commands when issued by any IRC user from the channels the bot is listening to:

#success [MESSAGE]
Log a message of success to the “Successes” wiki page. This is meant as a collection mechanism for little celebration of small successes in OpenStack development.

A channel can be added to statusbot by editing the public Hiera data file, system-config: hiera/common.yaml.

The wiki password for the StatusBot account can be (re)set using the ChangePassword.php maintenance script.

Gerritbot

Gerritbot watches the Gerrit event stream (using the “stream-events” Gerrit command) and announces events (such as patchset-created, or change-merged) to relevant IRC channels.

Gerritbot’s configuration is in project-config: gerritbot/channels.yaml

Teams can add their channel and go through the standard code review process to get the bot added to their channel. The configuration is organized by channel, with each project that a channel is interested in listed under the channel.

Accessbot

Accessbot defines access that should apply to all channels. Teams can add new channel to accessbot/channels.yaml and optionally keep channel operator permissions to the channel by specifying the full_mask option.

Accessbot’s configuration is in project-config: accessbot/channels.yaml

Example:

- name: openstack-third-party-ci
  mask: full_mask

PTG Bot

Bot that Project Teams Gathering room moderators use to surface what’s currently happening at the event. Usage instructions are provided in its README.rst file. It writes some static content into /var/lib/ptgbot/www on the eavesdrop.openstack.org server and then serves that from a http://ptg.openstack.org/ Apache vhost. It also updates a spreadsheet on https://ethercalc.openstack.org/ but the name of the sheet varies from one PTG to the next (naming format is $CYCLE-PTG-Discussion-Rooms with $CYCLE being something like Pike or Queens).

Basic Channel Operator Commands

This is not a comprehensive overview of commands available to individuals running IRC channels on Freenode, but a basic overview of some of the common commands which may be required for channel operators.

Operator status is sometimes required to perform certain commands in your channel (though most everything can be done through /msg chanserv commands instead if permission flags are set correctly). To give yourself operator status in a channel, use the following command:

/msg chanserv op #channel

You don’t need to become an operator to change the topic, this can be done via Chanserv:

/msg chanserv topic #channel New topic goes here.

If you are curious as to who has access to a channel, you can issue this command:

/msg chanserv access #channel list

Visit the Freenode Channel Guidelines for more information about recommended strategies for running channels on Freenode.

Banning Disruptive Users

The easiest and fastest solution to indefinitely ban an abusive user from a channel is to add them to Chanserv’s auto-kick list like so:

/msg chanserv akick <channel_name> add <nick> [optional reason]

This will immediately and anonymously kick them from the channel, and prevent them from rejoining until explicitly removed from the akick list again.

On some networks, the preferred mechanism for removing a user from a channel is a kick. Freenode also supports the “remove” command which is a gentler way to simply send a part-like command to the user’s client. In most cases, this will signal the client not to try to rejoin. Syntax for the removal command is as follows (you must be an operator):

/quote remove #channel nickname :Reason goes here

Note the colon in the syntax, if this is omitted only the first word will accompany the removal message.

Banning of disruptive users is also available with the /ban command, see your client documentation for syntax.

Renaming an IRC Channel

First, follow the procedure for creating a new channel, including submitting the appropriate changes to Gerrit for logging, accessbot, etc and adding the proper credentials for the openstackinfra account.

The following commands start the process of renaming of the channel, they need to be run by a founder of the channels or a member of infra-root:

/MSG ChanServ op #openstack-project-old
/MSG ChanServ op #openstack-project-new
/TOPIC #openstack-project-old We have moved to #openstack-project-new, please
  /part and then type /join #openstack-project-new to get to us
/MSG ChanServ SET #openstack-project-old GUARD ON
/MSG ChanServ SET #openstack-project-old MLOCK +tnsmif #openstack-project-new
/MSG ChanServ SET #openstack-project-old TOPICLOCK ON
/MSG ChanServ SET #openstack-project-old PRIVATE ON

Once that is complete, all new attempts to join the old channel will be automatically redirected to the new channel. No one can rejoin the old channel.

Tips

  • Collect the list of users and send a message in channel to each of them explaining that the channel has moved.
  • Some folks simply won’t leave and join the new channel, you can /kick them after a bit of time (a day? a week?) to get their client to join the new channel.
  • Don’t leave the channel until everything is done, it’s non-trivial to rejoin because you’ve set up a forward!

Troubleshooting

Bots may stop responding, common steps to troubleshoot the problem are:

  1. Check status of the bot, with:

    service xxxbot status

If bot is stopped, start it again. Restart the bot if you see it’s running but not operating properly.

2. On bot restart, it may show problems connecting to chat.freenode.net. If bot logs show it’s stopped on connection, you can manually try with:

telnet chat.freenode.net 6667

3. For bots on the eavesdrop server: if you don’t have connection to that port, check entries on /etc/hosts for chat.freenode.net, until you find one server that is operative. Switch the entries on /etc/hosts to choose the right one, and restart the service with:

sudo service xxxbot restart

Registering a Nick for a New Bot

First and foremost, we use a separate alias for the infra-root@ E-mail address to distinguish the NickServ registration for each bot’s nick. Presently, these E-mail alias additions must be requested from the OpenStack Foundation as they control the corresponding hosting account. This might take some time, so plan accordingly.

Once you have the E-mail alias assigned, generate a lengthy (16+ character) mixed-case alphanumeric string suitable as a NickServ registration password and record both of these pieces of information along with the nick in the secrets list for future reference.

Now, use an IRC client you’re comfortable with (possibly easier if you stick with default configuration rather than trying to do this from your normal client setup though) to temporarily connect with your newly chosen nick. For example, an unconfigured weechat client can be invoked as follows:

weechat irc6s://openstackbotname@chat.freenode.net:6697

With the connection established, after you see the server MOTD echo, register the nick as follows:

/msg nickserv register some_strong_password email_alias

You should hopefully get positive feedback from NickServ at this point, but don’t disconnect yet. Moments later, the infra-root@ shared mailbox should contain a new message from Freenode support urging you to run the following additional command:

/msg nickserv verify register openstackbotname some_token

This additional step completes the nick registration, though additional NickServ commands may be desirable to further secure the account against pranksters and ne’er-do-wells.