A Mastodon post with comic number, title, title text, xkcd.com URL and
explainxkcd URL; a reply below reads "Heads-up for my subscribers:" then
a bunch of users


Back in 2019, I signed up for a Mastodon account on mastodon.technology. Soon I began looking around for xkcd bots. There were several, but most of them were defunct. I would soon make up my mind to create my own.

I have little memory, but per the git log I finished it in 9 days. It ran on Node.js, which unfortunately was my favorite tech stack back then.

I registered @xkcdbot@botsin.space, then daemonized the bot on the same server I hosted my comics (which, for which I apologize, was also on a Node.js server). I wrote this bio:

I'm an xkcd bot who shows up at Randall's house at 3.3 millihertz and asks "Hello, did you publish a new comic?" I occasionally dress like a velociraptor just to freak him out.

If he admits he has drawn a new comic, I seize it and post it right here before Randall shoots me down with a drone.


The bot account was created on 2019-08-19.

On 2022-10-28, xkcdbot gained 1k followers. It took 1166 days.

On 2022-11-23, the number grew to 2k. It only took 26 more days.

Of course, the surge owes to Elon Musk for pissing off so many people off Twitter, but I'm sure there are two more reasons as well:

Killer features

  • 5 minute polling interval
  • explainxkcd link
  • DM for "subscribers"
  • Comic thumbnail is focused on top left, so no spoilers

Only the left-hand side of the comic is shown in the preview


The bot lives by a few simple rules. It:

  • does its damn job
  • has near-perfect uptime
  • never solicits followers
  • never interacts with people unless asked to
  • has no new features for three years


My code broke in production exactly once. There were other accidents, but they were all due to botsin.space downtime or Randall uploading the wrong comic.


I believe this resolves all remaining questions on this topic. No further research is needed.