One of my favorite programing past times is making dumb bots for reddit or discord or mastodon or whatever that nobody likes and nobody cares about.

This is one of those times, except people cared because they were forced to.

I used to frequent a certain subreddit where many users posted in Japanese.

I thought it would be hilarious to create a bot that badly translates these posts into English for the absolute hilarity that would surely ensue.

So I did, using Yandex translate, because apparently Russians have no idea how to translate text.

This bot very simply trawled the comments of the subreddit, searched for Japanese text (as defined as being within the region of Unicode generally defined as “Japanese characters” of some kind) and then translated it, posting the English translation. I whipped it up in an evening, set it loose on the internets and then went to bed.

The following mistakes were all made leading to absolutely horrific consequences.

  1. I set the bot up right before going to sleep.
  2. Full width text is within the Unicode region that the bot searches for as it is primarily used in Japanese text when latin characters are needed.
  3. The bot didn’t know not to reply to itself.

And, turns out, if you give Yandex some full width text, it just returns that same full width text.

So the bot would just post full width text again.

And try to translate it.

And post full width text again.

And try to translate it.

And it becomes Translation Party without the party.

So now my bot was creating many hundred-comment-deep threads by trying to translate itself. And at some point that evening it crashed. I had helpfully put my contact information into the bot’s comments so I awoke that morning to a barrage of messages telling me how broken my bot was and laughing at me. After the initial oh god oh fuck it was pretty hilarious to see.

And, of course, it was posted to r/softwaregore where it reached the front page quite quickly.

And got banned from the subreddit it was built to post on, and even after requesting that the bot be unbanned on the condition that I make it not spam the subreddit into oblivion, it was not allowed to post again.

And that was the end of that.