Pixel Art Bot @showmepixels

This post is part of a collection on Bots I've Made.

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of @showmepixels, so I figured it was time I finally had a post about it.

@showmepixels was a spinoff bot of The Laser Syriacum, a bot I made as an effort to replicate Archillect while actually acknowledging sources. That bot never attracted much interest, but @showmepixels has been my most successful bot, hovering around 750 followers, though most posts still float by without any interactions.

There's nothing technically different about the pixel bot to separate it from the older bot (and the source is open for the curious), but it's worth explaining a few points that aren't obvious.

The selection algorithm is essentially a random weighted selection of tags based on the history of interactions with them. There are no neural networks and no computer vision components at all, so the bot actually has no way of knowing if an image is pixel art or not - it relies completely on post tags on Tumblr.

Over time the weights are such that the bot mostly takes posts from a few favorite blogs, though it still picks up random items from favorite tags and finds surprises every so often. I don't think many game developers blog on Tumblr these days, but it does find one every so often, and the results are always interesting.

The algorithm the bot uses is sensitive to hit posts, so it's developed a few quirks over time. A JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga page became successful once, and while I think it's mostly gone now, it posted JoJo stuff heavily for a long time. At one point a Chou Aniki gif was popular and the bot still posts extreme muscle photos every so often.

I do very little to maintain the bot, only deleting the more egregiously bad images every so often. I'm honestly surprised it hasn't run afoul of the Tumblr or Twitter APIs somehow yet. I can't promise to maintain it forever, but I will continue to help it along until it's beyond saving.

The icon and header image are from the Milky Way Wishes subgame in Kirby Superstar. You should play it if you haven't.

And, well, that's it I guess. If you have questions about the bot feel free to ask me any time, though there's not much to add to this. And if you follow it - thanks. Stay dotty. Ψ