#1day1legislature, a bot for Twitter

(pour la version française de ce billet, voir ici)

It’s been a while now that the idea of a Twitter bot has been on my mind. I wanted to give it a try, for the pleasure of tinkering with it first of all, also for the challenge it’s true, but above all to get to know a little bit better the workings of the platform. All I needed was an idea to implement, a little time and an opportunity:

  • I got the idea this summer by observing this absurd competition (defended as such) of the most beautiful parliament on the planet: the Parliament World Cup (competition won by Hungary at the end of an epic final that pitted it against Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea). I found very interesting to see the diversity of parliamentary architecture, different fashions and different traditions. I decided to take up the concept again, not to decide a winner but for the pleasure of the eye and the curiosity of the mind. While I was about it, I chose to include as far as possible the meeting rooms where parliamentarians sit;
  • The time was given to me by the second confinement of this Fall (!);
  • The occasion is the great Parliament Buildings conference organised at the UCL in London, the first part of which is scheduled this week and which I am pleased to participate (if you are interested, don’t hesitate to join us there: the event is totally online, open to all and free of charge!).

I borrowed all the images from the Wikicommons database, which has the advantage of being very extensive and of having content that is free to reuse. I relied on the List of legislature by country on Wikipedia and I built up (by hand) a corpus, making sure to find at least one image per parliament, two if possible (with the inside and the outside). Sometimes, unfortunately, no images were available, so these parliaments are not represented. I have also left out the parliaments of the past and the parliaments of nations not recognised by the UN (which I may add later) for the sake of minimum completeness. For each parliament, I have also recorded the country it belongs to, a short description and the source link of the image. Let’s just say that was the longest part.

All in all, 178 states, nations, federations, autonomous regions or organisations are now represented in my database. The latter contains 118 photographs of the interiors of the inner chambers where the parliamentarians sit and 195 photographs of the parliamentary buildings, making a total of 313 images. At the rate of one tweet per day, we have enough to cover 10 months, 1 week and 2 days, that is to say until Monday 13 September 2021 (since we started on 4 November 2020).

Concerning the script itself, I chose to use the Picturebot script from Mrbellek’s Twitterbot, coded in PHP. Many thanks to its author, who even added a feature at my request! For the technical implementation of the script, if you are interested, see the notes I left here [in French].

Finally, I could have created a Twitter account dedicated to the publication of these images, but I feared that it would remain too confidential and that no one would profit from it. I preferred to publish these images on my own account and create a hashtag so that it would be possible to isolate these specific tweets from the rest of my prose.

To find all these images, whether you have a Twitter account or not, just open the following page: #1day1legislature. It’s up to you to make the content your own (IFTTT for example offers a lot of possibilities: automatic RT, transfer of images by email, etc).

Make the best use of it ! :-)

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