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Byte Size: Version 1

Written by Vegan Hacktivists Team | April 13, 2022

In our second edition of Byte Size,* our ongoing blog series about what’s new with our organization, we are presenting high-level updates to our recent projects and saying goodbye to some older projects. We are proud to highlight the work of our volunteers who have launched, improved, and streamlined the following projects.

*Yes, this is version 1 since we use zero-based numbering in computer science!

Creating a more user-friendly data-centric platform for activism

Activist Hub screenshot

Activist Hub has been redesigned! Launched last year, we launched the world’s first animal rights social network and vegan outreach dashboard—providing activists with the ability to monitor and understand their impact through real data and analytics. Teams Mango and Watermelon have been hard at work fixing bugs and updating the hub to be more user-friendly and match the branding and design guidelines. To date, the platform’s community manager, James, has been diligently reaching out and onboarding many organizations to the platform!

New features and enhancements include: 

  • Improved statistics and filtering. Users can break down exactly which resources have been clicked on for local groups and online links. 

  • Resources have been expanded to include over 100 movies, videos, websites, challenges, books, and more. 

  • Site navigability and search page has improved so users can find groups, friend requests, events, and important stats.

  • Upgraded maps for groups and events.

Announcing an AI-powered vegan myth-busting bot

Animal Support Bot project --01 copy 2

We’re excited to launch AnimalSupportBot (ASB). Powered by a machine learning model, ASB is a Reddit bot that responds to specific comments and debunks common myths about veganism based on keywords. With about 40 responses varying from subjects such as nutrition to philosophy to biology, the purpose of the bot is to provide fact-based responses. 

You can read this for more details about how it works, but at a high level: 

  • If you’re in a subreddit with ASB, reply to a message that contains a vegan myth and provide the bot with a keyword hint.

  • The bot will then read the original post or comment to scan for myths and will respond to it.

  • To help the bot improve its accuracy, upvote its response when it delivers the right argument, and downvote it when it is responding with the wrong argument.

Several of these responses are drawn from content produced by Earthling Ed, as well as other research and science-based resources. Going forward, we plan to improve the bot by making it more responsive to appropriate comments and making it available in more subreddits. This has been a collaborative effort between our communications and data teams, Teams Peach and Strawberry.  

Saying farewell to some of our earlier foundational projects

Retired Project Screenshot

We also want to take a look back at earlier projects which we are now archiving. What this means is we are no longer actively supporting these projects and over time, they will no longer be accessible to the public. Primarily focused on introducing people to a vegan lifestyle, these now-defunct projects have helped our community to grow and problem solve. However, as we have grown as an organization, our priorities have shifted and, combined with lower user activity and lack of maintenance by our team of developers, we’ve decided to forgo these projects. 

Here’s a look back at some of them:

  • Daily Nooch was developed in 2020, as a homepage presenting the latest news, quotes, art, memes, facts, videos, and more. Daily Nooch updated daily, ensuring fresh new content for users. It ended its run last month.

  • Vegan Playlist was released in 2019 and ended its run last month. Vegan Playlist functioned as a curated playlist platform. Users could find and share inspirational vegan videos or create their own from a vast video library. The project helped connect users and their network to discover new videos, increasing their awareness and activism.

  • My Vegan Tree was released in 2019 and will retire this month. It helped users track and document their impact by adding people who have gone or are going vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based because of their activism! It offered customizable options to organize the trees. And users could invite and attach other accounts to their trees to see their stats and add them to their own.

There's a lot more going on behind-the-scenes that we're looking forward to announcing soon, including new projects to be released in Q2 — stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

About the Author
Vegan Hacktivists Team

We are a mission-driven tech organization focused on building data-driven, disruptive, and innovative projects to help see an end to animal exploitation.