I hope that Avi & Alef will put you back on the list. Coding the "friends" command is not very difficult, more important is to have the data at hand so repbot will continue to work seamlessly.
Please do it burper! Don`t let the repbot idea to go away entirelly from fibs , give it a new life.
No, I think it may be time for a radical change of some sort. Soemthing more than removing the 'ask' command and even changing the name of the bot. I am thinking along the lines now, of removing the 'complain' command as well.
What effect do you think that would have? If you see someone who has lots of saved games and is not a bot and none of their vouchers appear on your vouched list, then their 'esteem' value would appear to you as zero. You make your decision based on those two numbers. Negative 'esteem' (need a better word) would not be possible.
That is certainly a radical change! There would be no perceived negativity to be angry about in the first place. Maybe that could be tried for some period of time, and then complaints reconsidered once the idea of "localized" opinions sets in.
Being open source code, anyone can grab it and do what they want with it. But you are correct in thinking that only Avi and Alef now have access to the saved databse (which, when I ran it, was publically accessible as well), in addition to whatever value the RepBot "brand" has. But, if you think the function was abusable, then the data is corrupt in some sense anyway. If a switchover to friends-only occurred, it should cause people to review their entire list of vouches in a new light.
Nobody, including Patti has stated that there are any problems with friends-only. Everyone who has addressed it, except for Patti, has liked the idea. Pattis' only beef was that she didn't think people would derive any value in it, but that is flavored with her recent frustration with RepBot in general.
Friends coding has been in place for many years, people just have not discovered it yet for the most part. Perhaps it is too hard to immediately grasp? If you are talking about the effort in switching from its' current functionality to a "friends-ONLY" mode, then it is quite literally a matter of substituting 2 characters for 5 ("ibs" to "riend" in RepBot.java on the line that registers the ask command).
Removing the complain function could initially be a matter of adding one character to "comment out" the complain command registration line. But then you have that ugly output when you list, so you might consider doing a tiny bit more to remove that stuff. Internally, there is still some cruft leftover in handling the complaints tables in the database, but it should do no outward harm.