Hopebot is a helper bot (expert system) developed by Computer Hope that derived from some of the work done on the Zer0 chatbot. It was initially designed to assist with and maintain order in the Computer Hope chat channel.
In 2015, a branch of Hopebot was integrated into the Computer Hope website search to help direct visitors to pages that answer their questions. For example, typing any computer-related term in our search uses Hopebot to automatically forward you to the appropriate page, if available.
Below is a list of some of Hopebot's features through the search found on all of our pages.
- Identify several hundred thousand different computer questions and forward users to appropriate page.
- Forward to any of the over 15,000 computer terms we have defined.
- Correct common misspellings, grammar, and incorrectly used computer terms (e.g., changing compact disk to compact disc).
- Command searches, e.g., dir command.
- Color code look up, e.g., #0000ff.
- CH issue ID look up, e.g., ch001002.
- Convert binary into ASCII and decimal values.
- Area code look up, e.g., 801 area code.
- Forward searches asking for results in a non-English language to a translated result.
- Log any unknown questions so they can be answered.
- Integrated with other Computer Hope tools.
Examples of questions Hopebot can answer
Hopebot can answer several hundred thousand different questions and direct users to pages answering their search queries. Below are a few examples of the type of questions and queries Hopebot can identify.
Define any computer term
One of the most difficult things with computers and computer-related topics is all of the different terminology, abbreviations, and acronyms. Hopebot makes it easy and fast to get definitions for these terms in question form or by only typing the term. For example, typing "motherboard" or "what is a motherboard" into the search automatically forwards you to the motherboard definition.
Answer frequently asked questions
Anyone who has done technical support over the phone, e-mail, or at their parents' house knows how common it is to answer the same questions. Hopebot can direct users to pages with answers to common questions like How do I turn on my computer?, Do I have a virus?, and thousands of other questions.
Answer computer-related topic questions
There are also several computer-related topics that Hopebot can address. Below are a few examples of these types of questions.
- Searches about computer pioneers, e.g., Who is Bill Gates?
- Computer driver-related searches, e.g., Where can I get motherboard drivers.
- History searches, e.g., what happened in 2000?
Answer other computer questions
Computer Hope has done online technical support for over twenty years, and during this time, we've been asked millions of computer-related questions. In addition to the common questions, Hopebot is also able to answer thousands of other less common computer problems. However, because there are so many different ways to phrase a question, not all questions can be correctly identified. When this happens, a search result page is displayed to show you the best possible results. The unknown question is also logged, and if known, it is linked so it can be answered in the future. If the question is determined to be unknown, it's added to our to-do list of questions needing answered.
How is Hopebot different than a search engine?
A search engine always returns a SERP (search engine result page) with a collection of results. Hopebot decides what's the best page to answer your question and forwards you to that page. However, we realize that no system can answer every question, which is why if the best answer cannot be found a search engine results page shown.
How was Hopebot created?
Hopebot is a script written in the Perl programming language that goes through a series of functions based on the search query. These functions include autocorrecting common misspellings and errors and performing special features. If the query isn't redirected using any of the special features it attempts to look up the query in a database of questions and terms. If a match is found, the script forwards the visitor to the appropriate location. If the script does not know how to handle the query it's directed to a search results page.
We've always been big fans of how fast Perl handles regular expressions and because everything done in the search is text-based, we thought it would be the best solution.