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The Operator configuration refers to configuration used configure to the actual application/bot. This is different from the Subreddit configuration that is defined in each Subreddit’s wiki and determines the rules/actions for activities the Bot runs on.

The full documentation for all options in the operator configuration can be found here in the operator schema.

Table of Contents

Defining Configuration

CM can be configured using any or all of the approaches below. It is recommended to use FILE (File Configuration)

Any values defined at a lower-listed level of configuration will override any values from a higher-listed configuration.

  • ENV – Environment variables loaded from an .env file (path may be specified with --file cli argument)
  • ENV – Any already existing environment variables (exported on command line/terminal profile/etc.)
  • FILE – Values specified in a YAML/JSON configuration file using the structure in the schema
    • When reading the schema if the variable is available at a level of configuration other than FILE it will be noted with the same symbol as above. The value shown is the default.
  • ARG – Values specified as CLI arguments to the program (see CLI Usage below)

Using a file has many benefits over using ARG or ENV:

  • CM can automatically update your configuration
  • CM can automatically add bots via the CM OAuth Helper
  • CM has a built-in configuration editor that can help you build and validate your configuration file
  • File config is required if adding multiple bots to CM

Specify File Location

By default CM will look for config.yaml or config.json in the DATA_DIR directory:

  • Local installationDATA_DIR is the root of your installation directory (same folder as package.json)
  • DockerDATA_DIR is at /config in the container

The DATA_DIR directory can be changed by passing DATA_DIR as an environmental variable EX DATA_DIR=/path/to/directory

The name of the config file can be changed by passing OPERATOR_CONFIG as an environmental variable:

  • As filename – OPERATOR_CONFIG=myConfig.yaml -> CM looks for /path/to/directory/myConfig.yaml
  • As absolute path – OPERATOR_CONFIG=/a/path/myConfig.yaml -> CM looks for /a/path/myConfig.yaml

Refer to the Operator Config File Schema for full documentation

Defining Multiple Bots or CM Instances

One ContextMod instance can

  • Run multiple bots (multiple reddit accounts – each as a bot)
  • Connect to many other, independent, ContextMod instances

However, the default configuration (using ENV/ARG) assumes your intention is to run one bot (one reddit account) on one CM instance without these additional features. This is to make this mode of operation easier for users with this intention.

To take advantage of this additional features you must use a FILE configuration. Learn about how this works and how to configure this scenario in the Architecture Documentation.

CLI Usage

Running CM from the command line is accomplished with the following command:

node src/index.js run

Run node src/index.js run help to get a list of available command line options (denoted by ARG above):

Usage: index [options] [command]

  -h, --help                                   display help for command

  run [options] [interface]                    Monitor new activities from configured subreddits.
  check [options] <activityIdentifier> [type]  Run check(s) on a specific activity
  unmoderated [options] <subreddits...>        Run checks on all unmoderated activity in the modqueue
  help [command]                               display help for command

  -c, --operatorConfig <path>   An absolute path to a JSON file to load all parameters from (default: process.env.OPERATOR_CONFIG)
  -i, --clientId <id>           Client ID for your Reddit application (default: process.env.CLIENT_ID)
  -e, --clientSecret <secret>   Client Secret for your Reddit application (default: process.env.CLIENT_SECRET)
  -a, --accessToken <token>     Access token retrieved from authenticating an account with your Reddit Application (default: process.env.ACCESS_TOKEN)
  -r, --refreshToken <token>    Refresh token retrieved from authenticating an account with your Reddit Application (default: process.env.REFRESH_TOKEN)
  -u, --redirectUri <uri>       Redirect URI for your Reddit application (default: process.env.REDIRECT_URI)
  -t, --sessionSecret <secret>  Secret use to encrypt session id/data (default: process.env.SESSION_SECRET || a random string)
  -s, --subreddits <list...>    List of subreddits to run on. Bot will run on all subs it has access to if not defined (default: process.env.SUBREDDITS)
  -d, --logDir [dir]            Absolute path to directory to store rotated logs in. Leaving undefined disables rotating logs (default: process.env.LOG_DIR)
  -l, --logLevel <level>        Minimum level to log at (default: process.env.LOG_LEVEL || verbose)
  -w, --wikiConfig <path>       Relative url to contextbot wiki page EX<path> (default: process.env.WIKI_CONFIG || 'botconfig/contextbot')
  --snooDebug                   Set Snoowrap to debug. If undefined will be on if logLevel='debug' (default: process.env.SNOO_DEBUG)
  --authorTTL <s>               Set the TTL (seconds) for the Author Activities shared cache (default: process.env.AUTHOR_TTL || 60)
  --heartbeat <s>               Interval, in seconds, between heartbeat checks. (default: process.env.HEARTBEAT || 300)
  --softLimit <limit>           When API limit remaining (600/10min) is lower than this subreddits will have SLOW MODE enabled (default: process.env.SOFT_LIMIT || 250)
  --hardLimit <limit>           When API limit remaining (600/10min) is lower than this all subreddit polling will be paused until api limit reset (default: process.env.SOFT_LIMIT || 250)
  --dryRun                      Set all subreddits in dry run mode, overriding configurations (default: process.env.DRYRUN || false)
  --proxy <proxyEndpoint>       Proxy Snoowrap requests through this endpoint (default: process.env.PROXY)
  --operator <name...>          Username(s) of the reddit user(s) operating this application, used for displaying OP level info/actions in UI (default: process.env.OPERATOR)
  --operatorDisplay <name>      An optional name to display who is operating this application in the UI (default: process.env.OPERATOR_DISPLAY || Anonymous)
  -p, --port <port>             Port for web server to listen on (default: process.env.PORT || 8085)
  -q, --shareMod                If enabled then all subreddits using the default settings to poll "unmoderated" or "modqueue" will retrieve results from a shared request to /r/mod (default: process.env.SHARE_MOD || false)
  -h, --help                    display help for command

Minimum Configuration

The minimum configuration required to run CM assumes you have no bots and want to use CM to add your first bot.

You will need have this information available:

  • From provision a reddit client
    • Client ID
    • Client Secret
    • Redirect URI (if different from default http://localhost:8085/callback)
  • Operator Name – username of the reddit account you want to use to administer CM with

See the example minimum configuration below.

This configuration can also be generated by CM if you start CM with no configuration defined and visit the web interface.


Configured using the bots top-level property. Bot configuration can override and specify many more options than are available at the operator-level. Many of these can also set the defaults for each subreddit the bot runs:

  • Of the subreddits this bot moderates, specify a subset of subreddits to run or exclude from running
  • default caching behavior
  • control the soft/hard api usage limits
  • Flow Control defaults
  • Filter Criteria defaults
  • default Polling behavior

Full documentation for all bot instance options can be found in the schema.

Adding A Bot

If you use the CM OAuth Helper and it works successfully then the configuration for the Bot will be automatically added.

Manually Adding a Bot

Add a new object to the bots property at the top-level of your configuration. If bots does not exist create it now.

Minimum information required for a valid bot:

  • Client Id
  • Client Secret
  • Refresh Token
  • Access Token
  name: YourRedditUsername

  - name: u/MyRedditBot # name is optional but highly recommend for readability in both config and web interface
        clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
        clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
        accessToken: 34_f1w1v4
        refreshToken: p75_1c467b2

    clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
    clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
    redirectUri: 'http://localhost:8085/callback'

Web Client

Configured using the web top-level property. Allows specifying settings related to:

  • UI port
  • Database and caching connection, if different from global settings
  • Session max age and secret
  • Invite max age
  • Connections to CM API instances (if using multiple)

Full documentation for all web settings can be found in the schema.

Example Configurations

Minimum Config

Below are examples of the minimum required config to run the application using all three config approaches independently.

Using FILE

See Specify File Location for where this file would be located.

YAML (config.yaml)

  name: YourRedditUsername
    clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
    clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
    redirectUri: 'http://localhost:8085/callback'

JSON (config.json5)

  "operator": {
    "name": "YourRedditUsername"
  "web": {
    "credentials": {
      "clientId": "f4b4df1c7b2",
      "clientSecret": "34v5q1c56ub",
      "redirectUri": "http://localhost:8085/callback"

Using ENV (.env)


Using ARG

node src/index.js run --clientId=f4b4df1c7b2 --clientSecret=34v5q1c56ub --redirectUri=http://localhost:8085/callback

Using Config Overrides

An example of using multiple configuration levels together IE all are provided to the application:


  "logging": {
    "level": "debug"


  level: debug

ENV (.env)



node src/index.js run --subreddits=sub1 --clientId=34v5q1c56ub

When all three are used together they produce these variables at runtime for the application:

clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
subreddits: sub1
port: 9008
log level: debug

Configuring Client for Many Instances

See the Architecture Docs for more information.


  - credentials:
      clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
      clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
      refreshToken: 34_f1w1v4
      accessToken: p75_1c467b2
    clientId: f4b4df1c7b2
    clientSecret: 34v5q1c56ub
    redirectUri: 'http://localhost:8085/callback'
      # server application running on this same CM instance
    - host: 'localhost:8095'
      secret: localSecret
      # a server application running somewhere else
    - host: ''
      secret: anotherSecret
  secret: localSecret


  "bots": [
      "credentials": {
        "clientId": "f4b4df1c7b2",
        "clientSecret": "34v5q1c56ub",
        "refreshToken": "34_f1w1v4",
        "accessToken": "p75_1c467b2"
  "web": {
    "credentials": {
      "clientId": "f4b4df1c7b2",
      "clientSecret": "34v5q1c56ub",
      "redirectUri": "http://localhost:8085/callback"
    "clients": [
      // server application running on this same CM instance
        "host": "localhost:8095",
        "secret": "localSecret"
      // a server application running somewhere else
        // api endpoint and port
        "host": "",
        "secret": "anotherSecret"
  "api": {
    "secret": "localSecret",

Cache Configuration

See the Cache Configuration documentation.

Database Configuration

See the Database Configuration documentation.