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Is Bot Activity Harmful To An Economy Such As Steemit? by kyriacos

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· @kyriacos · (edited)
$137.56
Is Bot Activity Harmful To An Economy Such As Steemit?
<p><div class="pull-right">
   <img src="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/68/e5/67/68e56789845325afe36cff8adcdad4d7.jpg">
   <center><a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/68/e5/67/68e56789845325afe36cff8adcdad4d7.jpg
"><sub>source</sub></a></center></div></p>

<p>Many Steemit newcomers are being highly concerned about bot activity. And who wouldn't be really. We like to believe that we have an active role in society. We are sentient beings darn it and our judgment matters!</p>

<p>Except when it doesn't. Think about it. Whatever makes you, you is nothing but a conglomerate of beliefs that have been accumulated through time. Whether you like it or not, you have been programmed to act a certain way that falls under the constituents of your family, education and in a greater extent culture. </p>

<p>Whenever you upvote something you are mostly reinforcing your own views about something. You are actively rewarding your own capital. Similarly, a bot set up by a user has a similar approach. Your aim is to increase your intellectual and social capital and the bot aims to increase the user's financial capital. The financial capital on it's turn, if utilized correctly, has the potential to increase the intellectual and social capital of the user. Neither is unethical or immoral. It is what it is.</p> 

<p><b>A bot cannot replace a real user. Mass adaptation of bots will render any platform mechanical and useless. People will start seeing no value and therefore abandon such an economic model. A free-market dynamic will ensure a balance between bot vs user generated activity. </b></p>

<p>We like to wish that we control our environment and that somehow we live in a genuine culture that rewards individuality and uniqueness. The matter of fact is that most people are on a cultural autopilot. What they consider unique about themselves is as unique as an orange on an orange tree. There is some molecular variation but for the most part is all the same recycled patterns. </p>

<p>Don't be bothered about bot activity. Times are changing. This phenomenon will increase as technology progresses. Instead try to work your strategy and adopt on this environment rather than trying to revolt against it. If anything Steemit provides the unique opportunity for us to test what is inevitably coming in the near future. Remember, much like Darwin himself has pointed out: the one who survives is neither the smartest nor the strongest but the one who is most adaptable to change. </p>

<center>I leave you with a similar message from Bob Dylan</center>
<br>
<center>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ</center>

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<center><a href="https://steemit.com/@kyriacos"><img src="http://i64.tinypic.com/j7spk2.png"></a></center>
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πŸ‘  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 158 others
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vote details (222)
@fredrikaa ·
$0.20
Large bot-adoption would probably just be a race to the bottom for everyone on the platform. While at the same time stifling the potential for growth as new users are less likely to stay on the platform when the majority of early interactions they get are from bots.

Any effort to surface more of the human-to-human interactions that do happen in channels and chatrooms such as steem.chat or discord to new users (as a part of the steemit platform) and ensure that they can engage with people earlier, would help a lot I think.
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@milosm2302 ·
I found this platform intesting because you can speak, express your feelings and change thoughts with other people.  We should write posts and commmunicate each other.  I want to speak with people and learn something, I can't find a place for  bots
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@kyriacos ·
that's the primary usage and I believe this is what keeps the users around when the price drops.
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@jondahl ·
Thanks for share...
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@leoplaw ·
Firstly people have to stop supporting these bots with their upvotes. The bot authors would give up if they weren't earning from it. This starts the whole copycat thing breeding more bots. Real humans first!
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@pilcrow · (edited)
$0.62
I think it's all about balance. Some bots do really useful work, like cheetah, but the amount of bots should always be a small percentage of the real users.

Some bots I really don't see the value of. There's one that randomly upvotes hundreds of new posts with $0.01. What is the use of that?
πŸ‘  , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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vote details (13)
@kyriacos ·
$1.12
The amount is always calculated from the free voluntary interactions. When a bot has no real value the market will eradicate it.
πŸ‘  , ,
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vote details (3)
@rocking-dave ·
There is a difference in the way people and bots might "view" value. A bot is an automated algorithm that requires very little resources to run while a person that is active on the platform manually tends to value their own time more. On top of this, you can't scale your own time as it's a limited resource, but you can scale bots pretty much indefinitely as you could just run more and more instances (I'm mainly talking about spambots). This means that even if an automated account makes pennies a day while creating a huge amount of spam, it might still offer a positive ROI to the person running it while a real person might be  unhappy with such a low return for their time spent on the platform. This difference creates different incentives for people and bots, so a desirable balance might be harder to achieve and it seems quite unlikely to me that the free market could eradicate this type of automation. But I wholeheartedly agree that this is by no means the end of the world, it's just a simple fact of life here on steemit.
πŸ‘  
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@davebrewer ·
Ahh hah.   Caught you !!!!!  LOL.   You do believe in the free market (as a better political system than many alternatives)

STEEM On !!
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@rrrenaldooo ·
thanks for info..
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@barteksiama · (edited)
Those bots really discourage me from writing quality stuff because it feels like unless I pay 2$ to randowhale and better 2$ more somewhere else no one else is even going to check my post. When ppl pay for their upvotes not only they get some money back as author rewards, but also other people are much more likely to check this post, because they will assume there is potentially some good stuff inside.

I think bots should be allowed but any post that uses their services should show a sign of being endorsed by a bot before you open it. This would make it fair. Like a little icon next to title saying "this post has been boosted" etc.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@kyriacos ·
Wouldn't you say that sucking up to whale in chat  or comments is much the same as purchasing a vote from @randowhale?
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@unspeakableme ·
It's called a tip jar effect. Someone posted about that. I'd link if I can find the post or if it isnt considered spam. In any case, I initially felt it unfair, too. But really, the people who get "tricked" into opening a boosted post wouldn't come back if the content wasn't to their liking. And with payouts degrading (I forgot the exact term used), the boost value is actually decreased over time. Ultimately, a lot use said bots as a marketing strategy. If they offer good content, then whether they boost the next post or not, the *genuine* followers he gained previously would click on his post. Of course continuing the marketing campaign doesn't hurt either. This, of course, is just my opinion.
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@unspeakableme ·
$0.26
>the one who survives is neither the smarted or the strongest but the one who is most adaptable to change

Yup, definitely. I've read articles pro and anti bots. Voting bots in particular. But recently, there was an article that broke down the possibility of gains and losses from using the voting bots. In the end, even with the likely profit loss from using voting bots, he pointed out what is called the tip jar effect such that it can be an advertisement for the author. With the flood of users to this platform, it gets harder and harder to be noticed. So it becomes clearer to noob like me that though the initial purpose of a voting bot is to increase payout, many users found another use for it as a marketing tool. And the fact that many are flourishing through its use, it's likely very effective. In any environment, without learning to adapt, the system will likely swallow you.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@kyriacos ·
indeed
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@livelifefullest ·
When human has time, no bots are needed ,.. here and in real ,.....
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@rigor ·
Your'e right, bots can be helpful but it tutors people how to be dependent, all what must we do is to adapt the change that is coming and now coming, cause humans are all created to be resilient.
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@rawpride ·
Good points.  I never really thought about the bots like that cuz they don't both me like they may others.  We want a long term thriving steemit, I think most bot runners are trying to profit
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@morkrock ·
$0.30
It's a bit of a tricky situation, a lot of newbies are creating quality content just to make a few cents on those posts and hardly receive any votes. Many established heavy weight user only vote on their own or other whales, so many minnows have no alternative but to use bots.
πŸ‘  , , , ,
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vote details (5)
@kyriacos ·
indeed.
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@somethingsubtle ·
So, how do we get heavy weight users to discover and vote on new content within the platform instead of relying on secondary bots?
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@thomasaquinasftw ·
$0.59
increase curation rewards
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@makrotheblack ·
I've haven't really given it that much thought until now. I'm fairly new to steemit so i appreciate the financial rewards,but think there should be a limit,set on the amount of bots actually operating at a given time.
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@kyriacos ·
who is going to decide the limit and based on what metric?
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@makrotheblack ·
Don't know,it's just an idea that could maybe develop into something,a starting point in case the amount of bots suddenly start to rapidly increase and get out of control. There should be some of plan to stop this happening. I'm not saying it should be me who decides it,but that everyone should be aware of it.
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@enazwahsdarb ·
I would say in this kind of community, with a lot of activity, sometimes a human can't actually keep with with everything.. Having some protection algorithms in place could be hand for spam..

But not to make a user's life easier. This is a community, and needs human elements in communication to build rapport. There are already too many bots doing unnecessary things.. 

Nice post though, and good topic :) I trust we will talk again soon.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@joe28 ·
Hello @kyriacos sir.
A very detailed explanation of bots and humans,
Do you really think that bots are not able to adapt to living things, he's just a machine that was created to help the performance of a system, while humans are able to create bots and be able to get along with other humans. The more advanced the technology, the bots are also more sophisticated.
I am impressed with your post. So, i apply the human system in steemit. If there is a chance to drop in my steemit page, there may be something you can give me.
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@cryptonet ·
$0.25
I think for a minnow or a newbie like me and many of us have to work very hard to get a little exposure that we wanted here. On steemit the major power rests in the hands of WHALES and they mostly use it for their own benefit because in the end 'one is for himself'. So if you really wanna work your ass off to get a little or no exposure then, you need be too patient about it. 
These bots can really help us to get much exposure we needed at a very less cost. @discordia is really good. 
I am not actually motivating these bots, but they are necessary evil for steemit platform. Without them, many will perish.
A big thumbs up for your work though @kyriacos
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@kyriacos ·
well said. thanx man.
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@somethingsubtle · (edited)
Should there be a whale tax to counter-act whales using their power for only their own interests? Some system in place to share the gains of the system more equitably?
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@gregario ·
You really can write. Great ideas, great music, great text. Great taste, in one word. Or in two.
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@juvyjabian ·
What about vote buying?
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@appledeguzman ·
balance is the key solution... but i like steemit... its like a platform...
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@clixmoney ·
I begin to hate  some bots, they are very anoying and a lot of useless bot are there just advertising their empty posts, I hope most of them will be blocked, we need real people here, its not about fake facebook users here !
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@vangelov ·
$0.60
I think that botting is to some extent hateful, because it stimulates people on posting anything at all, knowing that they will make a profit from it. Honestly if you ask me bota and self upvote should be disabled, but that is how it is, so no reasson to fuss and stress over it. Hopefully the market expands and prices jump so all can enjoy. 
Cheers and much love and support from me <3 
I love your quality contents friend ^^
@vangelov
πŸ‘  , , , , ,
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vote details (6)
@rocking-dave ·
$0.62
> Honestly if you ask me bota and self upvote should be disabled

You can't disable bots. You can just make it a bit more difficult for the people creating them. Facebook, Instagram and other big social media websites might be at war with bots, but they remain full of automated fake accounts. Additionally, if you disabled selfvoting, you would just stimulate people to have more than one accounts so they have a way to "spend" their voting power on themselves if they wanted to. It will make it much less common, but it couldn't really eradicate it altogether.
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@awgbibb ·
Did not realise Bob Dylan was a Robot?  Very Talented, though.  Of course , then ,Robots are obviously not Great Singers. The only person who covered a Dylan song and sang it worse, was Johnny  Cash ( An earlier Model Robot!, perhaps?)

Jokes aside , I enjoyed your level headed  post, Thank you.
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@titotips ·
Definitely Kyriacos you have found the way to adapt, one way to probe that is the amount of very good quality articles that you post. some thing to look forward, I am learning a lot from you. Thanks.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@kyriacos ·
glad you enjoy my material man.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@kingdave ·
i think bots can help save time, labor, and money when used to handle easily automated tasks or low-pressure customer-facing situations. whereas  it could mean that there are no new updates or developments to keep our community relevant.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@psicomar ·
I preffer that real people appreciate my work. IΒ΄m not againts all kind of bots, actually some of them are very useful, but the idea of users Cheating the system  for the sole purpose of generating profits is disappointing, I donΒ΄t see evolution here.
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@cardboard ·
Bots are cool, AI is the future whether we like it or not.

I just wish that someone could make some police bot to counter those stupid bots that comment every post with "nice post" in order to get at least 1 upvote.

#### lol
https://cdna.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/000/545/354/large/vladislav-ociacia-police-robot-11.jpg?1426287647
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@prakashghai ·
$0.02
Then let bots click pictures, make art and upload content and upvote themselves !
πŸ‘  
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@prakashghai ·
I am totally against Bots, just in case my view counts :)
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@technewsdaily ·
Bots have been slowly monetized and adopted by corporates especially in the area of customer service. This process will expand over many more verticals as for example HRM, recruiting etc. The market will show which Bot technology will succeed and which doesn't but the once who being real value (Safe time and money) will at the end stay. I really like the ending of the article "the most adaptive technology will survive"
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@stito ·
Thanks for share...
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@forestbarrett ·
$0.29
I don't like the bots, but what can I do about it?
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@theblindsquirl ·
In a free and open society, there will always be some who will work towards their own best interests to the detriment of the society as a whole.

As long as there are more people who work to the benefit of the community, we ***should*** stand a chance.

>the one who survives is neither the smartest nor the strongest but the one who is most adaptable to change.

Sounds a lot like "Even a BlindSquirl finds a nut now & then" assuming that the BlindSquirl learns to forage for nuts at night, when predators are less likely to see them and the whole "blindness" thing isn't as much of a disadvantage.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@sornprar ·
$0.12
Be aware of Networks (yes, even using bots as a one's Network) using fraudulent tactics of high-value flagging in combination with powerful self-upvoting in a scheme to confiscate potential rewards in the rewards pool curated by their (and it's Networks') own actions.
Personally I was hoping this was a very human site where the actions of one (be it for or against) would stand on a 1:1 ratio.  Yet it clearly is not, it is more of a <a href="https://steemit.com/steemit/@sornprar/steemit-an-oligarchy-using-the-application-of-a-trickle-up-economy-curating-from-the-poor-to-give-to-the-wealthy" target="_blank">Financial Oligarchy</a>.  And those who are clever enough to see it, have the finances to back it and the technical know-how to achieve it, are the ones most definitely taking advantage of it while they can (PARTICULARLY with the use of bots).
I strongly encourage any newcomer, or those thinking to invest, to not only read the <a href="https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf" target="_blank">"White Papers"</a> yet also to consider reading <a href="https://steemit.com/steem/@sornprar/steemit-safety-meeting-objective-two-abuse-the-currnet-drop-of-cryptocurrencies-value-and-the-burning-question-if-one-should" target="_blank">⚠ ☒ ☣ ☠ Steemit Safety Meeting: Objective Two; "Abuse", The Current Drop of Cryptocurrencies Value, and the Burning Question If One Should Invest? ☠ ☣ ☒ ⚠</a> before continuing on this website OR investing one penny into it....<br>
Quality of Content < Strength of One's Own Network<br>
It did not take me long to realise bots and abuse here are out of control.
Quality of Content doesn't even really matter any more.  Someone can post the absolute spam of all spam, and if they have a sufficient Network in place (of either loyal & malicious humans, bots, or both) designed to flag content outside it's own Network while upvoting only the Network Master's posts (while the Master only uses high-value self-upvotes on itself), said spam becomes extremely profitable to the one running such a Network (and the rewards pool is drained, an effective confiscation of funds for the benefit of the already "wealthy" while a detriment to the struggling "poor")....<br>
It's not difficult to connect the dots to financial fraud when one realizes the main purpose behind these types of malicious Networks' posts is to get newcomers to invest real fiat currency into their (our) system.  And auto-flag and auto-upvote bots are the key core to such a malicious system, of thee most importance to the Master of such a Network.<br>
"Through the addition of negative-voting it is possible for many smaller stakeholders to nullify the voting power of collusive groups or defecting large stakeholders." ~ Page 17 of the "White Papers".<br>
Think about this for a minute before continuing to read:  A bot can be set up to flag (or upvote) automatically without even knowing/understanding the quality of the content it's giving value to or taking away from.  A bot can be financed to have much power, power used to blindly cast "judgement" on the creations of others; a power - used towards Red Fish and Minnows - that can make an account or break an account.<br>
Negative-voting.... thee 'ol double-edged sword... the same power that gives a thousand Red Fish the ability to "nullify the voting power of collusive groups or defecting large stakeholders" is the same power that gives collusive groups or defecting large stakeholders the ability to nullify the voting power of thousands of Red Fish.

In other words, it takes the efforts of thousands of little accounts to nullify the voting abuse of one large account while it only takes the actions of one large account to nullify the stabilizing efforts of thousands of little accounts....
<strong>*AND YES, EVEN IF IT IS A BOT ACCOUNT; IF IT IS FINANCED WELL ENOUGH, ONE ACCOUNT CAN EFFECTIVELY "DESTROY" A THOUSAND RED FISH ACCOUNTS FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THE WILL OF IT'S MASTER.*</strong>
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@vonnaputra ·
@kyriacos
am here tonight make one about flower kenikir along with its benefits, please help you to help me share my post so that can be seen and in vote by your friend, if you want to do very thank you, just you hope me ...
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@hamzarajput ·
Yes, they can if you have a good control in artifical intelligence. Mostly genious made them. I know that people near my surroundings  ;)
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@evanrvoss ·
$1.24
Can humans do a better job then the bots?!
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)
@somethingsubtle ·
$0.06
I think the more dangerous aspect of the bots is there slowly increasing learning curve for new Steemians. 

1. First, learn the vocabulary, wallet system, voting, etc. 
2. Learn how to post quality content. 
3. Learn that posting quality content doesn't matter without a healthy amount of followers and interaction with the community.
4. Learn how to use the bots to get noticed more and increased payouts - randowhale, minnowbooster,  etc. 
5. Learn how to use one of the Discord minnow communities like Whaleshares, MSP,  etc.

Are all those steps fair asks of new users? Or, would are they a system of [weak discovery tools](https://steemit.com/steemit/@somethingsubtle/5-ideas-to-improve-steemit-discovery-features) and poor new-user support within the product?
πŸ‘  , ,
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vote details (3)
@coldhair ·
I like to flag the bots' posts.
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@fungusmonk ·
I'm very conflicted about bots overall. Some are quite useful but some are quite clearly toxic to the way steemit should optimally function. I guess there's not much to be done about those, but that doesn't strike me as something we should be entirely resigned to. Maybe a future hardfork can do something creative to limit unfavorable bot activity?
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@misterakpan ·
Once I moved a motion to "kick some bots." I enjoyed your content and admire your deductions, but it doesn't change the fact that most bots on this make it seem very mechanical, and even fake. The autoreplies almost turned me off the platform when I joined.

Meanwhile you can do a most HUMAN THING of reading my article and upvoting πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚
https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@misterakpan/shouldn-t-we-kick-some-bots-for-steemit-to-really-work

I'm following you for more quality content 😎
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@gangster.inc00 ·
I enjoyed the post, are there not enough humans to do this? However I feel Darwin was a moron, his kids all died younge or were mentaly challenged from inbreeding.
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@amirl ·
$0.12
Bot activity is the future. It is even the present. I used to play chess as a child, when I realized the computers are better than any human player, I stopped playing. Years later I started playing again. Not sure why... times are strange
πŸ‘  
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@donkeypong ·
Bots are part of the landscape now. Love them or hate them, we need to adapt. For the ones that are causing spam or making the platform and network worse, I still think humans can band together and do a lot to oppose their automatic activities. They also can make us better.
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@jonathanxvi ·
$0.11
Thanks for share :)
πŸ‘  
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@jamie-smith ·
If it weren't fro robots on steemit, people would plagarise each other non stop and steal each other's work. We need bots, despite they're creepy presence..
πŸ‘  
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@arabi01 ·
gΓΌzel makale beni takip et lΓΌtfen
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@the-traveller ·
I think this merits a lot more further exploration going forward. There are some unintended consequences that can come from bots, both good and bad.
Bots are tools and not inherently bad or good, depends what they are used for.
Currrently I see the platform as vulnerable to abuse to auto voting that can lead to winner take all effects. That would be very bad for the platform since it will slow growth.

On the other hand bots expressly designed to look for underappreciated content might be a good purpose but ironically, because they are not as good as humans to distinghuish quality content (yet) this effect for good will probably be not as powerful to cancel out the bad effects.

The winning solution is probably a centaur: a team consisting of bots with humans. A first rough filter of content that are potential candidates then manually looked at by humans for proper curation. (Curation is not about upvoting by the way)
I think it is good that there is experimentation with bots, but the effects have to be watched closely before they get out of hand. As with advertising, there can be perverse incentives if the content here would be optimized to please bots as opposed to humans.
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@rocking-dave ·
I personally think bots are indeed a problem when they are designed to try and pass themselves off as accounts manned by real people. The problem is the attempted deception that actually probably works on just the most naive of us. I'm convinced that a great deal of the spammy "Cool post. I'm following you now, consider following back" comments are automated. It's just an activity that costs pretty much nothing to do when you are doing it on auto and there are always going to be a few people who would upvote the comment or indeed fallow the account back. This means that this activity gets rewarded. And if it provides a positive ROI for the perpetrators, they will scale it up. That's why talking about it helps as people learn that they shouldn't upvote thoughtless comments.

But in the end, this is mainly clutter and if people were using their better judgments, it wouldn't really be that big of a problem.

Still, you are absolutely right about this being a reality of life. No social media website in the world with any real user base is free of automated accounts, so it's illogical to expect that a platform as open and free to access as the steem blockchain wouldn't have them. It's obviously designed to easily accommodate account automation and when you have such a thing, it comes with both its pros and cons. The potential pros here on this platform actually outweigh the inevitable cons that would have existed even if the platform was designed to make life more difficult for bots as they would still be doing it in one way or another.

>  The matter of fact is that most people are on a cultural autopilot. What they consider unique about themselves is as unique as an orange on an orange tree. 

LOL, so true and so well-said :D
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@kyriacos ·
The free market has its one way separating the good from the bad
πŸ‘  
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@rocking-dave ·
Other social media are a case study in the opposite. When there is profit to be had, there will be people to have it and it's not always the most beneficial thing for the system.

My guess would be that the free market has its own way of finding the most common denominator more than anything else. It's not just about bots, look at all the lame steemit and crypto posts parroting the same sentiments that are the norm here, so far the market has deemed them as good. The problem with the market is that it's ruled by the original oranges :P

Of course, imperfect as it might be, I wouldn't say there is a more practical option than the market.
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@antontech ·
Some bots while some can be annoying
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@jackeown ·
I agree that bots can't replace humans, but isn't it bad to let them try?...They're just stealing money from the rewards pool...Arguably not as much as real people would be, but still...
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@exx007 ·
Sometimes bot help a lot but most of the time bot are worst!
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@bob-elr ·
The bot seems smarter than human but human made robot. Im just wondering
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