Bots

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Bot is a software application or software agent that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the internet or the blockchain. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. On the internet, more than half of all web traffic is made up of bots.

In Steemit the most common use of bots is for upvoting posts but there are other popular bots running on the platform, like @cheetah which automatically finds similar content helping report presumable plagiarism. Bots exists in Steem Ecosystem since after the official launch in July 4th, 2016, at that time the steemian @marsresident published a list of 7 existent bots he found in the platform.

A "bot" may differ slightly from a "script." Typically, a bot will watch for events to act upon while scripts just run once to perform a specific operation. For example, a bot could watch for new posts and vote on them while a script might vote on a specific post and quit. This distinction becomes important because a bot could run for long periods of time, looking for certain criteria.

Bots can be simple or complex. A simple bot will take action only on a very limited set of conditions. For example, "if there's a new post, upvote it." More conditions create complexity. For example, "if there's a new post, upvote it unless one has already voted on it."

List of Bots

Controversial

Steemian @personz, creator of Steem FOSSbot Voter, remembered that Bots are always controversial. "Why can't we only have people on the network, you know, like a social network?! Society is made of people, not robots." He thinks new users are especially put off by them, particularly those of a non-technical background. There's something suspicious about robots going around, making posts and votes, that you cannot talk to and that are not ... human. He discussed this issue in posts published on Steemit in February and March 2017.

In January 2017, Thomas Te Aroha Kohi (@senseiteekay) accused Steemvoter and Streemian, along with voting bots scripts, to give users the option to manipulate the value of posts. He thinks that it goes against the very wording of Steem's whitepaper. "How are the users supposed to retain a "fair assessment of the subjective value of each contribution", if each contribution is being manipulated.", he asked. Thomas defined this problem as a Sybil Attack.


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