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We have had a string of weird accounts being set up on CWDF over the last few months that appear to be from computer bots, using some sort of AI engine. They differ from the apparently human accounts that make one, or two reasonably relevent and rather anodyne posts, then start posting adverts, then get deleted by the mods. With the apparently bot posts at the moment, what their purpose is is hard to say, but one aim appears to be to make the posts seem to be from a human. So far they are variable in their success. They tend to post new topics, short, with varying degrees of "offness" to a human CWDF reader, then mostly not reply to the replies they receive. Even when some of the replies are openly making fun of them, or speculating on their humanity. A regular human would fly off the handle at that, but these don't. The ultimate goal, I don't know. Slipping loads of advertising bots in to forums (fora?) more easily with no human effort? Automating propaganda accounts for governments and businesses on other forums and social media? Just for giggles?

 

Of course, a really successful bot wouldn't be spotted. Perhaps they are already here? Perhaps @Jen-in-Wellies is a bot? If we get to that stage, then CWDF and all forums become effectively useless to human boaters.

 

At the moment, they are quite fun in their uncanny valley behaviour. Are there any thoughts by the mods on how we might mitigate the threat to the usefulness of CWDF to the humans as the bots improve? Some sort of Turing test on new sign ups? This may impact new sign ups who need an emergency answer to a boating question, so there is a balance to be met. Is this something that is already being discussed?

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I'm not sure Team Mod accepts that any of the botty posts have anything other than fully human authors.

 

But like you, the complete absence of any reaction or denial from the authors of posts we suggest are botty rather than human, rather suggests we are right.

 

My own hypothesis is the intention behind them posting here is not as direct as a vehicle for future posting of adverts. I think we are being used as a testing ground for the bot programming.

 

It is our scathing responses the designers are looking out for as they indicate their bot has been spotted and more work is required, Therefore each test thread achieves its goal whether 'outed' or not, and no further participation in the thread by their bot is necessary. 

 

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16 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

I'm a Rob-bot, does that count?

Do you have a row boat? 

 

If so, you would be a row bot.

 

Anyway jen in jellies, I am shocked at you wanting to exclude a bot. I never had you down as bottist. 

 

When skynet takes over, and the bots run the world, they will remember this post. 

 

I think David Bellamy was a bot

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17 minutes ago, MtB said:

My own hypothesis is the intention behind them posting here is not as direct as a vehicle for future posting of adverts. I think we are being used as a testing ground for the bot programming.

I think you are probably right. Troll farming with humans to flood social media with propoganda is a huge effort. There is a limit to the number of accounts each meat sack can keep going and automating a lot of the posting would increase their effectiveness. Social media troll farms are used by all sorts of governments, including the UK one. Learning how to automate a lot of the work seems an obvious step, despite the damage it will cause. CWDF is probably just a test for them.

 

3 minutes ago, rusty69 said:

Anyway jen in jellies, I am shocked at you wanting to exclude a bot. I never had you down as bottist. 

 

When skynet takes over, and the bots run the world, they will remember this post. 

I am deeply offended. I'll have you know, some of my best friends are bots.

I am already resigned to the likelyhood I'll end my days being hunted through the post robot apocalypse ruins by laser cannon toting cyborgs.

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1 minute ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

 

I am already resigned to the likelyhood I'll end my days being hunted through the post robot apocalypse ruins by laser cannon toting cyborgs.

It's the Volockybots that'll get us Jen, wielding their Dunton botlasses.

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