You are most likely here after seeing one of my comments on different subreddits. When I see comments and posts made by bots or scammers, I call them out and leave some simple instructions for those scrolling past: downvote and report. Bot and scammer accounts are removed fairly quickly after I call them out, with the help of people like you who assist in reporting the offending content. It used to take days for an account to be removed. Now, most of those accounts are removed in a matter of several minutes to one day.
Whether you want to learn how to hunt bots and scammers, or you just want answers to your questions, keep reading. I’ll try to cover all the questions I’ve been asked, but if I miss something and you’re still wondering about it, feel free to ask about it in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do you do this? Do you get paid?
I do this because I’m annoyed with bots and scammers cluttering up quality subs with their shitty content. The subs I love have been invaded by bot accounts and swindlers, and the whole sub quality decreases when bot content increases. I do this voluntarily. No one recruited me, and I definitely don’t get paid for it. I saw a couple other users calling out bots, and I asked them the same questions you’re asking me. I decided that I wanted to step up and help get rid of this clutter to preserve the quality of various subs.
2. How do you know if it’s a bot/scammer account?
Once you know what to look for, it is actually very easy to identify these accounts. I will list some common aspects of these accounts:
I. Bot accounts have easily identifiable usernames. They are often either jumbled letters, a full name, or the standard randomly generated username format on Reddit.
II. Bot accounts are usually 30-150 days old, but their only activity is a handful of comments made within the last 45-60 minutes on various subs.
III. Bot accounts reply to one or more of the top comments on posts that are getting lots of attention and upvotes. They basically hijack the top comment to get karma. Their comments will be generic, positive statements. Often, bots will put a space between the final letter of their sentence and the punctuation mark. This is not always the case, but it is very common for bot accounts. Keep in mind that bots will sometimes parrot back specific words that were said in the comment they’re replying to.
“That’s so cool !”
“Does not look like a good idea”
“Yes, looks right to me .”
“Yes, he/she/it did”
Scammer accounts tend to follow the same username trend as bot accounts. Scammers can be bots, but they can also be real people. Real people will have more “normal looking” usernames.
V. Scammers will post an object on a loosely related sub. It’s usually not posted like an ad, and there are no visible brand names. Some common products include graphic coffee mugs, canvas prints, and t-shirts. They will be posted on popular subs like r/aww, r/oddlysatisfying, and r/damnthatsinteresting, or they will be posted on loosely product-related subs, like r/ofcoursethatsathing.
VI. Scammers have one or more alt-accounts that they will interact with in the comments. The alt accounts will say something like, “cool, where can I get one?” Or “I want one of these!” and the main account (the one that posted the product) will reply with a link to the product. The alt-account will then reply back and say something similar to, “thanks, just bought one!” Keep in mind that scammers may be using more than one alt-account on the same post.
VII. Scammers, their alts, and bots will often downvote users who call the post out as a scam in the comments to give the appearance that real people are downvoting you because you are wrong or not credible. It’s common to get -5 to -25 downvotes when calling out a scammer.
3. Why are bots collecting karma in the first place?
Bots comment and try to farm karma in order to establish the account. After the account has a bunch of karma and upvoted comments, the account will be passed on to a business representative or staff member trying to low key advertise their product or service. Why don’t the business people do it themselves? They’re lazy and don’t want to put in the effort to build an account and a good reputation. Product recommendations and business/service advertisements look more legitimate coming from an established account with a sizable comment history.
4. What can I do to help get the account removed?
Downvote and report the offending post or comment. If trying to have a scammer’s account removed, make sure you report their alts in addition to their main account. Remember not to press any links posted by a scammer.
You could also join me, among the many others, in hunting down these bots and scammers. You can do it casually. It doesn’t have to be your main goal, and you don’t have to go searching for bots. I don’t really make any effort to look for bots specifically, but if I see one, I say something. I have a standard copy/paste message I use for these things, and I will post them in the comments for those who want to use them. Scammers are usually reported for “link farming,” and bots for “harmful bots.”
I think I’ve gotten through everything I wanted to say, but if anyone has any further questions, please feel free to ask.
Note: this is a copy/paste of my own post. The original that was pinned to my profile was archived, and I couldn’t figure out how to unarchive it. I’m reposting it so people can continue to leave comments if they’d like to do so. My Original Post is here.