On the Subject of Viewbotting:
Not too long ago, viewbotting was all the talk in the livestreaming community, namely on Twitch. Now with eSports and gaming entertainment growing at an exponential rate, people seem to have dropped the conversation and moved on. Whether the community wants to acknowledge it or not it always has been and (probably) always will be an issue. Maybe one day in a utopian future, Twitch will have found a way to solve it once and for all; however, in the meantime the conversation must continue.
To call it unethical might be a bit of an overstatement. I have made friendships with lots of people through the gaming entertainment industry, many of which I still talk to regularly. And many of those same people have in the past or are still currently using viewbots to boost their streams and promote themselves. No, they have never and probably will never admit it publicly or privately, but whether they want to admit it or not is irrelevant. In the very least, it is admirable to see individuals doing whatever they can to achieve their goals. While it can’t be said that viewbotting is a full-on criminal action, it certainly cannot genuinely be considered an acceptable practice.
The conversation around viewbotting has simmered quite a bit in recent months, and this may be where the problem lies. As well, it’s very sad to see admirable people falling to such low principles and values. Many of these streamers are reasonable people that would subscribe to the logic that just because there are a lot of individuals doing something does not automatically assert the acceptability of that practice.
As a person who wants to see eSports and gaming entertainment grow further in scale and reach, it is hard to watch so many people turn a blind-eye to an activity that both devalues and degrades the integrity and growth of the industry. At some point with all new business avenues, rules need to be made and followed by those participating to ensure that things don’t get out of hand and that business is legitimate and as fair as possible. So long as viewbotting exists, it will always be a problem. But when respected personalities are willing to do it so nonchalantly, it hurts viewers, legitimate streamers, and the growth of the industry itself.
Again, this piece isn’t a murder-calibre accusation, but rather a stance against an activity that is passively destroying the integrity of the streaming community. Say someone found a way to cheat their way through University without breaking any sort of academic rules, is it fair to call their success legitimate? In the very least, one cannot argue that the integrity of that individual’s degree was compromised by their actions. The only final solution to this problem falls in the hands of Twitch, but that’s another story for another day. Until then it is up to the streaming community to revive the discussion and to remember that wanting to do whatever it takes to reach one’s goals should not mean it is tolerable to sacrifice one’s integrity, even if there are plenty of individuals willing to do so.