The Merits of Literary Mercs
JB
239

You’re struggling with some of the same conundrums as I am.

For some years, I’ve been playing with automated text generation. After seeing the coverage of the gaming of short Kindle erotica, I verified that erotica was easy to generate. But, while I would have very little problem “scamming amazon”, I definitely would like to avoid scamming amazon’s customers. So, I was wondering what I could possibly do to separate machine-generated erotica for people who get a kick out of the idea of machine-generated erotica from machine-generated erotica designed to be passed off as human-generated erotica until after the sale. Does clear disclosure in the book summary and author summary constitute sufficient cover? Does clear disclosure mean I get banned by Amazon due to their mysterious content policies? I’m enough of a tightwad myself that I’d be mortified if somebody spent $0.99 on an ebook of mine without knowing beforehand that it was 300 pages of algorithmic churn.

Interesting work keeps getting done in the margins, and some gems (like Tingle) appear in the thieves’ quarter, so distinguishing oneself from the thieves in at least intent is very important. But, if you do a thing that scammers do, does disclosing it make you no longer a scammer? And, in whose eyes?

I think often, the people who pay for content farm extruded erotica aren’t themselves being scammed: they got what they expected to get, and considered the gonad-tickling suitable for what they paid; instead, the scammed party is perhaps Amazon (who would prefer to have a better reputation), or the workers on Mechanical Turk (who decided to accept this but maybe should be making at least minimum wage), or nebulous other parties even less directly affected.

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