ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Please, Don’t Ruin Medium For All of Us

A Desperate Cry to Remove Bots and Spam Advertisers

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I joined Medium just over a year ago as a place where I could begin publicly writing. I love the platform and see it as a place where ideas and stories can be publicly told to a supportive community of other readers and writers.

In 12 months, I can honestly say that I’ve made my $5 subscription well worth it after reading countless stories about business to inspire me and abuse to make me care and feel the need to protect others. Never in one of those stories have I seen bots noticeably piggybacking in the comments to promote services we really could care less to see. That is, until today.

I began my daily crawl on the front page and saw a story by Rick Smith, founder, and CEO of Axon. His story was first self-published, then propelled by the magic of Medium publication, Marker. Congratulations!

Rick remembered his experience with short sellers in 2004 when his company’s stock price went from less than a dollar to over twenty dollars — until the short-sellers crashed it again. His story sympathized with these traders as he understood their frustrations.

After reading the story, I took a quick peek at the comments and left feedback. People responded with a very positive sentiment about his story and thanking his understanding tone. Yet, as I went deeper into the comments, a few unusual ones popped up.

I found my comment in a sea of bots. These three perpetrators have used the comments for their selfish promotion and refused even to acknowledge the story’s success.

Ahmed promoted a website that was written in Arabic when I landed on the page and pictured a smartphone promoting Twitter Pro? (Let me know if you find that.)

Peterson seemingly wanted you to navigate to his story where you could purchase his services from Fiverr.

Sandra placed word vomit in the comment box, which offered hacking services and left a Gmail to reply to for inquires. I was tempted to email to annoy the potential scammer.

Of course, before writing this, I wanted to confirm that all three were bots and not people just frustratingly dropping links in places they were not welcome. I navigated to their profiles only to find this.

Confirmed! All three were not paying members because you wouldn’t pay for a bot to have an account. Ahmad and Sandra had no followers, stories, or any profile description, a clear red flag. I do have to give Peterson some credit though, as there was bright green profile styling and a story, despite that it confirmed my suspicions he was advertising for Fiverr.

I love this community and love writing on here. When bots and worthless link dropping becomes prevalent on a platform, it begins to crumble. I’m asking on behalf of the millions of readers and writers, Medium, please don’t let this become a trend.

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Zach Goreczny

Zach Goreczny

College Student. Coffee Lover. Writes about Leadership, Business, and Data Science. https://www.udemy.com/user/zachary-goreczny/