Q: Why are all these bots following me?
A: Mastodon and GNU Social are /federated/ network with many individual servers. Only toots from profiles followed by someone on a given server propogate. "Follow Bots" ensure that more content is spread over more of the network. This may or may not be a good thing. And other bots may have other ideas. I'm not settled on the question myself.
A con argument: https://mastodon.social/users/pan/updates/1697694
For more on bots, followbots, and #nobot:
@dredmorbius That means using up 7 characters (incl a space) of your profile to fend off stalkerbots
@shivvi It does. I'm trying to capture information here for reference (and am hoping it doesn't age out too quickly).
@dredmorbius Some people don't like self promotion... I want to make sure nobody's offended
@dredmorbius and any bot that does not behave should be reported to your instance admin and to me so we can warn the offender and ban if needed !
@lambadalambda @dredmorbius @tuxhedoh The ridiculous thing to me is the fact people are using follow bots to begin with. Just grab the atom feed URLs and have the local mastodon instance populate the federation feeds with that. No need to notify anyone you're following them, which is really what is causing this pointless dramatics people are having. Out of all the arguments people are having, they don't point out the flawed implementation.
Here's an interesting response to the followbot problem:
Unlike previous followbots that actively follows everyone they find on other instances, this bot /passively/ wait for people from other instances to follow it, and then the bot will boost the "most popular" posts from those other instances.
An "ambassador bot", if you will…
Generalistic and moderated instance.