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: mastodon.social/users/pan/upda

Another discussion on the downside(s) of follow-bots, by @lambadalambda

"...Without [bots], the federated timeline is ... an expression of the interests of the node's users...."

social.heldscal.la/notice/1590

@lambadalambda @dredmorbius in my mind, the idea that individual instances have their own unique community is a reason to use mastodon, and a reason to selectively choose an instance. if all instances are populated by follow bots, what's the difference between instances?

@tuxhedoh @dredmorbius @lambadalambda The difference is the different service providers that offer a different experience. Not unlike how Usenet or Fidonet works.

Also, novelty names, which seems to be more what be are choosing servers over from what I see in my streams.

@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.

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mastodon.cloud

Generalistic and moderated instance.