When I have been organizing some giveaways, I found some people giving identical sentences throughout multiple giveaways. Some of them have created their own giveaways, most never created any, only receiving them and robotically repeating sentences.

I am starting to suspect that some of the so-called "users" might be bots.
Before if you dismiss me as a budding lunatic, there is a credible study which estimates that more than 60% of web traffic come from AI bots.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/bots-bots-bots/515043/

3 weeks ago

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Should we ban users if it is suspected of being a bot?

View Results
Yes, sir!
Don't bother.
I don't think that it's a thing in the first place.
No, creating bots is a right.

While I do agree bots should be banned, the way you suggested would be easily avoided by cheaters and could also make real users afraid of leaving a comment.

3 weeks ago
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It is normal for regular people to just say Thank You or something along those lines. I think it would be better to give a temporary ban if they spam the same sentence everywhere. A human wouldn't keep sending it (assuming the person has at least 5 functioning brain cells) and a bot would continue regardless of the ban. After that the bots would get banned.

3 weeks ago
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(assuming the person has at least 5 functioning brain cells)

Is that really something which is safe to assume of people, though?

And yeah, a chat spam style short duration site suspension is certainly an intuitive approach- unfortunately, it's not that hard to add minor elements of randomization to automated scripts, so it likely wouldn't be of benefit for very long. Would at least make copy-pasters put a bit more effort in but, well, not sure if that's really a justifiable enough premise for pushing restrictions. Unfortunately, I think the site's current automated systems and staff supervisions are basically already about as reliable an oversight as we're likely to get, since additional methods are likely to come with downsides or have such minimal effect that it isn't worth the effort of implementation.

3 weeks ago
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Certain bot behavior is indeed against the rules (some forms of task automation are allowed, though) and grounds for suspensions, and you're perfectly entitled to blacklist users who you feel behave like bots.

With that said, I would advise caution in labeling users as bots, even when your evidence looks compelling. It's a different story when it comes from a friend, but when you thank a gifter whom you barely know at all, you can only add limited variation to that. Even if you want to be creative, at some point (which comes surprisingly early on for most people) you're going to either run out of ideas or simply get tired of it. That happens very fast if you also thank the gifter upon entering a giveaway. Ultimately, ways to thank someone in words, especially someone not particularly close to you, are not that many; that is a fairly repetitive formula and we stick to it for what seems to me as good reason. Still, all I'm saying is that you should give them the benefit of doubt; if you explicitly ask not to be thanked and they keep thanking you with the same generic message as always, then I'd say you gave them the benefit of the doubt and they threw it away. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3 weeks ago
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I think the problem isn't coming from people who post the same words after winning, but those who post the same comments for every giveaways that they entered. Normal people wouldn't try to do that (please correct me if i'm wrong and there's someone who do this without using scripts oe something).

3 weeks ago
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I tried to cover my bases in the reply because I wasn't sure, but yeah, I also think that's what the OP meant. And I sure hope no one is spamming thank you messages in every GA they enter by hand; I'm sure that'd take all day... :D

3 weeks ago
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Most are automated, but some users do just copy-paste manually. Either way, it's clearly not a sign of respect towards the GA creator, but either an insincere, self-serving, lip service action or a deliberate attempt to obsfucate rule-breaking [though these days, it's easier to obsfucate by not leaving messages..].

Of course, for the sake of fairness, there are a small handful of users who do it because they feel uncomfortable not saying anything at all and are at a loss on what to say, but those are readily determined by their actually leaving meaningful comments where solicited and by not leaving comments when requested. [In short, they're actually capable of reading and responding to giveaway descriptions.]

In other words, while it's still ultimately about <their desires>, not those of the GA creator, the intent itself isn't bad, and they're still properly respectful in their approach (compare that against the good handful of autojoiners/copy-pasters/general assholes in the past who openly harassed GA creators by telling them they didn't have the right to request people to not leave messages).

3 weeks ago*
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openly harassed GA creators by telling them they didn't have the right to request people to not leave messages

Wait... What?

I think I had something else to say, too, but I can't articulate it after reading that...

3 weeks ago
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It was pretty weird. Each incident was a bit different in nuance and presentation, but the continuous message across them [directed towards GA creators specifically asking for no comments or who had made threads discussing generic comments] was "Well, i'm just saying thanks to be polite and respectful, so it's super rude of you to want me to stop".

Apparently logic just was not a workable thing for these individuals, since <forcing something on someone against their explicitly stated wishes = respectful and polite> is definitely a leap I absolutely could not wrap my mind around, nevermind the idea that it was for the other individual when they were clearly acting strictly to their own desires.

Well, hardly the only time I've been left flabberghasted by humanity..
[I recall that some number of those individuals were revealed as auto-joiners thereafter, however, so I wonder how much of their behaviors were just based in poorly thought out, kneejerk defensiveness. Y'know, the "win them over by yelling them down" approach? Evidence shows it works for both formal debate (ie, as taken in high school) and for politics, so perhaps they can be excused for attempting it..]

3 weeks ago*
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Wow, that's a weird story if I know one. :x

Apparently logic just was not a workable thing for these individuals, since <forcing something on someone against their explicitly stated wishes = respectful and polite> is definitely a leap I absolutely could not wrap my mind around

I like the way you put that. :D

Evidence shows it works for both formal debate (ie, as taken in high school) and for politics, so perhaps they can be excused for attempting it.

Winning fights by intimidation is a staple of animal behavior and deep down humans are little more than cultured animals, so I suppose it's not really surprising that shouting people down works often, and I guess it makes sense that, placed in a difficult situation, one might instinctively fall back on that.

2 weeks ago
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steam(gifts) is not restricted to normal people though. whatever your definition of normal is (spamming the same shit everywhere isn't in mine).

2 weeks ago
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by normal people, i was meaning to say "people normally wouldn't do that", i'm not referring to whether people is normal or not in general.
do let me know if you know someone who say thanks for all giveaways that they entered manually though. i'm curious if there are people who actually do that.

2 weeks ago
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I don't monitor people's comments and only see a few recurring thank yous under my giveaways, but I'm sure if people do the same shit on steam, they're doing it here as well. some might consider it being nice or polite, but in bigger doses it's just annoying (as in, seeing the same person posting the same thing everywhere, not a bunch of different people saying thanks or something).

2 weeks ago
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i haven't experienced the same thing on steam tbh. the closest that i know is people saying thank you whenever someone posted a game that is free on limited time on groups, but i can somehow understand that using thumbs up button might not feel the same as saying thank you in that regard.

2 weeks ago
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good for you. I have two of these spammers blocked but that doesn't do much, and we have many mutual steam friends, so I see their blocked comments multiple times on a daily basis. every purchase, every review, every status update, every screenshot. if steam actually hid blocked people's stuff, I'd have no problem, but why would that work properly there when nohing else does.

2 weeks ago
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some forms of task automation are allowed

This is a misunderstanding; No form of automation is allowed by the site, as that would be derived from machine-generated content [explained in my comment below], which is against the site's Terms of Service. You can utilize scripts which rearrange website layouts, but the end result still needs to be the same [eg, you can move "Enter Giveaway" to the front page, since the commands sent to the site are the same, it's just the user-end layout that changes].

3 weeks ago
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I see your point, but we're working with different definitions of "automation".

As I learned it way back who knows when, automation is not defined by removing human input/work/etc, but by reducing it. Under that definition, skipping intermediate steps is a form of automation; my spreadsheet that generates a table for reports at work based on my input and clears itself when I run a macro is an example of that. In fact, there's even a so-called paradox (I dispute that it is a paradox) that says that, as a system becomes able to function with less human input, that input becomes conversely more critical.

To clarify, entering giveaways without human input is banned, full stop, and we agree on this. As far as I know, spamming messages is likewise banned (I haven't seen this point being officially clarified, though). On the other hand, making ESGST sync all its data has a very high degree of automation and is allowed, provided it abides by the rate limits. Likewise, I would argue that entering giveaways with a front page button skips one step and has a low, but non-zero, degree of automation; of course, if you say that I can't call it automation when there's so little of it, I'll have to concede that you might be onto something. :)

3 weeks ago
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SPAM is listed in the rules with a punish time of X days (if i remember correct with 2 or 3).

I don't get why they don't use that possibility to punish the thanks script users = spammers, special because the autojoiner app/program have the thanks script included + can be activated and in that case the message will be send in each entered GA.
A lot of that accounts are clearly autojoiners too (alone the entered GA's in relation to the accounts age tell it.... without the need to check them in the most cases deeper), each one that don't see it don't want to see it or is ultra unexperienced.

2 weeks ago
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you're going to either run out of ideas or simply get tired of it

Hit the nail on the head there. I like to thank people for their giveaways unless they explicitly state they wish for no comments. And it also stems from the early days of SG where people would lament that they're getting a lot of entries on their giveaways but not getting nearly enough thank you messages.

Bots do exist in this community and getting rid of them is a pain, especially if you don't want to have false positives and cause some people that didn't bot to leave the community because of your actions. And banning bots requires a lot of analysis and tinkering; and even then it is a non-trivial task where even major companies are having problems with it. Because if you find a defense vector the botmakers will modify their approach slightly and circumvent your efforts. It's an endless game of tag :D

Oh and just to stay true to my character, hvala puno! ^_^

2 weeks ago
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I will point out, for the sake of fairness, that many people have given up on asking not to receive such messages because it doesn't seem to work. Among those that leave messages every time, the ones that not only are actual people but also happen to read the giveaway description seem to be surprisingly few. Alternatively, there are enough people posting without reading descriptions (or bots) that enough are left even after some stop. In any case, the point is that not everyone who doesn't ask not to receive such messages will necessarily appreciate them.

And yeah, in the early days of SG that was a thing (not that I was here to see it unfold, but I've heard of it), but I suppose people got tired when the messages became more and more repetitive and finding actual relevant messages in a huge list of perfunctory thanks sent mostly for the sake of form became harder. I suppose it's a curious result: people wanted more thanks and they got it, only, from what I can tell, they got more than they actually wanted. :)

2 weeks ago
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It's the 'be careful for what you wish for' curse :D
Yeah, I see your point. It's hard to unlearn a decade of habit, and by this point it's more of a badge of honor being called out for being a bot when you know you aren't, but I'll consider this in the future. Thanks (∆)

2 weeks ago
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Of course it don't work because the bots don't react different and the ones with the thanks scripts (the thanks script are a part of the autojoiner programm/app) can enter the GA with a enter button on the first page, so without to see the description, if they use the autojoiner programm without the full autojoiner possibility. And i would say not much use a autojoiner only to send "friendly messages and enter a GA with one click".

The ones that enter with ESGST don't see the descriptions too (at least it can be configured that way).

And to the "people wanted more thanks and they got more than they wanted" i would say, the people wanted more activity but from real people and with a "effort" but they don't wanted automated spam ;o)

2 weeks ago*
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Are you quite sure ESGST can still be configured that way? Because I think I remember reading in the update notes that the description always gets shown now.

And yeah, it's the kind of thing that goes wrong because every time some people want something in good faith there are also those who want to take advantage.

2 weeks ago
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Sorry, because i don't use ESGST i can't answer the question if it still can be configured that way.

But it would be a good change when the description would be shown in all cases because only around 15% of the people that enter a GA read the description.
You can test that very easy with creating a public GA and set in the description only the unhidden link for a invite only GA for the same game. The entries for the second GA are around 15% of the first GA.

2 weeks ago*
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My group catched the last weeks a good bunch of autojoiner accounts (that won over 3k games) and none of them were "good hidden" or "hard to spot" when you take a look on the right spots.
I sadly can't go into details because we don't want to teach them to make their abuse/cheating/exploiting better.
(In the end i would describe it as "No problem for a BASIC automatic system..." but obvious it is a problem and i absolutely not understand why [because the ones we catched should be filtered at least to 50% from the automatic system... they shout "ban me"])

Of course give it smarter ones that are hard to spot but the most on sg are easy catches WHEN someone hunt them (prefered a automatic system that, at least, catch the dumbest/most obvious ones of them...)

2 weeks ago
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Agree wholeheartedly.

2 weeks ago
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You got it wrong calling these simple algos "AI bots". This is an insult to any real AI which might comment on this thread,

Joke aside bots and multiple accounts are a thing not very much is done against on websites as their owners would lose a sizeable chunk of their traffic. I think it's wrong and users attempting to get unfair advantages by any means should be banned.

3 weeks ago
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Exactly :o)

2 weeks ago
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Should we ban users if it is suspected of being a bot?

No. Should we ban users if we are sure they're a bot, or using bots? Yes.

3 weeks ago
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Thank you

3 weeks ago
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heartbeat intensifies...Nnno! I'm not a bot! You're a bot!

3 weeks ago
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For every 5 "enter giveaway" button clicks, you must solve a captcha to prove you are human... 🤣

View attached image.
3 weeks ago
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Bots or not, these messages are extremely annoying. I would rather have button reactions with emoticons to thank to creator and having some easy math check on every giveaway may be also good thing. 10s to count 3 +12 won't kill anyone and if there is someone who is not able count it, probably he should not use internet at all.

3 weeks ago
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there are like buttons on steam, doesn't stop idiots from posting a thumbs up or whatever after or instead of pressing them.

2 weeks ago
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Bots or not, these messages are extremely annoying

Random thought: wouldn't it be nice to have a setting to not get a notification about messages if they are smaller than a set (or even better, configurable) amount of letters?
"Thank you!" = 10 characters => ignore anything below ~15 characters and you're (mostly) spam-free, without most likely missing any significant message (it takes more than 15 chars to report a problem, or say something else that's meaningful)

2 weeks ago
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Hope to win it warthog

3 weeks ago
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But do they ever actually win the warthog? Or only shame? :/

3 weeks ago
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Guess they did

View attached image.
3 weeks ago
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May your day be just peachy, and your swag level over 9000. Thank you for the chance, you are truly a BAMF! Good luck everyone!

2 weeks ago
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That is a new one to me. :O

2 weeks ago
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Content- being described as any information sent to the website, including interaction commands- generated by any automated function is already against site rules. And the existence of bots is not only long-established, but undeniably proven [via self-admission, noticable changes to website interactions following repeated introductions of anti-bot measures, etc]. Bots aside, one-click join scripts exist (which are NOT against site rules, but do lead to* individuals who don't read descriptions or do anything but copy-paste the same message over and over), meaning that regardless of <why>, you're safe in assuming <this person is an asshole and they're safe to blacklist> and, if it seems suitable [eg, repeated comments in giveaways requesting a lack of such], it would be appropriate to report the matter to staff.

Also, you'd have been fine placing this in "General", as that works for anything related to Steam, SG, Gaming, Giveaways, or the SG community.

* Props where appropriate: ESGST (the most common script you'll see one-click entry associated with) has intentionally changed its associated giveaway list entry method to show descriptions and allow for commenting from the giveaway list, making it so that the outcome of using the functionality is based on who is using it, rather than being inherent to the function itself. So while the design caters mostly to those who don't want to treat the website as anything but a [semi]automated game dispenser, it certainly does no longer mandate that the users utilizing the function are doing so in such a manner.

3 weeks ago*
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Thy could be bots or just lazy and/or unoriginal.

3 weeks ago
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I only report em as a bot if I get 3+ messages in the exact same second lmao.

3 weeks ago
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How do you know it's the exact same second? I thought SG only reports time in minutes?

3 weeks ago*
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View page source in browser and check value for data-timestamp - I believe, it's in seconds.

3 weeks ago
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or that, yeah.

3 weeks ago
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If you are quick enough and get a screenshot within one min of their comment it goes by seconds instead of minutes. If I hang out around 1hr before my giveaways end I can usually catch 1-2 people.

3 weeks ago
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Saw it with two messages at the same second in two separate giveaways by chance. The steam account itself seems to be legit, so it is "just" a BL for me, buuuut it still left me wondering. Gotta be quite determined to achieve that at least^^

3 weeks ago
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It's possible to copy-paste a comment very quickly in two open giveaways (I've done it myself).
If it had been three, four... hmm, yeah I'd start to suspect something fishy with bots.
As far as only two in quick succession (or even one, if I've specifically asked for no comments in my giveaway), I might consider blacklisting them, but I'd check out their profiles on SG and Steam first before I push the red button.
Sometimes communication is better than assumption.

2 weeks ago
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True, but to be fair it wasn't the first time that specific user caught my "attention" and I'm usually too lazy to "hunt" :D Just thought about it when I saw the thread and another person seeing the 'seconds since comment posted' and that one was the first where I caught it.

2 weeks ago
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Have your reports been successful?

I have a small group where it is 100% and proofable. Some others where it is very likely.

I didn't perform a field test - how fast can you manually enter giveaways?
Let's say you have ESGST and just need to do 1 click. Is 3 giveaways in one second possible? Multiple times two in one second? Exact 1 second difference between multiple ones?
Where does the benefit of doubt end?

2 weeks ago*
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ESGST also has the Accurate Timestamp option, which displays the seconds. Love it :)

Oh my comment is so far below here.

2 weeks ago*
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To be exact: we shouldn't ban, when we suspect, but we should perma ban, if we are sure (which isn't hard in many cases). It takes too much effort to positively identify bots, to just give them then a slap with a short suspension.

As for myself, making my GAs mostly to groups (most often PA and Lootboy) and keeping them at lvl 2-5, fortunately I still don't have this problem. However, if this would begin to annoy me, I would comment on all muy GAs, that any player making "Thank you" comment before GA is resolved (or any other irrelevant comment) will be immediately BLed by me.

3 weeks ago
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That's generally why I will make a discussion with invite-only gibs to get around that.
That way I can specify entrance rules. It definitely culls a lot of the crap, but still leaves the giveaways open so it's more than just a handful of people who can enter.

I still like to do some public gibs every now and then, but I do it with no expectations.

2 weeks ago
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Deleted

This comment was deleted 2 weeks ago.

2 weeks ago*
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I have no desire to share the reason.

2 weeks ago
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If we want to find some of these autojoiners I think a good start would be u/Eldermann's or u/saladandsadness's blacklist to find some of these bots.
They have repeatedly asked in huge letters not to spam them with thx, but some profiles just kept saying it. Once those were blocked everybody could magically read. It's a little nicety added to some autojoiner bots to say thanks i guess.

2 weeks ago
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Good suggestion; where can I find these people?

2 weeks ago
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It happened in the past, but I haven't heard anything about it in a long time, so I'm not sure if people are still getting suspended.

https://www.steamgifts.com/discussion/h9RxE/autojoin-suspensions

2 weeks ago
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plenty of real people on steam spam the same shit literally everwhere. annoying as fuck but nothing to be done.

2 weeks ago
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My solution is that when I create giveaways, I don't create level 0 or level 1 giveaways, since there is where most of the bots are. But yeah, bots that spam thanks in all the giveaways that enter, are annoying.

2 weeks ago
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It used to be NOT saying thanks you were a bot or a leecher. Then everyone including me would say Thanks or some variation. Then it become, oh bots only say Thanks always ... -_- So now no one but bots says anything?

2 weeks ago
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why is everyone looking for suspicion in everything?
I just out of respect for the creator in each winning giveaway I write the phrase "Thank you man"
yes, it is always the same, but silently and without pleasing the person, I cannot leave

2 weeks ago
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It is absolutely fine to do this when you win a GA. That's the nice thing to do.

The problem they talk about here is when you make 30 GAs all at the same time and there are like 10 users who enter every GA that is open to them and each of them write the exact same thing in all of your giveaways. It's problematic. No human is doing that, it's a scripted message each time and it's annoying because you then miss real human messages because of so many notifications. A human would just thank you once for the multiple GAs.

If I was inclined to thank you for making 30+ GAs where I entered a few of them I would write in one "thanks for all the awesome GAs, Kimace." I generally don't thank unless I win, but that would be the normal thing to do. ;)

I actually like it when a person genuinely communicates with me in a GA I've created. I have nothing against conversation with humans.

2 weeks ago
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👍 100% agree. I often thank for Whitelist or high-in-my-wishlist games, but certainly not every entry,

It is absolutely fine to do this when you win a GA. That's the nice thing to do.

In fact, I know some will blacklist anybody who fails to say "thank you" within a week or so of marking the gift as received. I have been tempted to BL those who never say any sort of thanks for their wins over the last few years.

2 weeks ago
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Well, there are people who BL for thanking them, and now there a people who BL for not thanking them, though on winning.
All this causes a lot of confusion about what the "rules" are.
I think if anyone has any kind of such preference, they should always include it in their GA description. Say that you are ok with being thanked by the winner, or rather that you feel like the winner should thank you.

1 day ago
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There are far more who BL for the winner never saying "thanks" than there are who BL everyone who says "thanks" up front.
If someone indeed says "don't thank me" they usually include the caveat, "unless you win." I know of almost no-one in the last 2.5 years that I've been here who have BLd a winner for saying "thanks."

1 day ago
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Maybe. But regardless isn't it best to include stuff like this in your GA description if you do have "rules" like this. How can someone know what you want and what triggers you without you stating so. This is specially true for new comers, who might not even know about the fact that there are bots that say thank you on every GA, and hence you can get Bled for simply thanking someone. As for If someone indeed says "don't thank me" they usually include the caveat, "unless you win.", again, stating that explicitly in the description is better than assuming that others will understand what you are thinking but not saying out loud. I never thanks people who ask to not thank them, even if I win. In fact I have stopped thanking anyone unless they mention that they don't mind being thanked.

1 day ago
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Good points!

18 hours ago
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I mean, I say thanks when I win a game. But all the thanks just for joining is very odd.

2 weeks ago
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thank you

2 weeks ago
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Before if you dismiss me as a budding lunatic, there is a credible study which estimates that more than 60% of web traffic come from AI bots.

Sooooo many bots watching telenovelas in streaming... 🤣

2 weeks ago
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