Why I decided to delete my bottr bot
3 reasons. Listed below in the increasing order of importance
It was getting slower. Bot responses were increasingly taking longer and longer and the relevance of the responses also starting suffering. Having said that, this was the least of my concerns and wouldn’t have prompted me to move quickly with my delete decision
I wasn’t knowing who was asking what. There was no way for me to know who was asking what and this severely impacts my ability to understand my audience and engage them better. As I keep repeating, context is everything and one should always be designing for maximising learning
While point number 2 was a major concern in itself, the death knell was when the ugly side that anonymity enables started surfacing. I soon found myself spending most of my time and / or attention dealing with the kind of questions and engaging in writing responses which should not even have made it to my attention in the first place. And bottr didn’t seem to offer any tools to bring sanity to this behaviour or blacklist account that display errant behaviour. Tools should help us work better so that we can be more productive and focus on the things I really want to — this bottr implementation clearly failed this test.
And hence I’m back to good old twitter & emails — Best way to reach me. Those who wish to engage me can write to me on email. I can agree that anonymity has its value in certain contexts. I don’t agree that this is such a context and hence my decision to engage with people who can identify themselves and bring their opinions forward stands (To provide better context, I’m someone who has gone ahead and switched off comments and analytics on my personal website). However much contradictory these opinions may be, while I may not agree with them, I will give it the respect and the attention it deserves. And yes, we can always agree to disagree — that’s a sign of a mature conversation, while anonymous trolling is clearly not.
Questions either started turning personal in nature — age, relationship status, sexual orientation (are you gay) etc or starting becoming random inane ones and / or lacking sufficient context.
It was far worse in the case of my colleague Arya Murali (do you have a boyfriend, how much do you charge, so basically a slut were few a just so that you have context) who also proceeded to promptly delete her bot.
While bottr did not provide a direct option to delete, they did mention in their FAQ that we only need to write to them if we wish to have our bot deleted. We did write to them and yes, they were fairly prompt to delete them as well.
The founder of bottr had reached out requesting for feedback. This is a good gesture on their part and in the right direction. Bottr seemed a platform which showed a lot of promise and looked like that they were on to something. Just that given the context provided above, it was not even an option to just stay dormant on the platform and hence the decision to delete. I do hope they figure out this bit and come out stronger. Best wishes Abhimanyu Godara!