I'm a mod on Ask Ubuntu. I've been talking to somebody who wants to run a chat bot on all the SE chat networks. To do this they're aiming for 200 rep with us to unlock the 100-rep association bonus.
Chatbots are fairly well accepted things these days (as long as they behave) but there are a couple of obvious issues with how they're created:
- They have to create a new account and grind for rep.
- They end up with an account that can do far more than it needs for chatting.
The term "sockpuppet" is really a reflection of an accounts actions and the user here has promised not to vote for themselves, it just seems silly to force wouldbe chatbot operators to go through exactly the same steps. I've got a few mutually exclusive ideas that might make things better:
Allow people to have a chatbot subprofile which can only do the things the main account can. Most importantly, it require the somebody to put themselves in the position to sockpuppet.
Create a dummy chatbot.stackexchange.com site where profiles (linked to the main profile) have their own chat profile with automatic and appropriate chat-only privileges. I'm not sure if that would actually work though.
Allow real accounts to be limited to chat-only privs, whatever their reputation. This would annul moderator fears of bots going wild.
Or finally —something I've suggested before— cross-user limits to stop "accidental" sockpuppeting happening.
There are auxiliary conversations happening about whether bots should be allowed to vote on main sites at all. That isn't my main focus but it's certainly relevant in the long run.
One thing I will say on the matter: isn't the point of crowd sourcing to get humans doing things? Inviting AIs (or facsimiles thereof) to do the job seems to counter the system's design.