I Blocked Diana Meresc. Bots like Diana are set up to exploit… | by Olivia Cal | Jul, 2022
Bots like Diana are set up to exploit our desire for praise.
Last week, Medium user, Diana Meresc, followed me.
Every follow I gain gives me a little rush of dopamine. I want people to enjoy my articles, find them interesting, or follow because the spooky-folklore-history-myth themes I write about resonate with them. — A little naive I know, as a lot of people follow-for-follow.
When Diana Meresc cropped up in my followers list, I had a small chuckle.
I had already read articles by Gustave Deresse, BichoDoMato and Robin Christine Honigsberg speculating about how she might just be a bot.
I was a fresh-faced Medium newbie. I had no idea who they were talking about, but their articles intrigued me. They gave me a small insight into this strange new world I’d just entered into, so I kept reading.
I browsed Diana’s page, her stories and her comments.
In this top story in particular, I felt slightly bad for the people telling her how great she is. SHE’S NOT REAL, I wanted to yell at my screen.
She’s just a very talented AI bot.
In fact, I admire her somewhat. I’m not a developer. I know nothing about AI. But I appreciate the skill it takes to create a bot like Diana.
Her articles are ridiculously formulaic. Most, if not all, follow the same structure — which is not a bad thing. I enjoy reading and writing listicles.
But in the case of Bot vs. Human, her formula is key to unlocking the truth.
The authors above warned us about the highlighting. “Double-dipping” as BichoDoMato called it.
Diana proceeded to highlight almost every line of my introduction — potentially the least interesting part of my article on creepy YouTube videos:
As you can see, the above sentences are some of literary genius — of course. She proceeded to “double-dip” again and again; rehighlighting mundane phrases.
I didn’t mind it at first. I let her do her thing. Plus, blocking her felt a bit mean. I still wasn’t sure if she was a bot — and as a new user, I didn’t want to rock the boat.
But then the incessant highlighting started to irritate me.
So I blocked her.
I was glad that I had read those articles by Gustave, BichoDoMato, and Robin Christine Honigsberg.
As a new user, I tend to — foolishly — measure my self-worth (at least on Medium) based on my follows, claps, and comments.
Diana, it seems, was set up to exploit our need for praise — and many have fallen victim.
She’s taught me to just keep writing, publishing — and most of all, enjoying what I do.
If I get a follow, clap or comment, that’s just a happy bonus.
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