Have you ever wondered how certain people get voted into office or how a Steemit author receives a flood of upvotes on his blog post? The simple answer to this question is a voting bot. A voting bot is a type of software application that automatically runs scripts online with the goal to automate voting. Unfortunately, voting bots have had a history of interfering with online polls in a way that influenced large audiences.
They’ve been used to influence thousands of voters with misinformation during elections and rig contests, including the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections and a fishing contest in New Zealand. However, creating these bots provide valuable insight for organizations and web developers who aim to thwart voting bots. So, it’s important to understand the basics. Here are some key concepts about voting bots and the development behind them.
Reasons Why You Should Create a Voting Bot
It’s a common practice for malicious users to create voting bots for online competitions and campaigns in an attempt to trick organizations into believing contestants or candidates won a surge of votes genuinely.
However, voting bots are not limited to malicious use. Instead, you can use these types of bots for other legitimate reasons. Web developers use voting bots to perform a variety of legitimate tasks, including handling accounts, checking the IP address of the voter or performing other standard security procedures, such as an Automated Turing Test (ATT) or Completely Automated Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart or CAPTCHA. For example, you can create a voting bot to perform an Automated Turing Test (ATT) or test its IP location to help distinguish it from human voters. You can also use a voting bot to create an integration in a project management application, such as Slack, so that team can vote on a process.
The Best Practices to Create a Voting Bot
Now that you’re aware of the different use cases for voting bots, it’s important to know how to approach creating one. By understanding the process of developing a voting bot, you can gain better insight in reducing voting fraud for online polls or contests your organization or client’s organization runs. There are several ways users can make these types of bots, including developing it from scratch, using free open-source applications and prototyping tools. Here are a few steps to consider when creating a voting bot:
- Determine your voting bot’s use. Understanding the purpose of the voting bot you create helps to narrow down the types of platforms and skills you need for its development. For instance, if you plan to use the voting bot for testing its capabilities for passing CAPTCHA and ATT, then consider using a platform that provides messaging capabilities.
- Consider the platform. Think about where the competition or poll will be hosted and consider creating a bot specific for that platform. For instance, if you’re developing an online poll your team can vote on the location of the next company outing via Slack, then you’ll want to create a voting bot specific to that platform. That means you’ll need to select and install an integration specific to the platform, too.
- Use a prototyping tool. Prototyping makes it easy for important stakeholders to visualize your concept. You can use prototyping tools to create high-fidelity bots that you can use to demonstrate your voting bot. For instance, you can leverage Botsociety’s prototyping tool to create a Slack bot for online polls.
Whether you’re trying to keep your organization’s competitions authentic or you want to create a product that ensures real people are voting on online polls, it’s critical to understand voting bot development. By understanding how voting bots work and testing them out, you can reduce fraudulent online voting and enhance the effectiveness of the voting bots you create for your organization and your clients.