Personally, I think it's kinda unethical to use any votebot. If you don't care enough to look at the post and vote ++ with the click of a mouse, you're either lazy or... well, I suppose you might write it if you had a lot of free time =) Still though, how is it useful?
You could always create a vote script if you have a tendancy to vote too often.
For example, I don't have many votes now :-( What if I see 7 things that I want to vote ++ and one --, then I have to do it over a couple of days. On the other hand, I could write a script for which I could enqueue the sites and my votes. As time passed this script would automatically vote as I told it. (Thus I could work far ahead of the number of votes I actually have and it would catch up while I was on vacation or something).
I've written a votebot or two, but never one for slashdot or PerlMonks. In the world of text-only dial-up or telnet BBSes, I've used bots to downvote users automatically for 133t5p33k and for double posting. I think those are reasonable enough criteria for a downvote, and they aren't difficult to detect.
Of course, when you're an admin with unlimited votes, it's easy to get carried away with that. I used to have so much fun sometimes upvoting a person one day only to downvote them the next. Ah... the good old days.
Odd, it seems worse to make a Votebot that would only -- rather than --++. When in reality, I think either would be just as bad. You're not reading the nodes...? They're being randomly picked. That actually gives a certain measure of error to XP. There's no point or feedback with them. Course, someone could create a votebot that would actually leave a comment.. that may help. ;)
There is a realy danger to having a votebot that leaves comments. Presumably the point of a votebot is to garner XP for its owner; however, if the votebot creates comments, these comments could be --ed. Thus a vote bot that comments must either be smart enough to say something worthwhile (which I imagine is somewhat difficult) or the owner of said bot would probably lose more XP then she gained.
On the other hand if she were smart enough to write a votebot that leaves comments that get ++ed, she could probably write a bot that would pass the Turing Test, and a node about something that passes the Turing Test would be an XP goldmine...
Speaking of Turing Tests, i once ran into a FAQ-bot that had
me going for at least a few minutes on some IRC. I really
couldn't tell if it was a terse, holyier than thou Admin type
or a Bot. Anybody have the source code for one of those? I
had it once but that computer died and took it's data with
Thadius Dan, the dataDrone.
oh can you please give me the code?
sometimes i'm surfing, and reading, and the time passes, and i get the new votes without spending my old ones.
i would give money for a quick botebot, that i can fire up in the last few minutes before the votes change, and if i've spent them all by then, then it wont do anything (even if i only have two so far)