A number of times lately I have seen people say
- That is gaming the search engines
- You shouldn’t do that, it is gaming Digg
- What you are doing is unethical, it is gaming the system
- StumbleUpon will ban you for gaming the votes
What do people mean when they say this and where do you draw the line?
I can sometimes see a clear case of gaming, for example vote-stuffing on Digg using fake accounts. In SEO, spamming blogs is obviously gaming Google. In other cases I am not so sure.
For example, if I ask a friend for a vote, is that gaming the system? Perhaps if they feel compelled to vote, but what if you ask them only to vote if they like it? That would mean you are giving them the option to not vote and they are simply using the tool as it was intended (most social voting sites have a send to friend feature or two).
Another aspect I would like your input on is when people take it from being “unfair” to actually calling out practices as “immoral”. When does something shift from bad form to plain bad?
What are your opinions on gaming search engines and social media? Where do you draw the line and what do you think is fair play? Please share your thoughts in the comments …