All hail Glorbo: The WoW community baited and trapped AI scrapers with a Reddit prank


As the editor of this very real website with very real paid humans who every damn month has to deal with scrapers and bots who literally steal and mangle our content as I run around the internet with a hammer trying to smash them down, I have to say I approve of the World of Warcraft’s subreddit community’s successful attempt to out an AI-driven website that’s clearly using bots to scrape gaming Reddits and regurgitate them as fake articles.

The tale rolled into my Twitter feed thanks to the venerable Lum the Mad: Yesterday, several subreddit users decided to bait the AI site with fake source threads, including u/kaefer_kriegerin, who posted a glowing Reddit thread about Glorbo, a brand-new chunk of content he claimed was coming to WoW. He seeded it with some very specific callbacks to other content and goaded his fellow pranksters into fleshing it out, which they happily did because duh, this is a gaming Reddit. There’s even a thread that implies Glorbo is a new expansion with a banana race (this actually sounds cute, though).

The ruse actually fooled the specific website under scrutiny; it posted an AI-scripted report on good ol’ Glorbo as if it were real. (Taken down overnight, but the internet never forgets.)

As Wowhead noted, Blizzard’s Kyle Hartline joined in on the fun.

We spied former Blizzard dev Jeremy Gaffney snarking about it too. “Working on Glorbo was one of the defining moments of my Activision/Blizzard career,” he tweeted solemnly.

Even the Beeb has picked up the story – the real story, not the fake one. Hey look, a gaming Reddit is in the news for good deeds this time!

Wowhead ran the numbers and found that this particular website (which I am not naming for obvious reasons) has pumped out 18.5K “articles” in two months. MOP, which forbids AI-generated work and still employs a copyeditor and certainly makes mistakes but at least is all-human, just hit 50K articles after eight years, which ought to give you some understanding of the financial temptation here for the AI scrapers. But of course, their “content” is still crap.

“What pleases me most is that this will ultimately lead to Glorbo being introduced to the game,” /u/Same-Conclusion_ says. Make it happen, Blizz.

Source: Reddit via Lum
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