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December 09, 2023, 08:42:01 PM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessBeating the Algorithm
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« on: April 06, 2023, 12:38:55 PM »

This thread will be where I discuss my evil plans of how I try to beat the system that seems to be designed to help get garbage, and sociopaths who will say and do anything to get famous to rise to the top and not actually the stuff I like to make.

The Goal: to actually make Art (content) I want to make and have fun making and have it be seen by a sizable audience of people who want to see it and have fun seeing it. Eventually launch some kind of products that my audience will enjoy buying.

The Problem: the curatorial process (algorithm) by which Art is chosen to be seen does not reward the kind of Art I make.

The Solution: The algorithm is like a bank, larger protected, bigger, but it is still a bank: It can be, I think the expression is, "Blown"

Things I like to make:

  • Colorful games where you don't kill anything.
  • Colorful art that is light and fun.
  • Sarcastic jokes about old (sometimes new) TV Shows and Movies.
  • Videos of clips of old/new moments of TV and Movies that are really great moments.
  • Nitpicky play-through and reviews of games that tell people annoying little bits I get stuck at.
  • Short videos explaining the epic that is my life and all the things I'm working on.
  • Short videos explaining new products I've purchased and how they work.
  • Short videos that are just goofy memes.

Here are a couple of dead ends I've found so far:

It seems like twitter is completely a wasteland. I post what I like posting and enjoy it, and have about 50 or so friends who see my tweets and hit like every so often so each post I post on average gets 5 or so likes. This is a lovely little friend circle but is not a sizable audience. I have two main twitter handles:


The Michaelplzno handle is more personal, I post here just because I want to vent or post sarcastic nonsense. I try to promote art that I like, memes that make me laugh, and for a long time I would post my daily drawings here. I've had 2 viral tweets here, one was a clip of Lupin III Castle of Caligostro, and one was a Steamed Hams/Mario meme.

Lupin is obviously one of the best Anime, and Steamed Hams is always popular. However these two situations seem like flukes I cannot reproduce as opposed to regular occurrences. I don't know what I did to make these two memes, as opposed to many of the other memes I've posted, go crazy popular. But those were two moments where the things I like actually got an audience though. Even then, I did not make the actual "content" in question.

I've come to the conclusion that a really good post of mine on twitter is algorithmically set to give me no more than 10 likes before it stops showing the post to other people. This seems strange because @michaelplzno supposedly has close to 5k followers. I built the handle up by following people back and just trying to build a community that way. I'm told that is a bad move even though for many years my account had only a few hundred followers and it seems like the only way to get people to follow is to follow them and hope they follow you back.


My more official company account is where we posted pics of retro games with their name, publisher and year for about 2 years every day and again got no more than 5-10 likes per post. I almost never post here other than to retweet something cool. This account seems quite hopeless for getting attention based on the way the algorithm is rigged up.

The Great Twitter Blocking:

I pay attention to what trends on twitter and its almost always the kind of garbage I would never want to post: Lots of "Discourse" about if media is sexist/racist/transphobic/ethical and lots of political posts that are completely rhetorical that aren't even trying to convince anyone of anything, just pictures of dogs pooping on trump, or trump dressed as a superhero, mostly trump stuff. I've started fighting back on this front by blocking a few hundred "Rage Bait" accounts that have hundreds of thousands, and in some cases, millions of followers. I may try to share my block list as part of this operation, but once you knock out the tip of the "Rage Pyramid" with the super popular accounts that spew out rhetorical rage posts, twitter is a much nicer network. The trends are much more meaningful and high quality, right now George Lucas, asexuality day, and One Piece are trending for me which are all totally acceptable.

So I'm hoping that perhaps we can get a group of people to block some of the bad actors on twitter and see if that fixes that platform to be a bit more likely to trend stuff I like to make. Hopefully by interacting with the new curated trends I can try to make stuff that connects.


For long time we had a "Page" for silverware games where we cross posted what we did on the @silverwaregames twitter on facebook. This approach is totally wrong as pages are code for facebook to try to get you to pay for likes and are completely advertisements. If you are making a page on facebook unless you want to dump 10-100k into the page every month you aren't going to get anywhere.

HOWEVER, recently we've tried some other ideas that have gotten a bit of a shift in what happens on facebook.

Firstly, I've decided to just spam the like button on people's profiles for my main Michael Silverman account as the main account I use. I ballooned up from just around 200 "friends" to close to 3,000 friends in a few months.

Then for Coffee Doodle Art we created a profile account, this is an account that is pretending to be a person. That didn't really go anywhere but did better than a Page.

We finally made a Coffee Doodle Art ** GROUP ** which has started to actually grow:



I've started doing dev streams on twitch but it seems hopeless there. I have a few lurkers that I'm not sure if they are even bots or not. I am not an affiliate on twitch as michaelplzno, I got affiliate status for Silverware Games and then got one subscriber, my uncle. Seems like a dead end there?


I get better numbers on TikTok than on twitter, but there seems to be no pattern to it.

These are my most popular TikToks:

Number 1

Number 2

Which as you can tell are just dumb videos that have no artistic merit. I don't mind making nonsense videos if it will crack the code, but I have a tough time knowing what nonsense will be a hit and what stuff will flop.

This one is my worst video with just 4 views Why did it flop here and do better on other platforms?

(Will edit this post to include what we are doing with Instagram, Tiktok, discord, and our own social network https://swgio.com but I have some stuff to take care of)


One thing that's nice about youtube is that there is a good stat system:

Last year I had my video of Nodame Cantabile go viral so that is why this year is less than the previous year.

So I had a big spike recently when I did this short about my DDR pads:

And actually that seems to have boosted my whole channel's stats to be a bit better. It seems like success breeds success, so if you are doing something good it sort of stacks. However the youtube stats are nowhere near what I want: 92 subs in a year means if I don't grow that rate it will take another 7 or so years to get to 1k which is what is needed to monetize. Youtube says its algorithm doesn't give preference to monetized videos, but I don't what youtube gives priority to. I think if your video gets people who aren't on youtube to sign up and surf for hours they love you?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2023, 07:23:57 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2023, 03:33:03 AM »

Will keep an eye on the thread! I don't have much to add apart from the fact facebook seems to be a dead end and twitter does indeed feel like screaming into the void.
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2023, 11:44:12 PM »

Thanks fioretto! Let me know if I can tweet your stuff or anything.

Remember, the goal is to have fun making art/games/videos/memes that then gets seen by a sizable audience. This shouldn't be antithetical to what social media is. If anything, platform holders should want this to work. We make good art, showing it to people shouldn't be against what it is to be "social."


I was chosen to be part of a youtube "experiment" where they showed me a panel that said when I get to 500 subs I can monetize. I told them where to stick it and got a $15 gift card for the effort.

I haven't really cracked getting subscribers and at my current rate it will take something like 4 years to get to 500 subs. Also as I've read from youtube's help pages, they are adamant that if you monetize the algorithm doesn't give your content priority. It has no knowledge of who is and is not monetized.


I just got a notification that 1,000 people had viewed my Silverware Games facebook page. When I examined it closely I didn't see much evidence of that. But I realized that I could invite my now 4,500 friends to like my facebook page 1,000 people at a time so I'm hoping I can actually convert some of my new friends to page viewers. Sadly the group for CoffeeDoodleArt requires me to manually invite people one at a time to like the page, so I only do 100 at a time if I can remember.

The coffee doodle page doesn't seem to be too interesting in its stats. When we post we get a little spike of visibility and we usually post every day, so there are little spikes all the time. Sadly, there is no upward trend where the numbers progressively get better over time.


I cannot even get our CoffeeDoodleArt page to show us statistics about how many users we have. We have 1,233 followers
after we followed 3,363 people so I think most of our followers are follow backs. Apparently to monetize on instagram you need 10k followers? I always thought it was 1,000 but I guess I'm wrong. Anyway, since we can't see the stats that seems like its being difficult.


This seems to have gotten even worse since I've not been focusing on it. Now my posts get seen by less than 100 people and I'm lucky to get 2 likes on something. Really a dead end. It seems like Elon is now paying people who post "political" garbage because he really likes that stuff as opposed to the kind of stuff I make. Boo.

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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2023, 02:02:15 AM »


I've been trying to invite people who are friends with my account to join my coffee doodle group:


And my Silverware Games *page*:


For the SWG page there is a button to invite 1,000 of your friends at a time. This button does nothing it seems, as I've pressed it several times and there is no effect. I tried inviting 100 people manually by checking next to their name and hitting invite. This also didn't have an effect. I tried different batch sizes and found that 45 people in a batch actually gets the invites sent, so I did 22 iterations of 45 invite batches to get close to 1k.

Then I started inviting people to coffeedoodle 45 at a time and after doing a bunch of batches facebook said my account was limited.

It is clear that these big sites DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET SEEN. They want you to keep posting into the void and feel satisfied that you posted something, get a few likes and keep posting forever.

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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2023, 11:31:17 AM »

Facebook has now blocked me from inviting people to my groups. I don't get it: why not just limit how many times I can hit the button if its considered spam? Its totally counterproductive.

Also I have hit the 5k friend limit.

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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2023, 09:43:35 AM »

Facebook now only bans me for an hour if I jam on the invite button too much. Also they made me an "expert" in my own group so that seems like something?

I had a mirac for youtube, they gave me a little algorithmic channel review. They say that my videos are about 80-90% of the metrics they need to be but the thumbnails are what's holding me back. Also one of my retro game friends who has a bigger channel said that the thumbnails are the key so here's some DUMB CLICK BAIT THUMBNAILS I've worked up:

Here we see an accurate depiction of me with long hair:

This one was really simple because the key art was already available:

I did a mashup of TNG and Lady Gaga and so I asked for a render of Gaga as spock:

This one is based on me holding a bottle of vinegar:


Recently bought a mic and had to learn how to pronounce the name of it:
« Last Edit: August 03, 2023, 09:53:18 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2023, 12:42:22 PM »


The new thumbnails are having mixed results on my channel:

Youtube is a tricky beast. I changed a lot of thumbnails to be more "sexy" or "click-baitey" since that was a recommended best practice and actually there is a dip a little at the beginning of August when I changed them. The first couple of days with the new thumbs has sort of killed off a lot of views. However, there was also a spike in impressions around then too:

As you can see there is a spike when I changed the thumbnails, but my views actually go down in this period. Which is counterintuitive. I'm not sure if the algorithm was adjusting to the new data or what.

And now I'm in the highest spike of impressions and views I've had in the last year! This is also counterintuitive because most of my views are coming from one video:

So was it the new thumbnails or this video dominating my impressions? Weird coincidence that one of my old videos took off. Or was it, my old biggest video I changed the thumb for:

Its a much nicer thumbnail and actually the views per day of this video have gone down since the change. This may have been the reason for the dip.

So we are trying to get a cat video to go viral because if I can't make cats go viral what can I make go viral?


This is the most successful cat vid we've done and also the easiest to make, we just took a short clip of me holding Cruella and added "nyan cat" music. You can see a spike in views, but no extra impressions came in, meaning that the video was just seen by a lot of people who were already looking at us? I'm not sure how you can have more views but not more impressions.

I actually collaborated with a pro editor to make this one:


And had him under an agreement that only if the video got 10k views would he get paid. The video got about 150 views which wasn't even close, so we tried again the next day:


This video did even worse.

A few weeks later I tried another simple one and it got around 450:


So it seems like its a crapshoot as to what cat stuff will make it.


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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2023, 02:45:09 AM »

I should clarify here, there is no one almighty algorithm, sadly there are multiple algorithms each designed by yet another tech bro, each designed to prop up a system that doesn't like change or innovation. These tech bros don't see themselves as gatekeepers, or even the reason why culturally our art and "discourse" is going into the toilet. They are clear that each one of them, in their own unique way, has solved the curatorial process because metrics like the amount of likes people hit are clearly the only way in which art can be judged. There is no merit but what a bunch of 8 year olds hit like on while their parents drive them around to play-dates.

Also, I've gone to parties with tech bros who write curatorial algorithms, they are not fun.

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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2023, 03:03:21 AM »

Inside every curatorial tech bro are two wolves:

Wolf 1 - The desire to make money. They want their platform, youtube, twitch, instagram, steam, whatever, to make a lot of money because they will get rewards for this, possibly stock options, or whatever, maybe a girlfriend is what they do all this for? Whatever, they get their money.

Wolf 2 - The desire to hoard power. They want to keep others from having a say or a voice that conflicts with their own point of view. You see, if the narrative, or voice of communication changes too much, then the tech bro may no longer be one of the elite and lose their status as a privileged world shaker.

So, there is a ven diagram:

If recommending something would create a figure who threatens the power of the people who are running the platforms, that cannot come to pass.

And THAT, is the algorithm, you can only put through things that will keep the current power structure in power, and also will make a lot of money.

Sadly, its clear that if I had an audience, I wouldn't keep a lot of tech bro scum in power because I would rail on them a lot till they had to actually act like humans. And make them fix bugs. And I would use my power to spotlight a lot of art that wouldn't go along with the easy swill that they use to dull down everyone and just hit like on.

Which they hate, they just want to do drug parties and force their underlings to write code for 90% of the day.

So that's what we're up against.

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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2023, 03:09:15 AM »

Quality is a concept that is lost here. Its so easy to measure how many likes something gets to the point that we don't even see what the content (Art) even is.

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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2023, 03:15:46 AM »


They talk about how fair their system is, but it also ranks you by how many customers you bring to their platform, (If you can get the snowball rolling, meaning you bring in a lot of customers without their help.) AKA how much you've paid them.

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