A Solution To The BOT Problem On Splinterlands
First, before anyone denies that we have a "BOT problem" on Splinterlands, there are many real players that have been loyal to the game for years that see the problem and have made their thoughts known.
Second, most of the people I know that see this problem, care about the game, the experience, and the economics. They are not looking to bitch for bitching's sake. None of them has tried to form boycotts or protests, because they want the game to succeed.
Third, @yabapmatt and @aggroed need to be proactive and not reactive to the situation. There have been far too many people that have left the game over the years, out of fear that things would never change. This is wasteful, unneccessary, and counterproductive; and can be addressed by getting out ahead of the issues.
The Bot Problem Defined
The fact that people "can" bot the game is fine. The fact that a few programmers can extract outsized money from the game (versus their investment) is not fine and will kill the game over a long enough time. By outsized, I'm defining that to mean a very high ROI on the amount of money they stake in the game, especially versus what a human can make on a similar investment.
So the goal of fixing the "BOT Problem" would not be to stop the bots from happening at all, but would instead be to figure out how to limit the rewards they can make relative to the money they invest.
NOTE: this is a different issue than stopping bots outright (that many are in favor of), but which I will not address in this post.
The BOT Problem Solution - Licensing Bots Officially
I suggest in this proposal that Splinterlands licenses the bots. Have an "officially licensed" bot program. Each account would have to declare "bot" or "human", and while I don't advocate fees, SPL could even charge a supplemental bot license fee (or leave it free to bot as well).
In this program, I would suggest the bots would be identified as a bot so that the humans can make that determination straight forward. This would ease the frustration people feel of playing against the bots, plus help the community assist in identifying non-compliant accounts that aren't listed as bots (but in fact are).
If the bot and human accounts were clearly categorized, then there could be many things that happen that could actually improve the game experience. For instance, there could be "bot only" and "human only" tourneys to encourage and reward the various groups.
Also if the bots were identified, then there could be a "code of acceptable conduct" that keeps them from violating the spirit of the game. That could be anything from limiting DEC payout to say 30 matches in a 24 hour time frame, to making sure they don't play each other so we don't have bot vs bot rewards when no person is involved. It would also enable the tournaments to be what is desired of them (ie player excitement), and not just a bot fest with a few human players even participating. We could even have enhanced reward days where a player can earn more for beating a bot, but that bot should have at least a minimum level of DEC in the account (per what @j6969 suggested) and a minimum size summoner (ie not level 1s ranking up and down for earning purposes). Said another way, the bots would stay in their appropriate league and not "creep". Also I would say there should be additional restrictions on the movement of cards from one bot account to another by limiting the cards used in a bot account to once per season.
While all these are just ideas of the top of my head, if Splinterlands were to formally accept botting as a legitimate form of playing the game, then they could solve the issues by laying out rules for the bots to follow. Rules enable the behavior you want and allow you to punish/restrict/ban behavior you don't want. This solution will enable SPL to craft the rules in such a way that they are getting the proper outcomes they seek.
I don't think either Matt or Aggy wants the game to be taken over by the bots, but I feel they feel powerless to stop it sometimes. That's absurd if so. It is their game and they can have "acceptable" rules with codes of conduct they expect. If people or programmers are willing to follow the rules, then there is room enough in this great game for both