My story on how I got into the lurk 4 lurk communities and how it ruined my channel. I had posted this to a previous older post about these types of "communities", but I wanted to make it an actual post so others don't fall into this same trap.
I had been streaming for a few months without seeing any real movement on my channel. The rare viewer here and there, but nothing concrete. Then I started seeing all the irc bots and one day clicked into one and saw the chat spam so I threw my channel in, then boom instantly 5+ viewers. As a new streamer seeing this obviously was very exciting. Then I found another channel threw another advertisment in it boom 5 more viewers. Seeing "viewers" in my channel was very exciting especially when I'd get those after stream emails and it would show + viewers after every stream. So I built it into pre-stream routine I'd post to twitter, join a handful of l4l streams throw up my ad, then fire up the stream and instantly 10+ viewers easy. Then the spam started, people joining spamming their channel, spamming L4L/lurk 4 lurk, or whatever. This almost instantly drove any actual viewers away because there was no conversation with other viewers just spam. That's when I realized I really fucked up.
I had gotten to affiliate pretty quickly, but at a major cost. What's the point of having bit donations and a sub button if there are no actual viewers to use it. Sure every so often someone would come in throw 5-10 bits with a l4l type message, but that was it. At this point I had quit posting to those channels, but the damage was already done, I had been followed by so many l4l channels that as soon as I went live they'd join throwdown their l4l message and pretty much leave. I'd have a room with 10+ viewers and no actual chat or community. I might as well been streaming to 0 viewers again. This became even more frustrating, because now when I did get an actual viewer, they'd leave because there was no chat just bot spam basically. So I stopped streaming for a few months, my follower count dipped down due to what I believe people seeing I wasn't streaming so I wasn't helping their channel anymore and unfollowed. I recently started back up and while there are still the few random bots that join and spam, I've just started banning them without saying anything or acknowledging it.
tl;dr - I basically cheesed my way to affiliate status because I was impatient and tired of streaming to an empty room. Then fucked up my chances of building an actual community and had to shutdown my stream to pretty much start over.
Edit: thank you everyone for all the responses and stories. I'm glad this has gained traction and so many people are turning away from it. I'll be reading every response and responding as I have time.