Currently, the main way of removing botters is to simply ban their accounts in waves. This is good, and I understand the reasoning behind it(it’s easy to do and allows for flagging of related accounts), but it still allows botters to “learn” to avoid the ways CCP detects input automation, and it doesn’t really stop them from just repopulating and doing it all over again with a better, sneakier bot.
I suggest that in addition to that, they add another type of ban, similar in scope to a “shadowban” or comment ghosting system, Rather than outright killing the bots.
Similar to the way that a shadowbanned user is unaware that they are banned, instead of simply deleting the account, this instead gimps them in a way that isn’t immediately obvious, but is effective at minimizing the impact of individual bot.
The pros of this may not be immediately apparent, but are immense in effect. By not providing a hard piece of evidence that a botter is in fact botting, the programmers of botting scripts and systems no longer have a “fail condition” that is obvious and easy to see. They may notice a drop in isk/hour, but it’ll be harder to say what exactly tipped CCP off.
As for how this could be implemented, there are a great number of ways. Loot tables could ratchet drops and spawns lower for the botter to directly lower profit in a less tangible way, decrease odds of hitting and or DPS to allow rats better survival, silent disabling or weakening of certain mods(warp stabs for example, as many fw plexbots rely on those), or buffing of rats on grid with a known botter.
No matter how it works, as long as it isn’t immediately obvious when an account has been flagged, it’ll be effective to prevent bots from improving or making significant dents on the economy of eve. In addition, if the users of these programs are not aware they have been flagged, they are more likely to engage in overt actions that will help to catch the people who support these botters, and help remove them from the game as well.