We joined approximately at the same time and I don't recall follower counts ever being meaningful to be honest.

Yeah, they were never super meaningful but at least back then it seemed like an actual user had to push the follow button, whereas now I'm able to gain 60+ followers for doing nothing.

It's just you. Many of the project accounts follow. Following is not a measurement of status, it is an slight indication of how many might see your post.

The payout tells you how many people appreciated your post enough to vote for it! :)

I know it's just me, haha.

I think the point I was failing to make is that in most online situations a follower count is generally representative of a (partially) engaged audience, which is sort of a measure of status to some degree. But if your follower count is being inflated by bots/inactive accounts/whatever then how can you or others gauge your audience.

Anyway, it doesn't really bother me, I don't put too much faith in follower counts at the best of times. Also, I do enjoy seeing numbers get bigger, haha.

I hear you. :) I don't pretend it is all perfect. Perfect and dying though leave a lot of gray area in the middle! Cheers.

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