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The Secret Life of a Paid Forum Shill
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Clinically Insane
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Jan 11, 2013, 04:54 AM
 
I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate | Conscious Life News

There's some incongruity in his details, but if it's true, it might explain quite a bit of what's gone on on these boards, as well…including some of the disappearances (especially since the election).
     
Clinically Insane
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Jan 11, 2013, 04:55 AM
 
Aaah — Links now resolve to page titles again! Oh, how I missed thee, vBulletin, in ways I'd all but forgotten!
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 05:28 AM
 
Wonder what the actual job title is, and of course how to apply.
     
Games Meister
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Jan 11, 2013, 10:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate | Conscious Life News

There's some incongruity in his details, but if it's true, it might explain quite a bit of what's gone on on these boards, as well…including some of the disappearances (especially since the election).
Does anyone come to mind? No one does for me.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 10:41 AM
 
Pol/War was the very first thing I thought of when I saw that yesterday, but the article is an utter fabrication originally posted (with an obscure note that it was a "story") to a conspiracy theory website, that ended up not even passing their smell test. (It's been removed from Above Top Secret at this point) Though it did sound an awful lot like z******e.

http://www.metafilter.com/123711/The-War-on-Information

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/22332...s-been-deleted

When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 10:42 AM
 
Probably some of those "foreign agents" that abe was worried about were paid shills
     
Games Meister
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Jan 11, 2013, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by chris v View Post
Pol/War was the very first thing I thought of when I saw that yesterday, but the article is an utter fabrication originally posted (with an obscure note that it was a "story") to a conspiracy theory website, that ended up not even passing their smell test. (It's been removed from Above Top Secret at this point) Though it did sound an awful lot like z******e.

The War on Information | MetaFilter

Why hasn't this been deleted? | MetaTalk
Yeah, I read it after posting and I was going to mention, shit like having dossiers on forum posters sounded absolutely insane. The manpower required to do that...

No to mention his instructions came in a binder? That was supposed to be believable?
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate | Conscious Life News

There's some incongruity in his details, but if it's true, it might explain quite a bit of what's gone on on these boards, as well…including some of the disappearances (especially since the election).
It wasn't nearly so bad this time, but if something like that were true it would explain some stuff that happened on here and other Mac fora in 2000, 2004 and especially before 2008. Back then it was pretty obvious that there was some heavy astroturfing going on. Lots of stuff about AGW and other liberal sweetheart ideas. You could always tell because the trolls would start with "Doesn't it just seem reasonable..." or "You know, in other countries..." That kind of fallacious argument must work for the types of people they were trying to influence.

I've heard about this kind of thing for years, being in college towns, but I've never seen it up close and personal.
He can be fixed -- you can't.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 05:26 PM
 
If anyone here can convince some jackass to pay you to post ideological crap in this insignificant hole-in-the-wall, I advise you to take it.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
Lots of stuff about AGW and other liberal sweetheart ideas.
Yes, because those groups have tons of money to waste on forum trolls.

Just so you folks know, I don't think any of the reactionary right-wingers around here are being paid to post. I've met enough nutbars in real life to realize people gladly say that sh!t for free.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
If anyone here can convince some jackass to pay you to post ideological crap in this insignificant hole-in-the-wall, I advise you to take it.
yeah exactly. If this phenomenon is happening anywhere, MacNN is not going to be a juicy enough target for us to see it in the flesh.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 05:48 PM
 
besson is moving back to Canada after Obama got reelected. Coincidence?
     
Clinically Insane
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Jan 11, 2013, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
yeah exactly. If this phenomenon is happening anywhere, MacNN is not going to be a juicy enough target for us to see it in the flesh.
Yeah.

But we used to have several thousand (record being over 6,000) members online at the same time.

Numbers are *way* down since 2004.
And a bunch of very vocal members have left us.



     
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Jan 11, 2013, 07:22 PM
 
When they formed the Pol Lounge a bunch of people joined who didn't own Macs. I always wondered why they'd choose this forum to preach. Or how they even found it.

I think one of those guys is a moderator now.

I see the role of the astroturfer as a shepherd. Sure there are always folks ranting for free, but a good astroturfer will support, encourage, steer, and unify them. Slimey the Limey was good at that (not that I think he was paid for it).



I think the original article was written like bad fiction (which it probably was).
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
I think the original article was written like bad fiction (which it probably was).
Yeah, it's like the astroturfers left the MacNN forums for no apparent raisin.


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Jan 11, 2013, 10:05 PM
 
We got this offer in the Admin email box on March 29, 2012. I've fiddled with the formatting, otherwise it's exactly as we received it.

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Jan 12, 2013, 09:39 AM
 
Wow. Are they hiring?

When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift.
     
Professional Poster
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Jan 12, 2013, 01:01 PM
 
I thought you guys signed up for that service once they renamed it "NewsPoster"....
     
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Jan 12, 2013, 02:14 PM
 


Hit the nail on the head.

-t
     
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Jan 13, 2013, 03:02 AM
 
No one worry! I am not a shrill! Nor have i ever been!
If you need to send me a private message, please send it to brassplayersrock²
     
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Jan 13, 2013, 09:51 AM
 
What is surprising to me is that the guy from the article sticks to the artificially implanted idea (someone paid the author to post »pro-Israel« stuff), I'd be a lot more critical (and especially self-critical), asking thrice what of the stuff I read about that subject is and isn't credible.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
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Jan 14, 2013, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Fluent English
All of our posters are based in the US. This ensures that English is their first language. All of the posts made by our team are fluent in English, free from any mistakes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Journalism. Poor recent Communications grads.
     
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Jan 15, 2013, 01:35 AM
 
Da, that sounds like good opportunity for to make money, no?
     
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Jan 16, 2013, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
We got this offer in the Admin email box on March 29, 2012. I've fiddled with the formatting, otherwise it's exactly as we received it.
Damn, i wish this would ´ve been offered to the Appletalkees when the forum went south...


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Clinically Insane
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Jan 16, 2013, 01:12 PM
 
Euphras!

Ewig nicht gesehen!

Where have you been?
     
Mac Elite
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Jan 17, 2013, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Euphras!

Ewig nicht gesehen!

Where have you been?
Ja, 2001 ist lange her....

I more or less left MacNN when the AppleTalkee thing started back in 2006 or so but after the "plug was pulled" the hard way in 2010, i guess i´m a little bit tired of forums (fora?!) in general. But chiming in at the NN from time to time gives me some warm memories of the time back in 2001 when i got my first Powerbook and this whole place was so populated that every few minutes there were new entries.

But the forum layout has gone the crap route since i last visited the NN. Mobile phone thingy i guess...


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Clinically Insane
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Jan 17, 2013, 07:44 PM
 
Was that madra's forum? I remember visiting there occasionally.

The forum layout is a matter of some discussion. A regrouping was postponed until after we returned from the Huddler platform, where this forum spent the last few months. Be happy that you missed that.
     
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Jan 18, 2013, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Was that madra's forum? I remember visiting there occasionally.
Yes, it was. And it ended with a single message pinned on an "electronic board" noting the termination of the whole forum on a sunday morning. Postings of four years gone - no accessible archive, nothing.

The forum layout is a matter of some discussion. A regrouping was postponed until after we returned from the Huddler platform, where this forum spent the last few months. Be happy that you missed that.
Sounds good to read i missed the really hard times. But i think it´s enough now. I don´t want to highjack your thread by this occasion.


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Feb 17, 2013, 11:04 AM
 
While I have no doubt that there are people who are paid to spread concepts across the Internet, it should be noted that the content of that article originated on Above Top Secret, where conspiracy theories are the name of the game.
     
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Feb 18, 2013, 08:01 PM
 
Forum shills were a part of last nights episode of The Good Wife on CBS.
     
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Feb 18, 2013, 08:22 PM
 
I'm surprised you can get paid for such a thing. Professional Poster makes cents now.
ebuddy
     
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Feb 18, 2013, 10:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I'm surprised you can get paid for such a thing. Professional Poster makes cents now.
I'm not surprised at all. It falls under "if you say something enough, it becomes true", and there are A LOT of people who want to make their agendas true.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 04:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I'm surprised you can get paid for such a thing. Professional Poster makes cents now.
Wish somebody told me!
I'm honestly surprised that there is such a thing, I thought this kind of manipulation is just something people wearing tin foil hats believe in. For one part, I didn't think online fora were important enough to warrant this kind of astroturfing efforts.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 04:41 AM
 
Because we went to Huddler we fell off the radar....
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Feb 19, 2013, 11:00 AM
 
This thread is useless without speculation on which posters were shills.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This thread is useless without speculation on which posters were shills.
I subtly tried to encourage that earlier.

Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Does anyone come to mind? No one does for me.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 01:08 PM
 
I've suspected stupendousman of shenannigans. The only reason I think he's not is he seems smart enough to have a real job.

There's definitely a consistent "work backwards from the conclusion" going on with him.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 01:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I've suspected stupendousman of shenannigans. The only reason I think he's not is he seems smart enough to have a real job.

There's definitely a consistent "work backwards from the conclusion" going on with him.
Didn't occur to me, though I did notice back in '08 that after like 5 years of rare posting, he suddenly came on full-force for the Presidential campaign. I just assumed he was strongly anti-Obama. (He then faded away not too long afterwards).

Abe seems like the obvious conclusion here, down to the revelation that multiple people used the account.
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 01:18 PM
 
That almost seems like evidence of the opposite. Wouldn't they want to make separate accounts?
     
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Feb 19, 2013, 01:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
That almost seems like evidence of the opposite. Wouldn't they want to make separate accounts?
Three accounts requires 3x the time and effort to grow confidence and respect to exploit on the forum.
     
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Feb 22, 2013, 12:51 AM
 
As some folks have found out, keeping up fake accounts, spread out over several people, is quite a commitment (using mobile networks and CGI proxy to mask their IDs). Then after a while they get bored with the trolling and abandon it, or they get so involved with the troll that they almost never post on their legit account, making it even more obvious who they are.
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Feb 22, 2013, 10:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
That almost seems like evidence of the opposite. Wouldn't they want to make separate accounts?
I had always suspected that the multiple users were a team working to build up a single, strong, persona rather than multiple weaker personas.

I've always considered Abe and stupendousman to possibly be paid to post.
     
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Feb 22, 2013, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
As some folks have found out, keeping up fake accounts, spread out over several people, is quite a commitment (using mobile networks and CGI proxy to mask their IDs). Then after a while they get bored with the trolling and abandon it, or they get so involved with the troll that they almost never post on their legit account, making it even more obvious who they are.
Are you vaguely alluding to someone? Behind the scenes drama I'm unaware of?
     
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Feb 22, 2013, 10:25 AM
 
Shaddim's been vaguely accusing a poster named raleur of being someone else for a while now....apparently they hacked his email account too....haven't seen any actual shred of proof though, beyond the fact that neither of these supposed personas seem to like him
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Feb 22, 2013, 10:32 AM
 
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Raleur did disappear shortly afterwards, I guess.

Still don't understand who it's supposed to be. I can't think of any active members with an ax to grind.
     
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Feb 22, 2013, 05:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Raleur did disappear shortly afterwards, I guess.

Still don't understand who it's supposed to be. I can't think of any active members with an ax to grind.
Of course he disappeared, takes a lot to keep an account like that going.

One clue to who it was is to watch the folks who make the most noise about it. It's similar to playing poker with amateurs.
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Clinically Insane
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Feb 22, 2013, 05:56 PM
 
Isn't that you?
     
Clinically Insane
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Feb 22, 2013, 06:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Isn't that you?
Aside from the person being crucified. Geez.

(I sort of miss it, actually, it was often entertaining.)
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Feb 23, 2013, 01:08 PM
 
While the story in the article sounded fabricated the concept could very well be valid in the tech forum world. I wouldn't put it past companies like Samsung to populate Apple centric forums with shills. You simply don't see this kind of behavior on Google or Android centric sites. Most Apple sites seem inundated with anti-Apple trolls. I used to think these were simply obsessed tech nerds with an axe to grind but I'm not so sure now. It all sounds too coordinated, too orchestrated, too controlled to me. The trolls seem to have the same talking points and seem to pound away at specific issues time after time. And they always make the claim that the entire tech media universe are on the take from Apple.
     
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Feb 23, 2013, 01:53 PM
 
I posted a thread about this stuff a few years back. Astroturfing is very real. The Internet is so tainted with crap like this I'm beginning to just stick to a core set of brands and ignore everything else. A couple of good articles:

Corporate-Funded Online 'Astroturfing' Is More Advanced and More Automated Than You Might Think | Alternet

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2011/0...gative-review/
     
 
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