First, the code:
tyrannocankles on November 15, 2015 at 6:42 am
Signing off with a troll report. Activity up on all boards. RS getting hit hard. Jeb and Clinton money is clearly hitting the first cubes in the boiler rooms. GP is getting hit with cyber – have not seen that in a while, but they’re always vulnerable, it seems. Alex Jones is still resisting the Disqus downvote cannon – and significant redution in tinfoil distraction types. Troll types overall include all the old MM species, but a LOT of deep penetration influencers. Beware of “flippers” trying to kill main points on follow-up – not sure who they’re working for, but they seem fresh.
Carry on Treepers. Third shift over, signing off! TRUMP 2016, Vulgarians Always! 🙂
Liked by 8 people
This resulted in a likely “message received” by intended parties. However, not all…
shelleybear66 on November 15, 2015 at 7:11 am
Good morning tyrannocankles! Thanks for posting this. Please forgive my ignorance, but can you explain what a few things mean? I honestly don’t understand what first cubes are, or what getting hit with cyber means, or old MM species, etc.
Thank you if you can explain! I just want to “be up to speed” on what all of this means so that I can be aware of trickery, manipulation, etc.
We not all “computer wizards” on here! 🙂 Thanks again! Have a Blessed Sunday!
Liked by you and 6 other people
Therefore, we now provide a plaintext.
Trolling for Truth
OK – where do I begin? Perhaps with a confession.
I am a troll.
Don’t laugh. You’re a troll, too, if you’re reading this. The only question is who you’re working for. Because, ultimately, you’re working for somebody.
OK – I’ll admit that I’ve gone from the obscure to the philosophical. Maybe we should try this again. From the top.
What I’m going to do is mix up the technical and the philosophical, because if you don’t consider both, you really won’t understand.
The outline is simple. I’m going to analyze my own post, one sentence at a time. I will not only explain what it means – I’ll give you all the fascinating details, and the poignant memories that come to mind as I do.
Here we go.
Signing off with a troll report.
Before I realized I was a troll, I fancied myself a troll hunter. Fresh into the world of internet political commentary, a.k.a. the comments section – the last bastion of conservative expression allowed in Obamamerica – I came to the internet regarding myself as some kind of pure commenter, free of the plastic smell of astroturf. If you’re not familiar with the term “astroturfing”, it is a play on the idea of “grassroots”. Grass roots are “real people” – people like the one I considered myself to be. A “real” political opinion – not somebody being paid to say things on the internet.
WHAT?, you say. PEOPLE ARE PAID TO POST OPINIONS ON THE INTERNET!!!???
Um – yeah. And it’s called “astroturfing”, because it’s fake grass. I’ve actually known people who did this, and were later in some degree of moral pain about it. There are plenty of interesting confesions by and interviews of people who have done this sort of work – I suggest googling “confessions troll astroturf”.
In any case, people don’t merely do simple kinds of astroturfing – like saying “Jumbotronic Propane Barbeque Grills are the best in the world!”, when they never used one in their life, or even if they did use one, saying so under some kind of ghastly renumeration. No. Astroturfing takes other forms. And perhaps the most hated – the most malignant – is trolling.
Trolling is more subtle, more negative, and more directed – a way to not merely put information on the internet, but to specifically interact with people in ways that are designed to change them, or other people watching. Some people just troll for the heck of it – to get a rise out of other people. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about trolling for politics. And if somebody is paying you to troll, they are paying for you to troll in certain ways, that will influence specific people in specific ways.
I was rather shocked – SHOCKED, I SAY – when I first got onto comment boards. Some of the language – the confrontations – the uncouched opinions and uncontrolled language – scared me. This was far from a “safe space” – at least for special snowflakes like me, who had never posted on anything but nicey-nice boards, where arguing was a no-no.
However, what was even more shocking were the trolls. Looking for a place to land on the internet, I discovered a “nicey-nice” conservative board, where the people basically acted like they do on the more nicey-nice parts of Facebook, but without the choking clouds of liberal bias. Joining such a site in its “beta” stage, the closest thing to trolls were “party people” – admitted workers for political groups who simply wanted to interact with other conservatives. They were not grass roots, but they were happy, pleasant, and honest about their affiliations. Frankly, it was a joy.
But it didn’t last long. As soon as the doors opened and the site went live, we were filled with nasty liberals – or at least people who acted like nasty liberals – and who tried to be disagreeable with everybody. As soon as they were banned, new ones appeared. And thus I was introduced to trolls – even if only in their most easily recognized forms.
As time went by, I began to recognize different types of trolls. Many would use different tactics to disrupt. Others were simply suspicious characters. All of them were either disruptive, deceptive, or otherwise damaging to the site, or to the people therein.
A few of my compatriots, for whom I still hold great fondness and respect, seemed to have special knowledge of the trolls. In asking them questions, I was introduced to their hobby, mission, or special calling. They were troll hunters. They took it upon themselves to investigate the trolls – to become familiar with them – to identify them – to track them down and chase them away, neutralizing them by various means.
AH! Knights of the blogosphere! I quickly became their page, helping them in any way that I could to make the connections and observations that would outwit and chase away the trolls who tarnished our blessed site.
One of our methods of communication was the “troll report”. We would simply post every bit of intelligence that could safely be dumped out in public. Sometimes things might be a bit cryptic, so most people wouldn’t understand. However, if something was too important, scandalous, or otherwise not ready for public consumption, we could always go to private messages.
SO – we finally arrive at the explanation of the first sentence. A troll report – for old times’ sake.
Activity up on all boards.
Trolls were beyond prolific, back in 2013. Obama’s push for gun control may have been one of the most highly coordinated psychological operations in history. On some days, and on some threads, trolls easily outnumbered conservative posters, even with the ban hammer playing whack-a-mole with the trolls.
However, as the Obama administration became more obviously radical, and their various subterfuges during 2008-2012 became more apparent, something happened. People realized that – far from being a saintly liberal administration on a quest for greater good – the Obama REGIME was one of the sneakiest Marxist groups to ever ascend into power anywhere in the world. If they were given an inch, they would take two miles when you weren’t looking.
As more and more scandals broke, the trolls began to dissipate. It was clear that the Obama scandals were taking a huge toll on the will and enthusiasm of their online astroturfers. And not just that. Their money was drying up. THAT is most likely the real story.
After the 2014 election, things got really quiet. Trolls would appear and disappear, but there were almost never any large attacks.
Things have been relatively quiet for a long time. But the Trump phenomenon changed all that. Slowly, trolls are coming back. It’s clear that this is going to be a noisy election. And as I’m seeing trolls now on all major conservative sites, so as I stated – activity up on all boards.
RS getting hit hard.
RS means Right Scoop – although to many it means Red State, and TRS means The Right Scoop. Many of you visit there, and but if you’re posting on CTH now, you’re probably a Trump fan, and feel a bit unwelcome on Right Scoop, which is PRIME Ted Cruz territory. Since I love both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, I have no problem visiting Right Scoop. Sadly, they don’t feel the same euphoria that the Trump people on CTH are feeling, and many Trump people feel unwelcome now. As Trump posters have left, trolls have moved in, preying like vultures on the dispirited Cruz fans of Right Scoop. And thus my statement. They are getting hit hard. On many threads, there are three trolls now, tag-teaming to beat down the locals. Quite sad.
Jeb and Clinton money is clearly hitting the first cubes in the boiler rooms.
I will admit that this is a bit of a dig at astroturfers, although it is entirely true.
Many trolls work out of their homes, laptops, or wherever. They may never even meet their employers in person. Others are highly skilled netizens who are almost hackers, and operate in an aura of mystery. Still others are working out of rented office space, or from the facilities of known “media” companies, like Media Matters. And still others are actually working for the government – presumably from government offices somewhere. The reasons we know this are (1) Snowden, and (2) government receipts for the same software used by astroturfers to manage multiple avatars.
We know that Russian trolls work out of actual “boiler rooms” – the term for pop-up office space used by quick-response operations, such as phone banks and call centers. Russian trolls are not allowed to work outside their provided office space – presumably to keep a lid on things. And, presumably, American operations are similar. Hence the jab about cubicles and boiler rooms. One of the ways to fight trolls, and specifically to demoralize them, is to strip them of their grassroots pretense – to point out that they’re sitting in a cubicle following orders – and more than likely following a script.
There are days when I don’t feel very Christian for making trolls feel bad about their job. But then there are days when I call for fire and brimstone to rain down on their operations, setting the hair of that platinum canary, David Brock, on fire.
David Brock is the head of Media Matters. He’s a guy who was once a hatchet man on the right, who then became a hatchet man on the left – and specifically, a hatchet man for Hillary. I sometimes speculate about his conversion, but in the end it doesn’t matter why it happened. It just did.
It is believed that most of the liberal trolls on conservative sites are his doing. It is known that he begged for, and just got, a huge infusion of cash from Hillary. Thus, do the math. It is also known that Jeb has a warchest he is holding onto, and that he will have Karl “Tokyo” Rove backing him. Again, do the math. We expect a LOT of Hillary and Jeb trolls. And thus the statement above.
GP is getting hit with cyber – have not seen that in a while, but they’re always vulnerable, it seems.
GP is Gateway Pundit – a site very much like CTH, in that it specializes in outing regime media lies. Located in St. Louis, it had a ring-side seat to Ferguson, and did excellent reporting.
Gateway Pundit, however, has always been decidedly low-tech. They are a Disqus site, but it just doesn’t seem as clean as some analogous sites. They have numerous outages, and the timing of the outages is always extremely suspicious – just like the last one, when they were the lead story on Drudge. Drudge had to switch over to InfoWars to pick up the story – an interesting fail-over strategy. The bottom line is that I suspect these are not coincidences, and not purely due to high demand.
Weasel Zippers has been hit by the same sort of thing – they ended up implementing a kind of server tool that makes site requests too expensive for internet attackers, but real users can get in with a short wait. I have not seen it in use in a while, but I suspect we’ll see it in action in 2016.
Alex Jones is still resisting the Disqus downvote cannon – and significant redution (sic) in tinfoil distraction types.
This is the money. I’ve mentioned this before, to the certain chagrin of .gov social engineers, so it bears repeating.
There is a beautiful idea that if you fake something perfectly, the fake is no longer a fake. More interestingly, if you only fake the surface perfectly, and the interior is kept perfectly secret, then the thing still becomes the reality – at least for the world which cannot access the interior.
The trouble is, you can’t fake things perfectly in this universe. The truth always gets out. And the truth is, Disqus is no longer secure against tampering to manipulate things.
You can demonstrate this to yourself by posting on Infowars, and then posting almost anywhere else that uses Disqus. Do enough posts of enough different types that you can compare what happens. You will always get WAY more upvotes on Infowars, for the same sorts of posts. This will be true despite the type of thread, the number of replies, and quite a few other things.
Why is it happening? It’s not because some sites allow lurkers to vote and others don’t – the original comparison was between sites with similar policies. Interestingly, there are times when the latency (slowness) of the internet can reveal how things happen. When the number of upvotes people would get on other boards began to change (because the change was noticeable), I was fortunate enough to observe votes being added, and then removed, in rapid succession. Hence my name for it – the “downvote cannon”. Whether it’s a configuration setting purposely introduced into Disqus to allow “moderation” of votes, or a hack that allows third parties with net savvy to manipulate vote totals, or even some normalizing “feature”, it’s the same thing. We do not see the truth on some sites.
I’m not sure how it’s done yet, or who is doing it. But our opinions ARE being moderated/manipulated on the web. DO NOT trust the technology of upvotes. It can be manipulated, to give you false feedback.
As for the “tinfoil distraction types” – that is a kind of troll that one sees all over InfoWars. They post wild ideas unrelated to the thread, typical of true “tinfoil hat” posters, but there are subtle ways you can tell they are trolls, and not authentic schizophrenics. They are usually paired with psychological accusation trolls, who pick out and pursue n00bs (new posters) who look like they’re starting to believe things. They may even drive people away from credible and true theories (stingray device, data interception, etc.), and allow them to glom onto reputation-discrediting theories (THE JOOZ DID IT!)
I had a field day going after psychological accusation trolls after Snowden dumped his stuff. I despise these guys relentlessly, and I hope that some of them blow whistles on their superiors very hard after Obama is kicked out of the White House by whatever means are necessary.
Troll types overall include all the old MM species, but a LOT of deep penetration influencers.
You’ll have to bear with me on this one. Here is where I’m a bit more forgiving.
Most of the common troll types have been linked by troll-hunters over the years, back to Media Matters. I can’t say for sure that these people were actually working for them, or located at Media Matters, but the consensus of troll-hunters and troll-stalkers on the web, is that they are/were working for Media Matters.
The bottom line is that most of the old types are the same as the ones we’re seeing now. There are a few more “nice” trolls than there used to be, but for the most part, the basic lineup is the same.
The big change is that people are going for long and subtle. In fact, so much so, that the signal of the trolled message is getting lost in the personality of the “troll”. Indeed, many trolls become almost indistinguishable from normal people.
On the old board, some of these subtle trolls were very, very dangerous. For example, one of them was either a neo-Nazi, or somebody pretending to be a neo-Nazi for discrediting purposes. But you would NOT have known that, without really digging in and sniffing around. He would post things that seemed innocent and very easily agreeable to naive posters, but hidden in the messages were direct links to old Nazi meanings and modern neo-Nazi movements. He would try to gently ramp it up, to get “buy-in” on his posts.
Personally, I thought it was either a bad .gov sting operation, or something out of the Obama camp to discredit the site, but it was evil.
But on the other hand, there are many subtle trolls I have detected, who are really just highly skilled political operatives. Sure, they are trying to influence people – but then, SO AM I.
I started posting on politics because I thought things were going to hell in a handbasket under Obama, as they had (morally) under Bill Clinton. I was taking Ben Carson’s advice before he gave it – start paying attention, start getting involved, and stop depending on politicians to run politics.
Ben Carson is right. We, the grass roots, have to get active. Even if being active turns us into astroturfers.
THAT is the point where one should, in my opinion, realize that we’re ALL trolls.
Let me state that another way.
Many posters on CTH have jumped on the Trump bandwagon. They want to be active and support him. So what, technically, is the difference between somebody who wasn’t for Trump, but became a huge booster and internet Trump advocate recently, and somebody who “worked” for Trump before they came to CTH?
Sure, we might quibble about getting a paycheck as a definer, but let me put it this way. I have to work. I can’t afford to stump for my “second-choice” candidate, Ted Cruz, so I send money to his camp. If Ted takes donations from ten working stiffs who love him and gladly donate money, and uses it to pay for ten of his people to be active on the internet, however the expenses work out, is that any different from the ten working stiffs doing it themselves? Not to this working stiff.
What if it’s Jeb? What if he takes money from a PAC that got money from smaller conservative organizations that have a bunch of establishment types who are OK with Jeb? Is representative trolling actually trolling? Or is it representative advocacy?
See where I’m going?
So what’s my story? Hey – I’m shilling for a bunch of dead guys. Washington, Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams, and even that Bill Clinton of the Founders, Alex Hamilton. Nobody trolls for the Founders like me. You might argue that they don’t pay me, but I’d argue back that money is the poor coin of the spirit world, and that Washington did all kinds of influence peddling with his cherry tree stunt – a psy-op across the ages. When these guys died, they bought loyalty that makes Roger Stone’s bond to Trump look like a bungi-cord.
And it’s not just me. Some of my best “friends” on the discussion boards are political operatives, a.k.a. trolls. I remember my first Palin operative. She (I think) was kinda pathetic in her inability to look anything but pathetically scripted, and thus came across as incredibly obvious. But I have to admit, I always had a soft spot for her. Another time, a couple of psy-op trolls (probably .gov) went after a very earnest beginner Palin troll. Frankly, I was about as enraged as I’ve ever been on the internet. It was like pulling some girl’s pigtails. I don’t remember what I said, but I’m still not taking it back.
Troll? Troll-hunter? Troll-defender? I’m not sure there’s any difference any more.
Well, maybe there is a little.
Beware of “flippers” trying to kill main points on follow-up – not sure who they’re working for, but they seem fresh.
Some trolls are just plain mysterious. I’ve had some trolls act like they’re trying to bail me out of things – like they’re trying to keep me from going off into the weeds. The idea of having “minders” on the net is a bit disturbing, but as I’ve said, this universe has strange properties. Sometimes you just have to accept good but creepy things, until the creepy stops being creepy.
As for the recent type – “flippers” – they’re an interesting phenomenon, and fairly new. They will seemingly misunderstand your post, and thereby try to deflect the meaning, often completely askew, and sometimes reverse it 180 degrees. If accompanied by profuse stroking and compliments, it can seem rather ugly to contradict them, but contradict them we must.
And that’s the bottom line. We may troll, but as long as we troll for truth, I think we’re gonna be OK.
Carry on Treepers. Third shift over, signing off! TRUMP 2016, Vulgarians Always! 🙂
So there you have it. One post, over-explained. I hope you enjoyed this journey into understanding your fellow trolls.
Just remember this – we may all be fighting, but we’re all fighting for the same thing – making the world a better place. We just have vastly different ideas of how to do it. Take a small bit of solace in that.:-)