"Shill Hysteria" Is Destroying the Conspiracy Theorist World

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posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:04 AM
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Forgive me if this topic has been covered elsewhere on ATS. To me, it's almost inconceivable that it hasn't. It's an important topic that needs to be pondered carefully, and there are no easy answers.

I have been a member of the quote-unquote "conspiracy theory world" for almost 25 years now, since back in the days when the Internet was still out of reach for most people, and all we had were kooky paperbacks, badly-photocopied 'zines, "alternative bookstores," and edgy coffee shops. I've watched the Internet grow and with it, the conspiracy theory world has blossomed and increasingly become the conspiracy FACT world. It's been a great thing to behold, and I'm pleased and proud to have done my modest share as one of the many toilers in the vineyard who has worked to deny ignorance.



Paranoia has always been part of the conspiracy world. That's a given. We are all a little paranoid, otherwise we wouldn't be here. And it increasingly appears we have every right and reason to be paranoid: We have witnessed the terrifying growth of the total surveillance society, the tracking of our every move online and off, by companies and countries alike, and (most recently), the irrefutable proof that shills infiltrate forums and other social media platforms with the intent of manipulating opinion. It's getting scary, folks.



But in side-by-side with these worrisome trends has grown another -- a kind of witch-hunt hysteria where it seems everyone and everything is decried as "shilling," "disinfo," or the like. Yes, this stuff exists. And yes, we have to be on our guard against it. But at the same time we don't want to be so excessively skeptical that our doubt leads us into another kind of ignorance -- what happened with the hysteria of Salem, the French Reign of Terror, the Red Terror of the Bolsheviks, the East German Stasi, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.



In all of the aforementioned historical events, the paranoia got so bad that the "bad guys" could just stand back and let the mobs generated by mass paranoia do their dirty work for them. After a while, Mao didn't have to give his "Red Guard" explicit orders: the mass paranoia had developed its own unstoppable momentum. Neighbors were accusing innocent neighbors of all sorts of ridiculous crimes because they were afraid their neighbors would accuse them unless they acted first. It's the "circular firing squad" mentality, and nobody wins these kinds of battles.

Never have I seen the paranoia so high in the conspiracy community. And this itself is a dangerous thing, because if carried to a more extreme level, TBTB don't have to police us...we'll be policing ourselves out of existence just fine with all the accusations.

And in addition, I've been seeing the "shill" word tossed around as a lazy substitute for critical thinking skills. Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn't make them a shill. But I see the "s-word" being tossed around as a way to shut down debate. Don't like what somebody says? They must be a shill. Don't like their avatar? They must be a shill. Disagree with their take on politics or religion? They are shills. Don't like the color of their shirt? Must be a shill. See how that works?

We have to be skeptical, but we also have to stay sane. It's not an easy tightrope to walk, but we have no choice but to walk it. So let's all take a deep breath and calm down. Because the ultimate victory for the bad guys isn't them oppressing us: It's them getting us to let our fear lead us into policing ourselves for them.



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posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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There is something I have always wanted to say about "shills" and online forums.

After WW2 it was decided to take a look at all the people's records who had been
spies for the Germans. To see if there was any commonality. You know. To help
detect spies in the future. Well they found something.

Every one that was actually a spy was always the best at their Job as well. They
got along, were respected, and frequently got promoted. Instead of grousing and
mumbling about their job, they were gung ho and wanted the team to do well.

Employee of the Month kind of people.


Mike Grouchy



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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mikegrouchy
Every one that was actually a spy was always the best at their Job as well. They
got along, were respected, and frequently got promoted.

I starred your post for a reason ... just teasing (but, I really did put a star on it).


I should add: I don't concern myself with name calling. When I see people calling others on this site shills, my brain translates that into, "Shut up. I'm not as smart as you. I don't really want to take the time to back up my opinion with facts. Waaahhh!!!"
edit on 1632014 by Snarl because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:40 AM
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When I think somebody might be a shill I don't freak out in fear. The revelations from the Snowden doc. were quite telling and was a confirmation as to that fact.I found myself having to rethink some aspects as to responses I might give . This has actually helped me because I had to learn more about the logical fallacies that can be used .Sometimes the shill doesn't have to get you to agree with him .He may just be trying to create a division and want you to take either side of the same coin .When in fact there may be something to better invest out mind with . Right now it's the Putin good Putin bad divide .The Ukrainian Girls interview with Syrian Girl brings out a different story that really shows the divide that is being created by propaganda and is keeping the Ukrainian people on the side lines .

For me the process into the conspiracy world has gone through different stages from a measurable fear to one being able to think a little better then before .Having the shill present actually helps my learning process ....peace



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:42 AM
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I think it's inevitable. The real shills undoubtedly exist and they're not just going to come out and identify themselves. Everyone knows they're there. No one knows who they are. The best anyone can do is guess. The instinct when you suspect someone is to say something.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:46 AM
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reply to post by BrianFlanders
 


Or look for a reasonable counter to what they are shilling ...Sometimes that can be a very enlightening experience and may just change your mind about a opinion you once didn't agree with .



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 07:53 AM
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Can't recall where I heard this,or if Iam quoting it correctly,but you should get the gist of it... " Put ten people in a room and ask them to choose a leader and they will all disagree,but ask them to pick someone to hate and they will all pick someone and agree." Seems we are hardwired,especially in group settings,to pick someone to point the finger of hatred at and place a label on them. "Shill" is just the flavor of the month. Our human nature has not changed online or offline,we just invented new words to justify it.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:05 AM
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people can reach a point where they do not trust anyone or anything, they lose touch with reality where even logic, and a modicum of reasoning, can prove that they are being fooled by their own paranoia. this can result in dangerous actions to themselves and others, however innocent those "others" may be. this is why if you start to notice yourself becoming this way, take a "time out' and step away for while. I have had to do this with ATS....you will find that there are a lot of honest people out there, even in government that are doing the right thing.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:13 AM
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I think it is interesting that in some people's 'conspiracy world' shills are an essential component, whether they "undoubtedly" exist or not.

If a person refuses to accept and/or repeatedly challenges a given 'theory' then they get labeled a shill, at least that's the way it works here on ATS. It's as if some people cannot accept the fact that others will question what they vehemently hold to be true, therefore they must be working in the services of dark powers. Funny really.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:16 AM
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This very thing is the reason an online community such as ATS is essential. We have a network of people whose opinions we trust and value and aren't forced in to accepting the opinions of complete strangers. Without those personal bonds we would be at the mercy of any organized group who cared to sway public opinion.

Disinformation via the internet is very effective though limited in scale.
It is truly one of the saddest statements about our governments that they would need to stoop to such tactics.
Since they made propaganda legal it is bound to be widespread and essential to them maintaining their status and positions of power.
Sad times we live in.
Uncle Sam, the world's largest used car dealer.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:24 AM
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BrianFlanders
I think it's inevitable. The real shills undoubtedly exist and they're not just going to come out and identify themselves. Everyone knows they're there. No one knows who they are. The best anyone can do is guess. The instinct when you suspect someone is to say something.


Isn't that the catch22 of the situation?
If you see a shill, say something. Except you can't.
It doesn't matter if you're right or not, the chance that it isn't someone paid to argue and simply someone with a different opinion keeps us silent.
Our own sense of fair play and commitment to free speech is part of our own undoing.
It's a problem with freedom in general that groups with agendas take advantage of in more than just this one way.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:32 AM
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reply to post by Never Despise
 


An aside question about the OP, what coin is that with the letters SHILL on it? I'm trying to figure it out and am drawing a blank *although the answer is probably obvious*. Thanks.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:42 AM
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Aleister
reply to post by Never Despise
 

An aside question about the OP, what coin is that with the letters SHILL on it? I'm trying to figure it out and am drawing a blank *although the answer is probably obvious*. Thanks.

Best bet ... a shilling.

I got away with accusing a guy of shilling peanuts ... once. Masqua smacked me down a couple of posts later when I flat out called the guy a shill. Masqua doesn't play ... but that guy ultimately succumbed to that self-same wrath.


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posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:47 AM
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reply to post by Never Despise
 


What many would consider "shills" are, in fact, just people that have been indoctrinated by the school system, media, social networks.

They don't consider themselves "shills".

They think of themselves as true believers who support a person or ideology.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:50 AM
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reply to post by Snarl
 


I feel like an idiot, a shilling. Duh. Thanks for dunking my head of ignorance in the water of knowledge.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:52 AM
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beezzer
reply to post by Never Despise
 


What many would consider "shills" are, in fact, just people that have been indoctrinated by the school system, media, social networks.

They don't consider themselves "shills".

They think of themselves as true believers who support a person or ideology.


c'mon, beezer...geez, you are the one that sounds paranoid with that statement....so, everyone that doesn't believe the way you do, is either stupid, delusional, or indoctrinated?


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posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:57 AM
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reply to post by jimmyx
 


Not at all.

I support an ideology that is often at odds with what you espouse.

Am I the "shill" or are you?

Shill, is in the eye of the beholder, often.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 09:09 AM
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Accusing another member of being a shill is actually specifically forbidden in T&C. If you see that happening just report the post. That's the best thing you can do.



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 09:16 AM
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reply to post by Never Despise
 


Sorry, but I think it may be just the opposite of what you're proposing.

IMO, it's the open armed adoption of "Shills" into the conspiracy theory community that is destroying the mindset you speak of. You can't just open up your front door to every nut case out there, just because you like the sound of their conspiracy, without completely destroying what little credibility you may have had in the beginning.

Another prime example of this phenomena is our modern day Tea Party who seem to think that can retain any credibility whatsoever while simultaneously embracing every nut job politician in the country.

When you open your doors and embrace those who are undeniably bat-sh#t crazy, what you end up with is a scenario like the one played out in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" where believability and credibility become virtues that you can only dream about.

edit on 16-3-2014 by Flatfish because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 09:17 AM
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I wish we had a nice big fat shill emoticon. There problem half solved, the other half is getting them to stop swarming around and blocking good threads.





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