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Psychoanalysis of Hoaxers and their behavior

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posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 04:19 AM
The amounts of hoaxes finally receded a bit. In most cases ATSers was on the ball and quick to recognize hoaxes. But there are always a couple of naïve friends willing to bite a hoax hook, line and sinker. So it may be time we educate ourselves on what a hoaxer is and how to recognize one. This is not me trying to "educate" others. I may not be able to recognize the traits others recognize, thus we're "educating" each other.

Let me just say – and this is important - that a person may show traits of a hoaxer, but that does not give us the right to call a fellow member a hoaxer without enough proof of a hoax. If we see the makings of a hoax we should be alarmed – but not immediately shoot it down as a hoax. We may be shooting down something that is the so-called smoking gun. In other words we should learn the art of differentiate between a boy that cries wolf and the actual howl of a wolf.

These are my prerequisites to be alarmed:

1. The poster is a brand new member and his first post is one of controversy, i.e. “real proof”, “the smoking gun”, etc. The thread immediately gains “popularity”.

2. In most cases such a member does not make an effort with his personal profile. He has no Avatar, no signature and little to no “personal” information filled out (like location, birthday, etc.)

3. It’s not always a new member that is a hoaxer. Older members can also turn into hoaxers. A quick look at a member’s post history will reveal that he is getting bored or seeking attention. He/ didn’t make any groundbreaking contributions in his past and were often involved in name-calling and aggression.

4. Posting:
A. The hoaxer will post an exciting and or elaborate story about government agents, aliens, Bigfoot or whatever. (Strange enough most of these hoaxes include government conspiracies, i.e. MIB’s?) He will not post any real proof to back his story, but promises to post pictures (or other evidence) the following day. He will then come up with lame excuses for not posting anything. This can go on for several days. He then elaborates on his first story and will add or adjust “facts”.

B. The hoaxer will post several pictures that go along with an exciting/interesting story. The pictures are usually of things that fits into his story, but carries no weight as proof, such as “the door to the secret laboratory”, “a wrench I stole from Area 51”, “the road where aliens abducted me”, and so on. The poster will then continue with his thread and claims until everyone loses interest. These are the most difficult to spot as hoaxes and are often not exposed as hoaxes.

C. The hoaxer will post a video, picture, sound-clip, etc. showing an amazing object. Bigfoot, a spacecraft, a government facility, etc. It’s usually a “better quality” piece of evidence. It will be accompanied by an intricate explanation of the picture/video/etc. The hoaxer posts only this one post, and never returns to answer questions or defend himself against accusations of hoaxing. In most cases the “proof” is exposed as a hoax, but in some cases it will end in no more than speculation. To expose “proof” as a hoax is a whole topic in its own right, but basic rules apply. A single – but crystal clear - picture of a UFO does not cut it. If you have access to a UFO you will take more than one picture. If there are “graphical” queries/questions, i.e. signs that a picture or video may have been edited, then it probably was. A fuzzy picture does not prove anything. A hoaxer doesn’t understand the focal function of his camera.

I’ll stop myself here. (Promised myself I’ll keep it short.) Please add how you would define the hoaxers’ characteristics. We are battling for the truth here, and only the absolute truth will do.

Beyond reasonable doubt.

Edit: Formatting

[edit on 14-6-2006 by Gemwolf]

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 08:54 AM
hey , another great post Gem

far better written that the various attempts i have made to adress similar issues in recent days .

to add a couple of my own observations :

many of the recent crop of hoaxers have been " marred " by mind blowing errors of fact , such simple errors that beg the question is the hoaxer truely stupid , so sloppy that they cannot posibly care , or actually WANT to be exposed ?

the " errors and lies " i mean are simple verifiable facts , often secondary to the fantastic claim .. if they canot even get the secondary details and back story right -- what hope is there that thier unbelievable claims can be true ?? even basic things like a claim made in a thread i debunked , to paraphrase he claimed " his farm was one hour from harrisburg , penn -- BUT 50miles from ANYWHERE else "

the OP in that thread has not been seen since
i wonder why ?

while these threads are very educational and promote denial of ignorance , i cannot get the paranoid little voice out of my head that screams " stop this -- we are just writing a FAQ / manual to creating better hoaxes "

of course i am going to carry on -- because my " kinder gentler " educational aproach , with no poo flinging -- has been far better for may sanity and blood pressure -- and even gainded me more applause and WATS votes that i ever got before


posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 09:04 AM
nice post, but surely most on here would know this stuff from experience. we know there is alot of bull # on these boards, does not mean we cannot be open to someone telling the truth. sometimes people telling the truth on these boards may not be able to articulate what exactly they are saying, and it may come over wrong.

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 09:04 AM
I think there should be a line drawn between hoaxers and those that are delusional, for example there are few who claim they are time travelers from the future, or are aliens. Some would find it very convenient to label these claims as a hoax when it could actually be delusion or possibily something else if you're willing to go there.

and as far as amateur hoaxers, that pretty much sums it up...

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 01:06 PM
Surely this post does more harm than good?

So next time someone joins, claims something, begins to give evidence we should say: "No, you're a hoax" and ignore what they say because we can fit them into this stereotype?

I honestly thought ATS had moved passed the ignorance of stereotyping and this is nothing more than that.

It is about time we bother to evaluate things on what is said, not who says them, not when they join us or any other pointless peace of information. Next time there is a real issue, let's hope that it comes from someone who has been here a long time.

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 03:29 PM
laiguana :

i see your point , but i have little time for the delusional , who choose to wash thier dirty minds in public -- while we should not flig poo , or mock them , neither should we feed thier delusion

feeding delusion , and giving it an audience is one of the worst ways of dealing with it -- the delusional crave attention and vindication of thier beliefs .

Odium :

IMHO -- your relpy borders on misrepresentation , GW is not saying that we should brand people hoaxers , soley based on traits they exhibit

rather he points out secondary traits which he claims [ and i agree with ] usually accompany posts which are riddled with errors of fact , falsified or edited " evidence " vagueness and evasion etc etc etc

these are all characteristics of hoaxing

at the risk of blowing my own trumpet -- i have already posted a partial tutorial on how to investigate / report a " secret base "

there is also a partial turorial on the UFO forum on how to report a sighting written by gazrok the moderator

maybe we should have a FAQ / tutorial @ the top of every forum -- but would that be patronising ??

but the sad truth is that so mant members post stories up -- in such a vague and shoddy manner -- then fail to answer questions -- that its sometimes like pulling teeth

at the risk you accuse me of stereotyping too -- the hoaxers simply shoot them selves in the foot every time

BUT those who are not hoaxers -- but still file vague and shoddy reports , are thier own worst enemy -- concise , accurate and fact filled reporting is not hard

so it begs the question -- why should we care and spend our time , if the origional poster / claimant isnt prepared to work on his own story

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 04:26 PM
I haven't been here all that long, but I've been here just long enough to notice the abrupt upswing in hoax threads of late. Most of them are poor Photoshop jobs or self-contradictory diatribes. It's disturbing to me, because I come here daily and read people's posts and opinions - whether I agree or disagree - the way I might read a newspaper or Time Magazine. I find it interesting, refreshing, and quite often enlightening. So coming here and finding "The most important UFO photograph you'll ever see!" and the like is disheartening. It makes the site seem like what the powers that be probably want it to: an interactive group of flying saucer kooks. I feel the substantive outweighs the ridiculous, but to the uninitiated or the mainstream, it makes the site look less worthy of their time and consideration than I know for a fact it is.

All of this said, I feel we should exercise flexible judgment and reason in determining who is pulling our leg and who isn't. If we try to define who the hoaxers are with a litmus test or with specific criteria, we run the risk of generalizing, and may blind ourselves to some future thread that while truly fantastic and seemingly unbelievable, could be true. Besides, a static list of criteria can never accomplish what dynamic, thinking minds can - especially in collaboration with one another. This isn't to say that such a list is useless. It serves as reference for what may be more likely to be hoaxes. It’s a valuable tool. I just think we should be wary of fully adopting or relying upon any such list.

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 08:31 PM
What I hate about hoaxers is that...I know there some really good ones out there. I'm somewhat good with photoshop and I could pull off a pretty damn good hoax, but why the hell would I? That kind of garbage is what is polluting the ufo's difficult to find actual evidence when all you are seeing is a bunch of hoaxed trash.

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 08:34 PM
Hoaxers have the same psychology as arsonists - light a fire/ create a hoax then stand back and watch........

posted on Jun, 14 2006 @ 09:08 PM
A hoax isn’t always a bad thing. Often it can be used to educate some of our younger or less experienced members as to what they should be looking for. When the members of this board even begin to suspect a hoax they seem to go into a feeding frenzy for the truth behind it. They won’t let up until they get to the bottom of it as well.

What I can’t stand are the poorly put together hoaxes. Awhile back the guy came on claiming he was on the run from the government and was in Germany at a library and it might be the only chance he has to get out the truth. A quick IP check by the staff showed him to be outside Boston. Hoaxes like that are annoying.

Other hoaxes, such as the UFO/Seagull pic are quite entertaining. The members worked on that one for days, picking the picture apart and bickering back and forth. It was actually quite fun, (though sometimes heated) and it was also educational to all involved. Some still believe it’s a UFO, I have no doubt it’s a seagull. Find the thread and decide for yourself.

As for why people try to hoax the general public, there are probably as many reasons as there are people. Some for money, some for glory, some are just a bit touched in the head. Regardless of the reason, we usually grow from the experience.

Just my thoughts on it.


posted on Jun, 15 2006 @ 01:52 AM
I know most of the members here are well aware of how hoaxers work, and how to recognize a hoax. Most members are brilliant and pick up on a hoax in no time. But if you take a quick look at a couple of hoax threads you'll see that in most cases there is a handful of people that do believe a hoax without actually thinking about it. It may be because they're new to "this business" or that they were not sober at that time. Maybe this thread would've given them some idea what to look for. Maybe this thread is completely useless to anyone but myself.

Yes I-Ape, I too pondered whether I should "reveal" the mistakes hoaxers make... It's like saying "Hey guys, here's what you've been doing wrong. Please do a better job." But in the end hoaxers won't read this thread. This thread will be long gone and forgotten by the time the next hoax pops-up.
And you are quite right. Facts (small details) are a sure sign of truth - or not.

Originally posted by Odium
Surely this post does more harm than good?

We'll never know that for sure, will we?

Originally posted by Odium
So next time someone joins, claims something, begins to give evidence we should say: "No, you're a hoax" and ignore what they say because we can fit them into this stereotype?

I honestly thought ATS had moved passed the ignorance of stereotyping and this is nothing more than that.

I tried my very best to point out that this is not a witch-hunt. Really! I even used the words "and this is important" to underline that we should not immediately label a person as a hoaxer because he shows (some of) these traits. I was going to suggest that you didn't read my post properly, but then noticed that you have been a member here 4 months longer than I have, and that you have more than 3,000 posts more than me, so you must definitely know all about reading. Now that must surely mean that I am at fault here. I didn't make myself clear enough. Maybe I could have written that paragraph in bold. Whichever the case. I take full responsibility for my mistake and not for making my intentions clear. Please forgive me.

Originally posted by Odium
It is about time we bother to evaluate things on what is said, not who says them, not when they join us or any other pointless peace of information. Next time there is a real issue, let's hope that it comes from someone who has been here a long time.

So is it a real issue or not? What you're saying is that you would have taken this thread in a different light if say Skeptic, Simon or Springer posted it? Or one of the Mods? What if it was posted by someone who has been here for 4 years? Would you have taken it more serious? Please define long. So that I wait that "long" before I post anything again. I didn't realize that a person can only post about "a real issue" if you've been here for x amount of time. You said something about stereotyping and evaluating on what is said and not who says them? Was that double standards?

Pointless piece of information. Yes it may be to most people here. But if you'll allow me to explain myself:
I'm here at ATS to learn. Not to share any special information or secrets I may or may not have. Not to conspire against any government. To learn. I learn from my own experiences as well as from my fellow members. And I think about everything I read here. I could ponder a theory for days or even weeks. (There are some brilliant minds here!) I love writing - as you can surely see - and I think best when I write. So, the other day I was thinking about hoaxers and what defines a hoaxer for me, and I wrote it down. So I decided to share my thoughts - what's the point of writing something that no one will ever read? (Would you like me to list all the threads I started that didn't even get a single reply?) And the result is this thread. The sole purpose of this thread was to out my ideas. It was not to teach my fellow members how to stereotype. It was to teach and remind myself how to recognize something that could possibly be a hoax. But why post it then?
a. Maybe I had the opportunity to teach one person out of thousands something? Then this was worth it.
b. I get to learn from the responses. Like the response from Ignorant Ape. That reminded me that when I look at a case I rarely look at the really small detail, like how far apart two places may be. I tend to look at the big picture and the main issues. Thus I did learn something.

I also learned something from your reply. Respect? Yes I was reminded that I cannot respect someone that doesn't respect me. How can I take your posts seriously if you can't take mine seriously? Luckily I can honestly say that I take each and every post for its own value, and not for who posted it.

So will this thread get hundreds of replies? No. It will be long forgotten by next week. So what did I get out of it? One applause. (Thank you D.T.O.M.) And silent friendship and support. Now I don't know Ignorant Ape on a personal level. We've never spoken via U2U (as far as I can remember). But I'm familiar with his posts, and I love them. Ape and I think on the same level in many ways (Great minds or what, Ape?
). I cannot tell you what it means to me to see someone else stand up for my convictions in my absence. Now there's something that makes the criticism worth it!

Am I being a drama queen? For sure! I'm probably the biggest drama queen on this board. Why? Because I stand by my convictions. I don't post 50 posts a day, but when I do post and someone criticize it, then I must face my critics. I do my very best to post only quality posts. If my quality is not good enough for you, then maybe I should pick it up another level, or what am I saying Odium?


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