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Are Right Wing Libertarian Trolls Getting Paid to Dumb Down Online Conversations?

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posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:25 PM

They are the online equivalent of enclosure riots: the rick-burning, fence-toppling protests by English peasants losing their rights to the land. When MasterCard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon tried to shut WikiLeaks out of the cyber-commons, an army of hackers responded by trying to smash their way into these great estates and pull down their fences.

In the Wikileaks punch-up the commoners appear to have the upper hand. But it’s just one battle. There’s a wider cyberwar being fought, of which you hear much less. And in most cases the landlords, with the help of a mercenary army, are winning.

I’m not talking here about threats to net neutrality and the danger of a two-tier internet developing, though these are real. I’m talking about the daily attempts to control and influence content in the interests of the state and corporations: attempts in which money talks.

The weapon used by both state and corporate players is a technique known as astroturfing. An astroturf campaign is one that mimics spontaneous grassroots mobilizations, but which has in reality been organized. Anyone writing a comment piece in Mandarin critical of the Chinese government, for example, is likely to be bombarded with abuse by people purporting to be ordinary citizens, upset by the slurs against their country.

But many of them aren’t upset: they are members of the 50 Cent Party, so-called because one Chinese government agency pays 5 mao (half a yuan) for every post its tame commenters write. Teams of these sock-puppets are hired by party leaders to drown out critical voices and derail intelligent debates.

Of course, those on the right on ATS are always accusing those who are on the left of being paid internet trolls and vice versa. In my experience, though, the accusations come much more often from the right than from the left. As a person with an admittedly left-of-center point of view, I have often been accused of being a troll.

I do not believe I exhibit any troll-like traits, though. A troll doesn't try to enlighten others or persuade them. Their primary tactic is to shut down intelligent conversation by using insults, accusations, and derogatory personal comments rather than engaging in real debate on the issues. They pretty much have one line of attack which they repeat over and over in many different threads and different forums on the internet. It's like silencing someone by shouting over them so they can't be heard.

I, admittedly, have a world-view that can be placed on the left side of a political scale. Like most people, I believe my opinions and world-view are based on my experiences, which may differ from others' but are still grounded in reality. I also believe my personal ideology is a result of my education, both the formal kind and the kind that comes from the school of hard knocks. I try to keep up with the news, read widely and have conversations with as many intelligent people as I can.

While I do not deny having a personal ideology (as we all do, whether we acknowledge it or not) and do not deny trying to persuade others with what I consider to be "sweet reason" or engaging in civil argument and debate with some passion, I do not consider myself a troll for the following reasons: I never consciously try to leave any side or position out of the conversation in my threads, nor do I insult or demean people or try to make them shut up. I try to welcome ideas if they are presented in a civil manner, even when I don't agree with them.

What I have been noticing on ATS is that many threads, especially those on social or political subjects, quickly become labeled "liberal" or "conservative." Once that happens the thread attracts only those who already agree with the OP's political stance. For example, I have given up trying to post in "Obama is not an American" threads because it's frustrating to me and I know it' pretty much a waste of my time and energy to try to persuade anyone else that he is. These threads are going to be posted ad infinitum, or at least if and until he's defeated in 2012 . I feel no one is going to hear what I have to say or want to.

Libertarians and conservatives may feel much the same way when they try to post in left-leaning threads.

This is a shame because it shuts down real conversation or debate on the issues. ATS has become so much polarized politically that nobody is really hearing anybody with a different point of view. As a group our purpose is supposed to be to "deny ignorance" to the best of our ability.

This can only happen if people with all points of view are included in the discussion and when we politely but firmly exclude those whose only purpose is to stir up hate and shut down the conversation with nothing but noise.

edit on 31-12-2010 by Sestias because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:33 PM
The New World Order already happened people.

Might as well get paid and join them. You 'freedom fighters' can't win against this opponent.

Is that the kind of content you're referring to?

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:35 PM
Oh yeah? Well if you weren't so tunnel visioned with your Obama love you might see that...

...oh wait, wrong thread!

I agree wholeheartedly. Even folks who are awake enough to frequent ATS still get suckered into the whole right/left thing, and it really is a horrible obstacle to furthering ALL of our understanding on issues. I believe that most likely both the left and right political machines are trying to disrupt intelligent debate. Politics in this country are at a horrible low. I don't think either of the teams care about people, just about what information gets fed to them. It's evil and stupid and we let them do it.

So as for trolls here, we all do need to work on our self control. Letting foolish posts go by unanswered doesn't validate them, if anything it marginalizes them!

+3 more 
posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:37 PM
I don't think Libertarians are Right Wing. Right wing is usually considered hawkish. The will consider pre-emptive military strikes and using covert operations to overthrow foreign govts.

Libertarians truly only want for citizens legal rights to be defended by law from criminal trespass. That's totally against pre-emptive attacks, and it is against overthrowing other govts based on petty politics.

During the Bush Administration, Libertarians were called Liberals as Ridicule and Attack.

Now during Obama, Libertarians are being called Right-Wingers as Ridicule and Attack.

Isn't that funny?

Maybe Democrats and Republics are actually the same guy, saying the same thing, using the same excuses, and yet neither of the sides realize they are mirroring each other.

At least Libertarians make some freaking common sense. LIBERTY makes sense!

All Democrats and Republicans want is power and control.

All Libertarians want is Freedom from Democrats and Republicans Tyranny!

If we upheld our Constitutional Laws correctly, we WOULD be protected from lunatic politicians pushing venom as legislation. I guess our Judicial System has been failing to strike half of this garbage down.

The system was designed to protect us from this though.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:42 PM
There is no doubt that some people are paid to post dis-info comments, and I'm sure it happens on both the left and the right. What you're noticing is how people on the right are generally dumber than people on the left. Just look at comments on Fox News and compare them to comments on CNN or MSNBC. I've also noticed that people on the right are much quicker to call people names, in fact it seems like there's just a small minority who don't call people names. People on the left are dumb too, in fact 95% of Americans are as dumb as rocks. It's just the right is far more vocal and says stupider things(i.e. things that completely contradict), and they love to make up insulting nicknames, that it appears that they are dumber.

That said, I've heard the media(CNN and the NY times) define "troll" in a way that is completely different from what it meant when I first learned the word. They define troll as anyone who uses bad language, and insults others. However, the true definition of troll is much more narrower. A troll is really someone who lures people into arguments, and tries to keep them arguing about something that really shouldn't be argued about. They think troll means @$$hole, when it means something deeper than that.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:45 PM
Also, in office Republicans and Democrats always push State Control into the Marketplace, consistently.

Libertarians typically adhere to Laissez Faire style economics, where state interference is minimal.

Republicans and Democrats in office have a uncanny tendency to pass FREE trade laws, which eliminate tariffs on international trade products. This screws up economies big time, there is plenty of information to research on that topic.

Libertarians often sway towards FAIR trade laws, which use tariffs and duties to maintain stability between 1st and 3rd world economies. Rather than making the 3rd world 1st, it makes the entire world a 3rd world ghetto when eliminating all tariffs and duties.

It only brings the living standards down in the first world, while exploiting and leaving the 3rd world nations worse off than before the blood draining began.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:46 PM
reply to post by Sestias

As many right wingers as I have argued with on ATS, I honestly don't feel that any of them were paid to post. I suspect that one or two of the right wingers are actually sneaking in links to their own websites - linking here and making outrageous statements as a means of getting hits on the sites that generate income for them. I've never felt compelled to deeply research or complain about this though. After all, in debate, suggesting such thing would just empower the opposition to claim victory by means of thread derailment or topic avoidance - so I try to stick to the issues that are brought up.

The right wingers fall into the same trap that many of us more liberal posters fall into. We lose ourselves in the dogmatic aspects of what we are debating. We become rabid, unthinking, rhetoric machines - allowing reactionary impulse to override all else. And this phenomenon shows in just about every political thread. No matter where they start off, they always devolve, eventually into a Miller Light commercial (Tastes great! No, it's less filling! NO IT TASTES GREAT! TO HELL WITH YOU, IT IS LESS FILLING, ad nauseum).

The primary difference right now is that, with a Democratic President, the Republicans have a bit more ire and angst... Just as my side of the argument had during the Bush years. The party in power doesn't need to be as vocal, or rely upon hyperbole as much as the party in opposition.

Personally, though I am identified as a leftist, I consider myself a centrist. I have no party driven agenda, only a conscience that I try to remain loyal to. Dogma is for the birds. Chirp, chirp, parrot, parrot, chirp. When we can all quiet down the noise from the far left and the far right, we might actually accomplish something productive.

So, paid to post? Not likely. But indoctrinated, motivated, and blindly loyal to the party line? Yes, very much so, on all fronts and on both sides of the issue.


posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 06:58 PM
reply to post by Sestias

It is not just the right. I am also of the right side sorta, although many on the right might call me a troll along with you. My personal preference is a limited government, but even that term in itself is vague. Limited to the extent that it can stop groups of people from infringing on my personal rights. I care nothing for the government being involved in protecting groups of people. I want them to only protect individuals. That means everyone is treated the same, equality without laws, not protecting only certain groups. I want our government to be able to shut down corrupt organizations and other groups of people that may influence their will on the individual. I do not want the government so large though that it can dictate to every individual how they must live.

Now when I said sort of on the right side I meant it, although I believe in collective groups of people organizing themselves to have a better more enjoyable way of life. This would include funding each others existence, health, and prosperity when so desired. However, it still should not be forced, and these programs should not be ran by private corporations that can operate secretly and for profit. I am in favor of government regulated businesses where the needs of the people demand the services are available and accessible to all. Like electric companies and waste management companies that operate as a NOT FOR PROFIT business controlled in the amount of profits it can receive.

The problem you talk about is right wing libertarians that socialism is a bad word. It is and it isn't, depending on what a person labels socialism as. If government wishes to run all the corporations this would be socialism. If the government wants to be only so big as to ensure these corporations are operating in the best interests of the individuals then that is what our constitution was based around. (Read my signature). I would not take offense when those people call you a troll. I am very conservative fiscally, but very social locally. Many libertarians call me the same as you.

America is confused over left versus right. Our politicians have confused the meanings and have consistently made being a conservative into someone who only wants to massage the government/corporate relationship and expand government to accommodate the growth in spending and contracts given to these corporations. On the left the leaders have made community type concepts into only something that can be done on a national level, requiring national federal control over. The fact is most social programs operate better and more efficiently on a local level as they are tailored to the exact needs of the community in which they serve.
edit on 31-12-2010 by ExPostFacto because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 07:05 PM
I have it on good authority that many of the so called internet trolls are in fact disinfo agents. However they are not employed by the goverment but are covert shock troops dispatched here from a race of homosexual right wing aliens from the Andromeda galaxy.
Their mission is simple. Spread confusion and chaos in preparation for the big event, which is to be the teleportation of our planet to their galaxy where they can feed on our alpha and beta waves to save their dying race.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 07:07 PM
Oh yes there are many paid trolls, and most are conservative, or, right wing.
In the Cdn fed gov't, there's supposed to be a playbook with instructions.

They are everywhere. They are usually rude. They use different plays, some using bad grammar, others articulating the insanity of whatever topic they are being paid to bash.

Enuff said on that topic. There are many other ways to see them in action.
They might be reading - but on NY Eve, chances are slim - why that would be double time.

Happy New Year!

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 07:36 PM
i think there are people who are paid to be trolls, but usually its for the finiancial gain of the people who hired them. like to promote products on review sites or steer people to a particular website that sells their product.

so be weary of anyone who tries to link you to a website, it's usually to sell you something.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 07:39 PM
Some Buddhist philosophy ...

Lord Buddha was sitting under a banyan tree. One day, a furious farmer came to him and started abusing him.

The farmer thought that Lord Buddha would reciprocate in the same manner, but to his utter surprise, there was not the slightest change in the expression on his face.

Now, the farmer became more furious. He hurled more and more abuses at Buddha. However, Lord Buddha was completely unmoved. Actually there was a look of compassion on his face. Ultimately the farmer was tired of abusing him.

He asked, "I have been abusing you, but why are you not angry at all?"

Lord Buddha calmly replied, "My dear brother, I have not accepted a single abuse from you."

"But you heard all of them, didn't you?" The farmer argued half-heartedly.

Buddha said, "I do not need the abuses, so why should I even hear them?"

Now the farmer was even more puzzled. He could not understand the calm reply from Lord Buddha.

Looking at his disturbed face, Buddha further explained, "All those abuses remain with you."

"It cannot be possible. I have hurled all of them at you," the farmer persisted.

Buddha calmly repeated his reply, "But I have not accepted even a single abuse from you! Dear brother, suppose you give some coins to somebody, and if he does not accept them, with whom will those coins remain?"

The farmer replied, "If I have given the coins and not needed by someone, then naturally they would remain with me."

With a meaningful smile on his face, Buddha said, "Now you are right. The same has happened with your abuses. You came here and hurled abuses at me, but I have not accepted a single abuse from you. Hence, all those abuses remain with you only. So there is no reason to be angry with you."

The farmer remained speechless. He was ashamed of his behavior and begged for Buddha's forgiveness.

Lesson to Learn from This Story:

Inner calmness and peace are keys to a contented life. You know who you are and what you want in life, so don't respond to what person said about you in anger. Control your anger with patience and calmness. That is the biggest strength of a wise man.

Never take some one for granted, hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.

Just paid to pass that along...

I wish I had the buddhas peace

when this came out andit gets me today....

edit on 31-12-2010 by 46ACE because: video( punctuation) added

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 08:24 PM

Originally posted by Sestias
Are Right Wing Libertarian Trolls Getting Paid to Dumb Down Online Conversations?,

uhhhh... huh? wait... who is the white wig librarian and where exactly is the Online Constelation?

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 08:41 PM
reply to post by muzzleflash

Muzzleflash is right. This whole right/left paradigm is a game to keep Americans tied up in knots bickering amongst themselves about nonsense and unaware of the growth of government control over our lives. I think all Americans love freedom and liberty in the end, but so many do not realize how much of that freedom has been given up already.

As far as trolls are concerned, I believe in the right to free speech. Everyone has a right to be heard, and everyone else as the right to decide what is worth hearing. I think most would agree that censorship is undesirable.

I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, at least what are left of them, and do not want to see any more of our founding principles compromised.

We do not have, nor do we want, a democracy where the majority rules--as in a lynch mob. We have a republic, ruled by laws created by elected representatives, and we must elect those who understand and respect it.

I believe in equal rights for all people regardless of race, creed, sexuality, religion, language, or any other distinguishing characteristic as long as they don't infringe upon the rights of another.

I believe in the freedom and liberty our founding fathers fought to give us.

I believe the borders should be protected, and legal channels for naturalization of immigrants should be respected. We are all descendants of immigrants and anyone wanting to come here should have the same opportunity as long as they obey the law.

I believe that markets should be free to find where supply meets demand and thereby produce opportunity for commercial growth and economic efficiency. Companies should be allowed to fail so as to learn from their mistakes so they become stronger, smarter and more competitive worldwide.

I believe the Federal Reserve was a huge mistake that should be abolished giving the power to create money from gold and silver back to the Congress as the Constitution established.

Government should concern itself with little more than protecting the borders, manning the military for the protection of the people from foreign invaders, putting out fires, enforcing the law and ensuring justice is served. It should be kept as small as possible and focused on its duties. I'm not sure what political affiliation this makes me, but after witnessing the massive growth of government and threat of tyranny over the past few years under both Bush and Obama I put much more importance in my right to vote now than ever before.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 09:21 PM
Well seldom have I ever seen such a load of tripe written on one page.

Conservatives tend to treat public discourse as a free market of ideas - and have a naieve faith that the best ideas will carry the day in the end. Though in the States you do have a special problem with the Christian right.

It is leftists that consistently treat public discussion as a war zone - minus any geneva protocol. Where any tactic that can be used to stiffle and disallow opposing viewpoints is used, and where astroturfing has been honed to a fine art.

Virtually the whole of the Academic, Media and Judicial world has been under the thumb of leftists for decades.

I know thats not what they brainwashed you with at university and is obviously very difficult for you to see - despite being so blatantly obvious - but doesn't the fact that a community organising, Marxist, Alynski disciple is sitting in the W.H - give you a clue!?

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 10:43 PM
Wow! These are almost all thoughtful, carefully crafted arguments for various points of view, with very little abuse or parroting of party lines. I love this thread!

Happy New Year, all of you! Going outside to shoot off fireworks now . . . . . .

posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 07:45 AM
reply to post by Sestias

I think you might be on to something here.

I've been missing my check from Soros for the last few months, I guess its hard to keep track of the million people they have to keep on the payroll to cover up for 9/11, the thousand people needed to keep the birth certificate under wraps, and the hundreds of millions involved in all the other NWO conspiracies in the world. Not to mention the dozens of thread flamers required to keep the truthers, birthers, and etc on their toes in threads.

Maybe its about time to churn ideologies. Any idea how do I go about contacting the Koch's so I can flip?

posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 08:17 AM
reply to post by Sestias

EXCELLENT find. LOVE Monbiot. Thanks.

Too bad most posters here didn't actually read the article.

... “there are some campaigns where it would be undesirable or even disastrous to let the audience know that your organization is directly involved … Message boards, chat rooms, and listservs are a great way to anonymously monitor what is being said. Once you are plugged into this world, it is possible to make postings to these outlets that present your position as an uninvolved third party."

I CHALLENGE everyone here to run a search looking for online writing jobs

- and guarantee that most of the "jobs" you find involve 'blogging' and posting on message boards. Pay for these "casual contracts" runs about $20 for 100 words in 5 or more posts. [By comparison, the lowest paid freelance newspaper journalist used to get about $ 0.15 per word.]

...This phenomenon to short-circuit the Internet's democratic process -and control the "anarchy"- started in the early 2000's. I watched it happen - dismayed and powerless.

Please, read Monbiot's article - and think about the implications.

posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 09:15 AM
First, there's no such thing as a "right-wing libertarian." Thus, your premise fails from its inception.

Second, it would have been nice if your "source" relied upon facts that support the proposition buried in your thread's title. However, since they cite the Chinese government as "proof" of paid subterfuge, your hypothesis doesn't fit the evidence.

How could you possibly equate a communist government with either the right or libertarians, much less both?

A more-fitting title would have been "are dumbed-down online conversations inciting right-wing and libertarian replies to the paid trolls?"

Of course, that wasn't your intent though, was it?

Your "source" continues:

There’s a wider cyberwar being fought, of which you hear much less. And in most cases the landlords, with the help of a mercenary army, are winning. ... I’m talking about the daily attempts to control and influence content in the interests of the state and corporations: attempts in which money talks.
(emphasis added)

I would suggest that these "daily attempts" are those of the state-run educational institutions, whose net result over the last 30 years have been lower literacy, lack of independent thought, inability to reason, increased gullibility, and greater adherence to the liberal party line.

In short, dependence upon the state, perceived "consensus", the MSM, and "common knowledge" as substitutes for independent thought and inquisitiveness.

There's the roots of your cyberwars and trolls.

Please, cite evidence of actual "right" or "libertarian" contributions that "dumb down" ATS threads.
(Also, please leave out social issues, on which religious thought is often confused with "right-wing" or "conservative" political ideology. -- They are entirely different, yet frequently resorted to to support otherwise baseless assertions.)

Third, after dozens of similar threads with "paid disinfo" and "paid trolls" as the topic, no one has cited any credible proof of such a network outside of the military. Please find the freelancers, entrepreneurs, head-hunters and sponsors, and show the connections. We are all able to speculate. Why can't anyone answer the (given) OP with a "money trail?"

Fourth, have you considered that your "source," George Monbiot, is well-paid for his AlterNet and Guardian blogs/opinions that consistently attack the right, conservatives, and corporations he disfavors, while promoting causes and their sponsors whom he favors?

Isn't that something close to a "paid disinfo agent" (according to your standards) itself?

Finally, how could someone of any political persuasion possibly "dumb-down" a 'conversation' on Nibiru, chemtrails, the moon landing "hoax," the Illuminati, et c. which predominate a group of forums such as ATS?

Just wondering.

edit on 1-1-2011 by jdub297 because: elucidation

posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 09:22 AM
So what do they say about those right down the middle of the line those who neither identify with left or right?
I'd think that we'd be the ones called trolls because some of our views may seem to clash. LOL.
Well I been told I am a walkin oxymoron, er maybe that was just moron.

I mean I do have faith in humanity and that would make me either extremely naiive or a moron.

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