Paid Shills: The Boogeymen of ATS

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posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 11:43 PM
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Paid Shills: The Boogeymen of ATS

As a relatively new participant of discussions on ATS, I have experienced a recurring phenomenon that is annoying at best and disturbing at worst. I am sure that this is not the first thread in the "Rant" forum that addresses this matter, but this forum affords me the opportunity to express my take.

The Concept
When a thread is not going someone's way, the trend I see is to play the "shill" card, where those who challenge the content or concepts of the thread are accused of being "disinfo agents" that are intentionally muddying the waters in order to obfuscate the underlying truth.

This, of course, is typically done only at the uttermost end of need, when few other options of logical, rational discourse remain. This method violates most resonable definitions of ethical debate, and in turn obfuscates any shred of truth that may have been garnered from what little merit the thread had in the first place.

The Analogy
I liken this phenomenon to the recent searches for some of our modern-day boogeymen: Al-Qaeda and terrorists in general. Of course terrorism is real, but they are not under your bed like the government would like you to believe. They don't care if you wear boxers or briefs.

In fact, I challenge you to find 10 real-life terrorists at the grocery store in your lifetime, unless it's part of your occupation to do so. It's about as likely as shills at ATS. And by the way, there's a difference between that and a troll.

Communists were the chosen boogeymen for a long time, until that fear was no longer viable as a useful illusion. An enemy needed to be chosen that was less definable, more elusive, and could perpetuate as a "ghost" for a longer time. And, most importantly, an enemy that you can be afraid of indefinitely because they can be anywhere, anytime, with no temporal restrictions or country affiliation.

Thus, the "shill card" represents fear of a somewhat similar enemy, because it can never truly be verified, and is a very convenient place to put the blame. Okay, maybe it's not the best analogy, but I'd hope you get the point.

The Example
There are many threads I could link to that have exhibited this special brand of ignorance. So as not to implicate anyone in particular, a brief example will have to suffice for the purpose of illustration.

Say, as a matter of absurdity, that I create a thread titled "NASA Conspiracy: The Moon is Made of Cheese". Let me rephrase that so the example is more convincing, as such a lofty thread title demands spelling and grammatical errors, unnecessary caps, and must be phrased as a question. The thread is now titled "NASA Conspricy: Moon made on chese???".

Now that's more true to life, hey? In my thread, I purport that NASA has been covering up all along that the moon is made of a particularly sharp blend of condensed aromatic swiss. I back up my supposition with a YouTube video of some guy using Photoshop tools to show the holes in the cheese. See, I'm right?

The argument begins, and I vehemently defend my claims because you all just don't understand what I know. I am a highly decorated curtain ring salesman, or they just moved me from the fryer to the drive-thru window, or whatever the case. But I'm also an amateur physicist and cheese specialist.

As expected, many disagree with my theory. They pummel me with fact after fact, most of which I ignore. In fact, after thoroughly thrashed and butt-hurt, I have a brief period of time in my thread where I only respond to those that agree with me.

But then, just when hope for my theory has all but crumbled into the abyss of ATS hoaxery, I pull my one and only remaining card - the naysayers are all paid shills, disinfo agents from the dark side who traveled all the way across the the vastness of cyberspace at the behest of their diabolical masters to derail my banter in order to silence the truths I have revealed.

The Summary
To conclude my civil rant, it would be nice if people didn't do this. No shills or paid disinfo agents give a crap about your ramblings on ATS. Get a grip! If any entity with a bankroll large enough to pay a bunch of dorks to sit at computers to sway opinion wanted you silenced, let's just say it would be a lot cheaper and quicker to silence you the old fashioned way.

Even then, you'd have to be spilling something really important and highly classified, which rarely happens on a forum like this.

Peace.
edit on 20-4-2012 by InTheFlesh1980 because: correction




posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 11:57 PM
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Originally posted by InTheFlesh1980

The Summary
To conclude my civil rant, it would be nice if people didn't do this. No shills or paid disinfo agents give a crap about your ramblings on ATS. Get a grip! If any entity with a bankroll large enough to pay a bunch of dorks to sit at computers to sway opinion wanted you silenced, let's just say it would be a lot cheaper and quicker to silence you the old fashioned way.

Even then, you'd have to be spilling something really important and highly classified, which rarely happens on a forum like this.



You do not know this as truth. This is your personal opinion. Your opinion is speculative.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:01 AM
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SHHHHH...This is ATS...Don't you know EVERYTHING is a conspiracy. How dare you bring your logic here. You must be a paid shill.

/sarcasm
S&F OP



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:04 AM
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Originally posted by emberscott
You do not know this as truth. This is your personal opinion. Your opinion is speculative.


I agree with you completely, it is only my opinion, which of course is highly speculative.

That is why I posted it in the "rant" forum, where my opinion has now found a proper home.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:09 AM
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The Summary To conclude my civil rant, it would be nice if people didn't do this. No shills or paid disinfo agents give a crap about your ramblings on ATS. Get a grip! If any entity with a bankroll large enough to pay a bunch of dorks to sit at computers to sway opinion wanted you silenced, let's just say it would be a lot cheaper and quicker to silence you the old fashioned way.
reply to post by InTheFlesh1980
 



Umm.... yeah, LOL!

Not that I don't agree with much of your ramblings, but I would suggest that you're not 100% correct.

Do you truly think that the conversations about these topics ends on the ATS forum? NOPE

In fact, the conversations on this forum don't EVEN COME CLOSE to the conversations held on other mediums, including non-internet mediums.

ATS is the perfect place to attempt to 'cut off the head' of any body of research into fringe topics. If you can end the conversation before even allowing it to reach other mediums, you have won the war. ATS would obviously be a target of such means, in the suppression of dissent or conspiracy topics.

The 'war for your mind' isn't one that is fought with weapons, and the killing of others. It is the fighting with weapons and the killing of others that is used after the battle of information is lost. How much money do you think governments contribute towards their own propaganda? think about it...



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:10 AM
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The shill card can be applied to anyone, yes, and it's important to know that these people like to debunk others with opinion.

OPINION.

It's not very convincing unless there is something behind it with substance, and if it does have substance, then why call them a shill?

Honestly, when I think of a shill post or thread, (here at least) I look at the S & Fs it gets. If you pay attention, you'll see certain accounts get starred and flagged, more and more quickly than another account with an argument with the same amount of substance behind what they are saying. And it happens not just once, but multiple times. I'm sure everyone has seen a thread here that gets a lot of stars and flags and you say to yourself, "WHY?", and I'm not just talking about some thread about a UFO video.

There are those that could be shills that I see, but it's really just speculation. Who are they shills for? The government? The website? Are they promoting a particular philosophy? Is it a foreign government? Are they psychologists?

I couldn't say, but I know it's happening. Why not? I could see people benefiting from it. People are shady,and for various motives, what can I say?



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:10 AM
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Im on the fence about ATS, and the agenda behind it.

good read thank you.

s&f



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:11 AM
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You crushed my dreams in one fell swoop.

I was hoping I could get employment as a professional shill.

I suppose there is always a career in politics.



BTW ATS does have an agenda................Ad revenue.



edit on 21/4/2012 by OccamAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:14 AM
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Originally posted by InTheFlesh1980

To conclude my civil rant, it would be nice if people didn't do this. No shills or paid disinfo agents give a crap about your ramblings on ATS. Get a grip! If any entity with a bankroll large enough to pay a bunch of dorks to sit at computers to sway opinion wanted you silenced, let's just say it would be a lot cheaper and quicker to silence you the old fashioned way.

Even then, you'd have to be spilling something really important and highly classified, which rarely happens on a forum like this.


If the government had shills to manipulate the voice of it's people, it would assassinate everyone? I really don't think so. Not when they can assassinate thousands of people's opinions simultaneously through cyber space. Gotta keep the sheep asleep. Killing them in their sleep isn't going to do it.
edit on 21-4-2012 by satron because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by OccamAssassin

BTW ATS does have an agenda................Ad revenue.




That's pretty obvious, but is there an element that isn't so obvious?

I got to tell you, if I was a group of people that keep a country in order, I'd be pretty tempted to mold the opinion of my people to keep them under control through the internet. I'd pay people to do it, and I'd pay researchers to develop bots that could act as people in multiple websites simultaneously.

EDIT: I'd create websites that are "reputable" and create websites that are not, to contrast against the "good" ones. I'd develop "good" personalities that people could get behind, and I'd develop "bad" personalities that people could rally against, but just to make them feel like they did sometime good. The bad personalities could be personalities that used to be good, but just lost their utility.

I guess I could go on, but this is just off the top of my head. It's not too hard to do as long as you have people constantly gauging people's thoughts, desires, reactions, etc. It's not even an exact science.
edit on 21-4-2012 by satron because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by satron

If the government had shills to manipulate the voice of it's people, it would assassinate everyone? I really don't think so. Not when they can assassinate thousands of people opinions simultaneously through cyber space. Gotta keep the sheep asleep. Killing them in their sleep isn't going to do it.


Indeed, I see your point. However, let's suppose that there are shills present in our midst with the intent of maliciously discrediting information that has merit for the purpose of silencing the debate and curtailing the dissemination of the pertinent content.

Is it better to play the "shill" card or simply continue to rationally and logically defend the topic at hand? The key here, I think, is that if the information has merit it will stand up against any trolls, shills, or other miscreants up to no good.

Why soil your mind by parleying with the riff-raff? It seems like the best course would be to ensure that you are armed with enough truth to make a convincing case of it regardless of the detractors, whatever their intentions may be.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:31 AM
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I think, is that if the information has merit it will stand up against any trolls, shills, or other miscreants up to no good.


Well said!



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:36 AM
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reply to post by InTheFlesh1980
 


I agreed with you right up till the end when you said that it would be much easier to silence people the old fashion way instead of paying people to sit around messing with others online...

That makes too much sense! Since when has the government been in favor of doing anything efficiently? If that was the case then why do they house murders and rapists for life why not put a bullet in their heads and call it a day? I don't know for sure if they have paid shills or not but it wouldn't surprise me. They waste our hard earned money on ridiculous crap every minute of every day.

If you extract your argument of efficiency alone then I have to disagree completely.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:37 AM
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Originally posted by OccamAssassin
You crushed my dreams in one fell swoop.

I was hoping I could get employment as a professional shill.

I suppose there is always a career in politics.



BTW ATS does have an agenda................Ad revenue.



edit on 21/4/2012 by OccamAssassin because: (no reason given)


I am a shill. Not a very good one, and my pay reflects that.

My advice don't become a shill...the pay sucks.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:43 AM
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Originally posted by InTheFlesh1980

Originally posted by satron

If the government had shills to manipulate the voice of it's people, it would assassinate everyone? I really don't think so. Not when they can assassinate thousands of people opinions simultaneously through cyber space. Gotta keep the sheep asleep. Killing them in their sleep isn't going to do it.


Indeed, I see your point. However, let's suppose that there are shills present in our midst with the intent of maliciously discrediting information that has merit for the purpose of silencing the debate and curtailing the dissemination of the pertinent content.

Is it better to play the "shill" card or simply continue to rationally and logically defend the topic at hand? The key here, I think, is that if the information has merit it will stand up against any trolls, shills, or other miscreants up to no good.

Why soil your mind by parleying with the riff-raff? It seems like the best course would be to ensure that you are armed with enough truth to make a convincing case of it regardless of the detractors, whatever their intentions may be.


The information doesn't even have to be good for people to hop aboard. UFO threads are a good example.

People don't always see the truth when it's in front of them, or for some other reason.

A lot of times, it's the person that is the longest winded whose point gets through, even though they aren't right more than the next person. And if you were benefiting someway off of your posts, then you can afford to be long-winded while the rest have to call it a day and go to their job or other responsibilities.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:47 AM
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Originally posted by SilverStarGazer
If you extract your argument of efficiency alone then I have to disagree completely.


I see your point as well. In retrospect, let's disregard the portion regarding efficiency of silencing truth, considering it was a rant and written in haste, but instead agree on the ineffectiveness of crying "Shill!" during what is supposed to be a revealing, robust, informative debate.

It is beyond my sight as to how this technique improves anything, aside from the satisfaction of expressing frustration. In any event, it certainly leads things further off topic, which is what a thread author should seek to avoid.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 12:50 AM
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Bam! You hit the nail on head, so to speak. I have discovered that the world is FULL of people who cannot alter their opinions and beliefs no matter how much evidence is provided to them. It seems they just do not stop to logically consider what they are saying, as well as logically analyzing the available evidence. It really is an epidemic.

This, imo, contributes to the pervading belief that disinformation agents actually exist. I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of users on ATS believe that the government actually pays people to sway opinions on various internet sites.

I consider this to be highly unlikely, for various reasons. The first thread I ever created on ATS was on this very subject, and lays out some of the reasons to why these "shills" don't exist. I have come up with even more reasons now, since I've learned more and analyzed the idea more. So those that think disinfo agents exist, and also are the type of person I described above, who just cannot look at evidence or listen and follow logic, are extremely likely to at some point write a response or create a thread doing exactly what you describe in the original post of this thread.

A long time ago, on ATS, I stopped responding to replies directed at me, because it was so frustrating that many of the responses told me that the writer either didn't understand what I was saying, or the writer was simply wrong, etc, and it was just draining. So instead of using any of my energy to argue with someone, I chose not to respond. But then I realized that when I know I'm right, it's hard to keep my mouth shut, so I just stopped reading posts directed at my logic.

This is dangerous though, because if I am not right, then it shines badly on me. So I always try to differentiate and make it clear when I am offering an opinion, and when I am stating something as factual. Anyway, I completely understand what you have presented in this thread, and I know just how frustrating it can be. Sometimes I lose faith in humanity when I read some of the responses that pop up on ATS, because I think of how many of the users are just everyday, average people...



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 01:04 AM
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Originally posted by InTheFlesh1980

Originally posted by satron

If the government had shills to manipulate the voice of it's people, it would assassinate everyone? I really don't think so. Not when they can assassinate thousands of people opinions simultaneously through cyber space. Gotta keep the sheep asleep. Killing them in their sleep isn't going to do it.


Indeed, I see your point. However, let's suppose that there are shills present in our midst with the intent of maliciously discrediting information that has merit for the purpose of silencing the debate and curtailing the dissemination of the pertinent content.

Is it better to play the "shill" card or simply continue to rationally and logically defend the topic at hand? The key here, I think, is that if the information has merit it will stand up against any trolls, shills, or other miscreants up to no good.

Why soil your mind by parleying with the riff-raff? It seems like the best course would be to ensure that you are armed with enough truth to make a convincing case of it regardless of the detractors, whatever their intentions may be.


And the best card just cause the thread to be close or deleted from within

Your gona have to make the RABIT HOLE much big



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 01:25 AM
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I see myself as someone trying to get the best answer there is, or at least paint the best picture that's possible, and I do it by criticizing the arguments put forth, or putting a slant on something to illustrate it isn't so cut and dry as some people may think.

I like to point out things posted that doesn't make much sense, because I'd like the quality of the thread to stay as high as it can, like here:

Originally posted by Trillium


And the best card just cause the thread to be close or deleted from within

Your gona have to make the RABIT HOLE much big


I'm not sure what you're trying to say in your first sentence. Could you edit it? Are you saying a shill is going to cause the thread to be deleted?



I've debated with people that I see as shills, but I don't do it to point out that I think they are a shill, I do it to remind the people that are still following along that there is another side that the person WILL NOT, for whatever reason, consider and just say, "You know, you're right, it's not exactly how I said it is, like it's gospel." Heck, I might have just been dragged along by some trolls, but I don't cave in unless I figure out that I'm in the wrong, and I'll admit it.



posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 01:35 AM
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Originally posted by satron

I like to point out things posted that doesn't make much sense, because I'd like the quality of the thread to stay as high as it can, like here:

Originally posted by Trillium
"And the best card just cause the thread to be close or deleted from within
Your gona have to make the RABIT HOLE much big"

I'm not sure what you're trying to say in your first sentence. Could you edit it? Are you saying a shill is going to cause the thread to be deleted?


This, my friend, is another topic altogether.

In a past life, I did my best to address it in This Post..





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