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