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Reddit, UGC, and Sock Puppetry

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posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:15 PM

I think this is important to any site where you want to have a community feel.-Steve Huffman, Reddit Founder.

Hello ATS,

UGC (User generated Content) and the venues such as ATS that provide the tools with which to wield it, are one of the most exciting things happening in the world today. UGC is, to me, the closest we can get to the point of emergence of what is referred to as Code/Space, the place where computer code driven, digital flora and fauna overlap with fields of human living. It's everywhere, and when we stick our faces right in it and participate as we do at ATS, I believe it is as near to that source of Goodness as we can get. It can be as powerful and dis-orienting as any drug at times.

And that's why we always say, "Narrative is the new black". Where UGC is taking us we will rediscover the power of storytelling. And I can tell you, this will be bad for certain types of storytellers as our powers grow.

Now, having brought us around to stories, there is an aspect of 'storytelling' that we often wonder about at ATS. That would be concerted story-telling by groups of folks that push one agenda or another using things like sock-puppets. You know, folks with multiple user accounts that manipulate said accounts in such a way as to cause all sorts of effects on public debate forums. Sometimes we call them 'shills' or 'socks'.

To me the debate as to whether or not they exist seems silly as I have witnessed much in my short sojourn on the web. And I have to tell you, I find this social phenomenon, sock-puppetry on the web forums, to be one of the most fascinating things happening in human behavior.

And now we have this from the founders of Reddit...

" terms of power, not traffic, Reddit is certainly up there. It’s huge, it’s deep, and it’s got an uncanny ability to push content into the viral zone (which should be the name of a TV show) and basically be the Internet’s tastemaker. But how did it get that way?

Well, according to Reddit cofounder Steve Huffman, in the early days the Reddit crew just faked it ‘til they made it. In the above video for Udacity, an online source for education and lectures, Huffman describes how the first Redditors populated the site’s content with tons of fake accounts.

It’s fascinating that such a massive user base could be seeded by a few guys with a whole bunch of avatars. It’s an incredible example of the Internet’s power to magnify one’s own voice. But, still, this goes way beyond spreading a blog post around. I mean, these guys built an actual community around their own puppet accounts.

So I would like to open this type of questioning up again to the forum, if you will have it. But in a different way.

There are folks out there that go to great lengths, create puppet accounts and work in teams to accomplish consensual goals; to bring to fruition conspiracies, in other words, just like the folks at Reddit that conspired to make a website the 'way they wanted it'. It can be for good or for ill, or maybe for patriotism or any bias, but it happens. In the case of Reddit I think we see the sunny side of the hill.

UGC is ours, people, we are the users, even the people that set up the most popular websites are users in the end, and we must remember that.

Really, the way I see it? If you have a big enough UGC gang you can bite off some turf and serve users tools and sit back and just have a killer time. Especially if one is of the philosophical bent, as I am.

Now that we see shadowy sock-puppetry as a well laid out tactic for UGC success, propounded by none another than Reddit...

What do we think now, ATS?

edit on 21-6-2012 by Xoanon because: .

posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:36 PM
I do sense it at ATS, but nevertheless,there are news that I wont search but served to me, its much more convenient when you are served with lots of things to digest than to hunt for it, so I stay. sock puppet or not

ATS - Like minded news aggregation and chaotic community at best.

posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 11:13 PM
There is very, very little user generated content on ATS outside the creative writing section. ATS, like almost all forums, is inundated with news regurgitation. The 7 primary news Gatekeepers put out stories so that users on forums across the globe can copy/paste the story.

If the story is of a political nature, the "pundits" chime in first, with all the little foot soldiers falling in line to go out and argue with imaginary people on the internet.

I would estimate that on the major forums, upwards of 20% of users are MUP's (multiple user personalities) run by someone wanting to guide the conversation. I have known of 3 on ATS. One was open about it, the other got caught out in a lie. The third is still a member, and regularly blows peoples minds with what may or may not be truthful information. No, i will not speak about other members. But take it from this long time member: spooks abound on the webz

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 11:30 AM
The chief advantage of sock puppetry is the ability to star or like or rate your own work. I would love to know if anyone has ever looked into whether people are more likely to star a post if it already has a high star count. I bet they are.

Talk about manufacturing consensus.

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