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Shills on ATS?- negative posts that derail discussion

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posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:01 PM
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If this topic isn't acceptable then I apologise but hopefully we can address this issue because I believe it is something that affects the quality of this forum.

Someone recently messaged me and told me not to be disheartened by some of the responses I had received in a recent thread. Until I received that message I hadn't really thought about the impact of these posters who don't even take the time to read a thread but merely post to undermine the topic of the OP.

It doesn't really bother me personally but after looking at a few of my threads, I have noticed that if the first few replies to my OP are of an undermining nature, then the thread gets next to no attention at all.

I always thought people would read the OP and go from there, but it seems if the first few replies ridicule or dismiss the ideas in the OP, then people are put off from replying.

With that in mind and the impact these posters have, is it feasible to believe there are actual 'shills' on ATS who come here to derail threads?

There is a paper from 2008 called 'Conspiracy Theories'. It is worth noting that the co author, Cass Sunstein, is now Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Here is a quote from that paper on tackling the issue of conspiracy theories-



Hearing only conspiratorial accounts of government behavior,
their members become ever more prone to believe and generate such accounts.
Informational and reputational cascades, group polarization, and selection effects suggest
that the generation of ever-more-extreme views within these groups can be dampened or
reversed by the introduction of cognitive diversity. We suggest a role for government
efforts, and agents, in introducing such diversity. Government agents (and their allies)
might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to
undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises,
causal logic or implications for political action.



Basically, to counter the bias of a conspiracy theory group, such as ATS, government agents ('shills') would operate to undermine conspiracy theories. In my opinion, this tactic is being used.

There are a handful of posters on this forum that literally have thousands of posts yet pretty much 100% only ever post to undermine a conspiracy theory.

Who in their right mind would join a conspiracy theory website such as ATS and spend so much time ridiculing a conspiracy theory? It doesn't make sense unless we believe the above tactic is being applied.

What do you think?




posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


I think you make a great point...and obviously there are 'shills" on this site.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:09 PM
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There are plenty of shills on this site. Some of the most "respected" members are agents.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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Sometimes I'm just in a trolly mood. I dont even get paid for it.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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I wouldn't discount the idea of a few paid shills, but for the most part, these are just people who think they have an important message to get out to the world and are using ATS as a way to feel like they're doing it.


Some people just get a thrill of pooping on others' parades.
And some are probably skeptics or just cynical. But I'm sure there are some who think if they step on an idea quickly, it will keep others from posting or considering the theory. And some are just trolls - needing some drama in their lives.


I am mostly a skeptic, myself, but I don't care if people believe in conspiracy theories or not.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 

I believe they are called "trolls" as "shills" is frowned upon, in some forums it will get you into trouble, even banned, right here on ATS.

So I would use the word "troll" as it basically means the same thing, just minus the "paid .gov agent" undertones.

Having said that though, yes there are shills here, as well as trolls, and a few idiots that jusst can't wait to, as put by a member already " # on somones parade". As they are pathetic lowlifes, their only feel good from life, comes in the form of trying to belittle and ridicule others.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:26 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 





With that in mind and the impact these posters have, is it feasible to believe there are actual 'shills' on ATS who come here to derail threads?

Yes its possible but I personally don't think that is whats happening , you only have to look around the web to less well moderated sites to see how some of these internet warriors operate .
Some people will take an opposing view on a subject just so they can have an argument from the safety of their keyboard , even though they are ignorant of the topic they are commentating on .

The best way to deal with these types is to just ignore them , don't give them what they crave ... attention




There are a handful of posters on this forum that literally have thousands of posts yet pretty much 100% only ever post to undermine a conspiracy theory.

Many conspiracy theory's aren't based in reality so why not undermine them , the truth is more important than belief , as Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


While I'm open to the possibility that what your OP describes may be occurring on ATS, I still believe that, for the sake of rational investigation, if there are holes in a theory they ought to be pointed out and discussed.

We see time and time again here on ATS discussions that go around in circles, the moon hoax conspiracy is a good example, chemtrails are another. Some members accuse others as 'government agents' for simply, in my opinion, demanding evidence.

Very obviously we can see there is a huge diversity amongst member's and their requirements as to what qualifies as hard evidence.

I personally think the 'gov shill' card is played more often at honest members who are attempting to deny ignorance. But as I said I would not dismiss the premise of the OP, and I even expect there to be people on here with agendas, if anything I think the possibility of there being members on here deliberately creating idiotic threads in order to discredit serious investigation is a very real one.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


Agreed, there are almost certainly shills on here. In fact, I'd be shocked if there weren't.

Just in my limited activity here, I suspect there are some users whom are actually multiple individuals; shills en masse, if you would, operating under the purported guise of one world-beating thinker. Let's say that username 'AAA' is four individuals (A,B,C,D) working for...I dunno, some folks in Utah or Northern Virginia. They have been tasked with assuming the identity of an all-knowing world-beating intellect as part of an operation to "spin" reality and gather intelligence on their fellow hominids.

In doing so on a forum like this, 'A' is charged with covering Moon theories, 'B' with alien theories, 'C' with globalism, and 'D' with...(shrugs)...I dunno, flouride controversies. Each individual is set up with a terminal or laptop and spends at least X hours per day online monitoring this website. Each individual is well-versed on the subject at hand, and always has a list of links that toe the 'company line' and are germane to the discussion at hand.

It is that last count that is the genesis of my supposition; you see, I've noticed certain posters that, as the OP mentioned, always make a concerted effort to debunk/derail what it is that he OP has postulated, and they always post the germane links that I described. Immediately. As if though it were in their bookmarks toolbar. OK...so maybe they enjoy many of the meats of our cultural stew. Thing is, these individuals from time to time will comment on 'the research they've done' or 'the research papers they've read'. Understandable if you're working in, say, aerospace (a tip of the hat to James Oberg)...not so much so if what you're ripping apart runs the gamut from zombies to endochine reproduction to the Boogeyman of Bruxton Toll.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 01:54 PM
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Well, perhaps, but you may be missing something. Sometimes posters disrupt threads because they have a strong point of view. For example, we were just having a discussion about how a server in a restaurant could better serve customers. A server posted the question in all innocence and was getting some pretty good replies (I thought) until someone showed up who began attacking all servers everywhere.

This went on and on until someone discovered this person has an internet reputation for doing this everywhere in long, rambling posts full of CAPS and !*!*!*!* punctuation making unreasonable demands. This person was completely disruptive. People treated her pretty well at first, but as this disruptive behavior continued more and more people expressed their displeasure. What we have here is not someone who is exactly a "shill," but someone with serious psychological issues. Clinically ill is how I would put it. So some of them are crazies to begin with.

Then you have people who have taken an extreme public position so that everything they say must support their public stance. Lance Moody, for example, is a skeptic's skeptic. No proof anywhere will convince him there might just possibly be UFOs that we do not control. Compare that to Michael Horn, a proponent of Billy Meier who is an attack dog in support of his point of view. Absolutely nothing will sway him otherwise. So some of them are extremists to begin with.

And there are people who simply do not buy off on many of these conspiracies. For example, I originally came here because of my interest in UFOs. And I'm faced with Chemtrails, haunted dogs, and false flags of every description. Is it expected that I believe in ALL these? Chemtrails? Really?? There are very few subjects here where I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable, but there are a couple, and when someone makes a ridiculous assumption or an outright lie on these subjects, I just may feel compelled to respond to point that out.

The motto of this place is "Deny Ignorance," isn't it? Can't that be defined as "Deny your own ignorance"? There's plenty of it here. You have to go through a lot of chaff to get at the kernels of truth that are here. Not much really serious gets done here because you are competing with geniuses still living in their Mom's basements who insist they know how the world works. Anybody can play, so everyone does.

If you are going to claim yet another conspiracy, publicly, in this environment, then you had better be able to defend it. If you are correct, it should not be too hard to respond to weak counter-arguments. In fact, if you can, it may make your argument stronger. And if you cannot, just perhaps it may not BE a strong argument. Blaming other people and calling them shills for pointing out the flaws in your argument is illogical. Resorting to that sort of behavior simply shows up your position as weak.
edit on 9/25/2012 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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Why would shills need to infiltrate ATS, or any conspiracy site for that reason? We do a good enough job sabotaging ourselves. We throw out any crazy, nonsensical theory to the public so they don't care about anything we say, true or not. Then on top of that we can't even agree among ourselves. Just look at how many different 2012 theories there are or how many different objects are Nibiru.

I have been called a shill on numerous occasions (including once today) but that's only because I have standards. We need to stop buying into every "alternative" theory and rejecting the mainstream explanations out of hand. We need to start looking for conclusive facts and stop ignoring the things that ruin our worldviews. The truth is that during my time on ATS I have seen very few threads that actually back up their claims under scrutiny. Most people generally just get mad when you point out holes in their theories. If pointing out those holes makes me a shill then I'm happy to bear the title.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by schuyler
 


Very well said.

Some members seem to hold the view that because ATS in a 'conspiracy' site that everyone on here should believe a lot of things that ordinarily most people don't.

I recently read a post by a member bemoaning the sad fact that there are members on here who do not believe the moon hoax theories, "I mean c'mon" they lamented.

I agree that if a thread presents good evidence and strong arguments then no amount of 'shillery' will derail or dismiss it, and yes if anything the argument should be bolstered by refuting attempts to defeat it.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by Xcalibur254
Why would shills need to infiltrate ATS, or any conspiracy site for that reason? We do a good enough job sabotaging ourselves. We throw out any crazy, nonsensical theory to the public so they don't care about anything we say, true or not. Then on top of that we can't even agree among ourselves. Just look at how many different 2012 theories there are or how many different objects are Nibiru.

I have been called a shill on numerous occasions (including once today) but that's only because I have standards. We need to stop buying into every "alternative" theory and rejecting the mainstream explanations out of hand. We need to start looking for conclusive facts and stop ignoring the things that ruin our worldviews. The truth is that during my time on ATS I have seen very few threads that actually back up their claims under scrutiny. Most people generally just get mad when you point out holes in their theories. If pointing out those holes makes me a shill then I'm happy to bear the title.


But a lot discussed here is important, such in the context of 9/11 etc. What you have just stated is exactly the mentality I am referring to, where there is an effort to label 'conspiracy' as 'crazy and nonsensical'.

I agree discussion and facts are important, but when people burst into tha thread without even entertaining the content of the OP with the sole intention of making the OP look 'crazy and nonsensical', then that is derailing the thread and undermining any potential discussion. People don't want to look stupid or be seen to go against the crowd, which is what the 'shills' play on and it is effective IMO.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 02:52 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Negative posts are a problem - but I don't think that problem is born of agendas or agencies or corporate interests or political parties for the most part ( though all of the aforementioned do have online entities and do disrupt when needed, where needed ). The real problem is keyboard courage. Anonymity. Online we can say just about anything to anyone, consequence free.

So disruption happens. Some do it out of spite. Others are just mean spirited. Others still think it's funny.

But that's the main problem with the Internet today... lots of folks who don't feel like they need to take responsibility or ownership for what they say.

~Heff

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


Conspiracy theorists are their own worst enemies. They are blind to holes in their own theories and would rather attack those people that point them out instead of having a rational discourse. On top of that they tend to fall to infighting. Go into any forum on here. You'll find at least ten different theories based on the same information and the supporters of one theory will insult and belittle those that support the other theories. This is why conspiracy theorists are seen as crazy and nonsensical to the majority of the population. We need to start getting rid of the crap or at least call it out as soon as it crops up instead of getting it hundreds of stars and flags.

I've said it in the past, I've even made a thread on it, I'm more than willing to support theories that can back up their claims. However if there are holes I'm going to call you out on them. It is then your job to defend yourself and not resort to ad hominems. The motto of ATS is Deny Ignorance. I do this by pointing out the holes and falsehoods in the hopes that rational discourse can eventually lead us to the Truth. Most people on here don't see it that way. They get invested in their pet theories and can't take it when people point out the areas where they have holes or are out and out wrong.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 03:52 PM
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If you want to see a 'shill' go see the thread just posted about some Immans response to the Muhammad video posted by an Iranian.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 04:14 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


There are some 'children' (or people who didn't take their meds) on this site who are not able to join a fruiteful discussion. They read a thread as a threat. In their frustration and envy they try to sabotage threads. So, people should stick to their guns...

If a thread is interesting and I have the urge to contribute I will do so, no matter what replies have gone before me. With that outlook I will also not hesitate to flag a thread or star an OP.




posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 04:49 PM
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reply to post by Wonderer2012
 


I was thinking the exact same thing this morning while reading posts.You cannot even present a thought without getting lambasted, it is not what it used to be here where you could engage in conversation about ideas.



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by hanyak69
 


It's not just here. It's a cultural phenomenon. It is everywhere. Generation MTV grew up on shock based reality shows - where drama and over the top selfish and meglomaniacal attacks are the currency of the realm. Punk'd as a way of life you could say.

And now they're adults and they're changing the way we communicate. The Internet is the tip of the spear in this regard.

I freely admit that there are message boards with far less sarcasm on them. But many of those boards have moderators review every single post before it can be seen. Or they have so few members that new posts rarely happen. Imagine the backlash if ATS were to change policy and want to review every post before it was publicly seen? It would chase away most of our members, new and old alike.

The acerbic nature of debate these days bothers many of us, but it is easy to ignore most of the time. And some of the most effective posts, these days, on ATS, in my opinion, are when a member responds to a vitriolic and baiting post with pure courtesy and kindness. It is a very effective tactic.

~Heff



posted on Sep, 25 2012 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I totally agree one has to take the bad with the good, just don't dock stars for engaging in a heated discussions.
This is why I like you HEFF.



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