posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 01:03 PM
Given the facts on the table ( just click my name and go to any number of my previous threads discussing the topic or even related ones ) - I have to
work under the assumption that there are, indeed, professional agent provocateurs not just on ATS, but online in general. This is a belief based in
documented and published fact.
Beyond that, however, anything else I might think or add falls into opinion. That's something that they, IMO, rely upon heavily. For example: I know
that I don't work for Uncle Sam or any contractors of his, nor do I get paid by any corporate interests to post here. The catch is that while I know
it, nobody else can be sure of it. The same applies to each and every other member of ATS. Even if we know other ATS'ers IRL - only they can be
fairly sure we're legit. Everyone else is in the dark.
I've got a few folks who tend to come into nearly all of my threads, rather quickly, to derail and pursue an agenda or two. It's part of my life to
know that if I do post a thread, I'm very likely to see their familiar faces. The question is do I think that they are paid to come at me? I honestly
don't believe that. As a moderator I have to remove posts, close threads, and send out messages asking folks to follow the rules. Most of the
community understands this and accepts it. Some, however, hold grudges. From my POV? Honestly, if I remove your post all chances are that an hour
later I won't even remember what username I actioned. I make an effort not to keep "score" - so that I don't end up looking for offense.
Thankfully I can also recall the time before I was on staff - and even then I had a couple of folks who seemed to enjoy yanking my chain and who'd
visit my threads to derail and disrupt. I didn't think that they were paid to do so either. I just accepted that there are those out there who might
not agree with my world view and who might get their jollies by trying to provoke me.
Long story short? Even if there are paid agents here, the key to coping is to treat them like any other disruptive member. Calling them, or anyone
else "shill" will only get you in trouble. So worrying about whether or not they are is kind of pointless. Paid or not, their goal is to sidetrack
conversation and push an agenda. Simply don't let them. Stay on topic, ignore the distractions, and keep the conversation going.
I do, agree, though... easier said than done sometimes. Emotions are real and there are folks in this world who certainly know how to push buttons.