Have you heard the saying "thou doth protest too much?" Here's the actual urban dictionary definition: Overly insistent about something, to the point where the opposite is most likely true.
I start this letter to sockpuppets, trolls, infiltrators, propagandists, bad-faith commenters, and political hacks, both paid and unpaid, calling attention to that quote because it truly does applies to subject of this diary. Here's what I mean... Let's say I decide to visit this site to read some of the interesting and informative diaries; obviously, the first thing I would notice are the titles of the diaries. If I were to see the title of this diary and clicked on it to read further (as you did), I would only do so out of sheer curiosity, maybe hoping to learn a thing or two about the subject of sockpuppets and trolls.
Either way, in light of what I'm about to discuss below, I can't imagine ever being inclined to rise my (keyboard) voice in protest, much less accuse the diarist of conducting a witch hunt. Why would in God's name I feel that anything below applies to me? I'm not a sockpuppet or a troll!
First of all, let's stop being disingenuous (all of us) and admit once and for all that the (online) world is teeming with sockpuppets, bad-faith commenters (more on that below), trolls, hacks (both paid and unpaid), propagandists and other unsavory characters. They are everywhere (online). If you think about it the situation is not that much different than what happens in society in general: there are miscreants of every type in every community. So why would it be different online?
Now, some may ask, "What would be the objective of these miscreants in a blog like this?" Well, you have all kinds; they come in all flavors. There are the government types (CIA, FBI, NSA) with their twisted and debased thinking, having bought into the narrative that social justice activists exercising their constitutional rights somehow represent a danger to national security; a narrative they have internalized to such a degree, that they have basically become corporate goons.
Here's a perspective about this type of corporate goon (my interpretation):
Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens. Most of the citizenry detests Wall Street and big banks. It does not want more wars. It needs jobs. It is disgusted with the subservience of elected officials to corporate power. It wants universal health care. It worries that if the fossil fuel industry is not stopped, there will be no future for our children. And the state is using all its power to stymie any movement that expresses these concerns. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Homeland Security, the FBI, the Federal Protective Service, the Park Service and most likely the NSA and the CIA (the latter two have refused to respond to FOIA requests) worked with police across the country to infiltrate and destroy the encampments. There were 7,765 arrests of people in the movement. Occupy, at its peak, had about 350,000 people—or about 0.1 percent of the U.S. population.The emphasis is mine
-- Chris Hedges / truthout "The Sparks of Rebellion"
Then of course, there are the corporate-paid trolls and political hacks. Regarding political hacks, the article "The Treason of Intellectuals," also by Chris Heges, may explain their motivation.
The power elite, especially the liberal elite, has always been willing to sacrifice integrity and truth for power, personal advancement, foundation grants, awards, tenured professorships, columns, book contracts, television appearances, generous lecture fees and social status. They know what they need to say. They know which ideology they have to serve. They know what lies must be told—the biggest being that they take moral stances on issues that aren’t safe and anodyne. They have been at this game a long time. And they will, should their careers require it, happily sell us out again.The emphasis is mine
Anyways, I could go on describing them... As I said, they come in a sizes and shapes, the sockpuppets and trolls.
But here's the thing: Whether you are a sockpuppet, a troll, or a hack, I think what you haven't realized is that times have changed, dramatically. You've got to get with the times, especially if your paycheck depends on this line of "work." We are undergoing a process (some call it awakening) whereas more and more people have come to realized that they have been lied to. Here's one important sign regarding that process: Not even a year or two ago if anybody used the word "propaganda" to describe what people were being subjected to when it came to the mainstream media, the argument was almost universally scoffed at by most people. Now that notion has become mainstream itself. People know they are being propagandized... And that unfortunately means that your "job" as a sockpuppet, troll, or political hack has become much more harder, and pretty soon it may become impossible to do, at least at the same incredibly damaging level you've been able to do until very recently.
In other words, even if you don't know it yet, you've been outed. As more and more people speak truth to power, that truth propagates like a vapor, like an insecticide, forcing you to scurry from one rat hole to the next, trying to remain hidden. But you won't be able to because your actions belie your words.
And what actions would those be? Well, let me call attention to one very good source of information when it comes to a pretty accurate way of spotting you: “The 15 Rules of Web Disruption."
And keep one important thing in mind... Any jackass could at any given time engage in the type of disruptive behavior described in the "15 rules," without actually being a desinfo artist. They could engage lobbing ad hominems, or spewing one false dichotomy or logical fallacy after the other, etc., without even realizing that's what they are doing. Yes, in this site's parlance, some people are just dicks. But when there is an actual discernible pattern iin the used of desinfo techniques over a long period of time, well my fried, that points to something a little different.
Here's what I believe to be a pretty accurate description of the desinfo artist, as published in the Popular Resistance website (by H. Michael Sweeney):
A rational person participating as one interested in the truth will evaluate that chain of evidence and conclude either that the links are solid and conclusive, that one or more links are weak and need further development before conclusion can be arrived at, or that one or more links can be broken, usually invalidating (but not necessarily so, if parallel links already exist or can be found, or if a particular link was merely supportive, but not in itself key) the argument...Again, these things are pretty easy to spot, especially once people familiarize themselves with how these tactics of truth suppression and disinformation are being used.
It would seem true in almost every instance, that if one cannot break the chain of evidence for a given solution, revelation of truth has won out. If the chain is broken either a new link must be forged, or a whole new chain developed, or the solution is invalid an a new one must be found… but truth still wins out...
For such disinformationalists, the overall aim is to avoid discussing links in the chain of evidence which cannot be broken by truth, but at all times, to use clever deceptions or lies to make select links seem weaker than they are, create the illusion of a break, or better still, cause any who are considering the chain to be distracted in any number of ways, including the method of questioning the credentials of the presenter. Please understand that fact is fact, regardless of the source. Likewise, truth is truth, regardless of the source.
Don't get me wrong; it's not as if you have been rendered totally ineffective yet. Yes, when you enter a discussion thread and post a barrage of personal attacks, and engage in the spewing of logical fallacies and utter nonsense, people who are still unaware of these techniques, react like any normal human being would in the face of crassness, personal attacks, and nonsense... They would try to set the record straight, and that's when you are the most powerful (still). The focus moves away from the actual theme of the diary, which prevent people from engaging in constructive discussions to get to the truth or understanding of any given subject.
But again, more and more people are catching up with your deception, and once enough do, you'll just be ignored... And you will cease to be effective, and because of it, the truth you've been trying to suppress (for whatever reason) will reveal itself through the process of intellectual inquiry, critical thinking, discovery.
Finally, if it wasn't because of the chaos and damage you cause, I would almost feel sorry for you. I just can't imagine how it must feel to engage in spreading lies, in purposely trying to disrupt discussion, in spreading memes and talking points you know to be inaccurate, lies. It must eat away at your soul (metaphorically-speaking).
Me? I'm just an average Joe interested in learning things, in inquiring about how our government works, about whether corruption exists, and how it manifest itself. I'm interested in social justice, and in being an informed citizen overall.
And so, I ask questions; I write about stuff. I put forward opinions, theories, hypotheses, and get feedback from others, and if I realize I'm wrong about something, then make corrections... That's the way the process of inquiry works; you think about things; you try to connect the dots (the links), until you get to the truth on things (whenever possible).
But whether I'm proven wrong on any subject, or develop expertise in others, my only objective is to get to the truth on things, without prejudice or bias, or hidden agendas. Again, I can't imagine what it must feel to lie for a living, to "know the lies that must be told." It must be awful... I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.
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