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How to spot a shill

(27 Posts)
noblegiraffe Fri 28-Oct-16 11:52:21

I was just over on Reddit reading about how Hillary Clinton is paying people to frame the political narrative on social media/large websites. I'm certain that Mumsnet has seen this sort of activity too, fake posters with an agenda. I've seen it in the education section in a straightforward form, and around Brexit there was lots of it going on in the politics sections (I think Dominic Cummings was involved in both cases).

Anyway, I was reading this article about 'How to spot a shill' which is advising supporters of Jill Stein (Green Party presidential candidate) of the methods which will be used to try to dent their support.

In reading the article, I was reminded of several recent posts/threads in this section.

The gamergate thread which seemed to be aimed at undermining Anita Sarkeesian (I think she's done some good work but has acted shadily) cloaked as a feminist discussion about sexism in gaming.

Decoy insults - Kids are dying while you talk about this irrelevant stuff. Women in actually oppressive countries are laughing at you.

Divide and conquer - now I've no idea as to the truth of any recent allegations, but suggesting that people on one side of an argument are sending abusive PMs to those on the other would seem to fit the bill.

Anyway, I'm sure those that post more regularly in this section would be used to/aware of these tactics (I'm on half term, I usually stick to education), but I thought it was interesting and something that all users of the internet should bear in mind these days as use of these tactics will only increase and become more subtle.

powershowerforanhour Fri 28-Oct-16 12:34:20

Good article- I was particularly interested in tbe astroturfing idea. I like this guide:

noblegiraffe Fri 28-Oct-16 12:52:02

Thanks power for that link. Interesting.

"If a marginalized person gives you a personal testament, then you must immediately assume they are speaking on behalf of their entire group of people and be very quick to point out that it’s wrong for them to do so. It’s a diversionary tactic, designed to get them denying your accusation and so forgetting to continue to argue their point...
You can play on this concern by alarming and insulting them with the implication you think they are homogenizing their own group. It also works to suggest to them that their experience is worthless because it doesn’t align with everyone’s – particularly those that you’ve decided to favor That is, the experiences that, to your mind, back up your prejudices. This is belittling and offensive in the extreme as you are essentially denying their reality. People’s personal experiences are important to them, so it’s likely they will, whilst getting increasingly hurt and upset, continue to try and defend and “prove” them to your exacting measures while you can bask in the satisfaction of knowing you have caused them distress. You are well on your way to winning!"

Crikey. If only a certain thread hadn't been deleted I'd be able to point to a textbook example of this practice.

ChocChocPorridge Fri 28-Oct-16 13:10:54

Divide and conquer - there was a fair bit of 'I'm getting private, supportive PMs' and 'my female workmates don't mind and are laughing at you' as well.

Plus of course some women like it.

derxa Fri 28-Oct-16 13:56:51

This is so interesting. It confirms all my suspicions about Clinton

ErrolTheDragon Fri 28-Oct-16 14:02:21

Blimey... I've not read all that 'dummies' one, but I think someone else had and was trying it out. Or does it just come naturally to some?

VestalVirgin Fri 28-Oct-16 14:57:25

noblegiraffe, the article you linked focuses a lot on Clinton vs Stein, and some of it I would think is only applicable to this situation.

For example that a third party has no chance of winning - that's just part of how the US voting system works, and actually true. When such things happen in local elections where I live, some parties will ask their voters to support the candidate of another party. Wasted votes are a real thing - moreso in the US than in countries with an, ahem, more sensible system.

HillaryFTW Fri 28-Oct-16 15:02:55

Interesting idea for a thread!

FreshwaterSelkie Fri 28-Oct-16 16:43:52

That link, powershower! shock I am bookmarking it for the next basement dwelling neckbeard who happens upon us. It's clearly their operating manual, so now I feel armed and ready!

FreshwaterSelkie Fri 28-Oct-16 16:45:29

how would it be used for "whorephobia" though? hmm

They lost me a bit there. But the rest of it is gold.

Xenophile Fri 28-Oct-16 16:48:46

The problem is though that the hairy handed who come in and drool all over the carpet are not really any different to a couple of the men who feel the compulsion to post semi-regularly on her. The tactics are the same, the desire behind it is the same and the fap bank tokens they get out of it are the same and yet we seem to have some kind of weird dividing line between new neckbeards and old ones iyswim?

FreshwaterSelkie Fri 28-Oct-16 16:56:00

Fap bank! <snort>

I think the old ones are just more canny about not doing anything overtly banworthy. The ones that don't last long just can't contain themselves. They're like over enthusiastic puppies that shit on the rug and eat your slippers, so you shut them in the utility to get some peace. Whereas the old dog who lets out evil smells and drools on your laptop you just try to ignore, because you've got used to it? They're both still wrecking your peace and your house, but one of them has slowly become a fixture.

(I've no idea where I'm going with that metaphor grin It's wine o'clock where I am )

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

0phelia Fri 28-Oct-16 18:14:10

Clinton is doing it, Putin's Pro-Kremlin web Brigade are doing it, Corbyn's Momentum are doing it, Sanders was doing it, it's the digital age isn't it.

Good to see how to spot one though! I always notice if someone is basically repetitive, dogmatic, not actually open to debate and only lectures on the thread. I write them off right away.

Isitmebut used to be a prolific (Tory) one of them on the politics board.

The Tories have a web-brigade army but also have our mainstream press bought out to be on their side which is more alarming. Governments have always controlled media. It's no different now.

noblegiraffe Fri 28-Oct-16 18:56:42

There were three this week employing tactics from the above links.

I think the difference between shilling and bog standard trolling here though is an attempt to change the political narrative of a group, and feminists form a political group.

I don't know what the 'old' fappers are like, I'm not around on this section regularly.

AppleMagic Fri 28-Oct-16 19:30:19

I'm not sure all of that article is particularly helpful though. Points 1, 2 and 3 are, but are pretty obvious. Points 4, 5 and 6 seem to say that anyone who says anything negative/you disagree with might be paid shill.

The mainstream media is biased, blog opinions are by definition opinion, friends and family may be just an echo chamber, if social media and user-generated content is overwhelmingly suspect as well then we might as well give up on assessing anything we don't directly observe with our own eyes.

AppleMagic Fri 28-Oct-16 19:38:12

I should add that I am probably biased in critiquing this article because as a US resident and not an utter idiot I am very worried about a Trump presidency and I am concerned that his supporters (and Clinton detractors - looking at you Julian Assange) are using these very "divide and conquer" strategies to undermine her potential supporter base because they know he's virtually unelectable on his own merits.

OlennasWimple Fri 28-Oct-16 19:42:01

Same shit, different method surely - pre-internet it was "close source" media stories, leafleting, pamphlets, starting vicious rumours...

AntiSocialInjusticePacifist Sat 29-Oct-16 00:43:20

You might get some mileage checking this book out:

EBearhug Sat 29-Oct-16 17:54:23

What is a shill?

BigChocFrenzy Sat 29-Oct-16 21:05:40

Alarming how the alt-right and the Putin bots seems to have ganged up, rl and online
Fascists R Us
They spew their sexist racist bile together

0phelia Sat 29-Oct-16 22:51:59

What is a shill

Someone paid to be pro-side and anti-other-side on internet forums / BTL comments. It also crosses into mainstream media, articles, televised interviews etc.

Most politics is managed this way.

EBearhug Sat 29-Oct-16 22:56:00

Thank you. Somehow, it's not a term I'd heard before.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 29-Oct-16 23:07:38
The original meaning is essentially a plant or stooge.

Childrenofthestones Sun 30-Oct-16 07:45:50

EBearhug Sat 29-Oct-16 22:56:00
Thank you. Somehow, it's not a term I'd heard before.

I have never heard it used itrw but have seen it used a plenty on the politics and general discussion boards of the likes of TSR and Digital Spy.
I have to tell you , and I'm not saying this about you OP, my experience is that the users are almost exclusively very right wing and almost always Jew hating anti Semites.

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