Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are Right Wing trolls paid to sabotage on-line conversations and defend certain causes and political figures? You betcha!

This from Alternet:

Reading comment threads on the Guardian’s sites and elsewhere on the web, two patterns jump out at me. The first is that discussions of issues in which there’s little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilized than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions: such as climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance. These are often characterized by amazing levels of abuse and disruption.

Articles about the environment are hit harder by such tactics than any others. I love debate, and I often wade into the threads beneath my columns. But it’s a depressing experience, as instead of contesting the issues I raise, many of those who disagree bombard me with infantile abuse, or just keep repeating a fiction, however often you discredit it. This ensures that an intelligent discussion is almost impossible - which appears to be the point.

The second pattern is the strong association between this tactic and a certain set of views: pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Both traditional conservatives and traditional progressives tend be more willing to discuss an issue than these right-wing libertarians, many of whom seek instead to shut down debate.

So what’s going on? I’m not suggesting that most of the people trying to derail these discussions are paid to do so, though I would be surprised if none were. I’m suggesting that some of the efforts to prevent intelligence from blooming seem to be organized, and that neither website hosts nor other commenters know how to respond.

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organized by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them:

“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

Over 75% of the funding for American Majority, which hosted this training session, comes from the Sam Adams Alliance. In 2008, the year in which American Majority was founded, 88% of the alliance’s money came from a single donation, of $3.7m(13). A group which trains rightwing libertarians to distort online democratic processes, in other words, was set up with funding from a person or company with a very large wallet.

Now I have no idea if the trolls that come here have any affiliation with the "American Majority."  But if one company like that exists, it stands to reason that there are undoubtedly others.

What I do know is that there have long been some EXTREMELY dedicated Palin defenders coming to this site who seem to have little more to do with their time than to leave comments here, and on other blogs, that attempt to refute what I say in my posts, attempt to hijack the conversation and change the subject, or viciously attack the people who regularly comment here.

They use an interesting variety of methods:

There are the concern trolls:  "I have been a fan of this blog for years, but THIS time Gryphen has gone too far and I am NEVER coming back here again. GOOD-BYE!"

There are the trolls who always attempt to change the subject to their percevied failings of Obama: "Sure Sarah might not know much about foreign policy, but at least she is not going around the world and apologizing to Europe on America's behalf like the man-child currently in office."

There are trolls who try to make the comment thread seem an unwelcome place to visit: "You know obviously Anonymous at 3:45 is an ignorant inbred moron who probably wishes his mother had aborted him because he doesn't even respect his OWN God given right to exist.  Communist liberal, Christian hating scum!"

There are trolls who might let a criticism of Sister Sarah go, but simply MUST defend her family at all cost: "While I agree that Sarah Palin will never be President, there is NO evidence that Track did anything illegal," or "I personally know the Palins and they are a closed knit loving family, and you are all jealous." or "I hate Sarah Palin just as much as ANYBODY but her children should be off limits.Come on we are better than this!"

Then there are the messages that are just to me, and the commenter knows I will probably not post them: "So Jesse is this another one of your icebergs coming?  You are so pathetically jealous of Sarah's success that you can't stand it!" or "Boring!  When are you going to post something new?  This is the same old crap everyday." or "You secretly want to have sex Sarah don't you, you gay Nazi bastard?" (I seriously have received that last message at least three times now. Except I softened the language because it is early.)

Do any of those examples sound familiar to you?

Now another favorite technique is when I REALLY write something controversial, such as my posts about Bristol moving to Arizona, and the trolls see that I am being confronted by the REAL commenter's and simply pile on.  So what might elicit a handful of negative responses now brings in dozens, making it difficult to figure out who is really upset, and who is just taking advantage of a perceived weakness.

Now you might believe that the idea of paid internet trolls is a little far fetched, but don't forget that John McCain himself set the precedent during the 2008 campaign.

The reason that I have long suspected that there are trolls paid to visit this site, is because of how quick they are to jump on a story that they don't like, and how often similar phrases or words (like man-child) show up in different threads. (I once posted a story and noticed a spelling mistake.  In the twenty to thirty seconds it took me to correct that mistake, somebody had left a comment disagreeing with me which contained a LINK to help refute my position.  They literally had a link ready for when I made a post on that topic!)

So the next time that you read a comment that seems rather aggressive or hateful you have to ask yourself, is this simply somebody who disagrees with Gryphen?  Or is this somebody who is paid to start trouble over here?  And what does THAT say about the impact that this blog must be having on certain people?


  1. Anonymous6:33 AM

    Snowball Snooki is an effin idiot.

    Guess which side I'm on.

    1. Paid Right Wing shills have infiltrated the Craigslist politics forums and every single day, they troll and spam the politics forums posting editorials from Fox News and other right wing websites. They have made verbal threats against other left wing bloggers on CL as well as stalk and harass numerous other people. They are also notorious for posting racially offensive and gay bashing homophobic comments along with posting racially offensive and pornographic pictures. They are in direct violation of the policies set out by CL when it comes to the rules for posting on CL. I have notified CL regarding this matter on numerous occassions, but they do nothing about it. Anytime I post on the CL politics forum following their rules and guidelines, my posts still get flagged and removed. I have also notified CL regarding the flagging abuse, but they do nothing about it. The CL politics forums are a joke thanks to these moronic right wing idiot shills who have taken over the forums.

    2. Anonymous8:42 PM

      Paid RRW shills have taken over the political forums on Cl where they post nonstop while flagging and removing any and all left wing posts. They are lowlife SCUM!

    3. Anonymous5:04 AM

      Nice try pal-Cl used to be a viable discussion forum until REgressive trolls fill it with 100s of pointless, repetitive and degrading posts. The REgressive view is if you can't control the dissuasion, than just ruin it foe everyone.

  2. Anonymous6:48 AM

    yes there are crazies out there blindly defending their shining star. Yes we know this. The only part of this blog post I'd change is how you describe the crazies, as people who have nothing better to do. You "loyal fans" are no different in that they impatiently wait for your latest crumb only to pile on the vile and putrid comments.

    Oh, you forgot one example: I have come here in the past to express my pity for you because "I do feel for you Gryphen, that your life is empty and valueless"

    That's my favorite response because it's true. And no, I am not paid. None of us are. Although most of us fervently support the idea of Sarah Palin, not all of us would vote for her. I can only speak fro myself though. I enjoy the idea of someone who won't back down from the political bullshit and shady dealings of one Barack Obama. That is all. Your blog doesn't scare us because it's nowhere close to being mainstream or even taken seriously. We who come here are good people who detest the way pathetic losers blindly bash people they've never met. I feel the same way about people at c4p who took Sarah's side over Michelle's and who blindly hate on Obama for stupid reasons. There are numerous reasons he is the country;s worst president. Too many people attack the wrong things.

    It's bad to be so one-sided politically that you fail to see the above as true.

    1. Anonymous2:23 AM

      "It's bad to be so one-sided politically that you fail to see the above as true."

      Hence the problem, your insistence that you're right, he's wrong

    2. Rowan Hawthorn9:27 AM

      "And no, I am not paid. None of us are."

      Of all the outright blatant LIES in your idiotic screed, that one tops them all. I've been on-line since the days of UseNet, and I can spot a professional troll a mile away. Whether you're paid a nickel-a-post, on a regular salary, or you're simply a volunteer cultist, the end result is the same: PAID TROLL.

  3. Olivia6:52 AM

    Those posts have always been obvious troll posts to me. Anyone who follows this blog regularly surely will recognize them. You have received enough personal attention from SP to know that she has issued orders to harass you.

  4. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Thanks, Gryphen. It is a puzzling predicament how people blindly follow, believe, distort and fight for bogus causes. Example - urban legends. I always check with Snopes or other bonafide fact check sites before I forward something.

    All of these "intelligent, right leaning friends and relatives" in my life, blithely go forward damning and spreading the fraudulent messages. As we know, some of those viral "stories" have caused monetary damage to businesses and/or individuals.

    If we sit back and think no one is lining pockets for amping up the dirty work of peons to spread wrongful, but damaging information or aggravation, then we are targets chosen to aid them in their goals.

    We must be vigilant and call a spade a spade. The "dumbing down of America" puts us in a frightening environment in our country. Bullies abound, as well as liars, and not just in school.

    Somehow,these followers/worshippers of flawed humans who carry misinformation as though it were the truth are real demons in our midst. The first step is to recognize and call them out on their petty, or not so petty fabrications.

    Thanks again for your efforts in doing so.

  5. Anonymous6:58 AM

    Surprise! Of course the right wing has paid trolls. We have a relative who works at a major daily newspaper. Like all newspapers, the circulation of its paper edition is dropping, and 50% of their readers read the paper (or parts of it) on-line. A number of the columns have a comment feature.

    The paper was interested in its "heavy users," people who posted comments or logged into an on-line column more than 5 times a day. The first thing they had to do was to sort out the readers from the professional posters. Yes, they can tell exactly who is who. One of the features of the comment section is the ability of fellow posters to flag a post as a troll, and either "like" or "dislike" a post. Any comment that gets too many "flags" means that it is offensive, uses coarse language and is usually a paid political operative.

    Everyone who writes a comment here has a strong personal political opinion. The difference is that we should be able to post our opinion and have it respected, and the other people probably expect the same thing. It is the paid heckler that spoils the conversation. The best example of how they disrupt things are the tea baggers who tried to obstruct town hall meetings about health care.

    I'd like to wish Gryphen a Happy New Year, along with thanks for providing a healthy forum for discussion. Gryphen can tell if someone is flooding his comment section with the same abusive remarks. And, so can we.

  6. I know the Yahoo message boards are scanned by palin trolls because I have had my palin remarks removed. I also received a warning from Yahoo that if I persist in violating their terms of service I will be banned.

    My crime was posting articles and comments not favored by the palin supporters, their complaints prompted Yahoo to issue their threat.

  7. Anonymous7:01 AM

    @6:48 - But you do a poor job of expressing yourself, so whether you are "defending" someone or bashing the President for nothing (evidence? links?), no one can figure out what the heck you are talking about. So your comments are futile & pointless here.

  8. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Anonymous @ 6:48am
    It's amazing that you can see shady dealings of Obama and yet the shady dealing of Palin go right over your head.
    You are quite the hypocrite, blindly bashing people you have never met and at the same time whining about others doing it.
    It's pathetic to be so one-sided politically that you fail to see the above as true.

  9. Gretawire has lots of commenters who post remarks like the examples you give, e.g., "I would not vote for Sarah Palin for President, but still she is the real deal and she has much more common sense than the usurper in the WH. She's a strong woman with real Christian values and love of our country. She was the most popular Governor in the country. You're just jealous." And so on ad nauseam. If you point out her record as Mayor of Wasilla, bring up the ethics issues and her laziness as Governor, the failed pipeline project, her lack of understanding of any issues, terrible performance as VP candidate, they ignore the facts and ramp up the name-calling. You still find people who think the natural gas pipeline, the "biggest infrastructure project this country has ever seen," will be built any day now--and they give Sarah credit for it. Plus, they will tell you she single-handedly cleaned up corruption in AK and "took on big oil and won." Go over to Gretawire and surf the threads. You'll see what I mean. But be prepared to be called a libtard and worse if you try to bring facts and logic into the discussion

  10. 10catsinMD7:06 AM


    Wow, I guess you are right considering the comments here and now.

    I come here regularly, and the trolls and their inanity do bother me. Getting paid? Possibly. I am getting pretty tired of all the Palin crap. I just wish they would go away completely, forever.

    But maybe you should publish some of the nastiest remarks. I think you do hold back on that.

    I don't enjoy reading the Palin praisers. I think they are as stupid as their mistress.

    Thanks for all that you do on tis blog. I enjoy reading all of it. Keep it up.

  11. Anonymous7:06 AM

    There are definitely paid bloggers or paid staff involved. While I appreciate intelligent discourse, I ccmpletely avoid Huffpost's comments section now. Paid trolls have been supported enough by the other trolls so that they are featured as the first comment in bold. It makes me sick.

  12. I agree with you Gryphen, take for example anonymous 6:48AM, they can deny being paid, but do we believe anything that comes out of a Palin supporters mouth? Afterall most of them watch Fox, and that whole telecast is based on lies. Just repeat it and they believe it.

  13. Anonymous7:12 AM

    I guess Anonymous at 6:48AM proved your point and took the bait!
    He/she also showcased two other techniques: A) I hate Obama for the right reasons, not those small minded reasons like others B) Sarah was wrong in regard to going after Michelle, but all the other times she was right.

    The funny thing is that those of us reading particular blogs aren't going to be swayed by this. In fact, it just makes me more strident. Their fervent defense shows a lack of information, intellect and higher order thinking skills.

  14. Anonymous7:18 AM

    I have read the blog often since Sarah Palin came onto the national stage and have found it interesting and informative. May I ask you however to consider one change (improvement?) on the presentation: the font/typeface difference between guest articles and your words is not sufficient for me to readily tell the difference when you move from one to the other. Perhaps a standard difference in font or in highlighting would enable a more obvious transition?

  15. Beldar7:18 AM

    I have been a fan of this blog for years, but THIS time Gryphen has gone too far and I am NOT coming back here again until later today. GOOD-BYE!

    ps, keep fighting the good fight, Gryph. The truth will out.

  16. Anonymous7:19 AM

    They are fast. Working 24/7. The money must be good.

  17. Quiet17:20 AM

    That comes as no surprise. At one time when I was looking for online work, I received a job posting for exactly that -- to post political "comments" on blogs. Didn't take it, of course : )

  18. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I've seen this problem, and in all kinds of venues.

    Certainly here and other political blogs. And definitely in the book section of amazon. But I've also seen it in the "customer reviews" section of online stores, and at financial message boards where people are paid to pump or bash stocks.

    For the trolls who claim to never get paid for their efforts, I'm left wondering why they do this. It's an exercise in futility. They will no more change our minds than we will theirs. What thrill is there is being an annoying mosquito?

    1. Anonymous7:47 AM


      You inadvertently pointed out an underlying issue with this entire set of circumstances: "They will no more change our minds than we will theirs."

      They have no interest whatsoever in a discussion of facts or interpretation of motive, and only seek to disrupt the discussion or so poison it as to render any conversation futile. If a third party was truly attempting to get additional information, these trolls only seek to make sure their own lies are put in the place of facts or useable information. Those people only exist to muddy the water: They are not at the pool to give swimming lessons or to become better swimmers; they are only at the pool to piss in it so that no one else can learn or teach anything.

      Additionally, they wear their incontinence like a badge of honor, the same way an unintelligent adolescent girl likes to play contrarian and happily call herself a "bitch." It is the exact same mindset, and behavior that the rest of us find abhorrent or a label we would use as a reason for introspection is treated as a compliment by those people.

  19. Anonymous7:26 AM

    Point proven, Gryphen.

  20. Anonymous7:27 AM

    Fervently support the idea of SP? LOL - what the hec does that even mean? You mean you support the idea of a non intellectual, stuck in the 50s (and I mean 1850s),duplicitous but charming snake oil salesperson leading the country who would then quit when she actually figured out there was work involved and problems that need actual resolution vs. just reeling off some incendiary speaking points?

    I do agree that an informed America will make better more quality choices for government and it is good to see both sides of a story. Unfortunately, with money owning the major information outlets only blogs and such like have the freedom to express all sides.

    Obama has done more for working class Americans in 2 years in office than the prior 4 presidents in all the time they had in office. Yes, I disagree with some of his policies and decisions but he has still accomplished much more that most give him credit for.

  21. Anonymous7:28 AM

    6:48 proves the mindless stupidity chatter that was mentioned in the article. It doesn't matter if you are paid or not, the framed anger, the nasty comments, personal attacks and your last line is laughable. "There are numerous reasons that he is the country's worst president" and you say that is true. Okay back it up. Give one example with reliable FACTS to back up your example. Stop the name calling, write something reasonable and back up your statement. Support it with facts because that will be your downfall - you can't. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt - go ahead one example.

  22. Anonymous7:29 AM

    6:48 obviously won the draw for the big bonus today!!!

  23. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Wow 6:48 sure had that response ready in a hurry :-) What I like is the phrase "idea of Sarah Palin". Yup, that's all it is- an idea. The reality is paranoid, lacking critical thinking skills, no intellectual curiosity, devoid of writing or speaking skills, and yes- a terrible example of a "devoted parent". 6:48 you made Gryph's point and my day.

  24. Anonymous7:31 AM

    I too have noticed a few words employed by some posters. Man-boy is typical. The worst places I see straight up vile posting is on Yahoo. Especially regarding global warming. The responses are really ugly and do seem quite organized to stop discourse. Any thinking person simply leaves and doesn't come back. I wonder if Yahoo news notices this or are they complicit?

    1. Rowan Hawthorn9:33 AM

      Not sure about Yahoo, but I'm 100% positive that Farcebook's so-called "moderator" staff is in the pocket of the right wing propaganda office.

  25. 'Now you might believe that the idea of paid internet trolls is a little far fetched...'

    Not at all, although the 'volunteer' force is a little stronger with those the moment.

    'Ya throw peanuts, ya get flying monkeys.'


  26. Wow. Paid to troll. I guess they would want money to replace all those worn out jammies and keep the lights on in all those basements.

  27. I beg to differ, 6:48 a.m. The Gryph's "loyal fans" are quite different. We're able to tell the difference between real and fake for one thing.

  28. Anonymous7:46 AM

    A 6.48 AM

    What is your point???

  29. Anonymous7:50 AM

    6.48 yes we can see your broken brain. Take your ass out of here if you do not like what Gryphen writes about.

  30. laprofesora7:50 AM

    It's bad to be so one-sided politically that you fail to see the above as true.

    6:48 AM

    You poor, deluded creature.

  31. Anonymous7:51 AM

    6:48, I know your thighs will expand, but honestly, to say President Obama is one the worse Presidents ever - particularly after eight years of Dumb and Dumber (Cheney-Bush), you must have rather skewed standards, a meager understanding of history, and a lack of analytical skill.s

    No one here is claiming President Obama is perfect, nor do we agree with all his ideas or actions, but he is a thoughtful, intelligent man.

  32. crystalwolfakacaligrl7:55 AM

    Oh you can definitely see the paid Trolls, lol.
    It was shown that when the CSU-Palingate happened there were paid trolls coming on the newspapers and blogs to try to minimize the damage of the Hero "dumpster divers" find of Snowflake's snookie contract of "bendy straws & Lear jets"! Also,too, to keep quiet her speaking fee of $75K + $19K in hotel etc.
    But Hey Cali is not like AK!
    Our Senator demanded the facts been known!
    Sunshine laws rule in Cali paid trolls or not!
    Paid trolls are Epic Fail!

  33. FEDUP!!!7:55 AM

    *NOW* I get it - *THAT* is where the 'miscellaneous' expenses for PR etc go in $arahPAC's accounting disclosures!

    You definitely have hit a nerve (again) with this post, Gryphen! Maybe you can find out a bit more about this (i.e. if/how much $PAC pays). Wouldn't it be great if you could discover/expose that type of shenanigans?

  34. Anonymous7:57 AM

    The "idea of Sarah Palin" must be code for forgetting all of her specific misdeeds, idiot ramblings, major political blunders, and just allowing them to follow their Queen without taking heed of any facts or evidence that prove she is a fraud and a snake oil salesperson.

    I also believe that many of Sarah's posters might be right to lifers and very far right religious fanatics. You see the same type of posters defending Mel Gibson.

  35. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Well Anony 6;48 I have known the Palins from my first day in the state 37 years ago and I can tell you that you are a idiot if you support her. If you can't see that there is no hope for you. Everything is there right in front of your ignorant face but you continue to ignore it.

  36. angela7:58 AM

    Poor Anon 6:48. . . .
    You walked right into that and even with thigh high waders you are getting crap on yourself.

    Good call Gryphen.

  37. Anonymous8:02 AM

    I'm with 6:33 A.M.

    I wonder just where Sarah and her devoted friends (who must stay in her good graces) would be if, the Alaska bloggers had not taken her on, Brought about the now turning worm(so to speak)and the disgust being exposed, to all Sarah stands for.

    I call her "The Beauty and the Beast" within.

    Keep exposing this fraud on America

  38. Anonymous8:03 AM

    My favorite posts are the ones from a person who "really knows the Palins" and informs us that they are a "wonderful family."

  39. Anonymous8:04 AM

    I think this is not new. I noticed back in the 1990s that an incredible number of posts and letters-to-editors across the country all used the phrase "this most corrupt of all administrations" to slime Bill Clinton. After a while you realize this is what's called "a statistically improbable phrase."
    With the election of President Barack Obama, similar memes are manufactured. Such as the idea that he goes around apologizing to different countries. I have done various web searches for this, but I can't seem to find a list of these supposed apologies. Anybody out there have better luck?
    Maybe it's like the supposed anti-gun actions by Attorney General Eric Holder described by the Millerite in Anchorage that Rachel Maddow tried to interview.
    Tom, in Florida

  40. Anonymous8:04 AM

    OT. Additional duplicity on Palin's part that bothers me. The rumors are numerous that she is moving to Arizona. How in the hell is she getting a free ride on this when she loves her Alaska, touts her love for Alaska in her political advertisement on TLC, and has used and abused Alaska as the cornerstone of political credibility. How much do you LOVE Alaska when you move as soon as the going gets tough and your polling drops?

  41. Virginia Voter8:04 AM

    6:48 fell for the bait, hook, line, and sinker...just like his/her queen Sarah, who never relents in her endless quest to tilt windmills and silence her critics. Another EPIC FAIL

    He, he...6:48...Gryphen has met Sarah quite a few times silly troll...she even knows him well, since they threw him out of more than one book signing in Alaska dimwit. Too bad Sarah doesn't have any smart trolls, I guess water seeks it's own level, huh

  42. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Anon @6:48 likes Sarah cause she won't back down?

    Like when she quit?

    What's Sarah's plan to cut the deficit? Beyond spend less, tell me what she would cut exactly.

    What's her foreign policy platform? What did she say on the START treaty? What about missile shield in Europe?

    What's her job creation plan? Don't say tax cuts cause we saw how well those jobs stuck around during the Bush years under tax cuts.

    What's Sarah's plan with respect to Social Security?

    What about health care reform? She doesn't like Obamacare, what would she provide? What did she provide Alaskans? How would the rationing from insurance companies be different from the death panels she crows on about?

    Instead of hiding behind twitter, Facebook and hanging out with Kate Gosselin on reality shows, maybe she could come out and actually debate someone or put forth some policy planks.

    She's a simple money and fame whore who milks her rubes under the guise of public service.

    Christ, I hope she wins the nomination in 2012.

  43. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Anyone who thinks Barak Obama is the worst president this country has ever had is as big an idiot as Sarah Palin.

    And, the idea that Sarah Palin would actually stand up to anyone is hilarious. She runs away screaming at the mere idea of someone challenging her. Just look at her response when it was suggested she debate Al Gore about climate change. "Oh, I'm sure he'd never stoop to debating a simple housewife from Wasilla." What a load of crap!

  44. Anonymous8:14 AM

    Um...why would a Gay person want to have sex with ANY woman? Troll comments are hilarious!

  45. i have read huffpo and other mainstream political and news blogs for a ling time, and the alaska blogs since 29 august 2008, my weddding anniversary and sarah's as well :o(, and the unforgettable day that mccain unleashed sarah upon this hurting, divided nation. so i have seen a wide variety of comments as i like to see what people have to say - who doesn't? i quickly realized that there were repeat comments and comment trends that matched certain hateful emails circulating about democratic or liberal leaders or policies, if not in content then at least in form. this is why i think your advice not to feed the trolls is key - if we do feed them, we interrupt the flow of discussion. i realize that being on blogger you probably don't have a choice, but the format of the comments makes discussion difficult enough as it is - you can't leave a comment about a comment here. so i think it's vital that folks ignore trolls so we can have a flow to the comments. how do we know though who is a troll and who isn't? well, if you are reading this site and the comments enough, you will recognize the pattern. i love engaging in discussion with people who have differing opinions, but i have found that most of the folks leaving contentious comments don't even write back. they are probably on some other blog trying to interrupt the flow of discussion there as well. so like you say here in the comment section, please folks, don't feed those damn trolls!

  46. Anonymous8:18 AM

    I remember this from 2008:

    (Dutch journalist fabricates letters for McCain campaign)

  47. I suspected that RAM was your most faithful troll but I haven't seen her around lately. That troll's intention seemed to be to provide spin for any wandering Palin supporters who might otherwise read the post and question the queen.

    "You secretly want to have sex Sarah don't you, you gay Nazi bastard?"

    That is seriously funny. The troll, at least unconsciously, believes Sarah is a man.

  48. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Ha! I knew it. I've been saying this forever and people thought I was crazy. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! Over the summer, it was so obvious that conservatives were abusing Facebook. And they weren't even good at it.

    I "fanned" the Democrat running for the senate seat in my state, a senate seat that used to be held by someone whose name rhymes with Flobama, and every day, every post, a bunch of dipshits, who also fanned this candidate, would write terrible, negative things about the candidate they fanned. Then you'd look at their FB profile and they'd have zero friends and would be fans of a bunch of Democrats. I knew these asses were getting paid. They had to be. It was a constant spew. The minute after a post went up, they'd be there with a response.

    What really made it obvious was that one of them was not so bright and used his real name in his profile -- you'd Google him and find out that he ran for office in our state, as a Republican. It got to the point where I complained to the candidate's office. It made his FB page really unpleasant to hang out on.

    I really, really wish the media would have picked up this story. It shows how petty and asshole-ish the GOP are.

  49. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Oh, but just for the record: I've been accused by commenters of this blog of being a troll. Why? Because I objected to your use of the word bitch in describing SP. Call her snowdrift Snooki, call her the Grifter, whatever. It's all good. I ain't a troll. I just think you should taper the language, keep it civil. Thanks!

  50. Anonymous8:29 AM

    6:48 AM

    The idea that Barack Obama is the worst president EVER is hillarious. You must be an idiot. Either that or your head was buried in ice from 1/20/00 to 1/20/08 and your fingers have been broken your entire life so that you've never been able to read a history book.

  51. I'm a Canadian lurker. I appreciate your posts even when I'm not totally onboard with them (which doesn't happen too often) you've given me much to consider that the MSM doesn't even want to touch. You've created an open environment where, good or bad, we can consider what we're given and choose on our own whether to accept or reject and I love that: choice, it's a word that the extremist types really despise.

  52. Anonymous8:30 AM

    During the final days of the State election I kept close tabs on the ADN news stories and commented often. Some of the more regular ADN commenters started noticing every time someone said something negative about Miller/Murkowski, or positive about McAdams, then some comment would be made attacking the President with Birther remarks or other similar ridiculous accusations and deflections.

    We came up with a strategy that the ADN comment board moderator I think actually approved of (after all they didn't block or remove us). Every time something like that occurred, one of us would commment on that link with "Drink!". Because their comments are so ludicris, so out of bounds of the conversation, the only response is ridicule (and it was really fun). And it worked!

  53. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Ok, there are trolls and then there are people who don't march in lockstep. Yes, you can dislike Palin intensely and still think certain attacks on her family make us sound just as ill-mannered as a Palinbot. Please, please don't go the route of C4P and automatically distrust people who might have a slightly differing take on occasion. I enjoy coming to this blog, but if I'm going to be considered a troll just because I don't always gleefully pile on no matter the post subject, well...I probably won't want to come here that much. Not that it would make a difference, I'm just saying.

  54. FEDUP!!!8:42 AM

    Beldar @7:15 : Good one! :D

  55. "You secretly want to have sex Sarah don't you, you gay Nazi bastard?" I'm sorry, this one just struck me as funny. Its like the little kid who is angry, but doesn't really have the language to express their anger. So they throw out all the insults they've ever hear of. Actually, that is how many of the angry trolls sound to me. Their poverty of language is amazing to me.

  56. FEDUP!!!9:03 AM

    anon @8:29am: Another possibility is that those that think our President is the worst ever is that they are TeaPukelicans that were VERY well off during the gwb regime, and now are getting a bit pinched by having had to live in fear of losing their tax breaks and their $$$exemption from inheritance taxes.
    They breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when the tax break was extended for another two years!
    On the other hand, they DESPISE the fact that President Obama actually is trying to help (against the wishes of the people he hired to do the job...) the unemployed and the homeowners stuck in the housing bubble/burst with the foreclosures.

  57. Thanks for this post. It has helped me a lot to call a particular one out on another blog.

    Today I keep pointing out where he misdirects.

    It is really fun to do back at him what he is trained to do to progressive bloggers.

  58. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Defending and promoting a sociopath is a tough job for the trolls. Even well-funded and motivated trolls begin to have a mechanical cast to their comment style. I come here to read G's posts. The comments are dessert. My laughing scorn at the trolls pitiful efforts is the background music.

  59. Anonymous9:22 AM

    " 10catsinMD said...
    I don't enjoy reading the Palin praisers. I think they are as stupid as their mistress.
    7:06 AM"

    I always thought the Palins were behind a lot of
    the creepy praise, but a lot of the trolls have better
    grammar and spelling than a Palin.

  60. Anonymous9:24 AM

    I enjoy the idea of someone who won't back down from the political bullshit and shady dealings of one Barack Obama.

    What on earth does that even MEAN?

    Sarah Palin isn't even standing up, so the idea that she "won't back down is a joke. She's hiding on a Facebook page, typing dumb fact-free insults - just like a million other trolls, only the media pays attention to her.

    And exactly what "political bullshit" are you accusing the President of that is different than what any other politician does, including Sarah Palin when she was governor?

    "shady dealings" - you can type anything you want. Back it up? Hardly.

    It's really sad that someone would actually admire a person like Sarah Palin who does nothing more in life than inflate her own image while trying (ineffectively) to talk trash about another person. What has she contributed to the national dialogue other than insults? Nothing.

  61. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Many of the C4pee regular commenters are now contributors at a new site standing4palin. It's much the same as c4p.

    I only recognize a troll by "I don't support Palin but" and then the spew.

    I want to see the emails to see if Sarah was the Gov or Todd. Her minions aren't concerned, but should be, about Todd Palin as an "advisor" and his role if she did get to the WH.

  62. Anonymous9:49 AM

    I feel for you in having to deal with the really rabid trolls. I'll join in with a couple of the other commenters, however, in saying that you have referred to me as one from time to time when I called you out on your very course language and extremely sexist comments about the Palin women. Just because we disagree with you from time to time doesn't mean we are trolls. I am a faithful reader and enjoy and appreciate the work you do on this blog. But I still don't think its right to call women degrading names and use degrading sexual imagery to get your point across.

  63. Anonymous10:42 AM

    I have to agree about the trolls. HP and the Yahoo boards are really infected with insanity at times.

    I like the "Drink" game reply. Depending on the silliness maybe it could be from one to four drinks?

  64. Beldar Kfonehead (the 'f' is silent)10:52 AM

    That 40% of this country regard her with anything less than well-deserved derision is a shameful embarrassment to all of us.

    Trolls or no trolls, the moment this know-nothing quitter ends the money-motivated charade of threatening to run for president is when widespread interest in what she and her ill-behaved children do will evaporate so quickly it will make a loud noise. It can't come soon enough for me.

  65. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I'm pretty sure the haraSmaeT site comes out of somebody's political PAC money. It really is a sophisticated, beautifully maintained website, with email alerts on hot-button issues and a complex forum system.

    One or two regular commenters write positive, grammatically correct posts in a "news release" kind of style.

    I sometimes wonder if the people who maintain and furnish that website are at all puzzled as to why their posts get so few responses, and how it is that so much of the content and replies are so simple-minded; "I just luvvv Sara".

    It's like a sports car with a really cheap, crappy engine. It looks good, but performs badly.

  66. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Are Right Wing trolls paid to sabotage on-line conversations and defend certain causes and political figures? You betcha!

    And did you know that schitt can be automated also too?

    Chatbot Wears Down Proponents of Anti-Science Nonsense

    "When he tired of arguing with climate change skeptics, one programmer wrote a chatbot to do it for him."

  67. Anonymous11:07 AM

    The prompt appearance of Anonymous 6:48 inspired me to wing some cash your way, Gryphen.

    Suck on that, troll Anonymous.

  68. Anonymous11:22 AM

    The Palinbot trolls on HuffPo are always
    talking about how all the haterz are Ubsessed
    with teh Queen & that is why she is mentioned.
    Yea, they'd love it if we'd stop talking about her
    and all her faults, then they could shape how she
    is portrayed.

    The anti-Palin blogs ARE spreading
    information--the bad stuff she has done, and keeps
    doing. We have to keep after her. The majority
    of Americans despise her--and we can't let them
    forget why she deserves to be despised. She has
    shown herself to be an evil-minded person, so
    I have no pity (the 08 campaign made in impossible
    for me to ever see anything good about Sarah Palin).

  69. Palin and her Bots are bad for America11:31 AM

    Anon 6:48 isn't even worth responding to. Any American who really believes President Obama is the "worst" president we have ever had, clearly is an uneducated stupid idiot. Or they are simply racist. Either way, they clearly are not well educated in American history.
    Then again, either is the woman they worship.
    Anon 648 and those like him/her are an embarrassment to our country. They are so blinded by ignorance and hatred, that they are completely incapable of discerning fact from fiction. These people have hurt our country and through their support of ineffective outdated policies and presidents like Bush and Reagan, have led America to the economic disaster we now face. Just listen to them- they hold on to principles and ideas that did not and will not work, and then have the gall to blame President Obama and others for THEIR failures! History proves this to be correct and will continue to do so. These irresponsible and selfish "Americans" who ignore everything our great country stand for disgust me. They ignore facts and actually support a pathetic, driveling whiner like Sarah Palin?? For President or any office of importance? Honestly they are an embarrassment to our country and world wide laughing stocks.

  70. Anonymous11:35 AM

    @9:31 I meant "I always recognize" not "only"

  71. Anonymous12:15 PM

    i visit this site a few times a day and will continue to do so. i visit because i believe this is the first place that picks up on the stupid, slimy crap that sarah does so well,, and i don't want to miss a single inch of her tumble into obscurity!
    and i go as far as to hope she is humiliated badly along the way.

    P.S. i was not paid to write that,,,

    bill in belize

  72. Anonymous12:23 PM

    The same tactic was used on Anchorage Daily News comment sections on every article about Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller during the election.
    I purposefully tracked several screen names over about 48 hours. Read every post and noted the time of each post and frequency. There was a clear obvious pattern. As well, it suggested that different shifts of people were logging on with the same screen name.
    A great number were just vaguely on topic, or not at all, but with some peripheral message, obviously scripted.
    A common approach with all Palin-related articles is a pre-scripted reference to President Obama. The campaign is ridiculous in its transparency. The point? To associate the words "Sarah Palin" with "President". Psychologically, it creates a credibility and an impression of being colleagues.
    So obvious. Dumb.

  73. Anonymous1:00 PM

    It's true, Gryphen. I know this because my husband worked in PR and he was paid by certain celebrities (not unlike our Sarah) to go on sites and write positive things about them. The thing about these operatives is that they don't really care that much about their subject. They know the general facts and what the "image" is. But throw them some well-researched information and they just fall back on "rational" arguments which have nothing to do with facts. One of my favorite is when a troll stood up for Sarah's endorsement of a woman named Star from Long Beach, California who had multiple abortions. The troll said that Sarah's positions were not so air tight, so to speak. Obviously a high paid, lazy associate for the firm. ;p

  74. It sure would be nice if people would stop confusing the Tea Party with libertarians. In an otherwise interesting article, he lumps the right-wing and libertarians together about a dozen times.

    Now some Tea Party idiots may claim to be libertarian, but even a cursory glance at the libertarian movement would show that claim to be wrong. And libertarians certainly have nothing to do with American Majority, which couldn't be more of a right-wing establishment organization.

  75. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I think more pressure is going to be applied to the State of Alaska to secure the Palin emails written during her short term as governor. This matter will gain more national attention and I can hardly wait to see what happens.

    From the outside - looking in - it appears that Linda Perez (administrator in the Juneau Governor's Office, who has held that position for a number of years)and newly elected (originally appointed by Palin) Governor Sean Parnell - are protecting quitter Palin. I do not think she should have the courtesy of even being called 'governor'. After all - she is the worst that has ever graced the position in Alaska!

  76. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Am I the only one that loves it when Palin trolls post here? Whenever I see their posts it tells me whatever was written got to them. That's awesome. You should take it as a compliment. You got under their skin and they couldn't stop themselves from pounding out a response. The angrier they get, the better it is.

  77. Anonymous2:42 PM

    It took Anon at 6:48AM 20 minutes to respond to Gryphen's post. He/she/it claims "You (sic) "loyal fans" are no different in that they impatiently wait for your latest crumb only to pile on the vile and putrid comments.", yet more often than not the trolls are among the first ones to respond - always mean, bland, humorless and without a shred of an argument to refute Gryphen's posts.

    Face it, 6:48AM - Gryphen's the puppeteer - you're the puppet.

  78. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Huff Post has gotten so bad now that it takes forever for a post to show up. The articles used to have underneath them the # of comments posted and the # of comments pending. Just recently they quit showing # of comments pending and it takes absolutely forever for a comment to show up and it is very hard to reply to other comments posted because of the slowness. Some of the moderators just scrub everything and lots of posts are gone.

    There are, I am certain, palinbots paid to post on there and the same ones post under different names. The policy is you can use only 1 name but I am positive RAM is posting there under several different names because of what she writes. She uses certain words that show up many times in those posts. Huff Post has continued to go downhill because of their moderation tactics.

    They also run the same stories for days and that gets pretty boring.

    Gryph, keep up the good work and leak us some more juicy stories.

  79. I have a little bit of a different spin on whether you have paid stooges messing with you, based on the clear patterns in the harassing responses you receive.

    To begin with, I certainly can see why you're suspicious. When the Bush II administration started secretly paying "journalists" Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher to tout administration programs, I wouldn't have believed it--until the proof was irrefutable. I mean, BOTH paying and taking money was just too dumb for words. So, given such rampant idiocy, why not pay trolls?

    My opinion, though, is colored by the years I practiced family law. After a few years, I'd tell my clients "Now, your spouse is going to say A, B, and C. When they say that, you just tell them 1, 2, and 3." Invariably, I'd get a call in a few days, with a grateful client telling me I was either a genius or having incredible ESP. The truth is even sadder.

    I can't speak for other people and/or cultures, but fact is Americans (as a rule) are ridiculously predictable. In situations of high emotional stress (either real of perceived), our responses will invariably be limited to one of a very small handful of options. Creativity and uniqueness of expression are just not our long suit.

    So, people who write you, claiming to be part of the silent majority of long time readers, now dumping you forever, are all chortling to themselves about how clever they are--imagining your pants wetting panic at hearing the news. They'd never dream that you hear that at least a dozen times a day.

    Here's what I'm saying: as a rule, people are not very bright; and conservatives, especially, are downright stupid. How else could you account for a group of people genuinely concerned that President Obama MAY have been born in Kenya, MAY be a not so secret fifth columnist muslim, and that allowing same sex marriages in California will damage all marriages in Arkansas?

    The people attacking you--I don't know for sure, I'm just guessing based both on my experience (and Occam's Razor)--aren't organized: they're just stoopid.

    PS I always KNEW you were a gay, nazi bastard! (HA HA HA! I kill me).

  80. One last point I forgot to mention:

    As a general rule, anyone who leaves an anonymous comment is not worth listening to. If you're not willing to put your name behind your comments--regardless of how boneheaded--then you're probably better off not making them.

    That's why I always attach my name to all my boneheaded comments.

  81. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Love you Gryphen, down here in Homestead, FL. We admire what you are doing.

  82. kejia4:40 PM

    Clearly the trolls don't actually read your columns, or instead of calling you a gay nazi bastard, they would taunt you about your new sofa :)

    (p.s. I do wish comments by trolls had a different font. Perhaps xx-small Comic Sans? )

  83. Anonymous4:48 PM

    During the Senate election, there were lots of pro-Millers trolls in the ADN comment section. I assume they were being paid. They pretended to be Alaskans but many were outed due to their ignorance of Alaska.

  84. Lauren Horn5:08 PM

    Thank you, Mr. Abendroth. Now I know why I slogged through all of the previous comments. (I wondered why myself, much of the time.)

  85. anonymous aka anonymous5:10 PM

    Here is something which I strongly disagree with.

    As a general rule, anyone who leaves an anonymous comment is not worth listening to. If you're not willing to put your name behind your comments--regardless of how boneheaded--then you're probably better off not making them.

    Seems to me that this blog was originally published under a pseudonym. Which is not at all different than either using either a pseudonym or anonymous as an identifier when commenting here.

    Your choice is your choice, but when it comes to your general rule, you are wrong.

  86. Anonymous6:04 PM

    AMAZING! 6:48 must be tracking your posts to be second in line for commenting. I mean really, if you don't like the stuff printed here, don't come over;) And I post as Anonymous because I'm too tired and too lazy to remember my Google account name & password.

    Laura in NOLA

  87. KiheiKat7:15 PM

    There are new tweeter orgs being touted, one being Dems4Palin. It's supposed to be encouraging Dems to vote for Palin in the primaries to make it easier for the President to gain re-election. My BS meter started clanging loudly. Anyone encouraging voter manipulation has to be another Right Wing dirty tricks effort.

    Thanks for all you do Gryphen! Keep up the great work.

  88. KiheiKat7:17 PM

    PS - If they're accusing us of doing it - they're the ones who do it. =)

  89. aj weishar7:55 PM

    Gryphen, I tangled with one of the trolls earlier this year on a news site. He attacked a news article by saying it was false, but his language just sounded like a troll. I commented on his assertion by citing references supporting the article. Then I commented it was good to see he was still getting paid to write responses. I asked if he was getting $100 for each published comment. Well that touched a nerve. I got a blistering email (so much for protecting your email address) threatening to sue me. He said we'd have words if I ever showed up in his town in California. I just sent him some more articles to read and suggested he read before he writes.

  90. Punkinbugg11:11 PM

    This name-calling has to stop.

    The topic of politics literally ruined someone's Christmas this year. A friend of mine was the only Democrat in a room full of so-called Republican family members, when the topic of taxes came up. I say so-called because every single ONE OF THEM has a government job. He called BS on their hypocrisy, and all they could do was hurl one Fox-fueled salvo after another. He was supposed to stay the night and have Christmas with them the next day. Instead, he left a note saying, "I have a headache." and drove home (200 miles) in the middle of the night.

    They *think* they are Republicans because Dems are nothing but ethnics, homos, hippies and deadbeats, right? That's not us, right? So we must be Republicans. DUHHHHH. No, you are just a buncha redneck wanna-be's who listen to AM radio all day.

    Oh yeah and by golly we live in Texas. I apologize and will try to channel the great Molly Ivans whenever possible.

    And yes, I believe there are paid trolls, too. I saw one on ADN the other day who was racking up nickels and dimes by the dozen.

  91. Anonymous12:12 AM

    "And no, I am not paid. None of us are."

    Sorta proved Gryphen's point there, didn't ya, slick?

  92. Scipio10:39 AM

    when you provide solid evidence to debunk their claims say this:

    Here's the proof, (show link) ignore it like it's Obama's long form birth certificate.

    Or "now that we're allowed to change the subject, tell me how do you feel about: some very hard to defend GOP policy like

    what Gov Snyder is doing

    The Citizen's United ruling,
    The health care public option. Something that polls high with the American people.

    Since they're paid bots, they don't have permission to talk about certain issues and will find 10 different ways to duck the question.

  93. Scipio11:05 AM

    I bet most of these paid trolls work outside of the US.

    I don't see how thousands of Americans can do this and remain a secret for very long.

  94. @ site owner/supporters - This is my first time on your blog. I googled "paid internet trolls" and your site was the first to pop up!!! Thats awesome! Way to spread the truth!!

    I have been posting this blog post on every forum (yahoo, facebook, youtube, etc.) to help spread awareness. We are the true Patriots, now. Our cause may not be glorified, but we are the only hope for freedom in the future. Long Live the Revolution!!!!

  95. I wanted to follow up with you. I am absolutely 100% gauranteed you are correct now.

    I have been posting this "Guys be on the look out for paid trolls. Here is an article to help you learn how to identify them." on every troll post i can find. And sure enough most of my post have been flagged and removed. I also posted this on Sarah Palin's Facebook homepage several times under several accounts, and each time it was deleted despite having positive feedback from HER supporters. Another interesting point. I also posted the same post on the other Presidential candidate forums and non of the others were deleted. Only the ones on Sarah Palin and Yahoo were deleted. A true conspiracy I would say. I will continue to do this for as long as I have a computer. i hope you enjoy more traffic because of this.

  96. On the White House LinkedIn forum, where paid teams of these bots have been disrupting useful discussions for over three years, we came up with a codeword for them.

    A few of us formed an informal line to fight this disinformation campaign with facts and reason, and we have held it without funding or organization for all this time. Dozens of ordinary people have given a lot of their own time for no other reason than their own beliefs in the principles of the country.

    We are coming to call them "Kochs" or "Koch bots".

    Really, we're just going with the flow. It's been very hard to find a good term to identify this sort of behavior since it can appear anywhere and takes on so many forms.

    "Koching up the process", "all Koched up", etc works pretty well to describe the many aspects such as the 230,000 websites, blogs and forums which disseminate any canard against the President or the Democrats - seeking to create a false web buzz on every one; the abuse of free speech and hindering of others' freedom of speech; and the abuse of any facility on any site to prevent rational thinking from appearing without brutish attacks.

  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Sorry but trolls exist on both sides. Trolls that think we all have to be politically correct and have big government take care of all us.

    Both big corporations who never pay their taxes in full AND Big Government that want to take care of us from cradle to grave thinking they know what's best for us and that we are too stupid are full of lies and corruption. It seems those who want small businesses to succeed get pushed out of the stadium.


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.