Dilution, misdirection and control of an internet forum

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by melbo, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    There are several techniques for the control and manipulation of a internet forum no matter what, or who is on it. We will go over each technique and demonstrate that only a minimal number of operatives can be used to eventually and effectively gain a control of a 'uncontrolled forum.'

    Daily Paul Liberty Forum
    COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum..

    Technique #1 - 'FORUM SLIDING'
    If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum - it can be quickly removed from public view by 'forum sliding.' In this technique a number of unrelated posts are quietly prepositioned on the forum and allowed to 'age.' Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon at will to trigger a 'forum slide.' The second requirement is that several fake accounts exist, which can be called upon, to ensure that this technique is not exposed to the public. To trigger a 'forum slide' and 'flush' the critical post out of public view it is simply a matter of logging into each account both real and fake and then 'replying' to prepositined postings with a simple 1 or 2 line comment. This brings the unrelated postings to the top of the forum list, and the critical posting 'slides' down the front page, and quickly out of public view. Although it is difficult or impossible to censor the posting it is now lost in a sea of unrelated and unuseful postings. By this means it becomes effective to keep the readers of the forum reading unrelated and non-issue items.

    Technique #2 - 'CONSENSUS CRACKING'
    A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at AboveTopSecret.com: Conspiracy Theories, UFOs, Politics, and Many Other "Alternative Topics") is 'consensus cracking.' To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'

    Technique #3 - 'TOPIC DILUTION'
    Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a 'RESOURCE BURN.' By implementing continual and non-related postings that distract and disrupt (trolling ) the forum readers they are more effectively stopped from anything of any real productivity. If the intensity of gradual dilution is intense enough, the readers will effectively stop researching and simply slip into a 'gossip mode.' In this state they can be more easily misdirected away from facts towards uninformed conjecture and opinion. The less informed they are the more effective and easy it becomes to control the entire group in the direction that you would desire the group to go in. It must be stressed that a proper assessment of the psychological capabilities and levels of education is first determined of the group to determine at what level to 'drive in the wedge.' By being too far off topic too quickly it may trigger censorship by a forum moderator.

    Information collection is also a very effective method to determine the psychological level of the forum members, and to gather intelligence that can be used against them. In this technique in a light and positive environment a 'show you mine so me yours' posting is initiated. From the number of replies and the answers that are provided much statistical information can be gathered. An example is to post your 'favourite weapon' and then encourage other members of the forum to showcase what they have. In this matter it can be determined by reverse proration what percentage of the forum community owns a firearm, and or a illegal weapon. This same method can be used by posing as one of the form members and posting your favourite 'technique of operation.' From the replies various methods that the group utilizes can be studied and effective methods developed to stop them from their activities.

    Technique #5 - 'ANGER TROLLING'
    Statistically, there is always a percentage of the forum posters who are more inclined to violence. In order to determine who these individuals are, it is a requirement to present a image to the forum to deliberately incite a strong psychological reaction. From this the most violent in the group can be effectively singled out for reverse IP location and possibly local enforcement tracking. To accomplish this only requires posting a link to a video depicting a local police officer massively abusing his power against a very innocent individual. Statistically of the million or so police officers in America there is always one or two being caught abusing there powers and the taping of the activity can be then used for intelligence gathering purposes - without the requirement to 'stage' a fake abuse video. This method is extremely effective, and the more so the more abusive the video can be made to look. Sometimes it is useful to 'lead' the forum by replying to your own posting with your own statement of violent intent, and that you 'do not care what the authorities think!!' inflammation. By doing this and showing no fear it may be more effective in getting the more silent and self-disciplined violent intent members of the forum to slip and post their real intentions. This can be used later in a court of law during prosecution.

    Technique #6 - 'GAINING FULL CONTROL'
    It is important to also be harvesting and continually maneuvering for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavourable postings - and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public. This is the 'ultimate victory' as the forum is no longer participated with by the general public and no longer useful in maintaining their freedoms. Depending on the level of control you can obtain, you can deliberately steer a forum into defeat by censoring postings, deleting memberships, flooding, and or accidentally taking the forum offline. By this method the forum can be quickly killed. However it is not always in the interest to kill a forum as it can be converted into a 'honey pot' gathering center to collect and misdirect newcomers and from this point be completely used for your control for your agenda purposes.

    Remember these techniques are only effective if the forum participants DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THEM. Once they are aware of these techniques the operation can completely fail, and the forum can become uncontrolled. At this point other avenues must be considered such as initiating a false legal precidence to simply have the forum shut down and taken offline. This is not desirable as it then leaves the enforcement agencies unable to track the percentage of those in the population who always resist attempts for control against them. Many other techniques can be utilized and developed by the individual and as you develop further techniques of infiltration and control it is imperative to share then with HQ.

    Personal thoughts: If you stay around here long enough it becomes obvious that these techniques are being intentionally used by a small number of people to dilute the power of freedom minded people who are coming together here to discuss important and sensitive issues. This forum is a powerful tool, and its educational effects cannot be underestimated, especially for those newcomers who aren't yet up to speed on the level of corruption in our government. Many people are just learning and coming to grips with the big issues. That's exactly what the neocons DON'T want, and it's why they send in their vermin....those who use these tactics to distract readers and keep them from hearing different viewpoints on things such as 9/11, Palin, and Bob Barr. The more ignorant the people are, the easier they are to manipulate and control with bull**** propaganda such as the bogus 'war on terror', 9/11 'debunking', and political ploys such as Sara Palin's V.P. run with McCain.

    UPDATE: Well, of course the trolls are attacking, and are attempting to say that fights like this one are unimportant in an attempt to marginalize the above information. Here's why I think it's vitally important. The Ron Paul Revolution is about exposing the truth. It's about returning to a Constitutional form of government. By necessity, that implies that we have been lied to and that we DON'T have a Constitutional government. If you dispute that, then you are in the wrong place, to say the least. How did we get from what the founders intended to the FUBAR mess we're in right now? Was it a military campaign against the people of America? No, our freedoms and Constitutional form of government have been eroded over time by slick talking politicians, corrupt media, and people sitting behind closed doors trying to figure out ways to strip us of our money and basic 'God given' rights and turn us into slaves. Up until now, the insidious plan has been working, but as you can see, people are waking up. This forum is a great example of what the neocons most fear.....people thinking for themselves and becoming more and more informed about the lies and abuses of government which threaten to destroy the America that the Founders intended. This is not an ego thing with me at all. It's a life or death struggle for the survival of the Constitiuion and America as we know it. "Trolls" (whether politicians, press, or internet trash) ARE what have slowly brought this country down, and the fight to preserve the principles of freedom as embodied by sites like the DailyPaul are as important as anything we could be doing. Sites like this are making a difference, otherwise the establishment wouldn't be threatened enough to send in their lackeys to try to destroy it.
    tulianr likes this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    We see these techniques almost daily. Now, it becomes interesting to know whether or not they are being used deliberately by an agency, or accidentally by members that are either hot headed or simply contrary. We can, I think, assume some of both visit, more or less regularly. One of the things mods and admins have to do is track, informally or not, the odd bods. It is key to maintain a level of discipline across the board; thus the initiation and enforcement of the CoC.

    Tech 1 is especially prone to happen, topics often go astray in pursuit of fun. Deliberate? Probably not, usually. However, we've seen threads go off on tangents many times, and eventually die.

    Tech 2 is also seen often, again there is always the question whether or not it is steered that way or not. We see strong willed proponents of one side of any given question that slowly shut off debate with strident and often slightly off topic arguments based on hearsay or sheer invention. Very seldom are there citations for the "facts" (really opinions) placed in the threads.

    Tech 3 is really an amalgam of 1 and 2, but it differs in that it depends on ignorance of the issue, and is based on the supposed expertise of a responding and collaborating false member. The "weak premise" need not be a fact, it can be pure speculation or even a deliberate fabrication to bring out contrary views or agreement, depending on what the fabricator wants to track. This is more likely to be an act of intrusion than a real post.

    Tech 4 requires no posts at all, simply tracking and tabulation of responses. No pot stirring required. This one bothers me a bit, simply because a member can unwittingly make a post that draws information that the alphabetters might find interesting.

    Tech 5 may or may not require seeding from and outside "agency." The rest is pretty obvious, it draws out responses from those that are more sensitive than others to egregious acts. NB: These acts may be VERY small percentages of regular activities, but will incite. Bad juju unless the percentages are carefully studied. It is one thing to be outraged, another totally to advocate some sort of action that could be construed as violence against any particular organization or person.

    Tech 6 is interesting in a way. I've thought of it several times while thinking over who might be offered a position as a mod or admin when we need to add staff. SM has not made staff willy nilly, those in position have shown since day one of their membership and by their participation that they are dedicated to preserving the integrity of the site. That practice will continue. Those who are offered a position MUST bear in mind that acceptance nearly assures closer monitoring by some agency or another if they accept.

    The conclusion reached on Ron Paul's site is accurate. Intrusions must be concealed to be effective. I think we on this forum are, more than average, alert to the possibilities of intrusive data collection. It is one of the things that lead us to be conscious of OPSEC.

    My personal opinion is that we are being watched, but I do NOT think there are currently active infiltrators. YMMV.
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    If not pointed out like this, we may just think it odd or not notice anything happening. i don't think of tactics like this as only reserved for alphabets although I'm sure they or other spin doctors use them, I think that factions of a cause opposite to the original or consensus post may use them. How many conservative trolls hand out on DU? I bet many. How many Libs hang out at conservative boards, lurking in the shadows for this type of steering? I bet many.

    I've observed this quite a few times here and elsewhere. One post either right after the OP or right after a small lull can reverse the gist of the idea! Iv'e also wondered about some of those (here) members with under 20 posts yet registered in '05 or '06 that occasionally show up for a particular thread. Would make for a great study in tracking some of those members and their activity. I have a feeling that the king of trolls (he called them spoofs) still has a few sock puppets around here from the early days.

    You could run diversion with a member with 'clout' by simply registering at a board and chiming in once a week for a couple of years and always going with the flow, building rep, having good jokes, etc. Think of Kim Philby, KGB mole for 30 years in the US.

    It can be done. I don't know why it would be done here but it's useful to see the tactics that both sides of any coin can employ.
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    ahhhh fker you found me :oops:
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Probably not active ones at least (around here), but we may never know.

    Alex Jones has proven that CNN has sent trolls to his sites to incite violence in the aim to promote slanderous campaigns against the websites, directed in a way that it would make Infowarriors look like violent extremists. But that's been going on for years -not just CNN at the helm.

    Is anybody forgetting the FBI cyber crime task force and other "bureaus" which are not exactly out hunting hackers? -They often times are at the heart of scandal. Just like in the militias. Patsy say "jump"?

    I remember the days leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when Bush and his zealots were angry and determined. On every single chat, I don't care where you went, AIM, MSN, ICQ, YAHOO, IRC -it was all laced with puppets and hackers and crackers and even countless zombies voicing their religious convictions that the world was going to end and Bush was the Antichrist. Then we had the "protesters to protest the protesters", where thousands turned out at staged events where the media hyped the ordeal and phoned all of the lobbyists to send more cronies to hold picket signs and yell at the war activists. "You are anti-American if you don't support the war!" they would scream, and "Shame on you! Our soldiers are out there defending your freedoms, and how do you repay them? You protest the war!" -it was a never ending charade, much like the OJ Simpson trial.

    We live in a world gone mad. Up is down, salt is pepper, wrong is right. The insanity has to end some time.
  6. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    What really bothers me so much is that you never know who/m is who/m?
    I can see that in the not so distant future, more and more interference and misdirection will come into play, to "guide" people into where they should "be"....
    I'd expect nearly every forum of every type, that has anything to do with survival, and even such sites as back woods home, or mother earth news to be in some way "monitored" for "dissidents"!
    Yup, it bothers me!
  7. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    It's too bad that the people who are so good at getting control know nothing about how to use it to benefit the people they are controlling. Like having control is the endgame.
  8. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I think that's the whole enchilada...power over another!
    Greed, lust, and power...thats all some know and live for!
  9. D-Roy

    D-Roy Monkey+

    When it comes down to it, the best way to build a secure, trustworthy community is still going to be face to face. Not that there aren't work arounds for getting into a group in that manner, but it would be much harder. It isn't that forums such as SM are not beneficial, but as evidence by the original post, everything on a forum must be taken with a grain of salt. The real community building, gathering of like minded individuals should be done in your local area as much as possible - with people you know or people known by those you trust. Many SM members probably already have that area covered.

    Having said all that, it is something I need to work on more. :rolleyes:
    tulianr likes this.
  10. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    What I always said.
    Most people can understand common lusts: greed, sexual, revenge, etc.
    Power is another story. You either have the gene or you don't.
    Most of us don't. We want to live our lives and provide for our own and be left alone.
    Those who do AND have the means become senators and presidents.
    People wonder why the Clintons made strange bedfellows - they had the gene in common.
    Those who have the gene and don't have the means become your a-hole middle manager, condo board nazi, etc.

    Anyway, back to the topic.
    You already know that the alphabet-soups can id you in a snap on a forum such as this.
    That said, I think #4, and #5 are most dangerous.
    As far as leading and guiding, I don't think much of that needs to occur until an investigation is well under way - then they want to get the goods on the target.
    I saw a documentary on LEOs who troll the internet for pedophiles. The reporter asked "so is it like you put bait in the water and fish take it?" The detective answered: "no, it's like you put a boat into the water and the fish jump in"
    I think it's the same way with the seditious mindset. Those folks are out there. Just watch what you say so you don't get mistaken for one of them.
    tulianr likes this.
  11. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    I still think Unintended Consequences has a positive message for the masses, even if it instigates copy cat crimes and leads to the knees knocking of .gov types. I hope I didn't #3 the thread.

    Dilution in action.
  12. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    #5 is your mode
  13. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    No, you #4 hosed yourself!
  14. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

  15. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I've seen attempts here.. but they failed. One thing they didn't take into account (pardon the pun) was the size of the forum. It's much easier to redirect a forum that is extremely large than one that is small in active member count. Active members are tighter in smaller communities where the larger forums see lot of revolving door accounts. Make it hard to track.

    Having moderated one of the top ten largest forums on the planet (100k accounts) when I stopped in 2008, I've just about seen it all. This forum is safe for now. It's easy to spot bogies here.
  16. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    In spite (or maybe because of) of the folks who get paid to astroturf the web, there are now several companies that sell 'protection' to folks. Someone says something bad about Client Z? Swarm the site and bury that critical post. Who knew you could actually make money hanging out on the web?
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