Not a chance. I think that a lot of kids with socialization problems who grew up spending a lot of time on the internet took trolls seriously, and built very strange worldviews from that assumption of earnestness.
But actual trolls are still everywhere, and their trollishness can be measured by the inverse of the ratio of their typing to your typing. That ratio can nearly reach zero with the use of copypasta.
Now you have people announcing their mass shooting on them, and hundreds of posts applauding it while talking about the Jewish conspiracies.
I think that when you troll and joke enough, if it ever was a joke, you can get sucked into it. Especially teenagers and others who are looking for certainty, or apply "logic" to some narrow ideology that finally "gets it."
So yeah, there is some "old school" trolling where people just like to see others get riled up, but that is far less than the first three.
I think you underestimate the entertainment value of intentionally posting inflammatory things. It's fun to play devil's advocate. That doesn't mean you believe it.
You play devil's advocate because you want to test your convictions by making a good faith effort to argue for the other side. You attempt to present the other side's argument in the best light, and really think about your reasons for actually concluding against that side.
Trolling is the opposite of a good faith effort; you are intentionally making an argument you know is absurd, in an attempt to get someone to engage as if it were a real argument. You have no intention of trying to understand the other side or think about why people might feel differently, you are simply trying to confuse and anger people.
You can argue that you think trolling is funny, but you can't argue that you posting inflammatory things is playing devil's advocate.
Serious question: is it possible to play devil's advocate without insincere motivations? For example, say someone holds a strong but simplistic belief on a complex topic, if asking a legitimate question in a straightforward and non-offensive manner upsets the person holding the belief, is it necessarily (and always) a form of aggression?
Hmmmm....can you think of an example of a case where "asking a legitimate question in a straightforward and non-offensive manner" about suicide cults would not be easily distinguishable from an attempt at recruitment?
So, it is necessarily (and always) a form of aggression then?
This is a ridiculous, not to mention untenable, position. I take it you never read Socrates? He saw great value in poking and prodding -- being the proverbial gadfly.
That's not what Socrates did, was it? I thought he was just making observations and asked questions he thought had merit, despite knowing it would upset some people. But the objective wasn't to upset people in the sense of them feeling bad, more like medicine that tastes bitter but is beneficial in the long run.
What I do see a lot is that people impute a bad motivation for a question or claim that allows them to dismiss it without actually having to answer or challenge it, so today, Socrates surely would be called a troll by many. Wouldn't make him one though.
> Socrates surely would be called a troll by many
Exactly. I contend that he would be called a troll by the person I quoted -- which I think is wrong.
That's why I gave examples of aggression that could be healthy or productive. A football game or a boxing match is an aggressive competition but one in which all participants contend voluntarily. Likewise, a debate or dispute can be quite heated but nevertheless proceed by mutual agreement. I distinguish these from cases where aggression is inflicted upon unwilling recipients.
That's a clever distinction, but I don't think it's sufficient. It's not clear that, e.g., the Athenian leadership, were "willing recipients" in Socrates' case and so your test would fail.
Further, I think this thread itself is a testament to the murkiness of "willingness" -- are we willingly engaged in a formal spar? We disagree, we're talking, we're debating. If I had thinner skin, I could accuse you of aggression and that would be that. You could do the same.
The "marketplace of ideas" should trump an individual's sensitivities. I will concede that the internet complicates this. Weirdos† -- neo-Nazis, furries, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, bronies, hoarders, etc. -- can now find like-minded communities that validate their weird beliefs. The danger is the town square turning into a bunch of silos. Weirdos can often be a good thing for a society if their beliefs are validated in the marketplace. But they can also be a very dangerous thing if they all congregate on 8chan.
† By 'weirdos' I mean those that hold fringe beliefs or partake in fringe activities.
I am not trying to reinvent the notion of discourse, but to say something about the patterns of behavior that are readily observable and functionally comparable to real life interpersonal interactions. Imagine, for example, if I had responded to your initial comment with vile personal slurs or similarly inappropriate behavior and then mocked you for getting angry.
Do you think Socrates' objective was to get people angry? Do you think that's what he was trying to accomplish?
So, much like "no pain, no gain," anger and discourse often go hand in hand.
I don't think it's hard to answer at all—in fact, you answered it right there. No, Socrates objective wasn't to get people angry. His objective was to point out flaws in deeply held beliefs.
> I don't think it's hard to argue that when pointing out flaws in deeply-held beliefs, the subject at hand will get angry -- or at the very least uncomfortable.
It definitely can, but there's still a difference between trying to inflict anger, and anger being an undesirable possible side effect.
I guess I did shoot myself in the foot there :)
I was trying to reconcile this: suppose Socrates was a dick and actually did get pleasure out of annoying people -- and the pointing out of the flaws was actually the side-effect. Would his execution somehow have been justified?
I still don't think so.
That behavior is acceptable in an academic setting, but nobody blithely posting contrarian or inflammatory content on a fansite or Facebook is doing it because they're hoping to inspire Socratic discourse.
You have two choices: (1) execute Socrates, or (2) accept Socrates as part of the Miltonian "marketplace of ideas" and leave him be. I'd like to think we've started to see that (2) is a better choice than (1). Dismissing Socrates as "aggressive" (and implicitly "dangerous") is, from what I can tell, not the right move.
The second reason it is fundamentally mistaken is that it ignores the fact that there has always been a "trolling" aspect to far right discourse such as Nazism. Think of the racist carictures Nazi's or KKK members draw, they are meant to be taken "seriously not literally" as some have said of Trump. Reactionary politics goes hand in hand with intentionally trying to provoke a reaction, both of them have this shared idea of trying to gain power through provocation and the idea that the status quo is a sham. As Sartre said in Anti-Semite and the Jew:
"Never believe that anti‐Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument has passed."
It’s a great watch! Highly recommended :)
What you need to understand is that for a minority of people who take truth, facts, reason and science very seriously, flat earth is infuriating. But for a lot of people who are just looking to have some fun, it turns out to be a lot of fun. The protests from the first group that you shouldn't joke about things like that, that it's wrong to be wrong, etc just sweeten the deal for the people having fun. It's trolling in the classic sense.
For most of them. Of course when you have people pretending to be idiots inevitably a few real idiots will join in, thinking themselves in good company. But for the most part flat earther arguments are constructed with obvious comedic intent that very serious people seem blind to.
Or you can think of it this way: being wrong is a taboo, and some people enjoy challenging that taboo.
Flat earth, I think, is caused by crazy people finding it easier to find each other with the Internet and social media, and putting together communities on the Internet.
The real fun is yet to come. The people that believe the really crazy shit haven't got PC's yet.
So not a resurgence: just the emergence.
edit: Think about it this way... There are dumb people on both sides of anything, it's tough to say "only their side needs to own their idiots" when lots of stupid and people run around talking absolute nonsense about climate change when it's hot out. That doesn't mean everyone that agrees with them is as dumb or even wrong at all.
If 10% of people believe it and the rest are acting - how could you tell?
Have you seen Beyond the Curve, the documentary about flat-earthers trying (and failing) to prove the earth is flat? You'd need pretty strong evidence to convince me that everyone in the film was in on it.
Outlet makes a joke (for a real example “Joe Biden is refusing to leave the White House and has armed and barricaded himself.”)
Joke is spread devoid of context, still as a joke.
Trolls get a chuckle by posting it to some extremist group.
Extremist group doesn’t get the joke and adopts the narrative, fitting it into existing ideology.
Pizzagate and QAnon are great examples of this process. The other process is that schizophrenics dig up old ideas to fit their current delusions, such as “Orgone” and “Chemtrails.” Some of these ideas fit into the delusional ideation of non-mentally ill groups and it becomes a widespread conspiracy theory.
Note that this can all be very profitable, if you look at people like Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and David Icke.
Though I have charitably believed in the past they are mostly having fun with each other rather than trying to troll the rest of the world.
In the Internet sense of the word, the trolls in question live under bridges and spring out to surprise those who would cross with unpleasant demands and behaviour. Not cave-dwellers at all.
Hey, this is Hacker News, if we can't bikeshed the etymology of "troll," what use is this medium?
“Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water.”
I agree that the verb comes from fishing, but with respect to fishing, nobody calls a person who trolls, a "troll." If the noun came strictly from the fishing use of the word, the people engaged in trolling would be "Trollers," not "Trolls."
I think both etymologies are in play, one for the verb, another for the noun. It could have been that it began with the verb, and somebody punned "Is someone who trolls, a troll?" and that stuck.
But what makes the noun work is very definitely the association with the mythological trolls who are unhelpful to humans.
Apparently I've been living in a cave. :)
But no, trolls in general do not live under bridges. Agreed.
But that's not the original meaning :)
"The term is used to denote various beings, such as a jötunn or mountain-dweller, a witch, an abnormally strong or large or ugly person, an evil spirit, a ghost, a blámaðr, a magical boar, a heathen demi-god, a demon, a brunnmigi, or a berserker."
I think that over time, and thanks to various "fairy tales," we have settled on Trolls as he mountain/riock/cave-dwellers who are turned to stone if exposed to sunlight.
Sadly, the Internet Troll multiplies when given attention. Sunlight does not disinfect social media.
whatever they are, they are much closer to shills than trolls.
do words with specific meanings usually become meaningless when they become global mainstream? the world picks up a communities word and doesnt bother to use it in the old context? reminds me of decimate maybe?
There were a lot of trolls in the old days of newsgroups, and none of them fit in any of your categories: they were neither in it for the money, and they certainly were not true believers. They were in it for the entertainment. The best way to fight them was to ignore them, hoping that the lack of reaction would bore them.
In 1997, imagine that you are arguing with the user Voldemort on comp.sys.mac, as he is claiming that the Mac is awful, that Mac users are idiots, and that surely Apple will be dead by year 2000. Maybe J.K. Rowling agrees with you that the iMac will save Apple. But that's completely irrelevant because you are not arguing with her: you are arguing with the evil character she created, that wishes death upon the Mac world. What you need for Voldemort to calm down is not to win the argument against him, but to convince the author of altering the behavior of her character. An entirely pointless endeavor...
EDIT: that said, I agree that the internet landscape has massively changed since the nineties.
And since China has a huge population, even a small group percentage of people would be gigantic on Reddit.
Moderators and users on Reddit say they've seen coordinated activity on the site by pro-China accounts. "The pro-CCP effort vastly overshadows any operation by the Russians,” one person with insight into moderation practices told us.
China expert Bill Bishop said the activity fits with the Party leadership's emphasis on controlling the discourse about China outside of the country. He said said it’s hard to know which accounts are simply patriotic Chinese people, and which might be government actors.
We obtained a list of accounts banned frm r/geopolitics for what was described as pro-China trolling or related behavior. Some were burner accounts created just for the purpose of weighing in on China threads. Others seemed to be genuine Chinese ex-pats studying or working abroad
r/geopolitics mods implemented new rules as a result.
"We've had to implement a rule that prohibits posts from accounts less than 20 days old. This has helped to an extent but these redditors seem to be very patient and disciplined, and can ‘wait out’ the 20-day requirement.”
There is no such rule set that a dedicated troll or attacker would be unable to circumvent.
Instead consider every rule as a evolutionary hint for attackers - eventually they reach a point that they can often pass for perfectly normal users.
People are creating accounts now, filling them with karma and health comments in funny subreddits. Then a year later, they will bring it out and use them.
It feels weird at first, but it's actually a great way to recognize trolls.
This is problematic, because it is effectively the same way as saying "this person is a foreigner", and tribal identities overwhelm the initial intention of a information granting doohickey - see the fate of the upvote and downvote button today.
I disagree. It gives you context for what the person wrote. Everyone has a tag (even if some are positive).
Then suddenly the account goes full force pushing a single POV across subreddits .... with similar other users in tow.
You see it a lot more in location specific subs where they stand out as new people who as a group show up, vanish, and show up again.
Much more common, however—by far the typical case—is people accusing someone of posting in bad faith merely because that other person's view is so far from their own that they can't conceive of them having it for legit reasons. This is just a feeling. Not to pick on you personally; this wiring is common to everyone. It is hard for all of us to grasp how large and diverse the community is, and how divided it is on divisive topics. Nationalistic themes are some of the most divisive ones.
If we go by the data we actually see, the phenomenon itself is vanishingly rare. Why is there so much commentary then? I can think of two explanations: either the foreign spies are cleverer than we are, or there is something in how human nature meets the internet under current social conditions that is leading to mass projection. And of course it could be both—but how are any claims about the former falsifiable?
As far as I can tell, this dynamic has nothing to do with reality. Reality is that the HN community has millions of people, is diverse in many ways including internationally, and is divided on divisive topics. That is already enough to explain the comments that show up. But none of us is wired for dealing with that. What we're wired for is loyalty to our tribe and needing to feel safe.
It's painful to encounter a sharp opposing view, and people are particularly sharp on divisive topics. Reframing the other as a foreign spy or whatever insulates you from that. It frees you from considering what truth there might be in the opposing view, and reinforces loyalty to your own—at the cost of feeling surrounded by infiltrators and enemies. This inner movement is poisonous to thoughtful discussion, which depends on people being willing to open to differences and consider what truths they may not yet see.
Since the actual phenomenon is vanishingly rare compared to the insinuations people make about it, we have a rule that users not post such insinuations without evidence. A feeling is not evidence. Even the sense "there are a lot of green accounts saying things I disagree with" is usually just a feeling, because we notice things we disagree with far more than we notice anything else . People on the opposite side have just the opposite perceptions, driven by the same feelings.
An important thing to observe is that when people post claims about astroturfing, trolls, and spies on HN, they don't include links; just as when they make claims about "threads about $topic", they don't include links. Why is this? If the perception were of reality rather than a feeling, specific examples would always be available, yet in practice they almost never are. The discussion falls apart when specific cases are mentioned because (a) people never agree about on those, and (b) such data as there is never supports the claim. So the discussion always stays in a fog of generality, which helps breed the bacteria of suspicion.
 Does anybody know or have a name for this bias? It's a huge factor in these discussions and it needs a good name.
I agree that these are probably exceedingly rare on HN, but it seems technically implausible that you'd be able to accurately identify them.
Second, some of the analysis can be done by anyone who wants to take the time to do it. When you encounter specific claims of astroturfing or shillage, look at the history of the commenter being accused. Most of the time their track record makes it implausible. If someone has been posting to HN for five years including about, say, garbage collection in Julia, what are the odds that they're really a spy? Far lower than that the other user tossed off an accusation without pausing to look.
Now consider that these demonstrably low-probability cases are exactly like the rest of the accusations people post here, and one starts to have a basis for postulating a common mechanism underlying the whole class. I don't assert (how could I) that there are no cases of genuine manipulation that fall outside it. But after looking at thousands of such claims, I do believe that this and similar tests account for most of them.
"Oh no, now all the coordinated disinformation campaigns will start posting five years of high-quality good-faith technical discussion on a variety of topics to evade your heuristic" /s
Uh, confirmation bias? Your description is a bit off, it's not that "we notice things we disagree with", but that we notice things that confirms our previous beliefs, in this case that green accounts post opinions that you think come from spies or astroturfers.
I'm familiar with that account. Their posting history, and what private data we have, are completely consistent with who they say they are: a former Google employee and startup founder who has lived in both China and the U.S., has a Kubernetes war story, opinions about Python, Go, PHP, software deployment and so on, and who is frustrated by some of the comments that appear about China here because they feel the commenters don't know what they're talking about. It's natural that someone who lived many years in both countries would feel that way. Some of their comments have broken the site guidelines, but that's a separate issue—and who of us wouldn't, having our integrity attacked outright like this user has?
This is a classic case of somebody being singled out for suspicion because they have different views, formed by different experiences, than others here. When users do that, it puts us in toxic territory in one hop. Is it ok to accuse people of being government agents, shills, spies, or astroturfing, just because they have a different view on some geopolitical or economic question? Obviously we need to not go there.
It's fine if you're not persuaded—I don't expect that—but please just consider the downside of being wrong. What if this person is as innocent as you are, motivated by much the same things as you are? Can you imagine what it would be like to show up here and see it debated whether you're a spy and a liar? Even a single case of someone being subjected to that unfairly is unacceptable. If the community is to avoid "sinking its teeth into itself without realizing it" (Schopenhauer's memorable phrase) and falling into a poisonous swamp, we need a presumption of innocence. And so we do: the guidelines say Assume good faith. If you stand on the dry ground of that assumption, I see no path that gets you to that user being a bad-faith actor any more than you or I are.
I feel sick about holding up an individual user to some sort of public trial like this (another reason why the guidelines ask people to email concerns to us rather than posting them here)—can you imagine what that must feel like? But since the issue is the integrity of the community and its moderation I feel like I'd better say something.
> Much more common, however—by far the typical case—is people suspecting someone else of posting in bad faith merely because that other person's view is so far from their own that they can't conceive of anyone having it for legit reasons.
Also, thanks for all the hard work here on HN. I know it's not a glamorous job, but yall are doing a great job handling all this. You work hard and it shows.
1. People who disregard everything about TFA, to remind everyone for the five hundredth time about <some unrelated crime by CPC>, and <why are we still trading with them>, and <can't we just build a wall around it>, and <the Chinese come here to steal all our things>. These posts, depending on how inflammatory they are, or what side of the bed HN woke up on, tend to hover slightly positive.
2. Green-named accounts speaking in... Non-perfect English, praising some aspect of China. These usually get downvoted to oblivion.
There's also a lot number of posts that express more-reasoned/more-on-topic pro/anti-China viewpoints. I don't consider them to be trolling, and I don't really care what colors the names of the people posting them are.
And while they may have a point, they're often off-topic whataboutism. I believe it's a natural outcome of gamifying discussions with imaginary internet point rewards. The first and most eloquent post that's congruent with the hivemind "wins". It's just human nature.
3. Instant whataboutism used, even if not appropriate or applicable. If you read about the directives of the 50 Cent Party or the old Soviet propaganda machine, this is one of the universal tools used to derail the discussion from the topic at hand.
Now could this just be normal posters using whataboutism? Sure, but we all spend a lot of time on the internet and listening to arguments, it's basically the language of the internet at this point. And you can just get a feel when something is authentic and when it is not, like a bank teller when they get a counterfeit bill and they can tell something is not right.
The gross generalizations and shill accusations (mostly thrown against users who actually post "genuinely opposing viewpoints") endemic to these China-related submissions are just icing on the cake.
I think the recent issue with the harassment of the Tibetan student council president(?) by Chinese students shows that it doesn't matter whether it's government-sponsored "trolling" or not. If your government punishes people who aren't outspoken in favor of the Party while abroad, then those people are still shilling on behalf of the Party, even if they're not actually paid to do so.
I know my comment probably will just reinforce your prejudice/bias, and make you laugh and say "wow see what I said? Another troll started to attack me immediately!!", but I don't care.
> At least they're relatively easy to spot,.. sort of grammatical error
Yeah, because they're Chinese, who are using their second language. It is indeed easy to spot non-native speakers (or Chinese if you will), how does it have anything to do whether they're "government shills" or not? Just because people have a different view from you, and the fact they come from China, don't make them government shills. There are plenty of actual Chinese people like me lurking here (mainly to read tech news).
> while not actually saying they're from China themselves
Since when people need to reveal their nationality to make an argument or opinion on Internet? Should I claim HN are full of "Western trolls", because the anti-China threads/comments here are probably 10x the amount of the pro-China ones (the ratio would be close to 100:1 on some subreddits like /r/worldnews), and 99% never actually "reveal where are they from" (including you)?
Just to save you a click: I'm a Chinese and I often be frank about it. I don't think it should be necessary, since people should judge my comment purely based on what I said, not where I'm from; but because of people like you I have to do so otherwise my comments will be downvoted to oblivion.
> those people are still shilling on behalf of the Party, even if they're not actually paid to do so
Wow. Brilliant, now we don't even need any evidence to proof these Chinese people are shills (not like there is any to begin with, besides they are somewhat pro-China in SOME ASPECTS), they AUTOMATICALLY are.
Throughout the 20th century, the Eastern Bloc had to deal with western media eroding the narratives of their society. Now, it seems that the tables have turned through social media. But instead of creating images, stories, and music of the wealth and richness of life brought by self determination, it's far more effective to simply sow chaos and jam our society's means of information exchange.
EDIT: We are in years numbered such that they appear widely in science fiction. In objective terms, we are doing better than we ever have in all of history. In 2019, we need to embrace the normal. We should be suspicious of the lurid and the outrageous. We should be skeptical of the accusation and the conspiracy theory. In 2019, these are all the viral pathway to easy money and influence. We need to start looking at these things like we now look at the products of medicine shows. Not all of these things are necessarily bad. However, we always need to be mindful of the incentives.
Actually, the reason moderators moderate now is that moderated forums outperform unmoderated forums on just about any conceivable metric, and always have. The subreddits that don't keep up have all their membership migrate to ones that do.
Who wants to drink at a pub that won't throw out rude patrons?
Note that I haven’t seen the cartoon, but from adverts it seemed pretty banal rather than political.
The show has been pointed at by conservatives as an example of gender/identity politics. However, the ethos of the show is that we really should accept people no matter how they were born, and judge them on the quality of their relationships. What's more, this isn't transmitted by saying it, rather by showing it. IMO, more careful observation shows that it's actually the opposite of identitarian media, despite surface appearances.
Occasionally, some identitarian rah-rah comes up there, and I feel the need to point out that we're all in this together, and isn't that what the characters show us?
from adverts it seemed pretty banal rather than political.
It transcends the political, like all good, honest art should.
It's one of those cartoons that's one thing on the surface, but has other things for the adults.
Obviously this is just a guideline and not a rule.
Totally worth it though! :D
/r/sysadmin reflects that thankless nature of the job. I'm lucky to have gotten through my ~20 years of being one without any major health issues from stress.
That's not new. Even in the 20th century, Eastern Bloc countries were working to "simply sow chaos and jam our society's means of information exchange":
They've just updated their techniques for the web, where it turns out they are much more effective.
It's my understanding that moderators can't see votes though. They can stamp out antisocial behavior, but it's my understanding that looking at the data to detect brigades/manipulations is the purview of the admins. (A much smaller set of people)
Or because shills make a focused effort to become mods as soon as they start posting in a sub.
The more Chinese students learn about websites such as reddit, the more you will find these responses. You can't just expect them to just sit idle. The fact that English is not their native language will however make others qualify them as trolls/bots
Those kind of reactions often, but not always, get muted the longer the person is exposed to more diverse perspectives outside of the mainland.
There's also a cultural trait in China where you strongly defend your in-group against criticisms from an out-group, even if those criticisms are valid. I have a Chinese friend who considers his mom to be kind of lazy (and tells her so), but if someone from outside the family made the same criticism, he'd strongly defend her as a hard worker. The same thing is true of criticisms made by non-Chinese of China.
There are staunch defenders of CCP and China in general, there are people with more nuanced views, there are ones who are super critical of CCP, and there many who are apolitical.
That being said, even as someone with mixed opinions of CCP, I definitely am careful at sharing pro-China ideas in non-Chinese spaces, due to the likelihood of causing arguments or inviting personal attacks; but I feel much safer expressing criticisms of China.
Just as there are ideas you can’t discuss without being called a communist/socialist/authoritarian/nazi/racist etc in American discourse, so too are there touchy topics in Chinese discourse. They’re just different so we can clearly see them.
"But you don't have to pick a side, just ignore this information altogether."
For most minor info this strategy works, but when the same piece of info appears repetitively over and over again you start to believe it subconsciously or it moves from "minor" to "major/important info" group which we can't simply ignore.
When did they ever?
> It's like social media stopped all forms of critical thinking in society.
Human society as a whole is irrational and does not engage in critical thinking. Small groups of highly focused individuals, or individuals themselves sometimes can, but it takes too much effort most of the time.
This was an inherent precursor when using the early internet, and is even more relevant today.
Chinese population is largely nationalistic and conservative, and some hawkish groups are very active online. There is a joke that Great Firewall is not for controlling Chinese people but protecting Westerners from Chinese netizens.
The above user (zackguo) comments seemingly exclusively on China, including ... "Results won't change even if [Uyghurs] are able to participate". Yikes!
If you look at the comment history of the accounts involved, there's often a pattern of accounts that used to only discuss US sports teams before going dormant for a year or more and coming back with a strong interest in defending some corporate or government entity 24/7.
This forum may well be next.
Or, perhaps Reddit doesn't think this is a problem, or at least not a problem they want to tackle given their recent funding from Tencent.
IIRC, in both China and Russia, state-actor trolling was perfected domestically control the local population before they started to export it.
Are the Chinese people less equal than the Westerners because their government is more dictating?
It'd be interesting though, to see the metrics of signups and their origin to see if they even bother here...
Imagine, for example, that Hacker News members were grouped in different teams - red, greeen, yellow, and blue - and that the teams competed to dominate discussion threads and grow their own discussions as semantic 'territory'. Imagine further that you had to represent this without any text, using only the time, post size, and threading structure, but with prior knowledge or manual curation of team membership. I'm particularly interested in how a thread could be represented spatially, but not as a time series (ie viewing progress over time would require animation). It's easy to visualize the ebb and flow of territorial conflict on a geographic map, with armies crossing borders and territories expanding or shrinking over time, but how to do that for emergent 'territory' like the expanding and branching threads of a busy discussion topic? I sometimes imagine it like a growing plant or tree with different colored leaves to represent competing affiliations, but there are surely better approaches.
tl;dr how can you visualize evolving discussion threads without using text?
I posted a comment about the forced labor camps of Muslims in china and the same username replied two different times arguing two different things. In one reply the Muslims in these camps were terrorist and had to be arrested for the protection of the chinese civilians and in the other reply saying they're not labor camps they're trade schools to help them get jobs.
Are these real? Professional trolls? Probably a bit of both? Can we even tell them apart?
I guess we just to be skeptical of everything you read online, but damn is it exhausting. Easier to just cut off these data streams and just live life ignorant. "ignorance is bliss"
There were even some hilariously worded posts about how: "At least unlike the US I don't have to wear my backpack on the front for fear of thieves." That almost seemed like the height of communist era type poster propaganda...
That kinda came in went pretty quickly.
Please stop this now. It breaks several of the site guidelines.
But, it only seems to matter now because Trump. I still wonder if Hillary would have won the presidency, if all of this foreign meddling with our elections would have been swept under the carpet.
This time, since Trump won he won not because of people voting for him, but because of Russian trolls.
It's just that the other side doesn't want to admit defeat.
This might or might not be true, but the fact that reality mirrors what BuzzFeed says is purely coincidental.
Because I don't know if you know this, but many members of the staff of Buzzfeed News have won Pulitzer Prizes and the organization was a finalist in both 2017 and 2018. The accuracy of their reporting is no more suspect than any other well-respected media organization.
From https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/buzzfeed/: "overall, we rate Buzzfeed Left-Center Biased due to story selection that tends to favor the left and Mixed for factual reporting based on poor sourcing and a few failed fact checks.".
They're also selling their own brand of kitchenware if you're not aware of it (see https://www.buzzfeed.com/samanthawieder/tasty-kitchenware-wa...), which is a perfect indication that not even them believe their journalism will get them anywhere.
They're a biased, failing enterprise that spins news to cause outrage and get a few clicks.
Someone at BuzzFeed won a Pulitzer Prize..? That doesn't mean that BuzzFeed's journalists don't generally spend the whole day writing listicles or biased articles to try to avoid bankruptcy.
The author--Jane Lytvynenko--has bright red hair and might identify herself with news reporter, but has no track record and not even a LinkedIn profile. Her tweets read like "Hello happy Thursday here's a selection of memes from a pro-Bernier channel plz enjoy". I mean, "plz"? Give me a break.
Is this some kind of ad-hominem attack? I don't see how it is necessary.
I don't mean to imply that there are any fewer than 50 people being paid by the Chinese government to post on English-language websites full time, but Reddit is a cesspool of paid posters.
It's just a particularly US/Western neo-cold war paranoia that it's somehow mostly or even largely the Chinese and Russian governments. The evidence usually cited is that somebody is agreeing with the Chinese or Russian government, and since no one could possibly agree with the Russian or Chinese government Q.E.D.. For Russia, it doesn't even matter whether the poster agrees with the Russian government, because what the Russian government wants to do is foment strife and confusion in order to weaken the West, therefore both sides must be Russian.
I also don't mean to imply that there any fewer than 50 people being paid by the Russian government to post on English-language websites full time.
I'd just put those into perspective by trying to imagine the number of people employed by the governments of English-speaking countries to post on English-language websites full time; then add the number of full-time posting shills from private companies, including that person about 3 cubes down from you.
China's published propaganda is improving, though; they're starting to get that Anglo-American reasonable liberal tone down. That sometimes make me think that a lot of posters who are pounced on for being Chinese shills are just Chinese people expressing Chinese opinions, but without the trained skill of wrapping them in some circular argument about practicality and respect.