babble troll house

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lagatta
babble troll house

The mental image I'd have of a Russian Troll House would be something luking in the boreal forest in an area where the ancient Scandinavian Rus had installed their camp, with the malificent troll in someone's kit bag. It turns out that the Russian Troll House is located in a banal office building in St. Petersburg, and has trolls working shifts grinding out reams of copy about Ukraine, the prowess and manly charms of Putin, as well as recipes and sporting news to attract and enthral the Internet masses. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/putin-kremlin-inside-russia...

There are doubtless other troll houses, from various agency or lobby groups, as well as private commercial interests. But none have shown much interest in rabble or babble. We had a knot of hardcore Zionists several of years ago, but they seem to have all been ... Canadian Zionists, at least one of whom had several sock puppet identities.

Do they lurk in houses on chicken legs, like Baba Yaga's? And will Magoo slay the offending house, and cook up the legs in his smoker?

Slumberjack

I don't know if western journalism, the daily opinion writing that gets spread everywhere, and the work of communications and strategy firms evokes imagery better than that. Our version just seems a little more glamourous because it's called a newsroom instead of a troll house.

lagatta

Well, there was the guy who worked next to me at the service des communications of a labour federation here, who started off with a beer by 10 a.m every day... That was very common in the MSM back then as well...

6079_Smith_W

There is a bit of a difference between established media, which crosses the political spectrum, and an organized campaign to flood social media and trash discussion by pretending to be members of the public.

 

lagatta

And why on earth would they be spamming babble?

6079_Smith_W

I don't know. Without evidence I can only assume that even the zealots are posting in good faith (and I honestly believe that some of those here are), so I am not going to make that accusation. One presumes the site has IP addresses.

Whatever the motivation is, the result is the same - nothing but ranting, accusations, personal attack, and zero discussion. So in that sense, it hardly matters whether it is real people or paid trolls.

I think that article speaks for itself, and the fact is that any campaign like this goes far beyond those who are being paid. The Russian government also took over VKontakte - a Russian version of Facebook - last year, and has been using it in a similar way.

 

 

lagatta

I'm not presuming either; that is the reason for the cautious conditional in my question. And you are right; it doesn't really matter. It certainly serves to shut down discussion, but I just avoid those threads. Worse when it seeps into others.

jas

lagatta wrote:
But none have shown much interest in rabble or babble.

I disagree. Especially with some recent exchanges, I would guess there are some special interests on Rabble/Babble, as there are on many sites. Just as there have been long before the internet. There's a definite contingent here who claim to speak for a majority when, if you really examine it, they're doing no such thing. And you can tell by the similarities in the communication style, manner and tone to their counterparts on other sites and venues.

sherpa-finn

"special interests". Nicely played, jas.

6079_Smith_W

Except that you can level those charges - and it is done regularly - against any of us. That also harms debate, IMO.

I know it means putting up with a lot of garbage, but unless it becomes really obstructionist, as it sometimes does, I think it needs to be tolerated. And I don't agree with questioning anyone's good faith unless there is something solid to go on.

 

Sean in Ottawa

I have to assume all who are writing here are their own agents unless there is proof to the contrary. Everyone here cares about something --  enough to write on their own behalf. I suppose it is possible that advocates for particular interests could come here but this may not be the best place for most of them. Commercial interests would find this place infertile. Political interests would likely find it pointless -- they would already have people coming here who sincerely hold opinions in line with their interests, or in the case of the Conservatives little point in showing up. With what is already here, I can't see much point in paying anyone to come. With all due respect, disruption here is already a matter of life so I am not sure what a paid troll could achieve.

Trolling is of course not just a group or paid activity. If we assume trolling is posts meant to anger, distract, provoke but not really discuss or debate, it can be sometimes difficult to determine which is which. Without being privy to the writer's thoughts you need a context. A post could be trolling or it could be a sincere reaction to another post. You have to go to the start of the exchange to see. There are people so close to their advocacy that they don't realize that what they are saying is no longer argument or reaction but provocation -- trolling.

I also think there are people who do not care about this place and do mean to provoke and derail any possible conversation that does not serve their political interest. And they do this of their own accord.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

While I'm not doubting the existence of the organization mentioned in the OP, I'm typically really skeptical of any claims of "s/he's just a paid troll!!".

As soon as we're talking about being paid in real money to win hearts and minds, it becomes reasonable to ask whether hearts and minds are really being won.  How long will the paymasters keep cutting cheques if nobody's opinion is being noticably changed?  How long would companies pay marketers who aren't actually increasing sales?

Thing is, though, I'd much rather have the evolution/creation argument with some poor minimum-wage schmuck who's being paid to recite some talking points on behalf of the Young Earth than have to go up against a bona fide fundamentalist who feels like his very soul is at stake.  So bring on the paid trolls!

NorthReport

God pays me! 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Clause 22 of the contract:  "... and you shall receive full payment for your services after your death" <wink!>

IT'S A SCAM.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Clause 22 of the contract:  "... and you shall receive full payment for your services after your death" <wink!>

IT'S A SCAM.

LIKE !

Sean in Ottawa

I don't really think that it is a lot worse to have paid trolls than true believer-troll-for-free trolls. At least the paid trolls must have quitting time. The true believers never quit. The paid ones are at least workers who are making a living.

6079_Smith_W

I don't actually care so much about the trolling, or even the extreme opinions. We have always had those here. I think one has to trust that people here can think for themselves, and there is an even greater danger in trying to isolate and shut out. And it is worse than useless when those calls are made in a spotty way, or by a double standard.

A greater problem is when lies gets passed off as real and no one bothers to correct it, or when there is so much that it is impossible to deal with it all.

stopfake has documented hundreds of such outright lies, many of which have been posted here. I remember some months ago posting the pic of Lac Megantic which was used as a fake pic of eastern Ukraine.

http://www.stopfake.org/en/news/

(sorry that it is, yet again, about Ukraine. But it is probably the starkest example, and directly relevant to the current bombardment)

6079_Smith_W

From that same page: How RT is using youtube.

http://www.stopfake.org/en/how-russia-today-is-using-youtube/

Very interesting breakdown on their disinformation strategies using different languages in different parts of the world - in particular that they have largely given up on North America. Perhaps the trolls this side of the atlantic are killing time waiting around for their pogey cheques to kick in.