I've been to several forums over the last year or so and have come up against the same couple people, time after time. They are usually in forums where discussions require opinions and ideas of a political/societal/scientific nature. These people will troll the forum topics, looking for new threads to attack. They will enter in and pounce on the first person who takes a stand that isn't in keeping with maintaining the status quo. They seem to hunt down particular topics created by specific individuals. Such types fit the behaviors of the paid corporate shill. Can you recognize one by his/her behavior if you experienced it? What would tip you off?
The non-committal and/or complete lack of cohesive reply (or no direct reply at all) to specific questions they seem to be proficient at supplying...
Those are trolls. They get off on such behavior and they hide behind their internet anonymity. In their web disguises, they go out to snack on other people's nerves.
Some advise ignoring them. Others advise ignoring them. Even more people advise ignoring them.
If it's my own forum or post, I delete their input immediately, then I scare the heck out of them. They don't come back, either.
The shills are obvious when they blather on without solving anything; pretend to be big shots at the firm who can attack anyone they please; or are otherwise rude and obnoxious.
Who gets so emotional over a product that they pick a fight? Not the employees, that's for sure. They probably hate their employer as much as we do.
Hear, Hear!!! Excellent point. I've spent the last several hours reminding some folks to stay on topic and stop taking side trips in an effort to hi-jack the forum for addressing imaginary insults or assumptions. Very tiresome.
I got involved with a few annoying people on forums who don't even write on HP. I don't want to be bothered with them. Now I go to the profile page to see if it's someone from here, and if it is I avoid thm.
Hi Jean! As much as I don't want to engage with folks who don't understand the concept of debate and the "rules of engagement", I don't go out of my way to avoid them. Of course, I don't intentionally hunt them down either. I just refuse to allow their presence to stuff a sock in my mouth. If I feel I have a valuable contribution, or am simply exercising my right to voice a point of view, I do so. If I have to deal with some bonehead giving me a hard time about it, I deal with it as patiently and politely as possible without losing my resolve. Sometimes it's a delicate balance. Of course, I DO find it annoying and would sometimes rather not have to constantly be exercising constraint in choosing my words. There are times when I can think of quite a few epithets that would make your ears curl.
Imagine.......getting paid to annoy people!!!!!!
Actually, I'd try to be cute, fuzzy, and lovable.
Well, then, you must have some sense! Fuzzy sort of scares me though....ever pull a candy from the bottom of your purse?
You are clearly talking about me. I am loving, cute fuzzy sockpuppet:D
I'll hire you and you can tell everyone how great my causes are...but I can only pay you in smiles....I might even stop being afraid of fuzz....Are you in?
...Or perhaps just someone with an opinion. A company doesn't make money from arguments on forums, so why would they pay someone to have them?
It's a form of PR. It's very detrimental to a corporate image to have hundreds, perhaps thousands of people exchanging negative information about them. It can have a very costly effect on their bottom line if they don't address the issue. Most people will not take the word of a known corporate person because they will understand that he has something to gain (his paycheck) from endorsing the company or product. However, if he comes in like any other average commenter, people assume he's just giving his personal opinion. It's called damage control.
You make a very interesting observation. I think the same could hold true for politics in regards to both parties.
Absolutely. If conversations only present one side of an issue...then it becomes lopsided and the silent side loses all control. This activity is simply about keeping potentially dangerous conversations from gaining larger agreeable audiences.
I saw on a news show that companies, political parties etc actually hire people to post on Twitter, Facebook etc opinions and propaganda to suit their purposes. It is usually well known people that are paid though.
well, you're talking about those who have enough celebrity to be able to sway opinion (or so it's thought). Yes, and it's open knowledge that they are endorsing the company they work for. It's another form of PR.
For instance, if you're a woman who just thinks Patrick Dempsey is the hottest and sweetest thing since hot chocolate, and you believe he's smart and has decent judgement, you'll believe whatever endorsement he's making. Your perception would be that he's on the right side of the argument because in your eyes, he's credible.
With the Oakland mess, I suspected that several of the people were shills. Their content was the same and they stuck out like sore thumbs.
Because corporations have an agenda, and it's very freaking valuable to them to maintain their public image.
There are lots of organisations that pay people to post in forums
I know they pay people to respond to blogs and facebook--but I would think most forums just aren't important enough to bother.
Let's face it, the hubforums are not swaying the behemoth of public opinion on a day to day basis.
And the people who think I am an industry shill (and there are some) are laughably wrong. I am a full time non-violence advocate for a non-profit organisation.
Any forum that reaches a number of people contributes to the way a society thinks and behaves. If there are say....5,000 people with access to the forum, that's 5,000 opinions...some for, some against an issue. Those 5,000 people most likely know at least another 50 people to whom they may pass on information they've learned via a forum. Now the number of people affected by the conversations in a forum becomes 250,000, who in turn may pass the information to still more people.
Forums can make as much of a difference as other methods of communications, because it's not the forum but the people involved who make the difference.
And there's a hell of a lot more than five thousand people on Hubpages.
Another tactic - "C'mon, nobody thinks this forum is important enough to pay someone to disrupt it by acting all offended and reporting someone for making the obvious observations."
As I've stated somewhere else in this forum, getting a forum shut down is the ultimate goal. It shuts up the opposition and closes an avenue for distributing information and ideas. I can't think of any valid reason to shut a forum down other than outright threats of violent harm. Even then, I would expect the person making the threat to be removed permanently, and notification to the appropriate forces for handling threats of that nature.
"I know they pay people to respond to blogs and facebook--but I would think most forums just aren't important enough to bother. Let's face it, the hubforums are not swaying the behemoth of public opinion on a day to day basis." Somehow your words have a ring of intelligence however the actual message is rather lacking in substantial knowledge. Perhaps you hadn't taken a moment to consider what you were saying before you posted? May I advise that you may wish to do a bit of research on the history of the application and effects of such tools as propaganda and memes.
Perhaps the person making the claim (i.e. that there are paid shills on this, or any similar, forum) is the one who should present the evidence?
Great answer, Stormlynn! I'd also like to take the time to remind all that I don't recall anything about this forum accusing anyone specific of any wrongdoing. I believe a simple question is at the head of this forum, and that question was NOT: "Do you believe so-and-so is a shill/troll, and how did you recognize him/her as such?"
http://microworkers.com/index.php. Various organisations using Microworkers to recruit people to post.
Also a list of paid to post sites.
http://www.mysteryautoincome.com/top-pa … ost-sites/
I didn't have to work too hard to find these, so I imagine there are many more. I was merely responding to Nouveau Skeptic. Nowhere in my post did I suggest that you were a shill.
Hey Hollie - that'a awesome information - but that first link didn't work for me.
I signed up with them a few weeks ago just to see what it is all about. There's a fair few jobs for posting in forums. I tried to sign in to show some of them. Hence, the first link. Haven't pursued Microworkers, not my thang.
Thanks for the links. They sure do back up the supposition that shills are recruited for posting in forums as well as other mediums.
The same reason that governments pay agitators.
And in contrast to what you say about corporations making money from forum arguments, they do, indirectly. The objective of such "agitators" is to distract minds. Whether it is a corporation, or a government agency, they look to sway opinion, hence beliefs. The ideology is the same...to interfere with undesirable thoughts and beliefs.
One "giveaway" these people present is that they don't usually give a better viewpoint but rather they just argue, insult and "imply" ineptitude upon those they wish to "sut up".
I have the memory of an average sized pachyderm, and so I generally remember usernames and accompanying attitudes. I see the same people acting the same way all over the place. If they are a new user to me, and their behavior seems vaguely practiced in a way, I'll poke around a bit, get out my magnifying glass and do what I do best: creep. I'll creep until I've pieced together a set of ideas about that user that seem to match up fairly well.
Generally 'shills' (although I prefer annoying or even just troll in some cases) are pretty recognizable to me. They tend to give themselves away. I don't think they're paid corporate shills though. Just people who believe super-strongly in something to the point of redundancy.
I tend to ignore them. If I wanted to argue with crotchety old men, I'd call my dad and tell him I got a tattoo of Marilyn Monroe on my stomach or something.
you're my kind of "creep". But...shills do come into forums because it's not about convincing those of us who speak out, but about confusing and perhaps convincing those who haven't yet made up their minds.
hey, I really think that would be cool! the tattoo- not arguing with crotchety old dad, but then, that might be fun too.
No matter who you are, you must recognize that:
1. propaganda exists
2. It affects not only your life, but those of the other persons around you.
So what are you going to do about it?
Corporations are steadily seeking to control the internet. Why is this? It's exactly because it's a freely flowing stream of information open for all, and information is, in fact, a weapon.
Never before in human history has knowledge MORE equalled power than it does today.
We live in a world where congress can do insider trading without fear of prosecution. Corporate Person hood has created a system of corporate controlled governance. Corporations can, will, and do pay people to patrol these forums.
So well said, Wes! Couldn't have said it better, myself.
People also need to learn how to recognize a shill..not just because they disagree, but by their behavior. And it's often by what they do NOT say that gives them away. Failure to answer questions directly, choosing instead to redirect attention by making a lame comment regarding a peripheral topic.
So how do you know 100% that someone is a paid poster? Because otherwise, it's just an assumption no matter what its based on.
Honestly, I've been accused of it more than once myself*, because people would rather accuse me of being a shill than have a logic-based discussion.
(And no, I'm not, I only post my own opinions on my own time/dime).
Well assumptions are usually based on observances, but observances are tricky things. Sometimes people think they're seeing something that isn't there, because they take a difference of opinion personally.
HOWEVER!!! There are certain behaviors exhibited by shills. For one thing, most instances where a shill might be used are illegal practices. So they must be very careful in the kind of information they give out. Being paid as a spokesman, engaging in convincing the "consumer" that the product is safe, or does what the label says, etc but not revealing that they are not just another average consumer is illegal in most instances.
I'll bet you provide sources for the information that helped you form your opinions don't you? A shill has no sources.
Absolutely. They do not post sources and they all mimic the same lines of argument as each other, which usually ranges along the lines of generic denials and attempting to personally discredit the person or institution presenting the information they disagree with.
I actually had a "conversation" with two shills on the same thread (or the same one with two accounts) where one stated that whoever believes what the original post said was an uneducated idiot and the other claimed that the first one had posted "well-established facts." I was like, "What were they?? Literally all he said was that anyone who believes this is stupid! That isn't a fact."
They claim they have sources and that facts back them up but they never produce any. You'll also notice that when you debate with a real forum participant, they will continue to argue their original point after you post a rebuttal, etc. Shills will not do that because they have no real knowledge and cannot respond. They will either move on to the next bullet on their fact sheet or they will personally attack you. They never answer questions and they never provide proof.
What does it matter?
If someone ignores facts and supports a toxic agenda - they're just as bad for humanity if they're paid for their toxic text, or not.
Well, of course you're right about that...but there's a war going on to control the thinking of the masses. No better way to get to the undecided, unknowledgeable than to plant the idea that naysayers are just purveyors of doom and gloom who are stopping progress and thereby, making them suffer.
...and they're in the forums because their hubs...pretty well suck, quality wise.
A.k.a. there is a war going on to make sure no one has their own sincere opinion if it differs from what you think is right?
That doesn't sound like the virtuous side of the fight, to me.
I don't believe I've ever attacked you, called you names, or otherwise found fault with you or your opinion, other than to ask for your sources. If you are genuinely interested in "educating" people about your views, you would want to point them in directions of quality, accurate, and professionally backed up information. You have yet to do any such thing.
Your very wording in your post gives away your intentions for posting...to create dissent. You didn't ASK me about my point of view...you TOLD me my reasons. You are not in a position to tell me anything about the way I think, for you are not me. You can only give your opinion, which of course, is based on your personal agenda.
I believe I've stated quite clearly and quite eloquently, that I prefer to hear all sides of a topic, so long as the discussion is intelligent and backed up by accurate information...not just opinion based on...opinion. An opinion backed by credentials holds much more water. So, because I'm interested in understanding how you've come to your conclusions about many of the topics you've posted to......what field of science are you degree'd in?
I restated the reasons you gave in the quote. If you think there is a "war" that implies you want to win and beat the other side.
I think there is a "debate" and the truth will probably be discovered int he middle ground.
The war being referred to was the one in which those who have a great deal of power over particular issues, suppress and stifle any news that may be damaging to their agendas. Are we not presently in a battle to combat SOPA? That's a perfect example of how power is being used to limit people's freedom of speech. Without that freedom, you and I both would be very limited in getting our views heard beyond our immediate circle of acquaintances.
Where in my "quote" did I give any indication of a personal war? I stated the obvious about a situation in which every one of us can be used as a pawn. Control of information allows for a very lopsided view of a situation, which in turn controls the outcome of agendas.
And you didn't answer my question........what field of science are you degree'd in?
A difference of opinion is one thing. Skewing and ignoring facts in order to state something as benign that is not is quite another thing.
But clearly some think opinion is fact.....
That just sounds like what any garden variety internet troll does when their argument gets backed against a wall, when the only alternative would be to (gasp!) concede a point.
What types of things does a corporate shill say, anyway?
"You know, big oil gets a bad rap. It's not GM's fault they needed to be bailed out. Recent studies have shown that McDonald's food is healthier than most people think."
I don't think I've ever seen anyone say something like that, in any context.
Take the topic of the Corporation activists love to hate...Monsanto. A shill for them would come into a forum and claim to be say....a scientist. Then he/she would go on to claim that there is no evidence that GM foods are harmful to human beings. He might go on to say that the evidence provided through independent studies doesn't mean what we think it means...but never give a thorough explanation of why it doesn't mean that or explain what it DOES mean.
And they do, of course, often work in teams.
You remind me vaguely of my old hippie neighbor. Which isn't a bad thing, because he was pretty awesome. If he read your posts, he'd sit there, sagely nodding his head, mutter something about his latest conspiracy theories and invite you to eat flax seed and squash cookies with him. Like I said, totally not a bad thing... just a funny coincidence.
Wesman? A hippie? But his hair's too short!
I'd rather have a slightly receded hair line than a bald spot in the back!
In Texas Summers ...running air conditioning service calls - you don't want any hair!
Well, you know what they say about balding men. If they're bald on top, it means they're great thinkers. If they're bald on the back, it means they're great lovers. But if they're bald on top and in the back..........they only think they're great lovers!
Oh Noooooooooeees! More worries for me, LOL!
If he'd fire up a joint and some Grateful Dead - I'd totally adopt the guy as my newest uncle!
I'm pretty sure he does the former. Not sure about the latter though... I'll let him know he has a prospective 'groupie'! Just FYI, he's a bit of a nutter. I think I saw him crying and apologizing to his grass once when he mowed his lawn.
Better to have too much empathy than none to speak of. With no empathy you endorse wars for corporate gain, and view Monsanto as a charity organization.
Hmm. Funny story about me and Monsanto.... when I first met the head of the genetics department at my college, I got into a massive argument with him about Monsanto. It didn't help that his colleagues were all employed by Monsanto. I decided that I won't be able to graduate with a degree in plant genetics after all.
I imagine it would be pretty hard to track down a shill. Before Panda came to town, I had a job posting articles to about 25 blog platforms and social media sites. I'd start every day by getting a new email address under an assumed name. I was given a proxy server, too, so I couldn't be traced. I wasn't hired to post comments on forums, but others were and probably still are. There were about 20 people working full time for the company, saturating the internet with product bs. Some focused on blogging, others on Facebook, etc. It's not hard to find the forums - there are software programs designed to find keywords. The company I worked for used one called Howie's Black Hat Lab that had a bunch of different search tools. I'm not proud of that brief period of employment, but man, what an eye opener it was.
It would be naive indeed to believe that corporations, the CIA and other "big guys" don't have people doing the same sorts of things. They are masters of deception.
Thank you, Rob! When it comes to forums, they actually join the site and follow the rules for a few weeks, months, etc. in order to establish a trusted presence. For instance, here on HP, the person would even put up a few hubs to be legitimate, follow a few people, etc. But if you take a look at the hubs, they are only the bare minimum requirements, they probably will not even relate to the personal they represent in the forums, and they will continually target forums where they know they will meet with the opposition.
Absolutely. That's also why it's fruitless to say, "you've no proof that this person is a paid poster." - who's got the funds to have the technology or the skills to trace that anyway?
I don't need it. We the wise can spot it when we see it.
yeah, there's no need to trace them. We just need to recognize them for what they are and make sure we do damage control on them....by calling them on it.
The techniques of spin include:
Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one's position (cherry picking)
Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths
Euphemisms to disguise or promote one's agenda
"Burying bad news": announcing one popular thing at the same time as
several unpopular things, hoping that the media will focus on the popular one.
In 2011, a Californian company, Ntrepid, was awarded a $2.76 million contract under the auspices of US Central Command for "online persona management" operations with the aim of creating "fake online personas to influence net conversations and spread US propaganda" in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.
That's some pretty awesome information there!
What is pretty sad is that this kind of misinformation making is seen as ok, maybe a nuisance, etc etc - but it is an indirect attack on free speech and should be strongly resisted.
Our home grown hub-pages shills and trolls seem to be less in evidence than they were, hopefully HP put them out of our misery, or maybe I am just not in those threads they infest.
recommend1, that's one of the most intelligent things I've read so far. Yes, it's very sad that planting misinformation is accepted and expected, and yes, it IS an indirect attack on free speech.
There's nothing wrong with arguing our individual perspectives and ideas. It's how we learn to see other sides of issues. But it's the spirit of the argument that makes the difference. Arguing as a form of attack, or out of annoyance, or with the intention of damaging the opposition's image or causing distress is not acceptable. I, for one, prefer to stay out of forums where I know my view is not in accordance with the majority. I may state my thoughts, but I don't hammer away at people who are trying to enjoy conversation with people of a like mind.
I could name a few that I've definitely NOT seen around in a while, and boy do I not miss them either!
There have been a few that I don't miss either. Last summer I had the unpleasant experience of dealing with a guy who followed me from forum to forum. It didn't matter what topic or what I said about the matter, he would say or do anything in an attempt to insult my level of intelligence or anger me. I tried to put an end to his behavior by asking him to just agree to disagree, but still, he persisted. I finally told him that I, and others who were watching would just assume from that point on that his interest in provoking me was because it was his way of gaining my knowledge on subjects he knew nothing about. I haven't seen him since.
I generally tell them my address, and suggest they come by for a visit so that we can work things out. What happens then is that they either shut up and go away, or totally reverse directions, and claim that I'm threatening and harassing THEM.
I can't help but wonder why the HP officials fail to see what's going on when these occurrences take place. If someone follows another person from topic to topic, goes out of their way to only (or primarily) address the same person over and over, you'd think they'd realize the truth of the matter. Regardless of whether it happens on an open street or in a forum, a stalker is a stalker. That kind of mentality can have dangerous connotations. And if they're truly only trying to make their voice heard, why not start their own forum on the subject or publish a hub that can be read by more people than the members of Hubpages?
Oh that would make too much sense!!!!!!! We're talking about people here that don't care about anything but defending who's paying them to lie on their behalf.
I don't want to take the thread of track here, Terri. But I just had to show you this one. Talk about exploitation by drug companies. Extract below. This is one of the jobs advertised.
1. Go to a medical forum (it should be popular, not a forum with no or little users). The forum should be related to medical / chronic pain / or see this page for the references: http://www.painkillernormast.com/slide-view/research).
You must have at least 20 posts and a thread where you can recommend my site. Make sure that you are allowed to include links in your posts and that the link is visible to forum guests.
2. Write a post in that forum thread about the painkiller Normast. Do not copy any text from the site itself, write something on your own. See more text inspiration and/or posts you could refer to: http://www.painkillernormast.com
3. Include the following link in your post:
or a post URL from the website painkillernormast.com you can choose from.
Make sure the link is clickable and redirects to the http://www.painkillernormast.com web page. Your forum post must be visible to guests and should not be deleted by an administrator. You must have more than 20 post in the forum you posted the link.
Required proof that task was finished?
1. User name in the forum
2. URL to your post
— Not interested in this job
— I accept this job (a form will open below)
Keep Microworkers clean
Report non-working or misleading job
It's illegal to claim to be a "satisfied consumer" when you're actually a paid advocate without making known your connection to the company whose product you are representing. Also, testimonials can not make statements that are lies in an effort to convince the buying public to purchase. If it's discovered, those involved can be found guilty of a crime with fines...big fines and possibly jail time if the claim is made that there are no hazardous side effects associated with the product and it turns out there is such a knowledge.
Did you start this just because someone disagreed with the prevailing views n the GMO thread? A person who is definitely not a "shill"
no...because some of us were talking about different experiences we've had or noticed coming from about a half a dozen of the same folks. I personally don't care whether people agree or disagree with me or any other person. However, I most definitely DO prefer to have intelligent discussions regarding the differences of opinion. And when the topic is a controversial one, I like to see for myself what sources one may use to help him/her come to his/her conclusion. It's called debate. Some folks don't seem to get that, settling instead for arguing points without anything to support their arguments. I find it highly illogical to expect another intelligent human being to simply accept the view as true and right if there are no references to support a theory. That's all. It's fun to find out how people think and why. How else do we come to understand our differences?
I'm a bit curious....how would any of us know if an anonymous person is "definitely not a shill"? Unless we have a specific person in mind or we know the person on a personal basis? All of this is conjecture, but one of the reasons I decided to ask the question was because I was curious what kind of responses I would get, and from whom.
If you are talking about yourself here - then I don't think we are either one of us, myself or Terri, referring to you.
Maybe they just like to a argue....not everything is a conspiracy..
Well, now....how did this turn into a conspiracy theory forum? There doesn't have to be a "conspiracy theory" for there to be a shill, or front man in the house. It's called Public Relations...a very real, and very vital part of almost any major organization or Corporation. They exist even for the "good guys".
I'm kind of wondering if anyone who comes into these forums has ever worked in a large corporate setting....besides Rob Schnieder and myself. Anyone?
I'm in the forums quite a bit, have worked in a large corporation, am not a shill, and tend to stay out of the issues-related discussions because of the high likelihood that people may be shills, trolls, or just people who like to argue for the sake of arguing.
With issues-type discussions I'll either write about my own ideas on them somewhere other than the forums, or else discuss them in offline life and with people I know.
Whether the topic of discussion is issues-related or something else, I have my own set of things that make me think someone may not be at "genuine", and I assume most other people do as well.
Lisa, your answer goes right to the heart of the question. The purpose behind a forum is to provide a medium for people to exchange their thoughts, ideas, information, and even questions on a given topic/issue. It's a way to reach many more people than those found in their own private circle of acquaintances.
A shill or troll will strive to create dissent or to interrupt the flow of conversation, often to the point of harassment of his target. It's a diversionary tactic, designed to change the direction of conversation. When it goes on unchecked, people stop talking. No one wants to be attacked for merely stating a view. When people stop talking, the shill's job is successful, for they have hampered the spread of unwanted negative commentary.
By your own words, you stay out of forums where opinions are the "meat" of the conversation. That is certainly your right, but think about this:
The amount of news suppression taking place has been growing over the last several decades as more and more controversial issues of an ethical nature are created by advances in technology. Without mediums for sidestepping the usual route controlled by those with power, many important issues would be trampled on without giving the little guy a say in the matter simply because we wouldn't know about it. As it is, there are too many activities slipped past the unsuspecting citizen. The effective shut-down of a forum is the dream come true of a shill. It halts and/or hampers the progression of a movement.
Terri, all good points, of course; but my choice not to go into "issues" discussions isn't really because someone on one of the forums will try to shut me up one way or another. I'm pretty free to "offer" at length my own views on things. My main reason for not going to those forums is that I don't see them as where I'm going to get any valuable input.
So, there's kind of a subtle distinction between what's on those discouraging someone from speaking freely and comfortably (which isn't why I don't go to them) and being full of stuff that pretty much makes people think there's little of any value in the discussions (and it's not likely that what someone offers on there by way of being different or new will, in fact, be different or new. Most of the "different" views come from something someone else read in the news.
If you think of what's usually on the politics (and religion) forums, it's usually people just spouting their opinions without having all the facts required to call those opinions a "legitimate and reasonable conclusion". If people used reason and logic in their opinion-forming it would be different, but they don't; and it's clear that they don't because a whole lot of what goes on is name-calling and lumping everyone else on the opposing side as "one thing".
Then, there are people who have apparently "made a career" of posting in politics forums. I'm not interesting in their opinions because if they're on HubPages forums (or something similar) as their "career" or "passion" - hmmm. Really??? Maybe some people take what's in those forums as something more than just pals having a heated debate, but I can't.
My thing is that if I have a belief, agenda, or cause; I'll support in the ways I can, and I'll usually do what I can to also write about it in the hopes that whatever I write may be passed around. It's just that I don't see something like the politics forum as a big hot-bed of changing minds.
When there's a subject I don't have sufficient information on I'll refrain from drawing conclusions. A lot of other people don't do that. They form opinions on nothing BUT what they see/hear in news media and/or political circles. They don't look beyond those two arenas (and into, say, scientific materials or life experiences/observations). They don't think for themselves other than knowing what they've heard in the news and forming an opinion on only both sides of the news.
A lot of people haven't lived long enough to have experienced some things, and a lot of other people haven't happened to have been in one situation or another which would make them have more insight into one issue or another. If they had, they wouldn't be on the forums arguing one or the other side of what's in the news and little else.
Maybe I underestimate the power of this particular site and its politics forums, but if I want to reach masses of people I'm heading for YouTube or Facebook - not the HubPages forums. I guess, maybe, whether we feel our speech is being suppressed can depend on how we view the purpose of a site. I see this one as a writing site, and I see the forums as a place I come to take a break, get ideas to write (either here or somewhere else), and maybe challenge myself (and maybe help someone) by trying to think up some answer to someone else's question. My speech, for my purposes, isn't at all suppressed here.
I'm really in agreement with the idea that a whole lot of what goes on in forums (shills, scammers, or whoever) does drive away people who would otherwise have a solid discussion. I don't like it, but that's mostly because it detracts from something that I'd rather find interesting and enjoyable - not so much because I see it as suppression of speech.
I don't know... I guess I just think that if someone knows there's a place where is speech is likely to end up suppressed, he'd better take his speech to x number of other places where nobody can suppress it.
I can (do) respect the people who just want to get into debates/arguments over something like political stuff. I don't happen to like it for me, but they may not like something I do either. So, it's not that I don't respect the people who argue on those forums at all. It's that I don't take their arguments as "news". People who aren't on the up and up, and who aren't there as "legitimate" participants are another matter; and they can drive away the "genuine" people (the way all the religious posts have driven away a lot of people from the forums). I'm just not sure that role of forums on a writing site is all that vital (especially when people can click on "start a new Hub" and then promote the heck out of it all over the Internet if they want to.
I'm in absolute agreement with you on how I, personally, view/use forums, with the exception, that I truly enjoy hearing and observing others for the purpose of understanding human behavior. I agree that many people simply parrot what they've heard somewhere else without bothering to explore and investigate WHAT they've heard. But then, I have to recognize that when I write about a topic that's on an issue I hold near and dear, the readers are likely to do the same thing...repeat what I've written without checking facts. Now, because I'm very thorough in my own investigations, they aren't likely to find anything that hasn't been already researched. And I'll provide links to scientific data, reports, etc. I try to make sure to back up my view with as many facts as I can find. That doesn't mean someone may not be able to find a study somewhere that disputes what I've written, but I don't usually write a definitive piece if the final analysis is still up in the air.
It was my observation of the forums which led me to discover how people respond to "news" and the written word. I realize that in order to make a difference to whatever cause of which I'm writing, I need to provide more than an unqualified opinion and be more than a mouthpiece for someone else's agenda. Without the participation that goes on in forums, I would be left to guess at the trends moving people to act and speak.
And as strong as people such as you and I may be, those who (for whatever reason) are more easily shut down, are important sources for me, too. Unfortunately, they represent the greater majority of the general population. It's important that we learn how to reach them. It's what we do as writers. If we are unable to reach our audience, we are just speaking to empty air.
When people are shut down, they are, in effect, suppressed. Imagine how many creative ideas go unspoken when a shill/troll is permitted to rampage unchecked.
And imagine how many people are shut down by being falsely accusing of being a shill/troll.... when really all they did is say something unpopular.
And apparently saying Bill Gates is *not* trying to sterilize Africans with GM food = unpopular.
This is not a forum for opinions about GM foods, about conspiracy theories, etc. I believe the question was whether people are able to recognize a shill and how would they do so. I also don't believe there have been any accusations against a single person in this forum, and I KNOW I've never accused anyone of being anything other than annoyingly tiresome in diatribes aimed at creating angry confrontations. It's simply too juvenile for me. But, I'll still respond with patience and diplomacy.
So......can you recognize a shill and by what means?
I was reporting a context where people here thought I was a shill, and were wrong. I think that is relevant because it suggest simple disagreement will cause people to "cry shill". That is, it can be used as a method to try and suppress dissent.
Who said you were a shill? I've looked and looked for the post and can't find it. I don't see anything that pointed you out. In fact, you only just began posting here, and I believe I'm the only one who has responded to you so far. Please, where is the post saying you are a shill?
This is also the second time you've ignored the purpose of this forum...
Can you recognize a shill and by what means?
It's a kind of different thing, but I have a Hub that I wrote about a product only because I happened to have the product and figured sharing my experience with it would make a good Hub. I had someone come into the comments and accuse me of working for the company. I said I didn't, and the person wrote something like, "Wake up, people! Nobody would spend this kind of time blah blah...." I didn't care who thought what about me, but I did care that this individual was essentially making anyone who paid any attention to what I said think I was a phony. In fact, the "wake up people" thing kind of implied anyone who asked me something was (shall we say) "asleep", which was an insult to them (not to mention to me).
I think there's a whole lot of "Internet paranoia" that goes on because there's so much baloney on the Internet. (Brings to mind that saying, "Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean someone isn't after me." ) "Paranoia" (the popular, not clinical definition) can be every bit as destructive as blatant attempts to shut up the other side. Equally bad is when there are "sleaze balls" who think everyone else in the world, or online, must be just like them; and who can't even imagine that someone may actually be on the up-and-up.
you betcha Lisa! I've never been accused of giving false information...yet. I work very hard to verify what I write, so it may prove difficult to someone who wishes to do so. I don't like to edit out comments on my hubs, but if the person making the comment is making accusations designed to denigrate my integrity, they will be deleted. I simply won't entertain hateful, spoiled children. It's counterproductive.
Paid to post sites that pay you to post on forums usually have the okay from the forum first, such as on Postloop.
True, but those are usually just services to make a forum look busy. The PPPs are not told what to post.
I've no doubt that if dealing with reputable companies that is the case. But the example I've given at the top just asks workers to find a forum and post so it doesn't look like this is the case here. Also, given what Terri has said about the illegality (re the drugs testimonials) it doesn't sound as if they're too big on ethics. If they can't abide by the laws of the land, I'd doubt they would bother to seek approval from the forum.
This is the case where? Because the only person recently accused of it on this forum is me. And it is not the case. It is only the case that I stated that GM food has not been shown to cause sterility. Because it hasn't.
This apparently caused two people to spread that word over multiple threads that I work for Monsanto--which is untrue and just a way to skirt the fact they can;t back up that claim. I just happen to have read that research and never found a single study showing this effect.
https://www.google.com/search?ix=ica&am … +sterility
Link me to a specific study and I will be happy to look at it and either show why it is wrongly interpreted, or admit it is a new study I did not know of and so my position has changed.
But you know what, I give up. If you want to do that, send me a PM. The reason personal attacks work is because if you want to discuss the facst, you eventually get sick of being kicked in the nuts instead and go somewhere more civilized.
No, if you scroll up you will see I posted an example of a job advertised where workers were asked to go to a forum and post. I was responding to univited writers comment where she said that they often have permission from the forum before posting. This was not directed at you. I was discussing what some unscrupulous companies do. And this was a drug company, not Monsanto.
OK, once again......the topic of THIS forum is about recognizing a shill and how. It is about the behaviors most associated with such commenters on a forum. Please do not dilute the subject by discussing off topic issues.
Psycheskinner, until recently, no one has mentioned any names except for you, and you're the one assuming this topic is all about you. Pretty self-absorbed, aren't you? Do you imagine you are the only one any of us has come up against who has a differing opinion? Do you imagine we are concerned about the opinions of someone who refuses to back up their statements?
I've also politely asked you to address the question concerning the topic, and you have failed to do so. Why did you come here if not to engage in the discussion of recognition and methods used? That is the purpose of this forum. It is NOT here for you to use as a tactic for drawing attention to your personal sense of self-importance.
*psycheskinner - Perhaps you have not read a single study showing the negative effects because such studies are being discouraged. Why would that be? Food is something everyone needs. I would think there could not be enough studies.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162- … rop-risks/
here's another example of studies or even those suggesting they be done by someone other than those who make dollars off the product in question are discouraged.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases … 83058.html
While this may not relate to the topic at hand of how to spot a shill, it does imply that persons advocating there is no evidence showing it is dangerous, who know that's the case because data proving such is suppressed, is possibly misleading others. Note, I said possibly. At the very least it makes me wonder as to intentions. I'm all for loyalty to one's employer, but not at the cost of public safety or at the cost of the suppression of the exploration and search for truth. In my opinion, such suppression is akin to censorship too.
I have suspected some people in the past were paid to post but I didn't take it all that seriously. For example, when I see one person with no hubs post 20 questions putting down Obama or others all posted in a short period of time I wonder about that.
Yes, or the ones that write say just two short hubs and then have lots of rants in the forums. They also only seem to follow those who have done the same. perhaps they come in groups, who knows.
Exactly. I've seen the exact same thing dozens of times - but there are also purely corporate types of paid posters.
I have seen some users supporting Godaddy during SOPA boycott days. It was hard to differentiate between real users and paid sock puppets. Thanks to reddit many users managed to see things beyond godaddy coupons and value freedom.
There are some fanboys too. They get emotional and attack if you're not using their favorite product like (Insert Apple, google or other popular brand). They literally attack every post of yours equating your choice of using alternative product as some sort of idiocy. I have no doubt that product managers and sock puppets lurk in many popular forums and social networks and it is really hard to differentiate between genuine user, sock puppet and fanboys. Atleast It's hard for me, so I always approach suspicious members with some skeptical questions.
Oh God, yes, there was one who was there and constantly harassing people to think the way she thought. Many of these people were either seeking advice or just merely stating their opinion but this person refused to relent. She was just repeating her values and opinions ad infinitum. I got sick of this person and brought her up on it. So did another person who was well versed regarding the forum subject. Apparently, this person is no longer present at that particular forum!
To tell you the truth, when it comes to promotions of particular products, I'm not sure why companies believe that paying someone to become annoying to the rest in the "audience" is productive. I understand the value of PR when they go into forums as a satisfied customer and just leave it at that, and maybe come back a day or two later and post again. But to blab on and on and on. That would turn me against a product. I believe those types are just the regular run of the mill nuisances.
Personally, I become irritated by those who say "I'm a psychologist, therefore, I am" and the next day they become an experimental psychologist, biochemist and then a nuclear scientist. Therefore, the "I'm a scientist" becomes slightly ludicrous. Do they honestly believe that the rest of us, yes, we may even have degrees, do not recognise that there are different disciplines within science. Do they really think we are all that stupid? Do they honestly believe that they are the only ones who evaluate studies. I don't know, I guess I'm stupid. I would never ask for evidence.
Hey Hollie! If you ask any scientist what he/she thinks about the field of psychology...they will tell you they don't consider it science at all. That's because they deal in tangibles and what's observable. There's nothing tangible or observable about psychology. Physical science is based on the laws of physics as we know and understand them. But psychology is based on what's communicated and there are many flaws having to do with various methodology. So to claim to be a scientist because one is a psychologist would be found extremely humorous to those in the fields of physical science. There is absolutely no way to make a leap from psychology to understanding and interpreting the data from studies completed in say the field of biochemistry, at least not understanding it any better than the average intelligent individual. There is a difference for those of us who write about the findings of these studies. We don't rely solely on our own personal interpretation of the data, but on the interpretation arrived at by the very people who conduct the studies, as well as their peers who review the findings. Essentially, our facts are more trustworthy than those arrived at by a novice whose profession is marginally considered "science".
lmao. I'm a social scientist. That makes me laugh, too. Social science (you'll no doubt know includes psychology) is NOT an exact science. Who among us could honestly conduct research of this nature without bringing our biases and value judgements. I don't care who they are or what they proclaim, it's near impossible. Experimental psychology is somewhat different. I did bring this up in another forum and was confronted by a "scientist" Social science is like political science, in that, as you say, is not tangible. There is no tangible evidence. Then there's the matter of funding and a governments, particular social policy, or a corporations agenda. In my experience, they often equate to the same thing.
You know, your field is probably a bit more stable than psychology. With the social sciences, there will probably always be a need to understand how societies are shaped and affected by outside stimuli and events to which they are subjected. Opinions and behaviors change based on our understanding of the world in which we find ourselves at any point in time.
However, psychology might eventually be a minor field given that with newer understandings in relation to the working of the human brain, have led many in the fields of neuroscience to believe that many "mental" illnesses should be reclassified as a neurological illness. I mean, let's face it...disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, Alzheimer's...all are related to the chemistry of the brain. The more we learn about brain chemicals and their jobs, the more illnesses previously diagnosed as psychological are being treated as the physical malfunction/illness they truly are.
As for your previous post about someone claiming to be a psychologist, then a biochemist, then a ... all I have to say is....Physician heal thyself! surely such a person is suffering from delusions of grandeur.
I guess that would be those who post religion threads, only to provoke others.
I have no problem with people explaining that a belief or opinion about the topic of the forum is based on a religious platform. However, they need to refrain from turning the topic into a discussion of religious virtues. For instance, if you told me that you could recognize a shill because you have faith in your deity that would help you avoid them, I'd say that's great if it works for you. And then it would be time for me to move along. Someone else may want to know how that works for the person making the claim, and that's alright too. But if the claimant launches into a preaching session about how the rest of us are all going to hell to be tormented by a legion of shills for eternity........then I'd say......time to get the net. and ignore them for the rest of my visit.
Yes, I have to agree, that there are some of from the religious persuasion who make religion posts, just to annoy those who are non believers.
For the record and for those who don't already know, I neither believe nor disbelieve.
That means I can work for either side.
Hmmm. A cute, fuzzy, lovable, cheeky minx sockpuppet... I'll put that on my business cards.
You are an editor, correct? Do you do books? (well off topic here, sorry)
no, no...you're discussing a potential job as a shill....carry on...we would like to watch so we can spot you next time you come around.
I'm sorry, whenever I meet PDS we go off topic. I'm sorry. I am ashamed.
really, no need to be ashamed.....I'm fascinated....you're obviously the kind of shills for hire that I wouldn't mind dealing with on an everyday basis....but you're sort of blowing your cover by discussing it in front of the rest of us.
Hollie and I would change our names to Skippy and Spunky.
I am definitely spunky Terri, should you want me to post re: Monsanto, I would lie down and die, whilst of course (inadvertently??) Exposing all the good things they do in the world. Did I say that?
Please, give me an example of how you would represent Monsanto while working incognito as a shill...this is to be viewed as part of the job interview process for the job we discussed earlier. You may proceed...
I would not make posts about monsanto. However, if they were to be criticised I would attempt to appear impartial, but would also declare that as a scientist, any study that was critical of their corporate behaviour would be flawed. I would probably be rumbled though when presented with evidence to the contrary by suggesting that that evidence be presented to me (again) so I could 'highlight' how that evidence was "mis-interpreted" emmm.
I almost forgot...Wesman has been banned again. Happened a couple of hours ago. I believe he sort of left his "passion" get the best of him again.
Hollie: This is to your response of how you would behave if you were to take a job as a shill (I couldn't post under the same thread anymore)
Please see my response to your comment about ever changing disciplines of scientific knowledge and expertise!
For all you Monsanto fans.
"No thanks: An anti-Monsanto crop circle made by farmers and volunteers in the Philippines. By Melvyn Calderon/Greenpeace HO/A.P. Images."
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/feat … anto200805
I can't believe the number of anti-Monsanto pics out there...
You always have these people and sometimes I can be one not because I have an agenda or profit from it. A well written hub with the facts does not allow for these people to destroy your view. I have chanced upon a few things that were just plain ridiculous. I could give you several on here right now that our beyond stupid and only comments and not hubs at all. If one can not back up there story with facts or at least a supported argument then what is its purpose? If you present the facts then why fly in the face of reason with nothing. Are there people on here advertising and posting agendas absolutely. These people are the best ones to stick it to. I sometimes add information or tell the truth but I never condemn facts.
SanXuary: People who have a differing point of view, but can back up their viewpoint with some facts and studies, aren't who this forum is targeting. Those people simply have a different perspective. I'm all for having thorough debates and discussions, swapping ideas and thoughts. However, I do not easily tolerate those who follow the behaviors of the "shill". There's no room for empty headed babble, at [b]my[b] table, and I will point out their behaviors every time. I don't do so because I imagine that I can change their personal agenda, but more for those who may not understand that such behavior is meant to confuse them on the issues. A shill is used solely for the purpose of furthering the agenda of his employer through controlled public relations tactics.
Well, Morning everybody.
This is an interesting topic. Yes, I run into, Trolls or Shill as you call them, and, sometimes I like to have a little fun with them.
To me, the term, Shill is a person that works for the house ( Card Games ).
I have been here for awhile and still can't get my Hub to get out.
Once I get it all together, there are two RED BOXES, and you are to put something in those two RED BOXES.
I do not understand what Hubs is asking me for. I thought it had something to do with a special address or something to do with that.
When I can get a little help on this problem, you all here will see my first Hub.
I am in the process of moving My Website. Where I first build it, some 8 years ago, now they are going to charge me.
I am moving it to Google. They are FREE, for now.
I will try to get a hold of somebody in the know as to what I should put in those two RED BOXES.
This is a good Issue. I have my plate full right now.
I will try to get a Hub out for you people here, ASAP.
Keep up the good work and will spend more time later.
I insist on flying in the face of reason with nothing ALL THE TIME! sometimes twice on Sundays! It is the only way to get noticed around here. In fact, I'M DOING IT RIGHT NOW! muuuawahhhahahahaa!
Then I guess I am not a Shill, just a butt at times. I guess its someone who tells you that agent orange is good for breakfast and then tells you that their is no proof otherwise. I guess most people who discuss Politics and have a sign in their yard is a Shill. A few people who convinced their local cult leaders that this is a better idea then knocking on doors perhaps. I get it you have to actually be selling something to be a Shill.I have not made one cent on this web site and have no intentions of making one either. I am Shill eliminated but educated in Shill tactics. I now have a new purpose, I shall become a Shill Warrior, Here my laugh, Ha ha. Its a Shill World filled with Shill and I shall defeat them. I will buy nothing and destroy them with a lack of product knowledge and stupid questions. They will become sick of my dumb questions and useless non buying motives. They will never feel felt found me no sir-ry.
Now, see, I always thought a shill was the person who stands in a crowd and pretends not to know the salesman but lets the salesman use the product on him and then buys two or three - he's actually working for the salesman. So if somebody starts a thread pitching Gingrich and then somebody comes in and "allows" themselves to be convinced after a spurious argument - then that second guy is the shill. Not too much shilling going on here, I think, because we're all way too lazy to set up something like that!
We've had a few notable shills here on HP. They flat-out deny they are paid, just passionate.
But no rational person, who ostensibly has a "real" job, posts 25 anti-Obama threads EVERY DAY all based on misinformation and all defended vigorously with party rhetoric.
I have sometimes wonder where one would find such a "shill" job and how much they pay. Anyone know?
Yeah, I wish I could find somebody to pay me for all the time I've spent (wasted?) on these forums trying to spread western civilization amongst the Philistines. I'd be happy to be a paid shill.
I have been thinking that the plethora of religionist threads are created by conspirators and their partners (a) shills who are earning their religion badges (b) shills who are paid missionaries (c) aliens who seek to disrupt and destroy our civilization with this clever religionista ruse in our forums or (d) all of the above. Otherwise, how can one explain all the trash about god in a place like this?
Well, if someone trend spots and keyword analysed everything in order to publish something here on hubpages....would that person be a Google shill?
Now you've got me thinking about potentials.
Well, it has really come to the point where you have to wonder who on internet forums arent shills, especially when money, and politics is involved. Shills are generally very totalitarian and want to control everything from how you respond, to when you respond, to where you get your information from. Some general patterns that ive noticed about shills. they hate China. View the world from a eurocentric point, and seek to contain your mind within the confines of white western capitalism. They oppose communism; support capitalism; attacks on defiant, disobedient countries like Syria, and Libya; are racist; are aggressive, and use vulgar language; make personal attacks on real netizens; hype up contributions made by white western '"culture", while downplaying everyone else's. Hate views that differ from the mainstream; have little sympathy towards the poor; praises countries that are obediant to western capitalism (ie japan); objectify/disrespect women; have military backgrounds; push western norms onto others (many of them will call these "international norms"); accuse others of being "out to get us" (sample statements ie China owns us, China will invade us); alot of them seem to have multiple user names to create a concensus of agreement, making it look like lots of people agree with imperialism/fascism/free market; legitimise the establishment, ie harvard university (in other words you should accept something as fact, and truth if it comes from harvard, or oxbridge); mostly sympathise with jews/israel; islamaphobic; will try to white wash or minimise crimes comited by western capitalist regimes (ie british troops killing Iraqis); or turn the tables by making the british troops look like the victims instead of the agresor; demand citations and sources. Most shills oppose sharing music, or movies, despite how popular it is amongst netizens. This is because the shills are getting funding from film studios, and music labels. Shills from western capitalist countries like usa, canada, britain, or australia generally oppose equality. Instead they opt for hiercarchy, and concentrated wealth/power. They rarely, if ever challenge monarchies. They impose double standards. Although they may criticise China's income inequality, they will have no problems with the british royals getting $100 million a year for doing nothing. They will accuse egalitarian societies of being "dictatorships", while praising the real dictatorships and monarch based regimes. Shills also hate it when you reply to old topics. I assume this disrupts the work patterns of the shills who work on very rigid protocol, and maybe shills are focused on recent topics and if you reply to an old topic it is difficult for shills to go back and respond. Alot of shills purposely use outdated information. They may accuse europe of being "socialist", something that may have been slightly true about 40 years ago. I've seen them accuse China of being comunist, which was true 35yrs ago. Many shills will try to get people to take a side. For example, they will want you to either side with republicans, or democrats to make it a partisan conflict. So many of them will say this is all 0bama's fault, or when bush was in power, they would blame bush for certain things. In fact, many shills still blame bush for many things. They do not want you to oppose the entire system, or accuse western democracy of being a fraud. Alot of shills support ron paul, as if he was some kind of "alternative" to the corrupted corporate system. As far as many shills are concerned, julian assange really is a dissident. They don't generally refer to him as being a triple agent. Those are the political ones. There are also tons of economic shills, for example, they will say iphones are cool to get people to buy them. Their topics are very limited. If they have a cell phone discussion, it will be either samsung, or iphone. All the lesser known brands will be portrayed as non existant. god forbid you even bring huawei, or zte into the conversation. These economic shills will also convince you not to buy things from China, or lesser known brands. This includes making up stories about Chinese cell phones blowing up, or fictitious people getting "poisoned" by Chinese goods. In conclusion, I don't think there is a huge difference between the magazines, newspapers, media, tv, movies, and shills in general. Shills are only reinforcing the voice of mainstream media. The voice is the same, even if it may show up in different tones. The bottom line is, support capitalism, imperialism, hierarchy. The white western way is the only way. If you decide to defect, please do so under our confines, and gravitate towards japan or some other compliant puppet regime subordinate to white western imperialism. Accept inequality, but do not accept communism, and China.
It is all so absurd that I never stop laughing about it. I know perfectly well the word 'liberal' means something very different from what is intended by the people who call themselves liberals today.
I don't have any account on any website where I'm not easily seen to be the same person I am here, which is me using my given name. Well, these fake liberals of today insist I'm a troll, a bot, a Russian bot, and a Nazi. Anyone with views to the right of George Soros must be software, Russian operatives....or Nazis.
The term 'shill' no longer has any value as an insult. Being called a Nazi is starting to sound a hell of a lot like a compliment to me too. I'm insulted a bit by 'bot,' but not much, because I qualify the opinions of persons throwing that term about as a total zero.
It's funny. No hubber I would describe by your definition is taking part in this discussion. They have finally run me off, I'm so tired of them hijacking any meaningful discussion on this site. I check HP once a week for my comments and that's it. Your question caught my eye. It's a good one.
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