Posts filed under “Think Tank”

Secret Playbook of Internet Trolls

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
What’s confusing you
Is the nature of my game

- The Rolling Stones

What’s Confusing You Is the Nature of Their Game

 

The reason that Internet trolls are effective is that people still don’t understand their game.

There are 15 commonly-used trolling tactics to disrupt, misdirect and control internet discussions.

As one interesting example, trolls start flame wars because – according to two professors – swearing and name-calling shut down our ability to think and focus.

And trolls will often spew divisive attacks so that people argue against each other, instead of bad actions and policies of the powers-that-be.   For example, trolls will:

Start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like “all Jews are selfish”, “all Christians are crazy” or “all Muslims are terrorists”.

Yesterday, the alternative news site Common Dreams caught a troll using scores of different user names to spew anti-Semitic bile. (Common Dreams discovered that the same troll was behind the multiple user names by tracking their IP addresses. And the troll confessed to Common Dreams.)

The troll is a “a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel”.

He posted anti-Semitic diatribes – such as Hitler should have finished the job and killed all Jews – using one alias.  Then – a couple of minutes later – he’d post an attack on the first poster using a different alias, claiming that criticism of Israel is the same thing as anti-Semitism.  (Note: Holocaust survivors and Israeli ministers say it’s not.)

Why would a Jew post vile anti-Semitic comments?  Because normal people are offended by – and don’t want to be associated with – pure, naked anti-Semitism, and so they will avoid such discussions.  If the discussion was originally criticizing a specific aspect of Israeli policy, the discussion will break down, and the actual point regarding policy will be lost.

Similarly, anti-Semitic posts weaken websites by making them seem less reputable. Indeed, Common Dreams says that the troll’s anti-Semitic comments drove away many of that site’s largest donors … dealing a severe blow to its continued viability. That’s exactly what trolls spewing anti-Semitic bile are trying to do: shut down logical discussion and discredit and weaken sites which allow rational criticism of policy.

It is well-known that foreign  governments and large companies troll online. See this, this this, and this. For example, the Israeli government is paying students to post pro-Israeli comments online.

And American students are also attempting to influence internet discussion.

While the Common Dreams troll claims that he’s not sponsored by the state of Israel, government  agencies have manipulated  Internet discussion for years. This includes the use of multiple “socket puppet” aliases.  The potential for mischief is stunning.

Unless we learn their game …

Category: Think Tank, Web/Tech

The Nude Picture Scandal

How dumb can you be? Excoriate Perez Hilton, come down on 4chan, but what I want to know is why these celebrities have nude photos on their phones to begin with? Maybe I grew up in the dark ages, when you had to go to the porn shop to buy European magazines to see naked…Read More

Category: Think Tank, Web/Tech, Weekend

Prospects for Asia and the Global Economy

Prospects for Asia and the Global Economy:
 Conference Summary Reuven Glick and Mark M. Spiegel FRBSF 2014-26     A new volume, Prospects for Asia and the Global Economy, summarizes the 2013 Asia Economic Policy Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Center for Pacific Basin Studies. The conference focused on challenges…Read More

Category: Think Tank

Mass Surveillance Violates U.S. Law

UN High Commissioner: Mass Surveillance Violates International Law … and Snowden Should NOT Be Prosecuted Despite the fancy footwork of government lawyers, mass surveillance undoubtedly violates the U.S. Constitution.   See this, this and this. After all: Mass spying by the NSA violates our freedom of association It violates our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search…Read More

Category: Think Tank, War/Defense

Peer-to-Peer Lending Is Poised to Grow

Peer-to-Peer Lending Is Poised to Grow Yuliya Demyanyk and Daniel Kolliner     Peer-to-peer lending—a type of lending which matches individual borrowers with investors—is a recent innovation. But because it fills at least two gaps left by traditional lending sources, the peer-to-peer-lending market is likely to continue growing for some time. Emerging first in the…Read More

Category: Credit, Think Tank

Take It Easy: So Long, Summer 2014

The sun is out, the surf is up and it’s a beautiful Southern California day. That’s right, we might be plagued by earthquakes and gridlock, but when the elements align, which is nearly every day, when you get behind the wheel and crank up the radio, you feel like a million bucks. So I just…Read More

Category: Think Tank, Weekend

Is Modern Life Making Us Dumber?

Forget “Peak Oil” and “Peak Credit” … Are We On the Downslope of “Peak Intelligence”?   Scientists say that we have much smaller brains than our ancestors had 20,000 years ago … and we might have gotten stupider since agriculture became widespread. Huffington Post reports that we’ve probably gotten dumber than even our Victorian ancestors:…Read More

Category: Psychology, Think Tank, Web/Tech

The Ladder

STARTING We’ve all got to start somewhere, just don’t delude yourself that because you’ve started you deserve to be successful. There are a number of routes to take, some of which can be combined. Skills cannot be emphasized enough. Knowing how to play your instrument, sing or deejay, gives you a floor upon which you…Read More

Category: Think Tank

Category: Credit, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Think Tank

Kiron Sarkar Weekly Report 8.30.14

In spite of the increased geopolitical tensions, oil prices (Brent) have not risen by as much as normally would be the case. Prices are still being impacted by Libya as it increases its production and exports (though internal fighting has increased, which could threaten supplies) and by rising oil production from territory controlled by the…Read More

Category: Markets, Think Tank