Sock Puppets and Astroturfing at BlueNC

BlueNC is a community blog. As such, we appreciate the participation and input of everyone. We have intentionally limited rules and guidelines to better promote an open forum. Until recently, the only way to get your account blocked and your IP banned was to expose the true identity of a member who had made reasonable attempts to secure their anonymity.

Unfortunately, our size and traffic have opened us up to folks who want to use this community instead of joining this community.

In the past two years, BlueNC had only experienced a couple of minor skirmishes with sock puppets engaged in astroturf campaigns. This month, though, we found ourselves tracking down 8 separate identities for one user. We figured it was time to set in stone a few new rules.

You may have noticed two new entries to the BlueNC FAQ. They are on sock puppets and astroturfing. Having stated rules won't prevent people from breaking them, but it does mean we can act more quickly to shut down an astroturf campaign before too much damage is done.

Some of you may have more than one identity. This can be useful when one is for lurking and another for posting diaries and comments, or one is used in an official capacity (you're with a campaign or organization) and one is used for personal comments. As long as you don't use the two identities to back each other up, you are not misusing multiple identities and you're fine.

Thank you to everyone who emailed me about this user and thank you for understanding why we didn't simply delete his account to begin with. We gave this person every opportunity to be a part of this community. We pushed back when we sensed he was being less than forthcoming and without any knowledge of his mulitple identities, this community responded beautifully. His first mistake was thinking we are all stupid.

Please know he was given an opportunity to select one of his identities to use. He never responded. After his account was blocked he emailed me with a veiled threat of a law suit. Here is my response:

From: Betsy Muse
To: xxxxxxxxxxx60
Subject: Re: Not sure
Date: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:02am

Xxxxxxxxxxx was blocked after the IP was linked to multiple accounts that appeared to be acting in concert as sock puppets to astroturf an issue or individual. BlueNC is not the place for a personal vendetta. I do not know, nor do I care what your beef is with Mr. Xxxxxxx, but I will tell you that you are not welcome to attempt to exact revenge on Mr. Xxxxxxx here at BlueNC.

Oh....and I am the last person you want to try to intimidate with veiled threats.

Cheers,

Betsy

Hopefully, this incident is closed. I don't want us to "suspect" every new registered user. We do need to welcome newcomers and we should avoid that "clubby" feeling we've been accused of. Incidents like this make that difficult.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think there are other rules or issues we need to address.

Comments

Well done

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Thank you

This is such an awesome place....even if we do get a bit disfunctional at times.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Dysfunctional?

You call this disfunctional? This ain't squat compared to a Green Party list. When I was national co-chair of the party I was called a racist, a cracker, a redneck, and some stuff that a southern gentleman does not say in mixed company.

We may disagree but I don't see too much outright hate and disrespect here like I see on the national Green Party lists.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

BlueNC -

We put the fun in dysfunctional!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Ha!

Good one.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor
www.danbesse2008.org

Dan Besse

Thanks, Betsy.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'm all for this:

We do need to welcome newcomers and we should avoid that "clubby" feeling we've been accused of.

As long as they don't come in here disrespecting Zombie John Lennon, or letting the faucet run the whole time they're brushing their teeth.

Oh yeah, one more thing—this doesn't effect the "no Irish" rule, does it? :)

AFFECT

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

HELLO

I knew he could take it. Others -- I've let 'em pass, but I knew scharrison could take it.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I can take it. *sniff* :)

Seriously, except for the occasional affected country boy slang, I treat all my written communications with the same level of care as far as grammar, spelling, word usage, etc.

If I get something wrong, I want to be corrected. I want to eventually become not just a good writer, but a great one, and that can't happen if I allow myself to be complacent.

Thanks. :)

You're really good at the "communicating what you mean" part

Occasional grammar errors will always creep through, especially on the Internet. (Not that there's any excuse for that!) But you usually are quite able to communicate your meaning in a skillful way.

"Affect" and "effect" are hard ones, especially in parts of the country where the people pronounce the two words in exactly the same way. My biggest pet peeve is "its" and "it's."

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

biggest peeve

there and their

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

biggest peeve, part 2

"Could care less" instead of "couldn't care less."

same here

I want to be corrected when I get something wrong, too. However, I have the uncomfortable feeling that people don't tell me, but rather one another -- in whispers. This is a punishment of the worst kind!

"Did you notice what that dingbat wrote?" (Evil smirks and nods all around.) "Muahahahaha . . . don't TELL her!"

I go blithely on my way . . . like someone exiting a restroom with trailing toilet paper.

Ignorance is NOT bliss~

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Heh.....I write so much that I no longer care

I'm tired of worrying about every word and punctuation mark. It used to take me hours to write the shortest piece because I not only agonized over researching the facts and details, but I agonized over the spelling, grammar and punctuation. I simply don't have that kind of time. Sorry.

Bill Cloud (J-school prof) would not be happy with how I turned out I think........

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

No Irish Need Apply

I'm going to geek out and post the lyrics of this wonderful little song.

I'd link to the mp3 too, but then the RIAA would sue half the state of North Carolina. You know, because RIAA actually owns everything that can be heard.

I'm a decent boy just landed
From the town of Ballyfad;
I want a situation, yes,
And want it very bad.
I have seen employment advertised,
"It's just the thing," says I,
"But the dirty spalpeen ended with
'No Irish Need Apply.' "

"Whoa," says I, "that's an insult,
But to get the place I'll try,"
So I went to see the blackguard
With his "No Irish Need Apply."
Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.
I started out to find the house,
I got it mighty soon;
There I found the old chap seated,
He was reading the Tribune.
I told him what I came for,
When he in a rage did fly,
"No!" he says, "You are a Paddy,
And no Irish need apply."

Then I gets my dander rising
And I'd like to black his eye
To tell an Irish gentleman
"No Irish Need Apply."
Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.

I couldn't stand it longer
So a hold of him I took,
And gave him such a welting
As he'd get at Donnybrook.
He hollered, "Milia murther,"
And to get away did try,
And swore he'd never write again
"No Irish Need Apply."

Well he made a big apology,
I told him then goodbye,
Saying, "When next you want a beating,
Write 'No Irish Need Apply.' "
Some do count it a misfortune
To be christened Pat or Dan,
But to me it is an honor
To be born an Irishman.

- - - - -
The GOP will try to suppress the vote in 2008.

"Dirty spalpeen". :) Heh heh.

I'm pretty sure my Harrison ancestor(s) hailed from County Galway, and me mum's people were from Clan Geddes in Scotland.

We Celts have a somewhat different method of conflict resolution, which usually involves blue body paint and the swinging of a BFH. ;/

I've heard this song performed by several different bands

because I'm a celtic music freak. I believe that I heard Battlefield Band do it. Great song, about a horrible time in US history. Every new immigrant group has gone through discrimination.

Battlefield Band will be at the Carrboro Arts Center on March 28. If you celtic music or folk music in general, don't miss it.

Also at the Center, on March 11, my favorite - Dervish - will be there. I'll be at both shows.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Fast History of Sock Pope Puppets?

never heard it called that.

Sock puppets, that's pretty funny.*LiberalNC

In the early days of the internet, a great Net war broke out between secret societies and anti-secret societies on the net. It was like the Star Wars movies, hugh laser keyboard battles were fought on unname evil sites with dark humor and evil thoughts.

Some secret societies goat worshipfuling groups were successful in removing anti-secret groups from the net by threaten servers. The term "Sock Puppets" was invented by a secret society member in Kentucy when a anti-secret society member stole his IP address and his pet Panther and expose it on the internet with the Panther's worshipful master sock stuff in the Panther mouth at the San Francisco Zoo....

In 2003, on Labor day, a truce was called between both groups and they remove themselves from the internet and use other means of communication to fight each other......It appears that the term " Sock Puppet" has emerge in political parties campaigns, which shows you are far they are remove from real time in a Empire from along ago....

Yours

May the Force be you and the Great Pope Puppet?

Luke Skywalker

Great job SD!

I love the way you handled that. Too many blogs I have visited have been taken over by evil trolls and sock puppets which makes it difficult to participate. Thank you Betsy for handling this before it goes too far.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

full disclosure needed?

I have been here about a year and some months. One identity, that I stole, oops, borrow from my Chinese son. He has a cool name, what can I say? (It means "spring sunshine" but the characters also connote vitality and male energy - a very robust name)

My opinions are my own although I volunteer for Jim Neal for Senate, and you may find nice things I have said about him, no one asks me to or not to. I wouldn't astro turf for any organizations if I belonged to any. (Well, my mother keeps renewing my membership in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the ladies who own the Alamo, and I am in good standing with my church, but that is about the long and short of my organizations.)

I am glad there has been a bit of housekeeping regarding disrupting forces. This has been a welcoming place and I hope it continues to be, while keeping an eye on who wanders in with unkind intent.

OH, Astro Turf = Fake Grassroots

A little slow.

Thanks, Betsy, for your thoughtful handling of the situation. I'm involved with several campaigns, and don't want my personal views to reflect on people I work for. (I know, I know, fellow English majors: for whom I work.) I take it as my responsibility not to astro turf in exchange for the right to remain quasi-anonymous. I have enjoyed tuning in to BlueNC in large part because folks generally seem to start from the assumption that people will act with integrity. At the same time, this community has developed a reputation for not being susceptible to BS. So, keep up the good work.

Good Job Betsy --

I have a personal account that I keep separate from my organization account (that is shared with the other members).

This way I can support any candidate or issue that I choose without facing the repercussions of party politics.

I am proud to be a member of this community. It reminds me why it is so important to be an active member of our political process.

"That my country should be served is the first wish of my heart: I should be doubly happy were I to render it a service." --Thomas Jefferson

"That my country should be served is the first wish of my heart: I should be doubly happy were I to render it a service." --Thomas Jefferson

I want a sock puppet

I would love him and squeeze him and call him George.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

I swear to Goddess

I'm pulling out the hot glue gun and the orphaned socks right now.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I wish I could take all the credit

:)

I rarely (never?) act alone. James, Linda, Greg, Robert and many times Lance are at least informed of what's going on if not actively involved in deciding on a solution.

I did receive several emails about this situation. I bet other admins did as well. We might not be able to act on every suggestion, but they are very important. When we can, it's always good to resolve things out in the open, but please always feel free to send me(or any of the other fp team) a private message or email if you have a question or concern you don't want to air in public.

Thanks for everything.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ryan took the cue

I was wondering when Dome was going to get fed up with the same antics. I think RTB took his cue from you -- and am glad to see it.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Sock puppets, etc.

I welcome any suggestions on how to handle these kinds of technical issues with comments. We're using a Drupal-based system.

— RTB

I love you

:)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ryan...I'll email you tomorrow

and let you know what I'm doing. Some of it is time intensive and might not work with the number of people registered at the N&O.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.