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Disinformation: How it Works

Watch for these techniques. Be aware of how these tactics work. If you see them being practiced on a thread, just vote the thread down and DON'T COMMENT, because that keeps the thread bumped. DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS!


Trolls use a wide variety of strategies, some of which are unique to the internet, here are just a few:

1. Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the Web.

2. Pose as a supporter of the truth, then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen this even on our own forums — trolls pose as supporters of the Liberty Movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane. The key to this tactic is to make references to common Liberty Movement arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association. In extreme cases, these “Trojan Horse Trolls” have been known to make posts which incite violence — a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the think tank propagandists like the SPLC, which purports that Constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists.

3. Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive Web discussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved.

4. Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. When they post, their words feel strangely plastic and well rehearsed.

5. False Association: This works hand in hand with item No. 2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the “Trojan Horse Troll.” For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve “conspiracy theorists” or “lunatics”; deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with racists and homegrown terrorists, because of the inherent negative connotations; and using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.

6. False Moderation: Pretending to be the “voice of reason” in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a “grey area” where the truth becomes “relative.”

7. Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view. Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words.


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Hey guys.....

I think this argument on natural vs. unnatural pharmaceuticals is getting a little off track from what the thread is about. Unless, of course, you are intentionally misdirecting the focus. If that is the case, then you are providing a great example of the "Distraction, And The Manufacture Of Relevance" technique for all to see.

If it's not your intention, then you nevertheless provided the same example.

Oops sorry. But every comment bumps up your post

Which draws more attention to your cause.

I'm starting another thread on this.

Thanks a bunch, my friend.

Both for the "bumps" and for the respectful response.

Good stuff.

The disinformation tactic that irritates me the most is 'Appealing to Nature.'

The NaturalNewsers who frequent this site specialize in this logical fallacy.



being natural is not proof of "rightness"
but, if you notice, natural things has a tendency to be healthy

being unnatural is not proof of "wrongness"
but if you notice, unnatural things have a tendency to be unhealthy

it always irks me when logic buffs work to discredit an argument because it isn't sound, when it very well is valid.

It goes deeper than rightness and wrongness

People rarely define what they even mean by "natural." Especially in the context of chemicals. This is where my problem lies with a lot of arguments. You are right in that some arguments are valid and some conclusions I agree with regardless of the logical fallacy, but many are not valid or logical.

Let me give you an example.

The other day one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of a pharmacy sign with the 'p' burned out so it said 'HARMACY' with the implication that pharmacies cause harm. On the face that is not incorrect, as pharmaceuticals often cause harm to people. The problem is that this picture was also accompanied by a description of why "natural" drugs are better.

I pointed out that this makes no sense because the drugs found in a pharmacy are the same drugs found out nature, they are just concentrated and purified. Beyond that all drugs are 'natural,' as all drugs are made out of atoms and the vast majority are carbon-based. (She didn't argue but changed the subject to Allopathic medicine being a racket and mentioned other completely irrelevant NaturalNews talking points).

Just now I went to her page to see if I could copy a link to the picture, but apparently she deleted me as a Facebook friend. Typical.

okay, some pharmacy drugs can be helpful in that context

but i actually disagree with both you and your friend. imho, taking pharma OR natural drugs is like the boiling frog fable.

before you know it - you're cooked. doesn't matter if the fda approved it or not. don't care if it grew out of the ground. it is pretty obvious to me that big pharma is harmful and most things in natural are beneficial to eat.

that aside, i guess my point is that if i said "1+1=2 you dolt!" and came back at me with "that is an ad hominum attack that appeals to emotion" then that still doesn't make the statement false. 1+1 is still 2 no matter what.

therefore i see it as a distraction to the discussion when somebody points out the fallacy of an argument. because it never actually changes the "rightness" or "wrongness" -- rather it just creates another topic that isn't necessarily relevant.

in a sense pointing out a fallacy is fallacious if they are used to disrupt the point of a discussion.

Technically everything is a drug

It is impossible to not take in drugs. Food is a drug. We get amino acids, fatty acids, nutrients, vitamins, bacteria, and an enormous list of other chemicals and organisms from our food. The air with breathe, the cocktail of gases and particulates, is a drug that affects us biochemically. Think of the saying "go outside and get some fresh air to make you feel better." That's basically a medical treatment. (This is why it is RIDICULOUS for the government to regulate drugs. Everything is a drug so it gives the government power to regulate everything in our lives).

I'm glad you said "cooked," because the act of cooking changes the chemical properties of food. Everything is chemistry. Everything is natural. It is impossible to avoid it.

But anyway, it is relevant to point out a logical fallacy, even if we agree with it, because that is how the discussion advances intellectually. If a discussion is based on a flagrant logical fallacy, how is the discussion valid? If anything, we should hold each other accountable and point out MORE logical fallacies. The last thing I want is for the DailyPaul to turn into an anti-intellectual illogical circlejerk like the leftwing Reddit/r/politics.

if Hydro carbons are Organic,

why does spraying them on food disqualify them as "organic"?
I deal with what people DON'T know about natural laws and processes everyday.
I am given to the notion that considering the vast number of new discoveries coming in from the Cassini space craft. it is pretty foolish to cling to the fossil fuel theory.
what do you think?
if I don't answer soon, cut me some slack. I am very busy right now, it is cooling season......

Because government regulations make no sense

The term "organic" is awesome for government authorities because it is poorly understood and ambiguous. It lets them just arbitrarily regulate whatever they want.

But you are confusing two definitions of "organic." The most scientifically accurate definition of an "organic" molecule is a molecule that contains carbon. The term organic in agriculture has come to mean pesticides. This is a misnomer, however, as there really is no universal definition of what is a pesticide (or what even is a pest). This ambiguity allows the government to pick and choose what it is labels as a pesticide and as an organic substance.

But I think the fossil fuel theory is pretty solid. Young Earth Creationists are fighting the fossil fuel theory with rampant propaganda (that sometimes appears on the DailyPaul) but I have never read any scientific opinion that has given me reason to doubt the fossil fuel theory. The mars rovers have not detected any carbon (organic molecules) that I am aware of. That would be shattering news. That would be a step below finding life.

Titan, a moon of Saturn. has more "organic" compounds

than exist on this planet. it is in the form of methane. or "natural" gas. there are lakes, and even OCEANS of the stuff. it performs the same role water does on this planet.
did we discover alien life? how did it get there if not?
there is another moon spewing water into space, 47 miles if I remember right.


methane should not be confused with Propane. both have different properties and are derived from different sources.
Propane comes from "rock oil" or if you prefer. petroleum.
Methane seems to come from nearly everywhere....
mebbe a cow jumped over Titan?
OK, that would explain it!!!


Okay good point.

I guess I meant more complicated organic molecules, but I forgot about methane and the other simple hydrocarbons on Venus and such.

I don't know much about that field.

Just want to say

I'm really happy you're here!

Yes we should actively look

Yes we should actively look for ways to improve the quality of discussion. So do not take the bait when someone uses provocative misinformation and simply down-vote. Conversely, up-vote constructive discussion perhaps. It is less about agreeing or disagreeing but providing an environment for constructive ideas, thoughts, and information to be shared.

Would be nice to be part of the posting rules

I think it would be nice to have this as part of the posting rules



We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
-George Orwell

This will probably get buried

Due to the exact tactics discussed in the article, but it is tremendously relevant to all of us who are actually looking to maintain a decent forum here.

Understand that this is happening on our site especially, and all of us who are fighting the good fight should always remain mindful of it.

Well, you were right about that!


Plus, a second thread was started with the identical title.

Perhaps there is a way we can combine the two threads and get all the information in one place. (?) Don't know how to go about doing that.