Know your CiF trolls 2

The Sock Puppet and the Astro Turfer

While the modus operandi of these two cubelets are essentially similar, like trolling itself, the real difference is their motivation.

The Sock Puppet

The Sock Puppet

The Sock Puppet usually will pop up to assist its master who is ether losing or has lost control of a troll attempt and as such has a very limited scope. Both the puppet and its master may regress to Common Troll state depending on how well the defence attempt goes, making them easier to spot.

How to spot them

For the Sock Puppet, look for certain patterns of behaviour –

  • a fresh user account spawned within the life of the current argument/infiltration
  • similar writing patterns and turns of phrase – someone pretending to be say a dog lover, who uses neologisms more usual for cat lovers for example.

The Astro Turfer

The Astro-Turfer

Decidedly more sinister than the Sock Puppet, the Astro Turfer’s main motivation is purely financial, he is being paid by proponents of the “cause” he is pushing and in pursuit of his brief will spawn multiple assets to initiate imitative communications deception on the targeted channel of inter-person verbal exchangistics. His overlord/paymaster could be a company, government spook enclave or even a military contractor.

How to spot them

The Astro Turfer given its nature, is much more sophisticated in covering its tracks however, look for a combination of

      1. user account and/or related data (homepage, twitter account, myspace account), created earlier but dormant until around the life cycle of the current argument/infiltration
      2. times of posting out of sync with the geographical location of the identity being used
      3. Neologisms and patterns of writing
      4. inability or unwillingness to dialogue deeply on anything but the point its pushing

Want to read the rest of this series?

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125 Comments on “Know your CiF trolls 2”

  1. lightacandle says:

    Digby – did the post I make disappear – I didn’t make a copy……and it was long and detailed and full of research……oh dear.

  2. LAC says:

    I see it now. Thanks.

    I miss posting on the cartoon thread.

  3. LAC says:

    It’s OK Digby- just leave it there or put it on tomorrows blog page if you want – I have made a copy for future use if need be. Thanks.

  4. LAC says:

    How are you anyway – do you have your hands full with your blog – you’ve got good feedback anyway so that’s a good start – I reckon more people will dip in once the word gets out. You’ve done yourself proud there Mr Digby.

  5. LAC says:

    No – I meant posting in the comments thread underneath under my name. I’ll do that if I feel the need but I think I’m coming to a full stop to be honest as the despair sets in….

    Bye for now Digby – keep up with the blog – it’s all good stuff.

  6. Nemossister says:

    Hello Digby, LaC et al

    Just wanted to say well done, thanks and congratulations to Sir Digby for his links on CiF to both here and the many other sites that are so informative. And also, thanks for giving our LaC something to ‘cling to when the rain set in’

    And to LightaCandle,

    Please don’t become despondent, you are a much loved and missed contributor, keep the light burning until you can bring in back to banish the creeping darkness. It’s necessary.

    And to all those other cartoon-istas, thanks for the brilliant perspective….

  7. LAC says:

    Hello Nemossister

    Many thanks fo that – it lifted my spirits and you are just as valuable with your comments as anyone else so keep up the good work along with all the other cartoonistas………

    Hi Digby – drowning my sorrows with a glass of red wine and some cheesy puffs! – trying not to feel too sorry for myself. Have just seen Steve’s cartoon and couldn’t stop laughing – my initial comment would have been short and sweet……..

    “God’s gift to women – not.”

    Keep up the blogging – as I said before you’re doing a grand job……xxx

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dia duit,Lac.
    yes o Colmain had a problem,but check out Omadawn.
    Never know how much i love you,never know how much i care.
    Slan go foill.
    Thank you Digby.Top Man.

  9. LAC says:

    @Omadawn.

    Greetings….

    “De reir a cheile a thogtar na caisleain” – especially in the West where the best ones reside.

    @Digby…..

    For your 6.52pm comment elsewhere……

    x.

  10. LAC says:

    Digby – I can see what you all are doing and if you’re not careful you’ll be pre modded to – they will say what you are posting is off topic – if you don’t relate it to the cartoon they can say that and then they can delete you – but you mustn’t get yourself pre-modded or whatever as the cartoonists need you – moreso as we see the trolls gather pace.

    Tread carefully out there good friends – we can’t afford to have you sidelined too. Pass the message on. I’m OK – I have a plan – whether or not it will succeed remains to be seen – but all is not lost…….yet? But thank you for all those kind words and quotes etc etc – but as I said they can delete you and worse for being off topic if they so wish and that wouldn’t be good for the cartoon pages – so don’t do it – there that’s telling you.

    However I still love you all as always you know that ……but you are needed in the battlefield….not on the naughty step!

  11. ennisfree says:

    Just a quick hello,

    Hey lightac and sir Digs -my compliments to you. LaC – I more than just hold dear your words- they are my favourite things saved for a rainy day.
    Well , it’s a rum do an’ no mistake. Them lords and masters upstairs-lawks amercy , mister ‘udson- just wen they gawn and thort they’d seen the back ov us-lawks amercsy- that’ll be is lawdship wantin’ ‘is tea, I’d better go see to ‘im- it’s the tea strainers day orf- y’see.
    bye for now an’ gawd bless ye the pair of ye

  12. LAC says:

    Digby

    Steve Bells’ latest cartoon –

    The flag that Cameron has trodden on and kicked away is the flag of Palestine.

  13. LAC says:

    Digby –

    ……

    The poem that some say inspired the flag eventual taken as the Palestinian one tells us why the colours were chosen and yet the words continue on today as seemingly nothing has been learned by players of all sides but particularly those in the West who have picked up and tossed aside many a flag in the region for their own vested interests and seemingly still do so today.

    “The origins of the flag are the subject of dispute and mythology. In one version, the colours were chosen by the Arab nationalist ‘Literary Club’ in Constantinople in 1909, based on the words of the thirteenth century Arab poet Safi a-Din al-Hili:

    Ask the high rising spears, of our aspirations
    Bring witness the swords, did we lose hope
    We are a band, honor halts our souls
    Of beginning with harm, those who won’t harm us
    White are our deeds, black are our battles,
    Green are our fields, red are our swords.
    (Safi al-Din al-Hili, poet).”

    “Green are our fields, red are our swords”…….and still today the blood continues to flow as the Imperialists continue to wield their own swords as and when it suits.

    Wonder if Cameron and Sarkozy will look to bringing about justice in that part of the Middle East – or does it all depend on where the oil runs free and a quick buck can be made. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be running to the aid of the Palestinians in the not too distant future – but with double standards there and eslewhere within the region as the British arms sales continue on to the various remaining despots to be used against their civilian populations dare they should ask for democracy – the double dealings, double standards and hypocrisy will shine out for all to see.

    No wonder Cameron had a strange uncomfortable and guilty air about him – he fully knows the truth of the matter whereby ‘democracy’ will be given to those who play the West’s game and yet will still be denied to those people’s whose leaders no matter how undemocratic will still gain the West’s arms and favour as long as they continue to serve the interests of the likes of Mr Cameron and Sarkozy as and when it suits……Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc etc.

  14. LAC says:

    Yes Digby – a call from the grave – is anyone out there – one knock for yes and two for know. That was funny.

    I can’t help it – when I see the cartoon of the day I go into automatic overdrive and all these words spill out that I have to put on a page – so seeing as I can’t go there I’ll entertain you with them here.

    It’s in my blood – they can take the cartoon commenter out of the thread but they can’t take the thread out of the cartoon commenter!

  15. LAC says:

    @ennisfree

    That made me larf may times over and thank you for your kind words – hopefully I’ll be back with you one day – just got to try and get the mods around to my way of thinking….hmmm…..maybe an uphill task – but I shall persevere.

  16. LAC says:

    You can do no wrong by me Mr Digby and the same goes for the rest of the cartoonistas.

    I have a feeling today’s thread is really going to liven up tomorrow should the you know who watch people hear about it – you’ll have to be on call throughout the day to defend Mr Bell should that happen – I will be there with you in spirit all the way cheering you all on as ever.

  17. LAC says:

    @Jamie

    A brilliant comment – but you do know that by adding my name to the end they may delete it – so I’ll place it here as its too good to be deleted and if anyone ventures down here they can read it.

    JamieTWC1
    16 September 2011 1:10AM
    I wondered about call me Dave alighting in Benghazi from a jet with “Republique Francais” emblazoned on the side. Clearly, in a nation that wont’ pay either for a nice yacht to take the old Queen into her retirement, or a bespoke airliner for the head of state to travel in, and now not even a aircraft carrier to land a fighter jet on or fly the flag we’ve been reduced to having the PM play #2 to the President of France.

    Nice one Dave – scupper the country (blame Labour), screw the sick, disabled and the poor to the pay for the cock-ups of your rich mates in The City (blame Labour), sell out the armed forces (blame Labour), following Sarko around the Middle East on the French Presidential Jet (more of blaming Labour), sell off the NHS (more to blame on Labour), bankrupt the younger generation’s students (blame Labour), drive millions of young people onto the scrap heap (…must be Labour again)….

    ….seems to me that Dave and Giddy are doing just what Eton set them up for – noblesse oblige after having trashed the place whilst their share portfolios grow and grow.

    What a shame that LightaCandle isn’t here to share in this piece of sophistry. I’m sure that with the considerable wit and intellect that she has that she would have had something very powerful to contribute to this debate.

    (I made one Jamie – it’s just above at 11.42pm – I can’t help it – I see a cartoon and I just have to comment – can’t get it out of my blood)

    All the best….

  18. LAC says:

    Should have said…..it’s ‘going’ to be deleted…..not it’s ‘good’ to be deleted – God forbid – see they’re trying to brainwash me…..

  19. LAC says:

    @Digby

    You mentioned before you could put my comments on a separate page or something – as I’m thinking I don’t want to pull you down with me as I don’t want you to be adversely affected by all this – if you want – the next comment I place you can put me somewhere separate and then your blog can return to what you intended it to be – a valuable and entertaining plus item for the cartoonistas separate from the mess I’m in.

    I’m not sure how it all works so an explanation would help…..

    • don’t worry about me I have taken, precautions.

      as to what might work try this:

      1) go here

      2) covert the characters below “to English”
      7|-|15 d4’/’5 bL4(|< Ph473

      3) go here

      4) use the password

      sorry for the complicated steps but let me know how you get on

  20. LAC says:

    @Fellow cartoon commenters……

    Have been reading the thread and you’re all doing a fine job as usual standing up for our cartoonists and telling it as it is – the truth. Keep up the good work and thanks for the kind remarks/support too….

    Just to clear things up – I have been in touch with the moderators and have accepted that the reason I was put in pre-mod (again) was because of two things – firstly, and I admit it was wrong but the man has that effect on me – I was abusive towards one of their journalists – and although I take back the insulting part – I still stand by everything else I said within the comment. Secondly I repeated the post on seven different threads so they tell me – but I did so within the context of each thread so I don’t think that should have been a problem – and I knew it would be deleted from Mr Glover’s thread so wanted to make sure it got through elsewhere – again within context though.

    So I was in the wrong by being abusive but it angered me so much that Clegg had effectively derailed the NHS debate by purposely creating, as Mr Glover admitted – a ‘false dispute over the free schools issue’ which the media lapped up – the anger boiled over into the offensive comments – but it was a passion and concern for all those this government is targetting rather than a hatred of Mr Glover – which I can come close to sometimes I have to admit – that brought about the insult. But such is life – I was wrong – I have said so to the moderators and have not posted for near on a week now – the problem I have though is that they also want to pre-mod my comments which means them deciding what I can or cannot say and thus in a way censoring me.

    I will never allow anyone that control over my words and as it goes against everything I stand for and believe in – freedom of speech – the right to speak unhindered – then I cannot play their game and send in comments for them to pre-judge over a period of time just so I can come back. I won’t do it. I believe I have been punished enough by not posting comments for nearly a week and feel that that should be enough or if they want to prolong that period then that is up to them. That is where it all stands at the moment. Whether or not they will allow me back I don’t know – the balls in their court and I shall keep corresponding with them.

    In the meantime I will post my comments for the cartoon here – feel free to drop in if you want a refuge from the thread – but keep up the good work over there – you along with our cartoonists are amongst the only ones still speaking out against all that is wrong in our society today and I’ll always keep on reading and supporting that and hopefully one day will be able to rejoin you as I always gain great comfort in knowing that there are like minded people around, particpating in the thread with you, and knowing that there is still hope.

    All the best – In the meantime I’ll post here and here is my comment for today’s cartoon……

    Steve Bell – 16.09.11.

    As Cameron and Sarkozy play to the worlds media the flag of the Palestinian people still lies battered and bruised discarded and kicked to one side by Mr Cameron and most other western leaders alike as they refuse to try and seek a peaceful solution whilst claiming they are the saviours of democracy elsewhere. What democracy?

    As for the Palestinian flag…..

    The poem that some say inspired the flag eventually taken as the Palestinian one tells us why the colours were chosen and yet the words continue on today as seemingly nothing has been learned by players of all sides but particularly those in the West who have picked up and tossed aside many a flag in the region for their own vested interests and seemingly still do so today.

    “The origins of the flag ……n one version, the colours were chosen by the Arab nationalist ‘Literary Club’ in Constantinople in 1909, based on the words of the thirteenth century Arab poet Safi a-Din al-Hili:

    Ask the high rising spears, of our aspirations
    Bring witness the swords, did we lose hope
    We are a band, honor halts our souls
    Of beginning with harm, those who won’t harm us
    White are our deeds, black are our battles,
    Green are our fields, red are our swords.
    (Safi al-Din al-Hili, poet).”

    “Green are our fields, red are our swords”…….and still today the blood continues to flow as the Imperialists continue to wield their own swords as and when it suits.

    Wonder if Cameron and Sarkozy will look to bringing about justice in that part of the Middle East – or does it all depend on where the oil runs free and a quick buck can be made. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be running to the aid of the Palestinians in the not too distant future – but with double standards there and eslewhere within the region as the British arms sales continue on to the various remaining despots to be used against their civilian populations dare they should ask for democracy – the double dealings, double standards and hypocrisy will shine out for all to see.

    It is no surprise then that Cameron had a strange uncomfortable and guilty air about him – he fully knows the truth of the matter whereby ‘democracy’ will be given to those who play the West’s game and yet will still be denied to those people’s whose leaders no matter how undemocratic will still gain the West’s arms and favour as long as they continue to serve the interests of the likes of Mr Cameron and Sarkozy as and when it suits……Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc etc. Human rights organisation are even now informing us that people in those countries are being sent to jail for life sentences for speaking out, have been killed, others have simply ‘disappeared’ and God knows what else…….and yet no word from our two self proclaimed saviours or democracy? I wonder why…….

  21. LAC says:

    Digby

    Have just read the thread – thank you.

    x.

  22. LAC says:

    Oh Digby – that’s all double dutch to me – I am useless with such things. I’ll hang around here instead if that’s alright or if you want put me in a separate page within here but away from your usual blogging if that would be better – what do you think…….?

  23. LAC says:

    Apologies Digby – I didn’t mean to cause you any problems – will just stay here as quietly as possible and see if I can make any progress with the moderators. If not then eventually will be on my way.

    You’re much appreciated – as ever. Miss not chatting to others – Bob, Roachclip, Fulmin8or, Not1Fish, O’Colmain, Cmnino,BTTP, Icic, Moneo, CMiddleton and all those others posting above and on the cartoon thread……

    It’s like watching from above and wanting to speak – the words are there and your lips move but no-one can hear……

    Bye for now….will leave it there for now.

    Thanks again Digby.

    • I think you read my voice with a stern face – I assure you it’s not the case – I understand everyone has different levels of techincal know-how, I’m just trying to match up you with the medium is all.

      Also I don’t look on this blog as “mine” as such and more as a venue where I also do stuff.

  24. lightacandle says:

    Romeo, Romeo…..

    Do you know that if you google -‘ This Day’s black fate – Comment is Not Free’ – the top two pages are those! That’s simple enough for me to find!

  25. ucic says:

    @ SDigbyCC (& LAC by default)

    Thank you for posting LAC’s thoughts on the Steve Bell cartoon today – much appreciated.

  26. lightacandle says:

    Hi ucic

    Keep up the good work on the cartoon thread – I’ve tried to explain the situation I’m in on the following link to avoid confusion and am still in contact with the moderators so playing it day by day – but miss you all and commenting on the cartoon thread too – didn’t realise how much it actually meant to me. The link is here….

    https://c1nf.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/this-days-black-fate/

  27. btw CiFers found a new toy:

    http://www.dolcevie.com/js/converter.html

    6c:69:67:68:74:61:63:61:6e:64:6c:65

    For those that have eyes to see and ears to hear.

  28. not1fish says:

    Hi LaC,

    We are still out there, though heavily censored; Digby and I were both modded for quoting from Shakespeare! The usual suspects appear but solid rebut and refute work from those whose names are familiar to you. Your absence has not gone unnoticed and Digby’s idea here is genius. Keep your spirits up, as you so often kept up ours. I’m quite a new contributor so don’t know much about pre-modding but they’ve got to let you speak sooner or later. ‘Comment is free but only if you agree with us’. Can’t believe this is the Guardian which I have bought since I was at college 40 years ago.
    🙂

    • I have to agree with you there about the change in political direction – that’s what I was having a stab at with the “ghosting John Major’s biography”, odd that Glover doesn’t have that on his Guardian profile ne ce pas?

      Just as sign of the general politcal malaise I feel

  29. lightacandle says:

    Hello Not1Fish,

    Glad you came down here as I wanted to thank you for your kind words and making me laugh too – but don’t get yourselves in trouble as then the trolls will have a field day and who will be there to defend our cartoonists. All is not lost – I’m going to try and work a way out of this whilst taking it day by day. Am still in touch with the mods and the above link explains my position to will have to see how it goes. Many good comments and posts about the cartoon and I think we are attracting more like minded people day by day and you all keep those tory truth deniers well at bay – I’m sure we can win them over one day if we keep at it – if they have an ounce of humanity in them that is.

    Yes Digby I noticed you John Major reference – can you believe that – what Tory ex primeminister would ask a left leaning journalist to write his biography – none of course – so that says a lot doesn’t it about our friends credentials or lack of them.

    Anway keep up the good work – and again don’t get in any more trouble – I’ll sort things out…….

  30. Anonymous says:

    Just checking in to let you know LaC that while we’re doing our best to decipher Martin Rowson’s latest cartoon, we could really do with your take and perspective on it…… Hope you return soon 🙂

  31. LAC says:

    @Anomynous

    Have posted one on the cartoon thread – hope you like it!

  32. ennisfree says:

    Hi DCC, LAC and all

    Dont know if you still stop by here but just wanted to say what a mess the libdem conf is- just have a look at libdem voice- it really is the dark side of the whitewash.
    Looks like lds themselves are not fooled by the whole stagemanaged PR job.
    To happier times.

  33. Re Trolls Sir Digby You might like this:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php
    (One of my fave sites!)

  34. mervyn hyde says:

    @LAC:

    Thanks for the information, I was heartily sick that no-one was raising the issue of the health service, I have never known such a lack of response to what is happening to our NHS.

    There were 100 signatories to a letter that challenged what is going on and that is all, what depresses me even more is the tacit acceptance that once these changes take place they will be irreversible, nothing could be further from the truth, if they can make laws to privatise anything then we can make laws to nationalise anything, the EU legislation may say that but we can force them to comply with what we want as a human right, all will take is the political will. Ed Miliband is clearly New Labour mark 2, he must be pressurised into doing the right thing we can’t rely on him or others like Ed Balls they have to be exposed and shamed or we allow them to hoodwink the nation.

    The gloves have to come off now and it’s all down to bare knuckle fighting.