1. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Don't forget it takes place in this context -
    It's not an extraordinary claim.
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  3. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    It's not an extraordinary claim; neither are a lot made here on this very site about the US, but they are framed as such. But regardless, claims require evidence. Not just 'some hacked emails' from 'some Russian hacker.'

    From your source:

    How incredibly convenient, aye?
  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Let's look at the emails then. That's the claim of evidence. What's the provenance? What do they contain?
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The question here is if there are a lot of people employed to spread pro-Russian propaganda on the Internet, and if these emails are evidence of such.

    The question is NOT if pro-Russian propaganda exists, or does not exist.

    The question is NOT if it would be justified or not.

    It's just about the claims of evidence made in this article:
  6. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, for Russian interests, which was the point.

    From the 2012 guardian article.
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, but is there evidence beyond the contents of the emails that indicates they are genuine? Or are the contents sufficient?
  8. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    Right, and there is only speculation based on hacked emails from some Russian hacker.

    You just asked me if it was reasonable to assume Russian propaganda existed. Now you're saying it's not about that. I guess your last post was aimed at...yourself.

    So it's ok to posit your opinion but not expect a response? Why?
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I asked you rhetorically in response to your question "Quite a huge leap, isn't it?"

    It's not about if Russian propaganda exists, because it very obviously does. We don't need examples of it, nor do we need counterexamples of Western propaganda, which also obviously exists. That's not the issue here.
  10. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    Ok, so you're asking that question rhetorically as if it is proof that these allegations are legit?

    If not, what was the point of that question?
  11. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    That seems to depend on personal preference. It seems highly likely to me given what we know about cold-war Russia and the current trend towards the old ways and I'm content with that, but if someone digs further and finds evidence to indicate otherwise or call it into doubt then I'd have to revise.

    Josh, do you have any evidence or reasons to think that the claim is not true?
  12. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    It's a claim...why is the burden of proof on me?
    I'm just wondering why certain people are latching on. Seems odd to me.

    Seems like people are playing 'connect the dots' here.
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Slow down Josh. This isn't a semantic game.

    Rhetorical questions illustrate a point. I ask you if Russian might be engaged in propaganda because its obvious to everyone that they do, as do the US.

    You asked me if it was "quite a leap". I assumed you mean that it was a leap to believe that these emails were genuine. I said it seemed reasonably likely. I'd give it 50%, based on my limited knowledge.

    How much of a leap do you think it is? Put it into numbers, what is your degree of confidence (as a percentage) that the emails are fake?
  14. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    Given that we don't know the source (once again, some hacker), and America is just as likely to put out propaganda...less than your 50%.
    I think you need to slow down. Can you follow?
  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    How much less?
  16. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    5%. 10 times less than your 50%.
  17. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    You seem to be giving this anonymous source too much credit.
  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    You you think there's a 1 in 20 chance that this is real. Seems significant enough to look into then. Maybe you should read some of the emails? Some of the surrounding discussion?

    You also think there's a 19 in 20 chance it's an elaborate fake. Either way it's a very interesting story.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Did you read the Guardian story? There's a lot of corroborating evidence.

    And anecdotally, I've notice a strong pro-Russian trend in Alternative media that does not seem to be justified by reality. A lot of RT regurgitation, and a lot of defending Putin. I've been noticing this for the last year. Too speculative to mention, but now we have some evidence to discuss. I think it's a little hasty to just throw it away with "oh, it's anonymous".
  20. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    So that's it, because America is 'just as likely' to put out propaganda, this story is probably false? That's not a reason.
    And if you're saying America is just as likely to put out propaganda as Russia, then by your own logic, it's likely.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    You diss conspiracy, but (for some reason) you hitch onto this one?

    The guardian article (from 2012) is more speculation! More talk of 'hacked emails!'

    Great. Some anonymous group. Lies as far as I'm concerned. I'm saying if you're going to claim the US and Russia can put out propaganda, why believe it's russian and not the US? Why pick either? Unless you have a bias.
  22. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member


    Do you mean you think it's American shills pretending to be pro-Russian commentators to create anti-Russian sentiment?
  23. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    I don't believe everything I read on the Internet. Especially baseless assertions from news sites, obtained from emails from anonymous hacker groups.

    It's one possibility of many. None of which should be jumped to as a conclusion. Not without facts. I see enough speculation to make my head spin, but nothing can be seriously verified.
  24. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    I guess I better sleep on it.

    I just can't jump to conclusions over some (supposedly) anonymous hacked emails, that's all.
  25. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    What about the claim of rival groups of commentators, is that just as much a baseless assertion or do you give that any more or less credence?

    Do you give this any more or less credence, or is it just another baseless assertion?
  26. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    It's more effective and less obvious than open shilling. Remember last year or the year before when news came out about China's internet commenter "farms" that the government used to generate positive internet postings? They were always nothing but glowing praise for China and everything it did, often to the point of absurdity. It made them ineffective to the point of comedy, and a joke among other Chinese internet users.

    During the last days of the rebellion and around the Crimean annexation, there were claims Russia was doing this. I saw some screencaptures of suspected shills, and they were a throwback to the, "What tanks? I see no tanks!" denial you saw back during the invasion of Czechoslovakia. It was the sort of thing that didn't seem to work even in pro-annexation echo chambers.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  27. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

  28. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    because its a debunking site. if you think the claim of evidence is bunk. it's your job to debunk it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  29. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    I'm not here to debunk propaganda; I'm also not here to promote it.
  30. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    They're not asking you to debunk Propaganda Josh, they're asking you to provide evidence that you believe their claim is bunk or false.. thats all. Personal incredulity isnt going to do it.. and while I agree with some of what you're saying, I havent seen evidence other than what's been provided here so far. Dont take this as Mick and the others baiting you, or trying to push you.. they're just asking for you to provide any evidence you have to the contrary of their own.. thats all.
    • Like Like x 1
  31. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    I'm respectfully backing out of this one for now. I just don't trust this hacker source, that's all.

    I'll dig up some emails from a hacker claiming there's trolls paid by the US government posting on metabunk. Then we'll see the total opposite response. Even though many people have made this claim before and the evidence would support that claim, it would be the absolute opposite, a denial that it's real.

    But you'll trust this Russian source because it fits your own preconceived notion! It looks like confirmation bias from where I'm sitting. I don't trust this case or the hypothetical one I made up.

    There's no incredulity here; it's not 'I don't believe it,' it's more like 'I haven't been given a reason to believe it based on what's been presented.' It's not up to me to prove why I don't believe it; it's up to the source to prove it's true.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  32. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I don't trust anonymous information. I'm not saying any of this is true. I'm saying it does not seems unreasonable.

    The thread partly falls under the meta debunking exemption - as the presence of paid shills on the internet around particular topics has implications for debunking. Is it real? How much? How can you deal with it? How can you avoid being accused of it? Can you detect it? Is there any here?

    I think it's also going to be significant for the future of discussion on the internet - especially when AI chatbots start getting in on the act.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  33. Josh Heuer

    Josh Heuer Active Member

    I would trust anonymous information, under the premise that the information can be verified in some way.
    Good! We're on the same boat.

    How can we find out? FOIA requests? How could we find out about programs without some whistleblower or in this case, hacker, bringing things to light? I've always been curious. Even in the late '90s when I first started using the internet, I remember occasionally thinking "why wouldn't a government have people on the Internet, spying and swaying opinion?" It seems reasonable, but I never had real evidence of it.

    So you don't think they already are out there?
  34. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I feel sorry for the little chatbots already. their lil logical computer brains will explode once they get into a conversation ; /
    • Agree Agree x 1
  35. there are many Russians that know proper English, so why paying anyone who doesn't have basic language skills? It just doesn't add up.

    The thing is Russia has 150 million people (or so) and there are many of those with nothing to do but troll american news sites(especially with recent hysteria about Ukraine), no need to pay them...
  36. Gib

    Gib New Member

    Interesting to look at this thread 5 years later, now that we know how comprehensive the Russian troll activity was in attempting to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  37. Bruno D.

    Bruno D. Senior Member

    Spot on :(
    • Agree Agree x 1
  38. sharpnfuzzy

    sharpnfuzzy Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2019
  39. Gib

    Gib New Member

    What's more, Trump is now saying that he will take campaign assistance from Russia.


    “It’s not an interference,” he said in an interview with ABC News, describing it as “opposition research.” “They have information — I think I’d take it.” He would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”

    [On Thursday, Mr. Trump equated taking dirt from Russia with presidential diplomacy.][/I]
  40. Agent K

    Agent K Active Member

    "Anything of value from a foreign national", that's awfully broad, conflating foreign nationals with foreign governments. Is there a problem with the Russian or Belarusian national Vitali Shkliarov advising the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Obama, and other Democrats?