Confessions of an internet warrior: How the elites control the Net.

Back at the turn of the century, I became active on a forum called Conceptual Guerilla. It was run by Joe Lyles. Joe was a lawyer and in law school had briefly been a Republican. During this time, he was indoctrinated in a training program in which the right conducted operations to control the internet. However, Joe became disillusioned when he saw how much lying and deception was involved and realized that his conservative beliefs were entirely based upon falsehoods. So he started up his website and wrote some of the most insightful articles that could be found on the Net:

Sadly, many seem to have been lost to time.

He soon had a cadre of loyal readers and he invited the ones he trusted most into an invitation only forum on his website. There we were taught the secrets to controlling the internet with the goal of becoming internet warriors and fighting to wrest the net away from the right.

Some of our successes: We convinced many church leaders on a massive nondenominational website that was a literal hub for churches online at the time to become vocal in progressive ideas and stand up and speak out against the rights monopoly on church viewpoints. In the real world, we saw more and more pastors, etc. coming out against right wing stands, defending gays, preaching openly that Jesus wasn't a conservative, etc. It was a start.

Yours truly developed the meme that the fire departments and police are socialized, why shouldn't medicine be? We developed the meme that America is no longer the greatest country in the world due to right wing policies. I think the apex of those two memes occurred in what is called the best five minutes in television history:

Later in that opening scene of the show, they brought up socialized medicine and how the police and fire departments are socialized. For many of you, that meme may seem to go back a long ways, but in fact, I began it as part of an internet operation to retake the net from the right.

But it didn't last long. We were but a small group of people and not being paid. Our enemy, however, was a vast government agency and they had the resource advantage. We scattered after a few years, but during that time, the net seemed to change from being virulently right wing where any dissent was viciously shouted down to a place where lefties like you and I are no longer afraid of being shouted down by a hateful right. Where lefties learned they could fight back.

How did we make the internet change? We used their own tactics against them. Rather than go over some of the tricks we learned to employ, let me shorten this diary by linking to a website that lists COINTELPRO's techniques that were exposed five years ago, that few people have actually been made aware of.

Technique #1 – ‘FORUM SLIDING’

If a very sensitive posting of a critical nature has been posted on a forum – it can be quickly removed from public view by ‘forum sliding.’ In this technique a number of unrelated posts are quietly prepositioned on the forum and allowed to ‘age.’ Each of these misdirectional forum postings can then be called upon at will to trigger a ‘forum slide.’ The second requirement is that several fake accounts exist, which can be called upon, to ensure that this technique is not exposed to the public. To trigger a ‘forum slide’ and ‘flush’ the critical post out of public view it is simply a matter of logging into each account both real and fake and then ‘replying’ to prepositined postings with a simple 1 or 2 line comment. This brings the unrelated postings to the top of the forum list, and the critical posting ‘slides’ down the front page, and quickly out of public view.

There have been times when I suspected that technique being used on other progressive forums to drive a new post off the just posted list, which only has limited topics. The site could be quiet for a while, with little action when suddenly, several posts that are mostly meaningless come up at once, pushing a just posted diary off the recent posts that was very good. When it happens once, that is just coincidence, but I've seen it happen to people enough times to raise a red flag that the technique is being used on certain forums. And why shouldn't it be? It's used on many forums and the forum owners are generally none the wiser.


A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at is ‘consensus cracking.’ To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made – but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger ‘evidence’ or disinformation in your favour is slowly ‘seeded in.’ Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then ‘abort’ the consensus cracking by initiating a ‘forum slide.’

I can't say I've seen this happen here very often, but it was standard operating procedure on DKos before they finally gave up and just banned all Bernie supporters. In fact, as people are more and more woke and able to present facts against the corporate shills BS, this tactic has almost entirely been abandoned. This website is actually pretty immune to a lot of their techniques due to it's setup.

Technique #3 – ‘TOPIC DILUTION’

Topic dilution is not only effective in forum sliding it is also very useful in keeping the forum readers on unrelated and non-productive issues. This is a critical and useful technique to cause a ‘RESOURCE BURN.’ By implementing continual and non-related postings that distract and disrupt (trolling ) the forum readers they are more effectively stopped from anything of any real productivity. If the intensity of gradual dilution is intense enough, the readers will effectively stop researching and simply slip into a ‘gossip mode.’ In this state they can be more easily misdirected away from facts towards uninformed conjecture and opinion. The less informed they are the more effective and easy it becomes to control the entire group in the direction that you would desire the group to go in.

Again, this has nothing to do with the site owner, our moderators or anyone in charge of the forums. These techniques are applied by a small group of people using multiple accounts over a great swathe of the internet. They can hide their sock puppetry because they're government employees, being paid to do so with the nations technology behind them.

Of course, that doesn't mean they won't try to become moderators if they can.


It is important to also be harvesting and continually maneuvering for a forum moderator position. Once this position is obtained, the forum can then be effectively and quietly controlled by deleting unfavourable postings – and one can eventually steer the forum into complete failure and lack of interest by the general public. This is the ‘ultimate victory’ as the forum is no longer participated with by the general public and no longer useful in maintaining their freedoms.

And there are more tricks that are useful that I won't go into. We had nicknames for them, such as Tag Team and Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett is a technique used to perfection by the corporate shills at DKos.

So go forth aware and educated. Base your opinions upon the facts. And always take a few minutes to scroll down each forum board and read all the posts, don't let the good ones slide into obscurity. Because you never know who is manipulating your favorite website.

As a side note, I also posted this over at another progressive website a couple hours ago. I'd noticed the Recent Stories section had stagnated for nearly a day. An hour later I came back and five frivolous essays had been posted, driving me off the Recent Stories section. In the forum itself, plenty of essays had suddenly gotten busy and my essay had already suffered forum slide.

24 users have voted.


"Cheap Labor" (in the first link) was hidden until paragraph eight. "Defeat The Right In Three Minutes" (the article about "Cheap Labor" in the first link) took about 2 1/2 minutes too long.

It takes work to make it crisp. Mark Twain said it best: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

5 users have voted.

Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

@jabney @jabney

BTW, my comment was only about link 1; and "Defeat The Right In Three Minutes" was good. It's just that I think good verbal weapons need to be used earlier rather than later.

1 user has voted.

Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

"Davy Crockett is a technique used to perfection by the corporate shills at DKos."

7 users have voted.

@jim p @jim p @jim p @jim p @jim p In the old Disney movie called Davy Crockett (or was it a tv series? I was pretty little), Crockett and his buddy are in the woods, facing a vastly superior force of soldiers. They scatter a bunch of guns around the trees near them. When the enemy comes, they begin quickly shooting all the guns. This gives the illusion that there are a great many soldiers hiding in the woods and the enemy retreats.

In internet terms, paid corporate shills, with Kos approval, create a great many accounts. Many of them are probably bots. Just a couple people need to be on shift at any one time. They can fire off all their comments quickly and make it seem like the entire board is composed of like minded individuals.

It gives the illusion that your opinion is in the minority. It also helps for reinforcing memes. Notice how Hillary in her recent book claimed Bernie was offering ponies? Remember when ponies became such a put down on Kos? No coincidence she used the same choice of words. Probably a couple of her staffers came up with it and abused it on Kos using the Davy Crockett technique so it seemed like many people agreed.

There are far less of the paid shills on DKos than you'd think. A great deal of the posters there are actually the same person.

At Dkos they've taken it to a new level. People who post things they don't like get flagged numerous times in very short order. Mostly by one person or two. Then their diary can't be seen or read by the general public. There were Bernie supporters who caught onto this and would try to save the diary by reccing it faster than it could be flagged. But this only happened on occasion. When the diary survived a Crockett flag attack, the DKos solution was to ban the diarist if they could. Big name posters would generally not get banned that way, just the up and comers. The wars to get the big name Bernie supporters flagged got pretty intense. At one point, the Bernie supporters overwhelmed DKos ability to control their own website, so Markos was forced belatedly to ban all of them.

Davy Crockett technique. We vastly outnumber them, but they make it seem like we don't.

17 users have voted.

attention is to post a negative reply or countermeme on anything getting popular. Then quickly Davy Crockett the reply so it has lots of weak counter replies and lots of stronger negative replies. This keeps the initial countermeme at the top of the comments so everyone sees it who sees the meme.

They can't do this by luck. They don't wait around for like minded people to fortunately keep their countermeme on top of the comment section. They use the Davy Crockett technique.

One has to wonder if they're taking advantage of how FaceBook is set up or if FaceBook was set up that way for them to take advantage of it.

9 users have voted.

I really appreciate your advising us how this and other websites operate and what to watch for on other websites.

15 users have voted.

Betty Clermont

dkmich's picture

Thanks for sharing the info.

10 users have voted.

*donate *follow us on Twitter *like us on Facebook *dump Google

Lookout's picture

and their techniques on forums. Oh the ways they keep the public ill informed.

Thanks for the info!

6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Seems the whole propaganda around the Russia accusations has been successful and not at various levels. Given the polls, the Russian conspiracy has not caught onto the public's imagination as a major priority. However, it truly lives in the elite media and democratic party masses. Recently, a buddy who totally believes everything about the Russia conspiracy went on a business trip N.C. I think it was and was appalled that the chef of a (very good) restaurant he went to didn't know Putin is controlling Trump.

It seems that the story has both top-line paid propagandists and a pool of amateurs who dutifully follow on with postings, diaries, etc, re-enforcing themes if they catch hold. I scan TOP headlines to get a sense of the latest agenda offerings and have noted that the Russia story almost never leaves the front page come fire and brimstone. One time not one diary which was astonishing, but soon corrected.

5 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

Few are comprehensive, including many links, opposing view, graphs, illustration. One diary was based on one comment in the NYT. Titles of flimsy diaries are grossly exaggerated to the point of falsehood. Eliminating the opposition has watered down the content into boring expectation. Some of the green diaries are good, I usually go there to read MeteorBlades. Otherwise I come away empty. To interest me, a diary has to have good original writing with quotes and links on the side.

I think I've experienced what you describe on our Mayor's Facebook page. I posted a comment with photos about the huge amount of construction in one small downtown area. I thought the permits should be staggered so as not to disrupt the life of the neighbourhood. It was a reasonable suggestion. The attack was swift and numerous not to mention insulting. I was going against the corporations and real estate owners. (The Mayor deleted the insulting responses but gave no opinion.)

Thanks for the information.

7 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

There is so much really great information in this essay. Thank you for sharing it. Good

4 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

k9disc's picture

Really solid stuff coming from him on framing back in the day.

I followed his work and had an invite to the site. Too bad dKos was in the bag for the corporate bagmen. He was not entirely well received there, nor was his framing.

0 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu