It's just about time to drag the American organized political trolling on sites like reddit, twitter, and tumblr into the open too, right?
I've often wondered about certain comment threads on slashdot. Framing certain actions as "hijacking the conversation for propaganda purposes" seems to hit the Bayesian priors higher than just "a lot of people really feel that way".
The conversations attached to Uber articles are weird, not at all what one would expect.
The recent one about California raising the minimum wage was suspect: affecting roughly 2.4% of wage earners, you would expect posts like "has no effect because costs are passed on to consumers", "raising everyone's wages make costs rise to compensate", and so on to be roundly debunked by the first person to google some numbers.
It's worse around election time. In a presidential election year, about 6 weeks beforehand we start to get framing posts - some of which are quite insidious. "I agree with him on *that* issue, but everything else he stands for is batshit crazy". It seemed like every response to a Ron Paul was that way: his immediate position is OK, but it puts the "batshit crazy" idea into people's minds with no supporting evidence.
...and it's starting to happen for Rand Paul as well.
Then there's the visibility-massaging techniques: posting an opinion that's not *quite* right just to get people to respond so that text further down gets pushed below the fold where no one can see it. Posting a definition that's not *quite* right so that people argue the definition back and forth and avoid the core issues, and of course modding things down.
I sometimes monitor certain posts and see them modded down... only to see them modded up a few hours later. That indicates to me that there are people trying to promote an agenda with the moderation system, but get overruled by the general population.
In addition to participating in the conversation, take a step back and look at the overall context of the conversation some time. Instead of just responding, think about the reasoning behind *why* the person made the post that they did.
It is sometimes quite enlightening.