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Journal: The twitter Monologues 5

Journal by SockDisclosure
Last updated: 12/15/08 (open discussion journal here)

The following is the complete list of twitter sockpuppets ([1] [2] [3] [4] [5]) as of the last update date of this journal. This person currently has sixteen known accounts on Slashdot, most of which are actively used to shill his own posts to game the moderation system. His reputation has now transcended Slashdot ([1] [2] [3] [4] [5]), and he's become pretty much the running joke around here ( [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]), mostly bringing everyone else on Slashdot down by association, including honest FOSS advocates who usually don't want anything to do with him or his lies, extremism and paranoia.

Not content to disrupt and pollute Slashdot, our dear troll has now devolved into the role of a serial stalker, to boot. ( [1] [2] [3] [4] ). Of course, he's just protecting Slashdot from the "trolls".

2) Erris
This is the first (UIN under 1.2M) sockpuppet. It was created the first time twitter hit negative karma.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] (and his reply here); [6] [7] [8] (that entire thread is just him pretty much); [9] [10]

3) Mactrope
Name troll of Macthorpe.
[1] [2] [3] [4] (thread started with the twitter account, name troll replies) [5] [6] (whole thread is gnutoo and Mactrope)
Now thoroughly ruined, the account is used mainly to troll Macthorpe without much success.

4) gnutoo
This account was largely dedicated to RIAA and "teh freedom is under attaks" posts, but it eventually devolved into the usual fare.
[1] (That thread involves almost all of the accounts) [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] (that was the account's second post and he was already linking to his journal) [9] [10] [11] [12] (I have to thank all of you nutballs who have called me Twitter. I'd never have known who twitter was much less bother to read his journal otherwise.)

5) inTheLoo
Another "the RIAA is after meh" account at first, eventually deteriorated into the usual "M$ Windozes LOLOL" tripe and shilling.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] (pretty much everyone jumped in on that one) [10] [11]

6) willeyhill
Name troll of willyhill.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

7) westbake
Name troll of westlake.
[1] [2] (those two threads have multiple sockpuppets as well) [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] (classic twitter) [14]
This account is currently being used to troll westlake, complete with "I am a name troll of westlake" sig and everything.

8) Odder
Name troll of Otter.
[1] (more links to twitter journal) [2] [3] and [4] (Odder is used to complain about moderation because it has a +2 posting default); [5] [6] [7] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] (That's funny) [12] (tries to be clever)

9) ibane
Created probably to try and fly under the radar, eventually he ends up burning them up trying to bring the other accounts out of negative karma. With a grand total of 7 posts as of June 2008, his second post with the account immediately garnered a bizarre shill reply, probably because twitter realized that he had made a mistake by pasting a link he had added to one of his journal entries the same day. The next seven posts are just more of the same complaining about the moderation on the other accounts, shilling his own posts (and the subsequent moderation bitch with the Odder account, my head hurts) and the usual twitter fare once he's decided he can't pretend he's someone else to save his life. ibane also knows where twitter does not work, which is impressive.
[1] [2] [3] (shilling a GNUChop comment) [4] (No, I am not Twitter) [5] (classic)

10) deadzero
Born as a name troll of dedazo, deadzero's first action was to complain about this post. The second was to post a comment in twitter's journal. He then tried trolling some more, asking for a reply to a westbake post (ROFL). This was followed with some more moderation bitching, and the latest fun thing the account seems to be dedicated to is to troll some more and promote twitter's psychotic "everybody is after me" ramblings. He really likes to link to twitter's journal, too. The account seems to be currently used just to troll dedazo without much success. Still, for someone who is not twitter, he sure likes him a lot.
[1] [2]

11) freenix
Identified but not added to the list in the hopes that it wouldn't be used for shilling. That didn't last long. freenix is very excited about what twitter has to say.
[1] [2] [3]

12) myCopyWrong
Flew under the radar for about a week or so until someone found it. It was used as a sockpuppet first in this thread. To put context into that "MOD PARENT DOWN" reply, myCopyWrong at that point had less than 25 comments and the account had existed for less than three weeks, but he was already appearing in sockpuppet threads and had intimate knowledge of the twitter saga. Impressive, no?

13) right handed
Created specifically to shill this thread; also used as a sockpuppet here.
[1] [2] [3]

14) GNUChop
This sock was created initially to shill this thread started with the Odder account, where the right handed account also jumped in.
[1] (Vista, which you mention)

But this account is important because it provides the first piece of actual hard evidence of active sockpuppetry outside of the admittedly circumstantial shilling activity and style similarities presented here. twitter has apparently joined forces with a guy that runs a rather badly designed anti-Microsoft blog (that's a fresh idea). Someone on here (predictably) figured out that the owner of those blogs runs an IRC channel on freenode, whose logs are archived daily on the blog itself. Being the smart cookie that he is, twitter obviously never realized this. In this thread, an AC posted links and quotes from the chat log that are reproduced here in bash.org format for maximum comedic value:

<twitter> I'm back.
<twitter> Want to see a nice piece of net stalking?
<schestowitz> Yes, definitely. I want o document such phenomena too.
<twitter> This one is personal and not one I'd like to call attention to.
<twitter> my trolls on Slashdot like to out me as BRLUG member Will Hill. That's not something I will confirm or deny.
<twitter> They also identify my accounts on the first few posts. They got my GNUChop today and replied to it by cut and pasting a brlug comment.
<twitter> compare http://mail.brlug.net/pipermail/general_brlug.net/2008-August/018582.html
<twitter> to http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=647417&cid=24621437
<twitter> Nasty, isn't it?
<twitter> If what they say is true they can only know it by monitoring all of my traffic.

In that same thread, the AC posted a Google site search link that brings up just about every IRC log on the blog, just in case someone thinks this is some spur-of-the-moment impersonator. Also linked from there, in this part of one of the logs someone asks twitter if he's the same troll from Slashdot with multiple sockpuppets, and he confirms it in the usual yes but I am justified because I am being targeted by a massive Microsoft conspiracy fashion.

This is pretty much the "smoking gun", if anyone was looking for it. For an even more brazen example of how twitter operates (thanks to this same weird website), see here.

If you're not convinced yet:

<twitter> After some thought, I've decided to keep using multiple accounts on Slashdot. Trolls have gamed the system to strip me of my rights and disrupt conversation. I will use the tools I have available to keep my rights and continue to share.
<twitter> Let's not talk about that any more, it is a waste of time.
<twitter> It is better to talk about how evil it is to cooperate with M$.
<schestowitz> twitter: you make the /. zoo more of a zoo.
<schestowitz> You put a show on both sides and make it a mockery of the site.
<twitter> You are going in circles.
<twitter> Others made a mockery of the site when they censored me.

Remember kids, other people are making a mockery of Slashdot. Other people have censored twitter.

--------------------------
Other accounts

15) trimmer
There is evidence to tie this account to the others, as detailed here. It wasn't used as a sockpuppet per se, but rather as a sort of lame reverse troll. Is your head starting to throb now?

16) wiIIyhiII
This is actually one of 26 additional accounts (I am not shitting you here) colloquially known as "trollpuppets". These were used as a stupid attempt to associate people who were actively trying to warn others of the sockpuppet gaming with rather vile racist bullshit normally seen in GNAA and such creatures. It was however the most widely used and it's the easiest to actually tie to him. You'll notice it must be enclosed in <tt> tags, because it's a type of misspelling troll that relies on font display (see here). A separate Journal entry with additional evidence about these accounts will be posted soon.

--------------------------
Shill threads
Hopefully without much repetition from the links above, here are a few threads where more than three or four socks make an appearance. It's easier to just post the root of the thread than to link to each account's individual post(s) in it:

[1] - twitter, Odder, ibane, deadzero, willeyhill, Mactrope. An AC posted a comment (which shot up to +5) about how that article was submitted by twitter, which is very probably not true. twitter then jumped on the whole thing, unfortunately. Of special interest is ibane's intimate knowledge of twitter's employment status, and some "silly troll, phear my excellent karma" tripe.
[2] - twitter, Odder, freenix, willeyhill, Mactrope, ibane. Started with a hilarious segue from the freenix account to bring attention to twitter's -1 post, which backfired quickly. twitter replied to willyhill and Mactrope with their respective name trolls, and ibane made a late appearance to discuss how Microsoft is actively engaged in modding twitter down, in response to a very good post by someone else pleading with him to stop all this. No surprises here.
[3] - Thread started with the Erris account, and then the myCopyWrong one used to "MOD PARENT UP" shill because it's the only one not posting at -1. As for the rest of that thread, the only two people who are not twitter are tepples and willyhill.
[4] - In this bizarre thread, twitter seems to have discovered lolcats, posts with 4 different accounts, shills his -1 posts with an AC comment and brings out dedazo's name troll when asked if there is any self-esteem left back there. This also seems to mark the first time an AC comment was used by twitter to bring attention to his negative karma posts, something that he's done a few times since.
[5] - This is not a "thread" in that it's just one account, but it's hilarious, painfully embarassing and a good example of how impossible it is to manage so many accounts. "Hush, we are at war!" would make a great sig.
[6] - The usual twitter+Erris with Mactrope making an appearance because Macthorpe dared post.
[7] - Hilarious thread, mostly with the ibane account. The piece de resistance is this AC comment, which, despite twitter allegedly being nowhere in that thread, is promptly included in the "death threats" (!) section of his cute "teh evil M$ defenders" list.
[8] - The shill thread to end all shill threads. In this fun-filled fest, twitter posts with 13 out of 14 accounts, with the only one missing being "deadzero", probably because the target of that particular name troll didn't post there. There is even an epic subthread with the socks bemoaning the fact that Microsoft is involved the negative moderation he receives (as opposed to, say, shilling your own comments with 13 different accounts). At the same time, twitter even gets on IRC with his friends and asks for mod points to game the system even more.
[9] - This is actually a reply to himself, one of those rare posts that are actually informative. He of course predictably mucks it up by replying again with four more of his accounts. It's all in the name of fighting evil and exercising his "free speech", of course.
[10] - In the lonely confines of an empty Firehose submission, twitter has a rather trascendental conversation with himself.
[11] - In the finest "they are making a mockery of Slashdot" tradition, we engage in some scatological humour.
[12] - Odder + right handed like, totally agree.
[13] - inTheLoo of course has "more information" about what his good friend gnutoo has to say.
[14] - Weird thread started with the GNUChop account, including a lame attempt at an AC shill and some other weird stuff.

--------------------------

Except where the evidence is quite clear (i.e., GNUChop), the posts and threads linked to here are really circumstantial evidence of the ownership of each account and the relationship among them. More will be added as necessary. Obviously no one has access to the Slashdot IP logs, but if you read the threads linked to you'll see why they're not needed them anyway. Some of them are long discussions and it may not be clear why they are linked to. Some of them are shill replies and it might be necessary to look at the parent post for context. Further, not all of them necessarily show relationships to posts with the "primary" account, but rather to some of the others. But it doesn't take a degree in theoretical physics to figure out that this is all the work of a single disturbed person.

So aside from trying to manipulate the moderation system, what are these accounts good for? One of our devoted readers kindly sent us this analysis of the blatant gaming of the Firehose system he's been actively engaged in, which no one noticed until Slashdot changed the default page view to display all of a user's activity, rather than just the comments. This is actually hilarious, since there's proof of his hypocritical claims that the system is gamed:

<twitter> Slashdot's firehose is gamed.
<kentma> twitter: I really didn't understand that phrase - what is "gamed"?
...
<twitter> I mean people who want to manipulate it have signed up enough accounts to fake popular interest.

Waiter - a medium chuckle with fries, to go.

If you are for some reason not convinced about what this person is doing, just play the What Are The Chances? game for a second. What are chances that so many accounts (not including twitter and Erris) with +1.2M UINs would spend large amounts of time posting to the same threads, replying to each other with "I agree" one-liners and complaining about negative moderation that the other accounts receive? The odds are very small indeed. Currently Slashdot has over 1,300,000 registered users. Assuming that just 10,000 of those people are actively posting at any point, the odds are still not good. This person is actively gaming the moderation system because he can't get it through his head that his opinions are less than attractive to the overall community, whom he brings down by association pretty much every time he posts. For all the love that he claims to have for this community, he definitely makes sure he's turning it into a circus by becoming the butt of most jokes.

A recent AC reply to one of his annoying posts where he reacts to someone voicing the suspicion that he is a troll sent by Microsoft to ridicule Free Software summarizes this whole joke quite well:

If the theory is correct, then it's just another failure for Microsoft. It takes a special kind of special to successfully put 14 accounts through the karma grinder and achieve absolutely nothing other than to become another joke meme on Slashdot.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.

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