Recently a friend posted an article about a shill working for Monsanto possibly being prosecuted for a second degree felony. The FB post was recognized by aggressive commenters, which raised a flag for me: likely SHILLS. What characterized the comments that convinced me the comments were from shills? I decided to try to quantify the characteristics (realizing at the same time that quantifying shill comment characteristics might serve to help shills make more genuine, convincing comments **SIGH**).
This is the first indicator: shills have practically unlimited time to comment. The rest of us, even when passionate, have LIVES. We can’t hover over our comments and respond on a continual basis. Shills can. They relish it; because, here’s the deal: THEY ARE GETTING PAID! They aren’t fitting in their comments around a job and responsibilities. The comments ARE their job and responsibility!
If you are baffled and overwhelmed at how much your opposition is able to post — the sheer volume of it — you may be dealing with a shill.
Shills often leave aggressive, hostile comments with little or no emotion, and little or no explanation of why they are taking such an emphatic approach to the subject. Typically a person with strong opinions on a subject can explain them by some personal experience.
When someone expresses a strong opinion that is, say pro-GMO or pro-Roundup, I always wonder why. Sure, a person might use Roundup and might eat GMOs, but typically if they do, they don’t feel that strongly about it. For instance, few people will write, “I LOVE the taste of GMO zucchini and I won’t give it up for the future of the earth!” Why? Because it’s not an issue. Parents whose children have been injured by vaccines; people whose family members have died of cancer; people whose community water supply is contaminated by fracking runoff, THEY have passion, and write passionate comments — understandably. People generally may be aggressive — yes — but won’t be passionate unless they have a personal reason for passion. Most shill comments tend to be high on aggression but low on passion.
Subtle Departure from Central Subject
Shills will often attack a side issue related to the central issue. They will suggest a financial motive for the position they are attacking (ironic, yes, but they evidently believe turnabout is fair play); they will challenge some obscure and often insignificant reference; they will try to lure the writers of genuine and sincere comments AWAY from their passion, and search for a way to create confusion and strife among supportive commenters, and doubt among the unconvinced.
Insistence on False Paradigm
“Vaccine herd immunity prevents disease outbreaks”; “Nobody has been cured by Gerson”; “Natural News admits they publish untruths (because their website has a disclaimer)”: reading blatant un-truths can give us brain freeze and paralyze our ability to respond. What do we do, call someone a liar? Either the shill is lying or we are lying. We know it is the shill, but most of us are so unaccustomed to that sort of bold rudeness in everyday life that we are at a loss as to how to respond. And if we call them liars, we appear as if we may be the pot calling the kettle black (no racial disrespect intended). Shills know this, and they don’t care. News flash: their very presence in comment sections is a prevarication. THEY ARE THERE TO LIE AND MISLEAD.
Shills often love to quote statistics. But are they true stats? Why would they be? Again: shills exist to mislead. Falsifying facts is merely a part of their job. They must simply make their lies convincing. Remembering that can help you spot shill comments and RESIST being misled.
Efforts to Make Opponents Feel / Appear to Be Uneducated; Bigoted; Backward; Otherwise Un-Cool
Shills love to try to humiliate. They evidently believe we are all victims of TV commercial mind control, and terrified of being ill-thought-of. They try to make commenters feel that we must have ALL of the answers (be politically correct, cool or whatever), or our opinions are invalid. NOT SO! We are all entitled to our opinions. Yes, PLEASE, educate yourself and learn what you can, but don’t feel as if you must apologize for your opinion. You may believe what you wish, and you are not obligated to justify your beliefs & opinions to everyone who challenges your position. Here’s a li’l secret for ya: YOU CAN DELETE CRAP PEOPLE PUT ON YOUR FB PAGE if you don’t agree with it! If someone grows insulting to you or you simply don’t want to deal with contrasting comments, use your delete button. There’s no shame in it. This is YOUR FB wall, YOUR blog, YOUR life! Your place is YOUR forum. Detractors need not always be welcomed — though, certainly, the rabbit hole appears ever deeper, and we all may need to adjust our opinions from time to time.
How to Respond
Yes, I already gave a very significant suggestion: use your delete button.
But there are other ways to respond, and I think it’s important to understand some reasons why shills might be writing.
Yes. They mainly write to detract from the main message. However, they also write to waste our time and make us feel frustrated.
Do you believe in loosh / know what loosh is? Loosh is a substance said to feed dark / demonic entities (if you despise dualism I’m not exactly sure how you process this idea, so apologies if this offends you). Loosh consists of negative human emotions.
So, yes, I believe MIC / PIC / AIC mega-corps hire shills to protect their territory. But I also believe it is likely there is a spiritual / psychological component to “shilling” (if I may). If we truth seekers / freedom fighters become confused; become divided; become frustrated; begin to question ourselves in unhealthy ways, we become less effective in seeking truth — and helping others find it; in fighting for freedom — along with love, peace and joy.
We can delete, we can ignore, ideally we can find ways to communicate that break the pattern of attack against us, and even turn attacks into opportunity. However we respond, we must RISE ABOVE confusion, frustration and loosh generation. If that means using the delete key, banning detractors, blocking folks on FB, so be it. YOU decide how you want to use your time. Don’t let shills steal your time, your peace, or your truth!