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Record Website Traffic But Rise in Sockpuppetry
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Over the last few days, our young webzine has achieved remarkable results, reflected in its record-breaking traffic over the week-end.

Late last week we published a long original article by distinguished Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen, providing a very skeptical look at the circumstances surrounding the shooting-down of Flight MH17 in Ukraine, which cost the lives of nearly 200 of his countrymen. Western MSM accounts have been almost unanimous in blaming the deaths on rebel forces, even though there is virtually no hard evidence supporting that theory, and the piece was a very necessary corrective to this totally one-sided presentation, being used to launch a new Cold War against Russia.

Within just a couple of days, van Wolferen’s article attracted more traffic than anything else we had previously published, while generating nearly 200 comments in conjunction with my own accompanying column. Even more remarkably, the 600+ Tweets it received are many times our previous record, indicating distribute comparable to that for a major New York Times article. I believe this demonstrates the huge hunger for alternative media narratives, the exactly reason I launched this publication.

Meanwhile, our star blogger Steve Sailer has been attracting enormous readership in his relentless pursuit of the Ferguson, Missouri cover-up, in which state and federal authorities did their best to suppress the videotape evidence showing Michael Brown robbing a local convenience stores just minutes before he allegedly attacked a local police officer and was shot dead as a consequence. Once again, a fabricated narrative heavily promoted by virtually all mainstream publications and public figures, ranging from the New York Times and Attorney General Eric Holder to National Review and Sen. Rand Paul, has apparently turned out to be a total pack of lies. With my own knowledge of the case drawn from the exceptionally biased coverage in the NYT+WSJ, I was as shocked as anyone else to see the stills and YouTube video of the huge black thug man-handling the clerk and looting the local store just before he met his demise. It appears that we have another Trayvon Martin Media Hoax, which would have probably become established fact in the pre-YouTube era.

Despite the record-setting traffic, our website’s caching system held up very well, with the load rarely exceeding 1% of maximum, while I have been mostly preoccupied with developing certain new software systems for the website.

 

I am very pleased at the readership, distribution, and impact of our articles, as well as the 6500 comments we have so far received in August, likely headed for a monthly record. However, I have also noticed an unfortunate recent increase in sock-puppetry, which I hope does not continue. The standard WordPress Comment Administrator always shows the IP address of a commenter, along with his name-handle, and the same one or two IP addresses are regularly used for a considerable number of different handles, which may therefore mislead other commenters and reduce the possibility of honest and sustained long-term dialogue.

Although this behavior will not necessarily prevent any such comments from being approved, I would urge that the individuals involved curb this behavior before such harsh measures become necessary. Selecting a single handle and generally sticking to it is hardly an unreasonable request on a website that allows such free-wheeling discussion on all sorts of controversial issues.

 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with..."] says:

    “Selecting a single handle and generally sticking is hardly an unreasonable request on a website that allows such free-wheeling discussion on all sorts of controversial issues.”

    But who wants pizza with the same topping all the time?

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  2. After the first week or two, the only real news I could find about the crash (or the rebellion) was Unz, zerohedge, saker,rt, and mat Rodina. Way to be naked, emperor!

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  3. Sock puppetry or no, it does seem more than deeply unreasonable to respond to unfortunately routine crime by full scale military occupations and population control. Not to mention, threatening, abusing, beating and falsely arresting journalists is the police state way to react. As one former HS maven put it, when we decide do do something in America, we always overdo it. Fascism mild becomes fascism wild. Restraint is not an American personality characteristic, and with the unbelievable technological violence now in the hands of an infantilized and psychologically alienated, detached militarized police, it seems they will be tempted to use it excessively.

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  4. Not all sockpuppetry is bad. Sometimes it’s done for comic effect–with the handle setting up the joke and the comment delivering the punchline. When done well it can be quite funny. (It’s a well-established practice on blogs like Ace of Spades HQ.)

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  5. haddox says:

    I posted this yesterday on a recent Sailer comment thread. Just did not want it to get lost in the shuffle:

    “FYI off-topic technical feedback: last few days the Sailer RSS feed is completely missing in NewsBlur, the news reader. The Old Reader [different news reader] shows posts under the Sailer RSS feed, but appears to be for the entire Unz site. Tried it on mobile device and multiple computers in different areas. Not sure if others are experiencing this but wanted to report it.

    Thanks for all your work. Wish I had more to give than my occasional meager donations”

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  6. wah wah says:

    my own sock-puppetry is defensive; I’ve heard of people being doxxed by consistent use of a handle.

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    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
    All webzines have a reader-bias, and an editorial bias. Accept that fact, selectively choose your preferred webzines for the bias you like, and stick with a single alias.

    It's not like you're going to convince any Internet-beings of the wisdom of your preferred bias. But, counterproductive shouting is just that -- counter-productive. Go to Yahoo every now and then for a good dose of therapeutic, red-faced rant.
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  7. @wah wah
    my own sock-puppetry is defensive; I've heard of people being doxxed by consistent use of a handle.

    All webzines have a reader-bias, and an editorial bias. Accept that fact, selectively choose your preferred webzines for the bias you like, and stick with a single alias.

    It’s not like you’re going to convince any Internet-beings of the wisdom of your preferred bias. But, counterproductive shouting is just that — counter-productive. Go to Yahoo every now and then for a good dose of therapeutic, red-faced rant.

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  8. Richard S says:

    Congratulations Ron on the growing success of your website! It is increasingly my first port of call for news analysis, as sites like the Guardian continue to descend into seeming self-parody..

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  9. Shawn says:

    Ron,

    Do you mind sharing traffic statistics?

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  10. Great! Anything that can cut down on trolls and sock-puppets is appreciated.

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  11. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    I frequently use different handles and fake emails out of a combination of paranoia and laziness. Please don’t censor me. Who knows who tracks what and how it may be used against us in the future. Should any one of use ever be involved in an unexpected unfortunate situation the powers that be will find something from our un-P.C. past to use against us. Look at Zimmerman or Wilson, they would never expect to dragged through the mud when they are simply carrying out for their lives. Please use discretion in censoring trolls and allowing others who anonymously post constructive comments.
    Thanks for your work.

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  12. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Scenario for 20 years from now:
    1. Advanced artificial intelligences do linguistic analysis on the entire internet to identify everybody who used a particular pseudonym for more than a certain number of comments.
    2. Comments will be judged by the standards of the future, which might be different from the standards of today.

    Changing to a new handle sometimes can thus increase the free flow of ideas without fear of future repression. Mixing my intellectual and professional lives would reduce my ability to serve everybody equally.

    “Sock puppet” is intended to refer to people commenting with multiple handles in the same thread to agree with themselves and sway people with the perception of majority opinion.

    I care about the arguments being made, not whether somebody is using a new handle this month.

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  13. Bill P says:

    I changed my handle (by one letter) because this is a bigger site than iSteve and I found my name was being used by others. Wouldn’t surprise me if the same is true in some other cases.

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  14. Chicago1 says:

    I’ve usually commented under ‘anonymous’ so as to avoid the all too frequent flame wars. Some of these commenters seem to spend all of their time just sitting in front of the computer attacking other people’s comments, being nasty, abusive and sarcastic, whilst providing very little of their own thinking or analysis that’s original. They just bounce off what other people try to say.
    Great website. You have a good lineup of independent thinkers.

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