Originally Posted by Flaneur
So there are two theories, the psychological/schmuckenfreude theory, and the paid-troll theory.
Interesting idea from MelGross that paid trolls would be better spokespersons, and know all the PR lingo about the companies' products they're shilling for. Sometimes appl and DaHarder have sounded like they know too much about the press-release details of non-Apple stuff, but then I'm possibly reading too much in to it out of paranoia, induced partly by watching the dirty-trick industry since the days of . . . well, I don't want to say any names, or show how long I've been . . . all right, I remember the 50s and very staged senate hearings in black-and-white TV. But why would anyone bother to sabotage or distract AI, the best Apple news site, in an organized, financed way? And why would they choose blustering stooges to do the work? As Dick A says, that just makes everybody refine their perceptions and critiques of Apple products. But does it help the cause, or does it rather distract from the best understanding of what's going on in this huge technical paradigm shift? B'tosh always prods at the visceral with his jabs at Jobs, appl hits at the left-brain hardware level, as did Newtron, etc. These guys seem like bad clowns, but are they?
Enough already. The reverse-positive-effect hypothesis of Dick A is a better way to look at it.
I. too, remember the "hearings" of the 50s -- quite a few political and journalist careers were made as a result. Little else!
Sadly, that type of posturing continues to this day.
The schadenfreude reference was partially meant as a joke -- though you do see some of that on both sides
of many discussions.
I don't know if there is a term for it -- it's kinda like "cutting him down to size". It's where someone envies the buying/ownership/leadership opportunities of others that are not available to himself. Through prior decisions. finances, peer pressure, company fiat, whatever -- the person cannot take advantage of a superior brand or product. What's left is to demean the brand/product to remove a little luster of the leader. You see some of that in posts, here.
Another way to examine the issue of trolling is: "follow the money" -- or who benefits from the trolling. Here are the possibilities as I see it:
1) The company posting the article and the forum -- they get lots of hits == ad $$
2) The author writing the article -- he may be trying to build (or maintain) a reputation as a knowledgeable and/or controversial tech guru. I can think of many cases where an author cites other articles by himself to support his opinions and enhance his reputation. Often, the author will participate in the forum. There were times when I felt the author was posting under a pseudonym so he could "stir the pot" or bounce ideas off himself. All of this would mean $$ to the author.
3) Vaporware. A company, plans to release a new produce against an established competitive product -- for example: any tablet manufacturer against the iPad. The company doesn't, yet, have a product to sell. It believes its product will be competitive, when available.. If they can delay a buying decision, it could result in a [later] competitive win. One way to do this (I can envision) is to hire people to seek out potential buyers and decision influencers,
and to confuse them and/or reduce their influence. Potential buyers, often look to web reviews, and discussion forums such as AI to help them make a decision. If a discussion is chaotic, with lots of FUD being spread by a few trolls -- The potential buyer is confused. The confused buyer does not buy -- he waits!
That's exactly what the vaporware vendor wants! The trolls, in this case, don't need to be particularly good -- just vocal and outrageous.
4) The investment Gurus. Some of these people make their $$ and reputation "predicting" market movement of stocks. Often, they will look to (google) reviews and forums to help form or support their "predictions". Some may go further than just "looking". AIR, Jim Cramer claimed he could affect the price of AAPL stock. He and Scott Moritz, will sometimes bounce supporting opinions back and forth similar to the ways some trolls work.
5) Any news is good news. If you are building a brand name or promoting a product, one of the goals is to get the name "out there" -- get people talking about it. It doesn't even need to portray the product/brand in a positive way -- people will remember that they heard about it (not what
they heard). For example. you want to buy an mp3 player, and have narrowed it down to 3 products: iPod; Zune; ScanDisk. You google each. There are thousands of hits. You can't read them all... based on hit counts you see that the most popular are...
There are others, and combinations/permutations of the above -- sometimes, these stories get picked up by the mainstream press.
As far as AI is concerned. I do believe that AI publishes articles to attract readers -- That's their job!
Sometimes, the articles are slanted, sometimes biased! Sometimes they could use a little more fact checking. Some of that goes with the territory -- you sacrifice things to bring the discussion to the table, in a timely way.
I do not believe that AI is paying trolls to add hits to the articles -- though, it seems that AI thinks (as do I) that a little trolling adds spice to the discussion.
I follow a number of sites with articles/forums on topics that interest me -- or just for fun. I post to a few of them.
Currently (for the past year, or so) AI is best of breed of sites discussing Apple and their products.
I would like to see AI do a somewhat better job of troll control.