Summary: Another exploration of how a brand’s value is defended while its opponent’s gets tarnished
A WORD ought to be said about attempts to disrupt this Web site either by derailing the subject of discussion, attacking the server, or insulting people who are involved — both editors and contributors. One such contributor, “The Mad Matter”, wrote about this last night:
You know there are some things that really piss me off. Some goof ball using the name “Yggdrasil” posted a comment to my article Trolls and Linux and the rotten little son of a bitch had the gall to call me sensitive!
Actually I find it quite funny. I write about trolls, and lo and behold, Yggie, a fairly well known troll shows up, and proceeds to write a pro-Microsoft screed which accuses me of being dishonest. Think of the odds. I write something critical of Microsoft, on a blog that almost no one knows exists besides a few friends. It gets one mention on a relatively popular site, and I get a pro-Microsoft troll popping up the next day. A fairly well known troll. What does this tell you?
We’ve had a lot of trolls not only in the comments but also in IRC — trolls whose nature was rather vile, not just rude. They try to spoil it for everyone. They’ve tried the same thing with Groklaw too, especially recently (earlier this year, based what PJ told me).
“The Mad Matter” responded to an issue we’ve seen here for years. Mere comments get discouraged when anonymous trolls start attacking commenters personally for merely daring to comment. From the same thread which led to some of the flames (a comment from Linux Today) we also have this new bit [via Slated]
June 5, 2009 1:11 AM
Ex-Microsoft marketing manager said:
Of course Microsoft has a perception management team and specifically targets Web 2.0 sites like Digg and Reddit. Some of this is outsourced as well. It is felt inside MS that the reason why Vista failed was that on Web 2.0 sites it became fashionable to bad mouth the OS, this turned in to group think and thus the OS failed. Seriously, that is the belief and there is at least some merit to it. Lets be real, Vista is just not as bad as it is painted.
Now contrast that to Windows 7; Microsoft have spent a lot of money manipulating user generated content sites to hype the OS. Let me tell you, it is not so much different from Vista but the perception is that is it much better. Again, lets be real, Windows 7 is just Vista with some UI tweaks and *much* better marketing.
Watch for the talking points used, this is starting now but will be pushed harder after Win7 is released, I would expect “Windows 7 is the death blow to Linux on the desktop” will be a favourite.
I think it is poor form for MS to manipulate sites like Digg, there will be a backlash when the users figure it out.
As Slated points out, “This anonymous comment may be purely anecdotal, but it is nonetheless highly convincing. He certainly seems to know what he’s talking about.”
Waggener Edstrom, which is Microsoft's PR department, explains quite openly this practice of "perception management", so this should surprise nobody. Slated borrows an explanation of this term from Wikipedia.
Perception management is a term originated by the U. S. military. The U. S. Department of Defense (DOD) gives this definition:
Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.
The phrase “perception management” has often functioned as a “euphemism” for “an aspect of information warfare.”
Adds Slated: “Well now we know how to formally address the shills in
comp.os.linux.advocacy … they’re “Perception Management contractors”.
“Is this comparable to Dubya’s “Regime Change” hit-squads, I wonder?”
Also he says, “First there was the “Technology Evangelist” (TE):”
For eight years (1992-2000), I was the driving force behind Microsoft’s effort to make its Technology Evangelism (TE) efforts more efficient, effective, and ruthless, by studying both the practice and the theory of TE. After leaving Microsoft in 2000, I spurned the inquiries of numerous Microsoft competitors to testify on their behalf. As recently as year, I fell on my sword on Microsoft’s behalf.
My belief that I was one of the Good Guys was similarly flawed. This is now inescapable. I was wrong. Many of the TE practices that I developed, taught, and espoused were wrong. Anyone who continues to practice them is wrong. As a first step towards making amends for my past wrongdoing, I must make this clear, and widely known.
Some of the grumpiness comes from the endless torrents of anti-Linux FUD, propaganda, misinformation, astroturfing, and just plain whining that keep pounding on the same theme: that Windows is easy, Linux is hard, and expecting computer users to spend more than eight or fifteen seconds in study is a sin. It has never been true that learning to use a personal computer is easy; that is a plain lie. Conversely, it’s not that hard.
Microsoft AstroTurfing is a reality, not mere speculation. Microsoft admits it, but it contracts those who are responsible through outside entities. Microsoft is not alone by the way, but it is very unique in its field. █
- Don’t Play Politics and Diplomacy with Microsoft
- Joe Barr Knew Microsoft’s Tactics All Too Well
- Passing Intellectual Monopoly Laws Using Propaganda Terms, Political Corruption
- Bill Gates and His Press Rewrite History Amid Semi-retirement
- Then, They Fight You… by Buying Some New Laws
- Quick Mention: Hungary and “Microsoft Corruption”
- Nicholas Negroponte Should Join Hands with Larry Lessig, Not with Bill Gates
- How Microsoft Intercepts Critics Using Libel
- Rob Enderle Guarantees “Amazing Numbers”, Show E-mails to Microsoft
- Gartner and Microsoft Negotiate Not Bashing Vista
- More Manipulation at Microsoft: Politics, ‘Charity’ for Automobiles, Media Coverage
- It’s Not Bribery If It’s Just “Marketing Help”
- Standards Conference ‘Stacked’ by Microsoft & Cronies, Cancelled
- King of Hypocrisy(ahoo!)
- The New York Times, Hosted by Microsoft Revisionists
- Microsoft Shills Index: Under Construction
- How Microsoft and Its Analysts Entrap the Industry from the Top
- Shame on ISO and Shame on Microsoft for Corrupting ISO
- ODF Keeps Winning; No Wonder Microsoft Went Corrupt Against It
- An Ode (Eulogy) to ISO
- Who’s Afraid of MicrISOsoft? The European Commission
- It’s Official: ISO Committee Captured by Vendor Microsoft Corporation
- ISO and Microsoft: The Corruption Resumes
- “Money Trumps Justice”, Vendor Control Trumps Truth
- Criticise OOXML or Microsoft Corruption, Receive Libel
- Shame on You ISO, Shame On You. Total Disgrace.
- Norway’s Protest Against Microsoft Abuse Goes More Public (Updated)
- OOXML Fiasco: More Legal Action Against the BSI Possible
- OOXML ‘Corruption Train’ Arriving at Sweden (Updated)
- OOXML Aftermath: Microsoft Rewrites History in the Press
- Did Microsoft Attack IBM by Proxy to Restrain OOXML Critics?
- Microsoft’s Press on OOXML: Admission of Misconduct
- Alex Brown, the British Library and OOXML
- Steve Ballmer Makes Phonecalls to Flip Those Votes in Favour of Monopoly (Updated: China Says “NO”)
- ODF/OOXML Watch: Bill Gates Lobbies Behind the Scenes Again, Jason Matusow Deceives (Updated)
- Massachusetts — Bullied, Battered, and Defeated
- The Microsoft OOXML ‘Corruption Train’ Reaches Denmark (Updatedx2)
- ISO Feels OK With Corruption, Officially Approves OOXML (Updated)
- Respecting AstroTurfers?
- ISO Frozen. Too Much Corruption?
- Is Microsoft’s OOXML the “Greatest [of] Scam[s] of Computing History”?
- Microsoft’s Letters from the ‘Dead’ Tactics Return (Yet Again)
- Microsoft Employee Enters General Web Forums to Push OOXML; Partners and Consultants Join Discussions
- Week of OOXML Corruptions Ends, No Causalities Claimed
- Microsoft Controls ECMA, ISO, JTC1, Everything
- Microsoft Launches “Get the Facts”-esque Smear Campaign Against ODF and OOXML’s Critics
- Week of Corruptions Coming This February
- Microsoft on ‘War Mode’ in ”Scandalous” OOXML
- Bullying, Intimidation and Smears, Courtesy of Microsoft
- Kickbacks Watch: Plaintiffs in Suit Against Microsoft Caught (Plus Past Summary)
- Microsoft Conceals Financial Pains Using Money Games (Updatedx2)
- Off Topic: Microsoft Crime/Dirty Tricks Watch (Updated)