03.21.21

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The Anatomy of Means and Methods for Discrediting a Site (and How to Avoid Them)

Posted in Site News at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Some operational lessons learned from the mistakes of others and some of the weaknesses identified by us too (over the years/decades)

THE LESSONS that can be learned from fellow activists and journalists, I think, is that centralised social control networks are better off avoided altogether. Audience appreciative of the work can follow the original site and comment directly, without having to rely on third parties that censor and induce self-censorship.

“In sites like Reddit and even ‘Hacker’ [sic] ‘News’ [sic] there are still attempts to discredit the messenger rather than the message (when it’s not convenient to the corporate forces that dominate those sites).”Throughout the day today, while recording a record number of videos (and even losing one due to microphone on mute), there were some attacks on Tux Machines. DDOS attacks are possible to reduce by adopting a static page generator, which we definitely intend to (in the future; how long remains unknown at this point).

But as hinted earlier today (or alluded to in the post about IRC), smears by association/connotation/affiliation are a very major problem — a problem which has become considerable to us. It’s important to weed out trolling and “concern trolling” whose sole purpose is to undermine sites. Some people have mastered this skill and they can de-platform channels/users, especially in faceless sites that are run by monopolies. We’re seen countless examples of sites losing their voice because of poor choices of platform/s.

The video above discusses some of those points and gives examples. If properly prepared and responsive to the issue, one can avert disaster. Tomorrow we’ll publish some internal EPO documents and on Tuesday comes a finale. Then, we move on to the next EPO series. As noted in the video, generally producing videos helps avoid the false accusations that the sites are inauthentic, or bots, or foreign agents etc. (common smear tactics that we’ve seen weaponised against UPC complainants, even behind the scenes).

Sometimes sites do not perish per se but lose control or fall into hands contrary to what they originally stood for. IP Kat is one good example of it; behind closed doors some strange things were happening half a decade ago, resulting in censorship of any sort of coverage of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos scandals.

When we started in 2006 we were very much focused on software patents, so attempts to undermine us were limited to companies like Novell and then Microsoft. In sites like Reddit and even ‘Hacker’ [sic] ‘News’ [sic] there are still attempts to discredit the messenger rather than the message (when it’s not convenient to the corporate forces that dominate those sites). We’ve seen it done to Wikileaks countless times, e.g. the attempts to personify the site and then speak out against Julian Assange instead of what was shown by Wikileaks, the site/platform.

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” ― Frank Zappa

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