Author: Diogenes
December 17, 2002

      This is a handy reference tool for spotting trolls and other lower
life forms. Given that Indy, and other independent open forums, are
increasingly the targets of various members of the sell-out classes this
is a nice reference for tuning up your BS detector. 

      Spotting Disinformation - The rules of the "Game"

      Courtesy of   Walt  July 15, 1998

      *  1.  Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of
what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public
figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and
you never have to deal with the issues.

      *  2.  Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key
issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic
as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is
also known as the "How dare you!" gambit.

      *  3.  Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing
all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild
accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work
as well. This method works especially well with a silent press, because
the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such
"arguable rumors". If you can associate the material with the Internet,
use this fact to certify it a "wild rumor" which can have no basis in

      *  4.  Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your
opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself
look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may
safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the
opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of
the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a
way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike,
while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

      *  5.  Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is
also known as the primary attack the messenger ploy, though other
methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with
unpopular titles such as "kooks", "right-wing", "liberal", "left-wing",
"terrorists", "conspiracy buffs", "radicals", "militia", "racists",
"religious fanatics", "sexual deviates", and so forth. This makes others
shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid
dealing with issues.

      *  6.  Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of
your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an
answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely
well in Internet and letters-to -the-editor environments where a steady
stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain
criticism reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never
discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that
would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

      *  7.   Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could so
taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal
agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the
accuser on the defensive.

      *  8.  Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself
with authority and present your argument with enough "jargon" and
"minutiae" to illustrate you are "one who knows", and simply say it
isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or
citing sources.

      *  9.   Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is
offered, avoid discussing issues with denial they have any credibility,
make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic,
or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

      *  10.   Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of
the straw man usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility,
someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily
dealt with. Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw
man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial
contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new
ground uncovered, can usually them be associated with the original
charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address
current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was
involved with the original source.

      *  11.  Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor
matter or element of the facts, take the "high road" and "confess" with
candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that
opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of
proportion and imply greater criminalities which, "just isn't so."
Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later. Done properly, this can
garner sympathy and respect for "coming clean" and "owning up" to your
mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

      *  12.   Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall
umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players
and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes
those otherwise following the matter to begin to loose interest more
quickly without having to address the actual issues.

      *  13.   Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues
by reasoning backwards with an apparent deductive logic in a way that
forbears any actual material fact.

      *  14.  Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring
opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best
for items qualifying for rule 10.

      *  15.  Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires
creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency
conclusions in place. (Can you say Rush Limbaugh - sure you can - just
don't choke.)

      *  16.  Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the
other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with
abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a
new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions
who can "argue" with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion
arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

      *  17.  Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't
do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into
emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly
motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent.
Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but
even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further
avoid the issues by then focusing on how "sensitive they are to

      *  18.   Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is
perhaps a variant of the "play dumb" rule. Regardless of what material
may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material
irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come
by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something
which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder
weapon). In order to completely avoid discussing issues may require you
to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid
sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that
statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or


      *  19.  False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or
clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations
as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution.
This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the
purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

      *  20.  Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s),
group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to
forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or
testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually
address issues, you can do so authoritatively.