Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Sierra Madre Tattler's Russian Fanbase Is Growing

I've been trying to figure out why The Tattler gets as many hits from Russia as it does. To the left you can see some of the numbers we are getting from the Land of Putin. For a small regional politics blog that gets somewhere around 60,000 to 70,000 hits a month, it is kind of notable. It is also flattering. Do these people really think we have that much influence in this country?

A British paper called The Guardian recently published an article called "Invasion of the troll armies: from Russian Trump supporters to Turkish state stooges" (link). It is pretty interesting stuff, and it also raises a question to two. Can it be that we are actually receiving the attention of these kinds of folks? Here is how they describe this sort of Russian contribution to some of the political discourse found on US blogs and in social media.

RussiaLong before Donald Trump met Twitter, Russia was famous for its troll factories – outside Russia, anyway. Allegations of covert propagandists invading chatrooms go back as far as 2003, and in 2012 the Kremlin-backed youth movement Nashi was revealed to be paying people to comment on blogs. However most of what we know now comes from a series of leaks in 2013 and 2014, most concerning a St Petersburg company called Internet Research Agency, then just “Internet Research”. It is believed to be one of several firms where trolls are trained and paid to smear Putin’s opponents both at home and internationally.

According to internal documents released by a group of hackers in 2013, Internet Research Agency employed more than 600 people across Russia, and had an implied annual budget of $10m – half of which was paid out in cash. Employees were expected to post on news articles 50 times a day. Those who wrote blogs had to maintain six Facebook accounts and publish at least three posts daily. On Twitter, they had to have at least 10 accounts, on which they would tweet 50 times. All had targets for the number of followers and the level of engagement they had to reach.

Later, an investigator called Lyudmila Savchuk went undercover at the company and afterwards published her experiences. These included smearing the character of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in the days following his murder, and promoting the theory that he was killed by his own friends, rather than by friends of Putin. “I felt the bullets between my own shoulders,” Savchuk said. “I was so upset that I almost gave myself away. But I was 007. I fulfilled my task.” When a Finnish reporter called Jessikka Aro wrote about Internet Research in 2014, she herself became the target of a frightening campaign of threats and smears.

As you might expect, many Russian trolls lack a certain polish when posting in English. “I think the whole world is realizing what will be with Ukraine, and only US keep on fuck around because of their great plans are doomed to failure,” one Internet Research employee wrote on a forum. Indeed the Guardian’s own moderators have begun to notice regular clues, especially on articles about Ukraine. “We can look at the suspicious tone of certain users, combined with the date they signed up, the time they post and the subjects they post on,” says one senior moderator. “Zealous pro-separatist comments in broken English claiming to be from western counties are very common.”

Estimated troops: Several thousand.

Favourite subjects Putin and Trump being great, the opposition being corrupt, the Nato conspiracy against Russia, the effeminacy of Barack Obama.

It does explain some of the trolling we get here. It is pretty voluminous. A lot of it I do not let through because frankly it is kind of boring, and often quite repetitious. The same nonsense over and over again. Here are a few examples from the last month or so.


I don't know. Russian trolling would be one explanation, I suppose. Local native idiocy could be another. There certainly is enough of that floating around. I do get a decent amount of this stuff and like I said, I don't let all of it through. Hopefully just enough to keep things amusing.

 sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

51 comments:

  1. I'm not a McCarthy type paranoid witch hunter thinking there's a communist in every room. But there is definitely a troll on this blog. It is evident that English is their second language (nothing wrong with that), but they strictly adhere to posting daily right-wing talking points and never engage in debate. They just post and post and never directly reply to any challenges. Never defend their position. They just post daily grammatically poor fake facts that are easily disproven.

    My advice- just block them for a month and see if your traffic pattern changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Благодарю вас, американцы, за то, что избрали этого идиота, потому что мы можем контролировать вашу страну.

      Delete
    2. Google translation: Thank you American for choosing the idiot because now we can control your country.

      Delete
    3. Minor edit:
      Orange idiot, not just idiot

      Delete
    4. A Tang colored so and so.

      Delete
  2. The Mafia infection is taking over, yet our undereducated society ONLY wants to follow "Fake" promises. Sarcastic Con pledges are accepted as Real!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Trump Guy is a Russian? Oh my. Does this mean he drinks vodka until he passes out on the sidewalk and urinates in parks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No parks in Russia, alleyways.

      Delete
    2. Plenty of room to stretch out and sleep it off.

      Delete
  4. "Just enough to keep things amusing", don't you think that is a pretty lackadaisical attitude to be taking on a subject that is so critical to our way of life. You / we are in a place in time that will go down in history. The out come of the assault on our country is not new but has been allowed to continue. Fellow Americans, it is time to understand what is going on here and act accordingly. THIS IS NOT AMUSING

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I am going to call the Pasadena Police Department and buy a Glock.

      Delete
    2. Actually it is quite amusing,Russia has been our traditional enemy for decades nothing new here. We have the best intelligence services of any country in the world. We will not squander them on attempted influence by a third world broke dictatorship.
      Outcome is proper in our language comrade not out come............

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    3. Trumpski? Nyet!

      Delete
  5. Long-life Madre Sierran as write you I. You fear neighbors ideas good not like yours, are puppets of should be in jail Hillary. Thank you will Trump for MAGA. Shame for you who do not with country better than ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fake. trump troll its not even that nonsensical

      Delete
    2. I can do google translate in reverse also:
      Longevity Madre Sierran, as I write to you. You are afraid that neighbors will not be good ideas like yours, but dolls should be in the Hillary prison. Thank you for playing trumps for MAGA. Shame on you, who is not with the country better than ever.

      Delete
  6. Mr. Blog Man, why don't you put all the rejected write in's on a separate blog and let the masses dissect them? You and readers can catagorize them for some real show and tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a good idea, but timewise I am maxed out. I work a lot of hours these days and taking on a second blog would be more than I can handle.

      Delete
    2. The verb agreement errors are pretty bad. If they are home-grown, they are from somebody who may not have graduated from high school (so, Trump supporter?)

      Delete
  7. How many guns will that give you then?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Mr. Moderator for the reply and all that you sift through to bring the world the Tattler.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A dacha near PasadenaMay 13, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Honestly I am all for the 'cultural exchange', as it were, on this blog. Hello fellow travelers!

    Russia has gifted the world culturally with many of her citizens. Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, Pussy Riot, Kadyrov's cat...

    Let's just all agree Trump should be impeached though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. tattler needs the troll to increase readership. just like can needs kellyanne conjob

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cossacks Never Say DieMay 13, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    The Ukraine for a thousand years has fought for its independence from what we now call Russia. And the Russians have tried to keep the Cossacks under control. The Ukraine in fact is culturally and ethnically completely different. What we in the west see as the trappings of a Russian: the big hats, the swords, the mustaches, the top knots, are in fact Ukranian. It drives Putin absolutely nuts that we put sanctions on him because of Ukraine and wonders of wonders anyone that would extend a helping hand to a free and independent Ukraine the oligarchs of the post-Czarist Russian have found the perfect patsy is Trump to defeat the west's desire to support freedom and democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Since 9-11 American's have lost so many of our freedoms it's frightening. Maybe the final straw is Trump, he and his people have given fee I mean free access to all our internet info. I'm hoping more rednecks will understand the significance of it all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A big part of the problem about freedom in America and its decline is so few people use it. There is a lot of lip service about freedom, parades and all that, but most people just don't participate. Without resistance the totalitarians will gladly take all that away.

      Delete
  13. It isn't only supposed Russian trolls you pass on, it's anyone who doesn't agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you don't like The Tattler or the way it is run, please start your own blog. Or better yet, just bugger off.

      Delete
    2. 10:23, I'm on the Tattler Research Team, and if you saw some of the horrific posts that are sent to the Tattler, you'd probably appreciate the deleting of comments more. Crawford is actually very generous with his opposition, as long as they keep it clean (though he's too easy going with that, imho) and they actually make a point, rather than just repeat ad nauseam, or spiral into venom for its own sake.

      Delete
    3. I'm Dave Link and sometimes spew some crazy ship,much of which gets published. Kudos to most of the Mods.

      Delete
  14. "All your base are belong to us." Thanks for the Saturday humor Russian trollbot.

    ReplyDelete
  15. trump is not a traitor."With a few exceptions"

    ReplyDelete
  16. Go Trump, my vote is to put the clintons in jail, the FBI clearly knows the objective and the crimes! The Clinton's must have many people in high places to continue to keep them from federal government prosticution. Hillary foundation has failed to pay federal taxes, why should we. What does the Clinton's have on the federal government employees, to continue... The failure of prosecution to continue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same stupid comment, every damn day.

      Delete
    2. This is Troll #1, the subject of today's topic.

      Troll #2 is the local gun-oiling racist,

      Delete
  17. Are you believing the morning papers?
    War is coming back in style
    There's generals here, advisors there
    And Russians sniveling everywhere
    The chessboard's filling up with red
    We make more profits when we blow off their heads

    Economy is looking bad
    Let's start another war
    Fan the fires of racist hatred
    We want total war

    Drooling fingers
    Panic buttons
    Playing with missiles like they're toys
    There's easy money, easy jobs
    Especially when you build the bombs
    That blow big cities off the map
    Just guess who profits when we build 'em back up
    Yeah, what Big Business wants Big Business gets

    It wants a war
    Trilateral Commission goonies laugh
    and scheme for more
    Call the Army!
    Call the Navy!
    Stocked with kids from slums
    If you can't afford a slick attorney
    We might make you a spy

    Forget your demonstrations
    Kids today sit on their a$$
    Just a six-pack
    And you're happy
    We're prepared
    For when ya get drafted

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ask your parents to proof your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The democrats want a special agency, a special investigator to evaluate what... What a slap in the face, this is quite clear to me that the feds, the FBI is not capable. We can now agree that the FBI was not capable to bring the clintons to trial also. Let's spend more of the taxpayers money to investigate and try the Clinton's. It's just like appraisal of real estate, MAI.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The FBI is investigating the President for treason. A Special Prosecutor would be needed to bring this to impeachment. It is a big deal. Ponder that for a moment.

      Delete
    2. Believe you meant to close with:

      "Reinstall your brain, then ponder that for a moment"

      Delete
    3. America has never had a traitor in the Oval Office before. Some are finding that concept difficult to handle.

      Delete
    4. Nixon was a traitor.

      Delete
  20. Obstruction of Justice

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anyone who says Trump committed treason against his favorite country is LYING.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump's favorite nation is Russia. His treason is against the United States. So yes, no lies.

      Delete
    2. Flynn resigned for a reason. Trump and his cronies are corrupt

      Lock them
      Up!

      Delete
  22. Can someone please post a summary of all the Dump ridiculousi/illegal comments/actions. There's many so please keep the descriptions to a few words, maybe follow this format:
    1. Admitted grabbing women's private parts.
    .........
    Thanks, I'm just finding it hard to keep up with the madness.

    ReplyDelete