The Ron Paul Spam Club

I just approved this comment on a recent post, and got to thinking about some of the responses I’ve seen from supporters.

Some make honest and thoughtful arguments, some opt for “Go Ron Paul!!! WOooO!” responses.  But there is a third segment, the comments that lack the hallmarks of spam, yet have nothing to do with the post itself.  These comments simply link to Ron Paul speeches or events.  This RP spam has been noticed by a few other folks as well.  The Pragmatic Economist asks are Ron Pauls supporters destroying the internet?  The intensity of the comments in and of itself says nothing aside from the fervor of those who do support Ron Paul.  However the comment spam says volumes.

The spammers are easy to spot.  Their comment has nothing to do with the article they comment on.  They simply write a pro-Paul message and maybe throw in some links.  Done, one more blog saved for Paul.

Have they really saved one more blog?  If you are going to argue for your candidate, do so convincingly.  Throwing up a bland pro-Paul message that has nothing to do with a post does nothing to advance the cause of the candidate.

Ron Paul may appear to be doing well on the internet, but how much of that is the individual foot traffic of a few true believers?

(One more question.  Will Ron Paul supporters heed this advice and follow their peers who already make interesting arguments, or will they attack this post from as many angles as possible?)

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19 Responses

  1. This is the kind of thing I already do my best to do. Whatever else they may be, my comments are always on topic. Ron Paul comments should stick to Ron Paul posts. If someone absolutely has to post on something which isn’t intuitively tied to Ron Paul, they should spend a few seconds thinking up a justification first. At the very least it can hardly be called spam when you can come up with a way to tie a post in with what you’re saying.

  2. // Spam is the issue?

    void SpamFilter()
    {
    if (isNotRonPaulSpam)
    {
    Post;
    }
    else
    {
    print(”detected ron paul spam, sending to trash”);
    (TrashRonPaulSpam);
    }
    }

    // problem solved

    I accept paypal, checks, debit/credit cards, and of course cash. Thanks.

  3. Increasing the signal to noise ration would do a lot to propel the Ron Paul campaign forward. Supporters of Ron Paul could become the strongest point to discredit him as a candidate. We need to be prepared to see fake Ron Paul supporters trying to give him a black-eye from the inside by being rude and insolent.

    For example, I heard a radio interview of Ed Failor whining pitifully about Ron Paul supporters calling his home and screaming obscenities to his wife and children. Ron Paul would never inspire someone to that kind of deplorable behavior because it certainly is not what Ron Paul emanates. These people need to wake up if they think this will help. Ed Failor did Ron Paul a great thing as it turns out so he deserves our thanks.

    Very intelligent and thoughtful remarks to people’s articles is actually one of the greatest tools to get people to open their mind and give Ron Paul sincere consideration. I generally enjoy the comments more than the articles.

    I remember on YouTube the Prezident of Hip Hop came out with an initially negative depiction of Ron Paul as a racist. To his credit he said he wasn’t concluding his opinion but that he encouraged people to look deeper. There were many who made comments thanking him for helping to expose information about Ron Paul and encouraged him to continue to look. A few weeks later he came back and said he decided Ron Paul is definitely not racist and that he deserves much more consideration. This could have just as easily gone the other way. Over zealous Ron Paul supporters could have hastily disparaged and insulted the Prezident of Hip Hop and made an enemy out of him.

    This much I know, the issue here is Freedom. There is no such thing as a free republic that will last very long unless it is a republic of moral (and respectful) people. Not only do we need to get behind Ron Paul and rally for his support, but we each need to look at our own personal lives and see where we can become better people as individuals. There is nothing Ron Paul or the government can do to make us better people. That is our part of the deal and as we succeed on this front we will propel the cause of Freedom ahead.

    For many decades the enemy of Freedom has been fomenting all kinds of perversions and divisions into our society to drive us apart and weaken us. We need to acknowledge this and realize much of what divides us stems from this corruption of our culture. The time has come to be people worthy of individual freedom and there is no army or mob that can hold the powers of Heaven at bay to wipe away our dividers and oppressors just as sunlight wipes away the darkness before it.

    While I’m on a roll, I urge everyone making signs to avoid profanity and hateful slogans. I recently watched a video of Ron Paul in the parking lot prior to the June 30th rally and there was a very distasteful sign regarding President Bush. It looked so out of place next to a true statesman and founding father figure as Ron Paul. The message of Freedom and its positivism is what will build momentum.

    Also, I believe the new Peace and Freedom movement needs to be very careful to avoid internal corruptors. During the War in Vietnam the peace movement started out as a very honorable effort to put an end to a war no more sensible that the current war in Iraq. However, this movement became neutered because free sex (make love not war), drugs and dehumanizing music became so rampant among the groups. This was not a natural progressive development but instead it became infected with a new sub-culture that further eroded the moral fabric of our nation and neutered the movement’s message.

    Our revolution for freedom must have an accompanying revival of respect and dignity for everyone in order to break through the chains that are binding us down. My must be perpetually vigilant to safeguard the principles of Freedom.

  4. People who put ron paul links on any page are definetly misguided, but it’s hardly the work of spam or bots. I think you are missing a few things here.

    Most importantly, why are people being so vocal on the internet? My thoughts, because there is no voice in the major media for them. People who support these positions(not just ron paul) have nobody bringing it up.

    The news says it’s “fair and balanced” because it has 2 sides, but they are on the extreme left side, and the extreme right side. The majority of Americans are in the middle, and that is not covered. People want their voices and opinions heard, and it’s not happening. People are tired of it, just look at the approval ratings.

    More importantly, the political scale doesn’t just go left right, it goes in many more directions. The extreme left and right both believe in big government. And again, the majoriy of americans are in the middle, and in favor of smaller government. And even when they agree on an issue, the way they go about it just more big government. They promise to fix it, but they just add more government and more problems.

    So honestly, if you want to see less Ron Paul on the web, you need to give people more voice elsewhere. If you really do care, and just don’t want to bash Ron Paul supporters, then ask why they aren’t be represented by the major media.

    Even though I don’t agree with you, thanks for just not ignoring the issue. I hope you can look beyond what is happening and ask why.

  5. If you want to see how much “buzz” the candidates are truely getting online, alexa provides a way of putting up to 5 different sites on the graph. If you put up ron pauls site, with the other candidates, you’ll see he is right there with hillary and obama, and way above the other republican(rudy and mccain are so low, they aren’t even in the top 5).

    Also, on people who just put ron paul in stuff again. I think some people just aren’t able to express themselves as well, but still want to help, but don’t know what else to do.

    The funny thing about all this is, the other major candidates put a good bit of resources trying to encourage this very thing, and ron paul gets it for free.

    I think it just goes to show how much more in touch with the people the internet is, and just how out of touch the people are with the major media.

  6. The theme of this thread seems to be that people ought either to contribute their polished thinking to an online discussion, or stay silent and that they should not simply voice their support (“Go Ron Paul”).

    I disagree very strongly. There is nothing dishonorable about being a member of the chorus. Knowing there is an attentive and approving chorus is part of what inspires the more industrious writers to create ever-more eloquent rhetoric.

    There is an endless drumbeat of contempt and supercilious dismissal of Ron Paul’s supporters (fringe, loonies, spammers, geeks, young), all of which demonstrates the fear of change that this growing crowd inpires in the estaablishment. The establishment only responds to force (their own method) or to public outcry. That outcry is made up in large part by the Ron Paul chorus cheering its support where it can.

    I distrust the motives of those whose only response to this is to criticize the syle and character of the chorus in order to quiet them down. If they quiet down, force wins.

    I would say to all Ron Paul supporters, write if you have something to say. Cheer if you support what is said. And force the opposition to stay on subject and courteous by setting the example.

  7. An anecdote-

    My 6 year old son was shutting another kid down in a soccer game. We were ahead by three goals and the other kid got extremely upset and yelled at my son, “You’re mean!”

    My son responded by saying, “I’m not mean, I’m just very aggressive.”

    I think both sides (traditional media’s muting and Ron Paul internet supporters commenting) are very aggressive, and both sides are crying about it.

    At least Ron Paul’s supporters aren’t a centrally planned and paid entity, like the other side.

  8. A bunch of people excited about a candidate says one thing to everyone watching: a bunch of people are excited about a candidate. There’s nothing you can do to prevent human curiosity. Nothing.

  9. I have to laugh at this blog. Ron Paul has enthusiastic committed supporters. That’s counter to them saying he’s not a serious candidate like the ITR/ICA tried to say. You can’t have it both ways.

    After all he got 1,200 people to Iowa to turn out for his own rally, and it wasn’t because of a hamburger like one paper said! LOL

    And they were not spamming!

  10. So many people ignore the message itself, and pay more attention to the way it is delivered. The people who leave links are simply cutting out the BS. Sure, its probably useless when dealing with people who are apathetic about politics and don’t really want to actually investigate the issues… but at least they’re trying. Where are the spammers from the other camps? They certainly can afford them. Where are the passionate supporters? If the media can get 50% of the people to ignore a person that threatens them by labeling their supporters as “kooks” and “hackers” and “spammers” – don’t you think they will? Do a little digging for yourself and you will understand how incredibly screwed up this entire situation is. Don’t blame the people who care enough to THINK and ACT.

  11. Ron Paul is the best chance the American people have to return to limited constitutional government.

    Ron Holland, author of the free, online book, “The Swiss Preserve Solution” at http://www.swissconfederationinstitute.org/swisspreserve1.htm

  12. Rah, Rah, Go Ron Paul, Rah, Rah, Down With Big Government, Rah, Rah, Back to the Constitution…

  13. G0 R0N PAUL!!!!!!!1!

    Just kidding.

  14. […] and gosh darn it we have a petition too. If I don’t like it it’s spam, and it’s destroying the internet and causing global warming and making Al Gore […]

  15. 1. Nathan,
    And it is much appreciated!
    If you make an effort to tie it to the post,
    very much agreed, it is not spam.

    If the only thing tying the comment to the post
    is the name of candidate, then that’s a harder case
    to make.

    2. Alan,
    Brilliant!
    Even so, I really really hesistate to censor any comments, save for obvious spam (you know, click here for pills that make your investments bigger).

    3. Jason,
    Indeed.
    With extreme cases, I definitely would be suspicious of fakes.
    Nothing rankles me like some asshole acting violent at a peace rally,
    and that is no different. Are they an idiot? Are they a fake?
    Who knows.

    It is always of benefit to considerately engage in discourse, rather
    than immediately jump in fists flying (but I can understand many situations where that is, at least, the first impulse).

    Well considered points.

    4. badmedia,
    Just putting up links itself isn’t bad, in fact, it can be very informative (although akismet does automatically punt some of those into the spam net, so I occasionally have to dive in to rescue comments).
    What is bad is if I had a post on Ron Paul and, say, racism, and someone just puts up “Go Ron PAUL!!!!” and a link to his homepage, with nothing else whatsoever. When you see that same link by that same commenter on several threads, it starts to look a bit fishy.

    I think you are right on with your assesment about why people are so vocal on the net.

    The news provides a weakly moderate side presented as “left”, and a stoutly republican side presented as “moderate”, with a far right side starring as itself. But yes, I think people are very tired of being kept out of news that pretends to be objective. News is actually quite ritualistic if you think about it.

    Hell yes on the political scale! It does go in all directions, and that is rarely represented, either in the media or in discussions like this one.

    I definitely do care, and I’d like to draw your attention to thispost. Previously to reading Orcinus’s take on Ron Paul and extremism, I heard about his supporters being censored, and wrote that. I don’t agree with Ron Paul as a candidate, but I definitely don’t agree with him (or his supporters) being censored.

    5. badmedia,
    Interesting point. Do you mean their campaign sites? I wonder if this is a reflection of how computer-literate their constituencies are?

    I’m sure in some cases that is true, and it is a matter of good intentions. But some are clearly just spamming. Spamming for a candidate, true, but spamming nonetheless.

    I don’t know about any other candidates spening money on spammers, but I’d think they’d shy away from it (and with good reason).

    6. John,
    Not at all! Unpolished thoughts are definitely welcome here. Being part of the chorus is acceptable, although honestly in terms of effect not nearly as good as the most half baked attempt at real argument. What is unacceptable is using this site to just spam for Ron Paul.

    There are a number of drumbeats, and Ron Paul’s supporters are there with drumsticks. The media is studiously (and fearfully) ignoring him. However his supporters are also uncritically supporting him no matter what. I think this shows just how desperate we’ve become for real change, and even the hint of that drives us forward.

    You question the motives of those who criticize, I question the wisdom and the motives of those who do not. A chorus is, in and of itself, a great thing. I just want to call attention to those in the chorus who, rather than singing a song, and just yelling the same word over and over again and pointing.

    7. Will,
    Can you support that statement, either about the supporters of Ron Paul or any of the other candidates?

    Aggressive politicking is one thing, but spamming is another. The difference is pretty clear.

    8. Kim,
    Ok… So a bunch of “Go Ron Pauls” show that he’s got a cheerleader thing going on. Interesting. But what are you talking about with regard to “human curiosity”?

    9. NH,
    (I got your message on my about page, no worries. I deleted the accidental dupe)
    Who is trying to have it both ways? He has enthusiatic supporters (good for him), and he is not a likely candidate to win the nomination. At least at this point he looks like he is way out there.

    I’d like to read that article about him and the hamburger, if you can send it to me. I’m interested in instances when newspapers use language like that.

    (and who was not spamming?)

    10. Heather,
    I like to look at both the manner and the message. On occasion, just on or the other. But I have an affinity for rhetorical criticism, so I do like looking at method.
    Leaving a link can, in some instances, be cutting out the BS. So on my post about Ron Paul and Gays in the military, someone posts his answer to a question on that same topic during the debates. Not spam. Let’s say in the same thread, someone just posts to a short clip of him saying we should make federal government smaller. There is nothing in the clip or the comment related to the actual post. Just a link.

    Actually, links posted on this blog do get a modest amount of click through (you can see that on the stats page). Spam comments get the least. In general a comment with a nice insightful paragraph with a link gets the best results.
    That is a VERY good question. Where are the spammers for the other candidates? The thing you have to keep in mind is in some cases, spammers are not actual Ron Paul supporters. They are just spammers who set up a site with google ads that references Ron Paul in some way. After all, given his popularity in search engines and what not, his name becomes a sensible target for spammers. Saying there is a lot of Ron Paul spam isn’t an all out attack on his supporters, even if in some cases it is misguided supporters doing the spamming.

    In the case of the spammers using Ron Paul, they will be blocked and blamed. In the case of supporters who ACT, I will simply advise that they also THINK. The resulting discourse benefits us all (even those of us who disagree).

    11. freedomfest,
    So this is one good example of comment spam.
    [Ron Paul is great]
    [Link to unrelate crap]

    12. Bundynomics
    Heh. If that was a serious comment, I’d say it was a good example of a really ineffective “chorus” post.

    13. Ed K,
    I especially liked the “1” in the midst of all those exclamation points.
    Well done sir!

  16. I am one person writing this one email note to this site. There are a lot of people like me. We see government as it should be in the way Dr. Ron Paul conducts his office and his candidacy.

  17. I have often noticed that many Ron Paul supporters are more articulate than the “average” Internet commenter… I too think that sometimes the discrediting comments are from people trying to make Ron Paul look bad. Then again, everyone has some crazies who follow them, that doesn’t mean that they’re not the best candidate 🙂 Just don’t approve the comments if you don’t like them, it’s that simple.

  18. Ward,
    Ok, not spam, but just saying “a lot of people like Ron Paul” just doesn’t add too much to the debate.

    Jean,
    I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen some who are amazingly articulate, and some who seem to have just grasped what a keyboard is and how to use it. I do wonder about fake comments though, but I doubt that all of the negative ones are such.

    A very excellent point on the crazies and the candidate.

    I think my policy will be to junk obvious spam, but allow all non-spam comments regardless. I just can’t see myself censoring comments beyond “this is just spam”.

  19. I have really been enjoying this site and the archives and thought I had to put my two cents worth in on this one. I am compelled to believe that Ron Paul’s polling numbers are real and not spam for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that, and I have said this consistently with no opposition, that if a poll uses software/ hardware that is so easily spammable then that poll has no credibility in the first place.
    If I were to have a horse track and invite all the best horses and riders and my finish results were based on me sitting at the line and looking with my eyes to judge who crossed the finish line. Well the rest of that story is that I would be the laughing stock of the horse racing industry. Comparatively if I had a poll that was allowing spam votes to be counted I would be the laughing stock of the poll community would I not? I have heard countless accounts of people testing the theory, all with the same results. A message stating that you can’t vote twice (some polls allow two to three votes per household for multiple family members). Where is the counter argument for the Shammities (Hannity) that Paul is in the lead due to spammers? And his poll triumph is discounted for the same unfounded reason. Again if the poll software/ hardware is so easily duped why use it?

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