June 11, 2008

"Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known."

Is McCain's own website encouraging spamming and trolling? Look at all the links in the sidebar menus. (Actually, I can't get the "liberal" blogroll to appear.)

Wired reports:
The strategy reinforces the central role that blogs have come to play in shaping and framing the issues in the 2008 presidential election. The question is whether sending supporters to do grassroots lobbying in the comments section of activist blogs like DailyKos, whose membership is dedicated to defeating the Republicans in the general election, will really benefit McCain's campaign.

"I find it hilarious that McCain's campaign thinks that some astroturf copy-and-paste comments would do anything more than spark some vicious mocking," says Markos Moulitsas, founder of DailyKos, which is currently highlighted as one of three "featured blogs" on McCain's site.

On Memorial Day weekend for example, someone named "Jerry A" posted a news story in an open thread on DailyKos about McCain inviting Barack Obama to visit "post surge" Iraq. At the time, Republicans had launched a publicity campaign criticizing Obama for formulating Iraq policy without having visited the country for two years.

Four minutes later, "Cultural Worker" responded: "Thank you for sharing McCain's talking points of the day. Again."
So what is the problem, really? I don't think it's wrong to encourage your supporters to participate in the comments sections of a wide range of blogs. What's bad is to send out hordes of people who don't know how or don't care to become part of the comment community they enter. That is destructive to the blogs, and it doesn't help the candidate.

Of course, some blogs will reject commenters whose opinions don't conform to the blogger's opinion. If you know that, and you keep writing, you're just a troll. But even on blogs like this one, where you can have any opinion, you can be a troll if you repeatedly drop talking points and fail to interact with other people.

ADDED: And then there's the "genius commenter" invading McCain's own site.


Jake said...

The left has been doing this for the last two election cycles. Except the left are much more organized. Moveon assigns people to comment on each conservative blog and pays them to do so.

They raise hell on the blogs three months before the election and then disappear as soon as the election is over.

Trevor Jackson said...

Not only are they encouraging trolling, they're offering reward points for doing so "through the McCain Online Action Center." What you get for those points, I have no idea. Maybe some golf gear?

Sad that those customer reviews are gone. Fortunately, the screengrabs live on.

blake said...

Isn't that exactly what AlphaLiberal does to you?

He comes over and berates you for not covering McCain's plagiarism scandal, and when it turns out not to be a scandal, he pretends he never said anything and moves on to the next talking point.

The sin here is that there's no interest in actual communication. Just point scoring.

rhhardin said...

Rush took down the Captiol phone system when some protest or other was blamed by Democrats on his urging his listeners to call ; he said he hadn't done that, and to prove it asked listeners to call to show what it would really look like if he did ask.