All posts tagged trolls

The dirty campaign tricks begin!

Published October 5, 2018 by justicewg

phamplet_scanGrandview Heights has some history of dirty tricks during campaigns, and the school levy (issue #6) has inspired a political trick by what appears to be from pro-levy people.

According to an email sent out today by a Good for Grandview spokesperson, some people were finding the G4G signs placed on their yards, but they never asked for a sign. The G4G website allows a sign request to be made, but it has no checks for bogus requests. The G4G people placed some signs on lawns without knocking and confirming with home owners. The tricksters are wasting the money of the G4G group on unrequested signs, and are probably hoping to inspire people to accuse G4G of being behind the misplaced signs. It’s a silly little trick, and G4G can very easily confirm with homeowners from this point on to prevent it from continuing.

The G4G spokesperson also said that they had a digital trail of IP addresses that they can follow to find the identity of the tricksters – more to this might be coming if the group decides to press charges.

The DeGraw pamphlet

Grandview has some history of political tricks before an election. Back in 2008, some unknown person (or more likely a group, from the number distributed) went around in the middle of the night and stuck a very odd sheet of paper under the windshield wipers of cars. It was a political screed criticizing Mayor Ray DeGraw, and in a rambling page tried to smear him with various sorts of accusations.

The hundreds of sheets of paper were placed on the windshields of many of the city’s cars that were parked on the street. No one was ever found to be responsible (but in the linked post I made some guesses). Mayor DeGraw was elected to return to office with high numbers.

The best part – word is that when the Mayor was asked who he thought printed and distributed the sheet, he replied “I think my wife might have done it”.

Another Mayor had an election prank pulled on him, John Leitz was in the late weeks of his re-election campaign, and found a news camera and reporter standing on his front step. During a civics class that Leitz had taught as a guest at the school, he dropped some adult words a couple of times. An opponent tried to make this into a big deal, and got at least one local TV station to cover the story of the “bad words from the Mayor”. Leitz was re-elected with no problems.

Email dirty tricksters

I have also been the target of political shenanigans, back in 2014 there was an email in circulation that was supposed to be from me, and I’m guessing they thought it would somehow anger people enough to … send me an email? Tell me off at the grocery store? Whatever, it had absolutely no effect, other than some wasted electrons.

In preparation for another dirty trick like this – if you get an email that says it is from me, read this blog. If I don’t say the same thing here, I didn’t say whatever you are reading in the email. Also, I have this blog, so why would I send emails out to random people?

Also – for full disclosure – I have never been paid by the school for any work, at this point or the past. I have never been paid to oppose the school, or board members, for political reasons, or any reason. I make no money from this blog. Just in case you are wondering who got paid, and who didn’t!

I’ll keep updating this post if the dirty tricks continue – I’m afraid the school levy issue is so hot it will inspire more in the weeks leading up to the Nov. election.

(Later) Some owners of No on #6 signs have reported sign theft. They responded by adding even more signs to their lawns. My suggestion – video cameras are needed for most homes these days, so you might as well get the camera, and point it at your yard sign.


A technical note for internet trolls

Published October 3, 2014 by justicewg

There is something about the semi-anonymity of the internet that brings out trolls. People who would not think of saying rude comments in person feel it is OK to let their inner rage out in comments on the internet. If you read the comment sections of a lot of newspapers you will see these trolls on display, flamethrowers ready and caps lock keys set to upper case. They degrade the level of discussion to the point where any forum that doesn’t filter them out quickly becomes unusable, as their noise overwhelms the signal.

I get a few of these trolls here on my blog every once in a while. Since I approve all comments before they are posted, it is simple to filter them out. They seem to get more active near elections, as the excitement of a pending vote inspires some to get out the vote, and others to post threats on the internet.

I don’t think the majority of these trolls will ever go past leaving a threatening message, so I use the delete button, and that is the end. However, some blog owners have been subjected to repeated, serious threats, had their personal information posted, had deliveries sent to their houses, and other methods of harassment. I have never had anything close to that happen to me. But it does seem to be increasing in general on the net.

If you are thinking about becoming an internet troll, you need to know an important fact: you are not anonymous. Just because you left a fake name doesn’t hide the origin of your message. If you are commenting from work (like maybe – ) the network IT managers at your office will have a record of the machine that was used to sent the message. Businesses tend to have very strict policies about using the internet, and trolling is a fast way to get yourself fired.

I’m all for free speech. I am not, however, willing to have my blog degraded by trolls, and I don’t sit passively for sustained threatening messages. Losing your job because you don’t know how the internet works would be a very poor outcome.