November 27, 2006
There's a new
breed out on                         ... and one must use
the net now.                         determination against the
It's not just amateurs
and fanatics any more,
now we've got the

    The hired guns;
    The astroturf brigade;
    Jammers and provacateurs...        PROVOCATEUR

This last election season, I've
started calling them the "Rover
Boys", though there's no way to
know if they're really agents of
Rove or perhaps, for example,
members of the Pentagon's new
on-line propaganda squad.
   It's also, of course, not
   always that easy to distinguish
   a sincere advocate from a
   paid one -- but very often I          HUMANITY_METER
   think it can be done.
                                                           (March 10, 2010)

                                          For example, "Jaap Hoersdeek,
                                          The Netherlands", is currently
                                          intoning that Paul Krugman "has
   The question might be raised,          become a left-wing ideologue".
   though: What difference does           There is no way that that's a
   it make?                               real human being.

   Aren't you supposed to                                  (July 13, 2010)
   just address the words
   and not the speaker?                   And neither is "sam" really a
                                          guy from San Francisco.  (That he
     Yes, that's the usual advice,        criticizes Obama is not the tip
     and it's not a bad approach:         off, the standard Republican
     even if you correctly                ranting is):
     identify a roverboy, it
     doesn't necessarily gain                 [ref]
     you anything to point it out--
     at best it's a distraction,
     at worst you may end up
     discredited as paranoid.

     The most important thing
     about it though is your
     mental model; your sense
     about what you're trying
     to accomplish.                  Against a Rover, you have
                                     no hope of "conversation"
        Once you get the             there is only "debate".
        sense that your
        opponent is failing          FULL_MONTAIGNE
        the Voigt-Kampf
        test, there's no
        point in trying to
        address it as a
        human being.

             It is not true, however,
             that there's nothing you
             can learn from a rover,
             though the things you
             expect to learn change.

             Instead of getting insight
             into the way a different mind
             thinks, you can identify the
             standard talking points,
             determine something about the
             other side's current               Walking back
             strategy, make inferences          the scat?
             about what they're worried
             about...                                    WALKING_BACK