If you or a friend has ever stated “I don’t want to be part of the Politics” in relation to SL Aviation, then read this article, this one is for you.
This is a great personal hero of mine, the retired stage magician by the name of James Randi, who famously investigates claims of the paranormal, occult and supernatural in a bid to rout out fraudulent claims and educate the public on the dangers of basic trickery and stage magic abuse to fool people into thinking the abuser has Physic or unnatural powers.
During a PR circuit for his book “A Magician in the Laboratory” back in 2000 at a conference in California, Randi told the story of his phonecall from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. For those who don’t know James Randi and the James Randi Educational Foundation run a contest where they offer One Million dollars in prize money for anyone that can prove they have a genuine physic ability under agreed laboratory conditions.
Randi received a phonecall from the lab informing him that his prize money had been won. When Randi asked for more details he was told that a visiting Physicist from Israel had brought someone with him someone who did the basic magicians routine of reading cards in sealed envelopes and bending spoons but he could also place a simple matchbox on the back of his hand and through sheer concentration, raise the box into a standing position. Something he claimed was not a magic trick but a genuine act of physic power.
The scientists , sceptical of course, had placed the matchbox and the man under every available test they could think of and were stumped as to how this man could possible make the matchbox rise in the way he did.
Randi nodded, admitted it was impressive and then faxed the caller over a copy of Martin Gardeners encyclopaedia of impromptu tricks on which the matchbox trick was listed under “Party tricks” and was achieved by closing the lid of the matchbox in such a way so that it caught a tiny fold on the skin, which causes it to raise when one clenches their fist.
The caller read the fax carefully, mumbled to himself and then Randi commented the only sound he could hear was the gentle click as the phone was placed back on the receiver.
Now it should be made clear that the Scientists that were fooled by this simple magic trick were not stupid, Randi himself commented that you could throw a Frisbee inside the Lawrence Livermore and you were guaranteed to hit a PhD. In fact it was their intelligence which caused them to be so easily fooled.
In his book “A Magician in the Laboratory” Randi makes the observation that those who are the most likely to be fooled are the people who believe themselves smart enough to not be fooled.
There is nothing special about thinking you are more intelligent than you actually are. People are just bad judges of their own character, everyone thinks they are smarter or funnier or more organised than they actually are and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s called Protagonist Syndrome and it’s just part of being human. The problem does arise that people often always believe they cannot be fooled easily and trust that they could spot something that was trying to fool them when it comes along. This kind of attitude unfortunately just makes them easier targets for those who like to fool.
This article will try to explain to you how various individuals, often acting independently (but it’s not rare to see them act in groups) attempt to manipulate the community of SL Aviation and other communities like it through the use of miss-information, malicious rumours and gossip.
It will also explain why hundreds of perfectly intelligent people get so easily fooled without them realizing.
It will not be a short article as I have no intention of being brief. This is a complicated issue and requires a lot of explanation. But don’t worry, I’ve added in lots of pretty pictures.
The first and most obvious question would be to cover the “how”. How do I know you are being manipulated and what evidence do I have for this?
At the start of this year the SL Aviation Community was rocked by a series of controversial discoveries regarding Tig Spiker’s Air Tractor, now we’ve covered that story enough so if you don’t know it by now it’s your own fault, at the time I pointed out that the timing of the revelations appeared somewhat convenient. Being exactly the day after the product was released ,despite being on public display for months, as well as the huge amount of attention the story got and the numerous people who constantly threatened to “expose” it and being immediately followed by a second “shocking discovery” as soon as the public started to loose interest, gave the entire situation all the hallmarks of being gently encouraged by someone who’s end goal was to discredit Tig rather than just make sure the truth was know.
Now you can take it you’re own way of course and I wont ever say you’re wrong to disagree with me but given that Tig has the biggest reputation for producing and selling Helicopters and is almost entirely unrivalled in her field (save for perhaps by Kelly Shergood) it would seem an amazing co-incidence for this to all happen, heavily discrediting Tig and loosing her a lot of customers, at the exact same time Dani Airplanes decides to release his first helicopter.
You can believe what you want of course but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point this out because co-incidences like this happen all the time.
For example ,only a few years ago, it was a “Total Co-incidence” that Astral-Tek’s WWII German 88mm Flak cannon came under scrutiny for being Over-powered. Rumors were abound of people testing the AAA cannon only to shocking discover the New version had auto-seeker scripts.
The “new version” had been out a full year by this point and in this full year no-one had noticed it’s magical seeking abilities which, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, were bullshit. But coincidently at the same time one of Joe’s rival companies, known as Flakmaster, was busy releasing their own version of the same gun, as well Shana Carpool’s ME109 with completely overpowered frontal cannon (basically fires a tank round) that was advertised as the Perfect Weapon for taking down the “illegal” flak guns. Both saw their sales rise as people began to believe the rumours and Astral-Tek developed an undeserved reputation for building cheat weapons.
While such an example may seem a little obvious in hindsight at the time people fell for it by the hundreds and even today several WWII regions still cling onto the older versions and refuse to update to the ‘tainted’ newer version. A scenario which is sadly not unique in this community. Why? The truth is simple. People get their news, not from any SL news-source, but via word of mouth, their friends, family, co-workers and on the grape vine. When people are presented information they are (presumably) being told by someone they trust and thus the sceptical senses are on low alert and rarely do people ever question if or not what they are being told is a lie specially when it comes from a friend.
Normally the person telling doesn’t know it’s a lie. That the person telling the story probably heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else etc etc etc. I once referred to this as the Great Second Life Chinese Whispers News Source.
The principle is simple, everyone is told a story by someone they trust so no-one ever thinks to stop and check if it is true or not. The story may change over time or may be changed by those to show their preferred side in a better light and as a result many different versions can emerge making the real “truth” that much harder to differentiate from the rest.
Often by the time the truth is discovered many people are already so far rooted into what they believe to be the ‘real truth’ that any suggestion they are mistaken or just plain wrong becomes an insult which too many people are prepared to take personally and so the immediate human reaction is to declare verbal combat under the age old tradition of “Nu-Uh”and the Drama begins.
Or in simplified terms “How dare you not agree with me! You’re just a xxxx!!!” which accounts for about half of all “Drama” in SL. Which bleeds into the background rumour radiation of Second Life where people call someone an idiot for having “the wrong” opinion and are forced to justify that claim to any new blood that comes wandering into their clique so they become Community Leaders of their own, re-working stories, explaining things exclusively from their perspective or omitting information to suit their own needs. Or, in more cases than one, making shit up entirely. After all it’s better to lie and appear knowledgeable than say nothing, blubber and look stupid if someone asks you a question.
The knowledge of this process is something which has been used by many to manipulate the SL Aviation community and other communities like it into behaving in ways beneficial to them, either to discredit their rivals, prevent a newly released product from selling well, scare off competition or to promote a certain company, a certain way of thinking, a certain product or ,sadly in more cases than one, for the sheer power trip it creates in the mind.
I refer to the people who do this sort of thing by the name they once called themselves way back in 07 ,when I first discovered people doing it, which is Community Leaders.
The term, Community Leaders, comes from the age old failed region of SLACE. An amusing attempt ,with the aid of Linden Labs, to connect all WWII and aviation combat communities together to form a new continent. With the community in it’s prime a vast number of self promoted idiots, mostly sim and group owners, began to describe themselves as ‘Community Leaders’ in an effort to be taken more seriously within the grand scheme of things. Most were harmless but there were those special little snowflakes who genuinely believed that they deserved instant respect from everyone just for being who they were and felt inclined to consistently try to micro-manage every aspect of the community including area’s in which they had no authority to do so.
Probably sounds like a lot of assholes you know right?
Well it caused a few issues and a LOT of drama, by which I mean a lot. This was all because these new ‘community leaders’ spent more time playing the Second Life Game of Thrones; trying to exercise the powers they thought they had over the community ,in an attempt to dictate it’s actions and weaponize it’s members against their perspective ‘community leader’ rivals who were also doing the same thing, rather than actually lead their community.
This led to the de-saturation of SLACE where by flying from the top to the bottom you had to land several times to switch plane, be in several different groups, remember to switch tags and fly at certain altitudes and then when you reached the bottom, land at the border, teleport across and then re-rezz your plane because the furthest southern region cluster didn’t allow people to fly across the border.
Now aren’t you glad you didn’t have to deal with that shit.
In our community today the region of the Blake Sea protects us against this sort of thing, with no land to physically control and with so many options open for people to move to should they disagree with your view of things the Self proclaimed Community Leader has little power to dictate nor demand things.
Instead they take a new form. Positioning themselves as Sooth Sayers and Town Criers they ,and their heralds, move from region to region, talking at parties, over group chats and leaning in casually during discussions. Always making sure that when Drama does enfold it is their version that gets told first.
There a positive to this. The Community at large has proven time and time again that is stands against “shitty business practices” such as this however it has also proven that it is not very good at identifying them.
The one thing I cannot do is point out every instance that these Community Leaders try something nor do I have the right to list everyone who falls into the Community Leader category. What I am going to do now is give you a brief description of the techniques these people use in the hopes that when one Community Leader does try to manipulate you, you’ll wont fall for it so easily.
- Ad hominem – Doesn’t work without an Audience
As much a Logical Fallacy as it is anything else, from the Latin meaning: One who attacks their opponent as opposed to their arguments.
Ad hominem is so simple in it’s execution it is quite possibly the biggest fall back technique many Community Leaders use. basically if you’re trying to tell a lie anyone who can prove you wrong or may attempt to question you must be demonised and discredited as much as humanly possible so when they do inevitable question you or prove you wrong no-one believes them.
This Blog stands as a constant example of that. Anytime I post an article, specially one which mentions Dani, I am swarmed by people in SL Aviation group chat calling me all sorts of nasties and I’m sure you’ve heard a few horror stories yourself.
Basically what I write is nonsense and shouldn’t be listened to because I’m one of “those” people or once upon a time I did “this“. I’m sure not every story is false as I was a bit of an asshole once upon a time but it doesn’t magically change reality to make what I write suddenly not true. otherwise I’d write about how poor, single and uphappy I am then wake up in the morning to find suddenly I’m rich, happy and with a string of cute guys holding wedding rings.
Of course I’m not the only example of this. Obvious tell tale signs of Ad homiem are obvious, a person is insulting and degrading another person rather than make any counters to that persons arguments but what also should be noted is these people never IM the person they are ridiculing to discuss it in private. Nope it’s on group chat or out in the open. Why? because Ad hominem doesn’t work without an audience.
2. Ad nauseam – When you say Sonic’s feet are too big because Sonic’s feet are to big and that’s why Sonic’s feet are too big.
Our second word of the day and another illogical fallacy. The basic principle of this is if you say it enough times, it becomes true, for examples Sonic’s feet being too big.
This is not really something that only effects the stupid it’s just how the human mind works in that if you hear the same thing repeated over and over you start to think it’s true without questioning it. An example would be shit music you hear on the radio, you hate it the first time you hear it but the more you hear it the more it “grows on you” till you’re singing along about how Sonic’s feet are too big.
On a personal level I come against this sort of thing all the time. As a historian I specialise in Sonic’s feet being too big and the Early years of WWII, specifically around the Battle of France. When people ask me about this I often cannot get a word out before they make the statement “ah the Cheese Eating Surrender monkies” which is not only insulting to the French but ultimately so far from what actually happened it makes Sonic’s feet too big.
In Second Life Ad nauseam comes in many forms and is often mixed in with other techniques such as Virtue words i.e “This is the TRUTH and you know it” and Thought-terminating cliché’s which we will cover later.
An example would be Sonic’s feet being too big and the Jeogeot Gulf in that we are consistently told that there is Drama there. Examples of what this drama is tends to differ from person to person, everyone has a story and no two are the same but, we are assured, like a fine mist on a Scottish moor the Drama is there, somewhere. And since there is Drama why bother going to fly in that publicly open 43 region ocean with no rules, lots of places to land, lots of things to shoot at and even an Aircraft carrier to practice your landings on and instead come to this “drama free” one/two sim region with rental hangers, rental hangers, rental hangers and a shopping mall. Oh and don’t forget to join our group and here is a copy of the rules and did you hear about Sonic’s feet?
3. The Appeal to Fear – We’re at Alert Status “Auw hell naw”
See “Donald Trump” for every possible example of this but in the basic sense “TERRORISTS ARE COMING! trust me to do the thing which will stop the terrorists!”. We see plenty of this in Politics where someone screams about the thing we all fear and only they can be trusted to do the right thing to protect your family.
Usually the threats are imaginary or small but blown totally out of proportion, but their hype creates an emotional response which by-passes the usual sceptic thought filters. The objective is to quickly spread anxiety and concern about a situation to which the Community Leader can abuse by promising methods to deal with it, justify granting themselves additional powers or simply used as a distraction from other issues.
Princess Da Admiral was the Grand Master of creating imaginary threats when DOR was still active but the greatest example of ‘Appeal to Fear’ in action was about four years ago just as the Sailors were starting to leave the Blake Sea and the amount of non-rented land in the surrounding estates hit a record high. A series of events took place which lead to almost total hysteria regarding an “Invasion of Battleship users” in the Blake. The Surrounding Estates began to advertise themselves as “Free from Battleships” and quietly hiked up their rent prices as people began to flock back either to defend their Blake Sea from this new evil or to seek refuge from something that never actually happened.
The main perpetrator of this Hysteria ,one Marktwain White who I’ve spoken about before, walked away with re-newed interest in his once dead sailing club, a waiting list for rentals sometimes up to a year long and about double the rent-able land he started with along with finally getting those pesky pirates out of the Blake once and for all and renting the land they required for combat from him.
He still brags about it on occasion.
4. Beautiful People – Didn’t you’re mother never tell you to trust a pretty face?
Used more in advertisement this technique portrays happy, attractive people using a product or service in a vain attempt to fool your brain into thinking if it also uses said product or service then it too can be attractive and happy.
Similarly it has a flip side where it shows attractive people gathered around a product or service in awe of it, tricking your brain into thinking that if you had said product or service then you would become desirable to those people.
We all known around 50% of the ‘girls’ on Second Life are actually men but we often think of the people being fooled by fake girls (know as e-sexual) as sad, desperate and lonely. We see ourselves, even if we are single, as not being that desperate enough to fall for it and are more likely to believe when we meet someone we like that they are the gender they claim to be.
To prove this the MalQusition(tm) ran an experiment a few months back where I screen-capped an aircraft from a 3D cad website and went around pretending to people that I had built it and if finished would they be interested in buying it. Out of the 25 people I asked about half said yes and about half of them were only interested after I started describing it’s features, what it would do, how it would fly etc etc.
I then asked a different 25 people this time posing as a woman. 24 out of the 25 people I asked said yes, of those only two were interested in the planes features, the rest were more interested in me. How long I’d been in Second Life, if I was enjoying myself and most alarmingly, if I had meet somebody yet.
Now I wasn’t asking people at a club or anything, I hadn’t gone out of my way to find horny old men to jigg the results, this was all done one two separate days, about a week apart, at Hollywood Airport.
Now, why is that? Why does a man selling the same product have to work twice as hard to get half the result as a woman? It’s simple. Have you ever heard the phrase first impressions matter? When you meet someone for the first time your brain automatically does a quick calculation based entirely on what your eyes can see and your concious receives a brief summery of the result hence why a lot of hard working professionals spend a lot of time and money on their appearance so that you’re first visual impression of them is a good one. It’s well known if you fuck up on that first impression it will effect how that person thinks about you, probably for the rest of their life.
Now there is nothing new or weird behind that it’s just how the human mind works, but interestingly if you meet someone for the first time and your brain tells you “I’d like to have sex with that person” you are more likely to trust that person, behave nicely to them and do things to try and please them while ,statistically, listening to less of what they are actually saying.
Now salesmen have been using this technique for years as have magicians. Secreteries, P.A’s and Assistants have always been a female dominated Job ,not because woman can’t do anything more advanced, but becuase it’s easier for the man trying to sell you something, or trying to distract you if he has a pretty woman, who smiles at you, sitting next to him.
In Second Life we can cut out the middle man, quite literally. There is no need to employ a pretty girl to distract the customer when you can become the pretty girl.
Despite knowing that most Woman on the internet are Men a surprisingly large amount of people still fall for it when yet another Aircraft builder comes along playing the “Young Girl, just trying hard” routine which is one of the most overused clichés in SL sales and the Aviation Community is not indifferent to it. Male builders everywhere pretend to be woman, laugh, smile and blush at customers and take lots of pictures of themselves posing infront of Airplanes. All to by-pass your sceptical senses while purchasing a new aircraft to jump straight into the little thought pool which goes “I want to sex this person I must try to please them” hence why you’re happy pay double on an aircraft that has almost no features and flies like a freebie but you feel it was a good choice because “you must support the independent builders” despite ignoring the hundreds of actual small time independent builders who really could use your support.
Hence why more than half the Aircraft companies in SL are fronted by ‘female builders’ who just use their name as opposed to a company name. And hence why you wont really hear anything bad about them. Unless you read this blog of course.
In Short the best example of this would be Shana Carpool, one of the biggest companies producing WWII Aircraft. Her P-51 is the most expensive P-51 on the market, has absolutely no features outside of shooting rockets and flying, it uses a badly re-hashed variant of Terra Cubey’s 2006 flight script and it has zero customisation ability other than paying a few hundred lindens to have your name printed on the side.
But she’s a woman so she can get away with that kind of thing, even though she is actually a man. In fact Shana is part of a collective of men who deliberately use female Avatars and seduction techniques to essentially ‘Black Widow’ the communities they claim to support. They are called the Bitches of Meridas and we’ll discuss that in a different article.
For now just try to remember the shoppers good sense guide. Shop around, look at competitors, ask questions and don’t be fooled by a pretty face.
5. The Black and White Fallacy – It’s you or me
Since the last one was a long one this one will be short. The Black and White Fallacy is a nice and easy one. You are either with us or against us, if you are not with us then you are against us.
Tomm Box recently made a statement in the comments of my last video in relation to this which basically ran as “Why do we always need to pick a side”.
The fact is that humans will always try to seek out conflict. Not because humans are warmongering but actually the opposite. Humans are natural entertainers and fixers. Human conflict is often sought out by people firstly because it’s entertaining and secondly because humans always desire to fix broken things, a conflict happens because something is broken and people will flock to join it because they perceive a way of fixing it with their presence and there are hundreds of mico propaganda techniques that can be used to place emphasis this feeling: See American WWII “One man can make a difference” Posters for more examples of this.
It’s therefore frighteningly easy to escalate a simple argument into a mass panic conflict, as anyone who’s has an overbearing mother will understand. Mother’s do this to their children because they see them growing up to become adults and feel their usefulness is coming to an end so they create conflicting situations with their children so they can resolve them and feel useful.
In Second Life this happens all the time, people feel worthless so purposefully create conflict so they can resolve it but by forcing you to take a side a company can easily rack up a few hundred extra loyal fans simply by stating “You’re either with us or against us” and you wouldn’t want to be against someone would you? Specially when that same company is employing the 4. Beautiful people tactic.
If someone demands you to pick a side, take a step back. Look at things from the whole and often you’ll see a third option. It’s how diplomacy works.
6. Playing the Victim – Help! Help! I’m being Oppressed!
In 2012 the Global Economy crashed. In something known as the Great Credit Crunch or Moneygedden we became subject to a frightening display of newsreaders pointing at plummeting red arrows, technical jargon and a list of bankers to blame.
Three of these people ,known as the Natwest Three, who worked at a subsidiary of the National Westminster Bank got caught up in the aftermath of the collapse of Enron after evidence began to emerge that these three men were embroiled in corrupt and illegal activities.
They were charged with criminal offences by the FBI and after the CC took effect the press began to establish them as “bad guys”.
But there is an amusing little factlett in those charges than in order to face them they are going to be extradited to the United States to stand trail under a new piece of law which is not exactly fair. So their PR companies immediately jumped up and focused the entire thing on that tiny piece of ‘unfair’ law.
From this point on the entire campaign changes. The quote “I don’t know if these people are guilty or not but what I do know is this law is unfair and if anything these men deserve a fair trail” was thrown around by Politicians, celebrities and voice-pox members of the public.
Interviews were set-up with the Natwest three showing them playing with their children, they spoke with their wife sitting next to them, hand on knee, looking concerned. The wives and children were interviewed, it was suggested they might loose their homes and pictures of the children crying over a suggestion they might have to cancel the family Christmas plans were thrown up on every newspaper.
We were also told that these men would have to spend time in a “grim” detention centre wearing Green Boiler suits and they would be frogged marched, in chains, into court. In Fact they spent the night in a hotel and arrived in their suits.
These men stole Billions from the taxpayer and potentially destroyed the economy for years to come, yet with the image of the “Texas” judicial system and pictures of Guantanamo bay playing to the backdrop of them holding hands with their crying children, the public forgot about how bad they had been and started to feel sorry for them.
As a result their 35 year long prison sentence become a 36 month prison sentence and they are currently out and about today, probably back to stealing millions from banks and using it to fund their ridiculous sized mansions.
The PR company they hired managed to trick the general public into feeling sorry for them.
In Second Life the “play the victim card” folds in neatly with the Beautiful People trick. The idea being that any criticism or Drama can be deflected by sniffling, crying and pretending to be the one being persecuted by everyone else. This in turn causes an emotional response in people which by-passes their logic thinking skills and prompts them to immediately rush to said persons defence.
This has been exploited by almost every Company at least a hundred times and you can see many examples of this on the SL Marketplace review fourms where any bad review becomes a battleground of people trying to defend the person being criticised.
I want to talk about Builders taking criticism personally on a later article so for now if you want a great example of someone playing the victim look no further than My article on Battlebitches last October where two builders, in order to promote their company, verbally threatened and abused another company to encourage that company to say something public about them so they could immediately tear up and play the victim. A tactic they are still trying to play.
Sadly not an isolated incident. Joe Sparrow of Astral-Tek is one of the main go-to people if you’re looking to play the victim as he has a tendency to go over-dramatic in his public responses to abuse.
7. The Appeal to Neutrality – Why don’t we all just take a big drink of Shut the fuck up!
Also known as the chiller-than-thou comment. Basically “Can’t we all just get along?”
What do you do if you are starting to lose an argument? If people are starting to look at you as if you’re the bad guy and you’re in danger of loosing support? You need to pull the audience back to your side and fast, but here’s the problem, you’re a guy.
Well there is one simple tried and tested method for ending an argument right there and then with the added bonus that you end up looking like the good guy and makes the other guy look like an ass, specially if they keep trying to argue, with the extra added bonus that anyone waving between sides instantly recognises you as the good guy and is more likely to believe your argument.
It’s called the Appeal to Neutrality and all it requires you to do is take a step back, put up your hands and say “Hey why don’t we all just calm down” and the more typical “Why can’t we all just fly for fun?”.
Now there are so many examples of this in Second Life but let’s pick on Chris Winterhawk ,owner of Waddon Aerodrome, who recently made a comment on the SL Aviation magazine in regards to the mesh ripping controversy.
Chris is more well known for being the owner of the previous Bentwaters Airfield which regularly ran events which Chris and his staff would rig so that his own staff flying ‘Chris Winterhawk’ branded modded Aircraft would always win. He was also a massive supporter of Dog’s on the Run, Princess Da Admiral and his main events manager once caused a lot of Drama when she decided to ban all ‘effeminate men’ from ‘her’ land.
With a new airfield under a new name Chris needs to distract you all from that and present himself as a reasonable man. So he throws his hat into the ring of a Drama he’s never been part of by “appealing for calm” tricking you into thinking that maybe he’s a reasonable guy.
8. Over Simplification – Life doesn’t need to be confusing, that’s why 90% of Mom’s shop at Wallmart.
Drama is complicated. No seriously, People never really appreciate just how complicated things can be and many simply cannot comprehend anything that takes more than two sentences to explain.
I tried to explain this one back in “Which Inevitably causes” when I wrote about vegans:
tell Vegans that the business of Ethical Food is almost as large as Fast Food and the companies who support it are destroying rainforests to make way for Soya Bean and chickpea plantations which is killing off the Orangutan’s natural habitat as well as forcing large populations in Indonesia into slave labour and their minds cannot deal with the complexity of the real issue so they stare at you briefly then storm off to find someone to brag to about how they’ve never bought a plastic bag in nearly three months.
It’s almost become a catchphrase of mine to go on about the sheer complexity of the Universe and how the average mind either cannot comprehend it or simply refuses to try to understand it. Thus when it comes to understanding something complicated, peoples attention span lasts on average 20 seconds. After that their mind wanders.
People are busy and for the most part wrapped up in things that are important to them. Most don’t have the time nor patience to listen to long winded explanations on the exactly complications of a situation, how it happened and how it can be resolved, specially when this is the 300th time it’s happened. What they want is the entire thing boiled down to a simple catchphrase that sums up the entire situation so they can file it away for later.
This puts an enormous amount of power into the hands of anyone who can come up with a simple phrase, a two sentence summery, because here is the Punch Line: It doesn’t have to be true.
Most people aren’t going to look into with much detail and or real level of interest so no-one is going to question the validity of a quick summery, specially if it sounds plausible enough so you are free to make-up whatever shit you want. Just so long as it’s quick, snappy and under two sentences.
In Second Life this comes in two forms. The first is the thought-terminating Cliché, more commonly known as Newspeak as described in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, examples being:
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“Why? Because I said so.” (Bare assertion fallacy)
“I’m the parent, that’s why.” (Appeal to authority).
“When you get to be my age you’ll find that’s not true.”
“You don’t always get what you want.”
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” (Appeal to ridicule if said sarcastically)
“It’s just common sense.”
“It makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters.”
“To each his own.”
“We already had this conversation.”
“There you go again.”
“It’s not worth discussing.”
“Be a man and…”
“It’s a matter of opinion!”
“You only live once.” (YOLO)
“Just forget it.”
“We will have to agree to disagree.”
“We all have to do things we don’t like.”
“You are not being a ‘team player’.” (Ignoratio elenchi)
“That’s just wrong.”
“You just don’t do that.”
“Don’t be that guy.”
“Because that is our policy.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“There’s no smoke without fire.” (used to convince others that a person is guilty based on accusation or hearsay and to discourage further examination of evidence)
“I’m just sayin’.”
“The more you argue, the less we believe you.”
“Rules are rules.”
“Who do you think you are?”/”Who are you to…”
“People are going to do what they want.”
“That’s just your feelings.”
“Can’t everybody just drop it and get along?”
The Second is the more sinister of the two which rather than prevent people from thinking about it you introduce an accusations disguised as a casual brush off. The most common of these in SL is the “It’s a Monopoly” seahorse which so many Community leaders try to ride. I spoke at length about that is “Which inevitably causes” so I’ll quote it here.
It is employed so many times because financial motivation is easy to prove and difficult to convince otherwise, an accusation of a monopoly requires no physical evidence beyond a simple explanation that If subject ‘A’ is financially motivated then can you imagine how much money they would make if everyone could only buy their products then without missing a beat we are told that this is why we must not buy subject ‘A’s’ products and instead support subject ‘B’ and buy their products to prevent said monopoly and “vote with our wallets”.
9. The Third-Party Technique – 9 out of 10 people we hired said they like it
Works on the principle that people are more willing to accept an argument from a seemingly independent source of information than from someone with a stake in the outcome.
For example if you cast your mind back to “Some things I need you to know” I showed you a video where the McDonalds corporation took you to a laboratory that was independent of McDonalds, a third party, which proved that McDonalds chicken nuggets were not made from Pink Goo.
The Laboratory shown as being “an independent lab” basically means they are a lab for Hire and were most likely hired by McDonalds to show exactly what they wanted to be shown or do you honestly think Sheri from Saskatoon, Canada can afford to pay for the services of a Private Laboratory and all it’s support staff for two weeks?
PR companies do this sort of stuff all the time. Reporters are often hired to say specific things because you are more likely to believe a third party that does not appear to have anything to gain. They also do this will Actors, politicians, celebrities and even ‘the man on the street’ types.
In Second Life it takes a slightly different angle. Of course third parties are paid all the time to spout PR lines, the SL Newser and Luke Flywalker stand as testaments to that, but Would you be entirely surprised if one of my articles got 25 comments all applauding my brilliance? You probably would because let’s face it, that doesn’t happen to me, I’m not that brilliant.
So imagine how shocked you would be if that did happen and all the article was, was a picture of a potato.
There exists in Second Life a number of companies and individuals that ,for the right price, will use their networks of Alts and seemingly endless free time to give you good reviews on marketplace. Or start conversations in SL Aviation about how great you are, or come to your defence in arguments, or attack your competitors?
They exist, I know they exist because I’ve caught both Shana Carpool and Aeon Voom using them in the past. They paid people to use multiple alts to give them good marketplace reviews, attack people who gave them bad reviews and start randomly talking about how great their products were.
Dog’s on the Run kept one company on retainer for almost a year until they stopped paying them, hence why in 2013 when they changed to DOR Angels they lost about 60 members through migration. Most of them were Alts that had been paid to spread good things about DOR.
This practice is very common and has become increasingly widespread in recent years. it is of course completely illegal and thus discretion is always key. I was planning to make an article exposing these companies but the reality is they are very careful and any person I were to expose would most likely turn out to be another disposable alt.
Unless they are stupid enough to create a group that is *cough* Mystic rentals *cough*.
There does not exist a standardised “fool proof” method of detecting an Alt. The best advice I can give is don’t automatically think an alt is going to be zero days old or have a blank profile and don’t just like something because a large amount of people keep telling you it’s great. Make-up your own dam mind.
10. Cherry Picking, Card Stacking, Selective truth and Disinformation.
The last ones I shall speak about today are actually four, but they are really mean the same thing so let’s get them all over with at once.
In the basic sense Card Stacking, Cherry picking etc is often referred to as case making or better known as Censorship, is presenting something in a more positive light by listing off it’s positives and skipping over the negatives. Usually by taking things out of context and/or omitting various pieces of information that may alter a persons perspective had they read the entire thing.
You’ll see this a lot in Commercials for Drug products where the voiceover talks calmly about the benefits of Product X but suddenly speeds up to incomprehensible gibberish at the end when they legally have to mention it’s side effects or in commercials for payday loans where the amusing puppets or viral video attempt try to distract you from the tiny terms and conditions that scroll along the bottom. Or if you’ve ever watched Fox News where the positive become the Hardline Facts on the Big Issue and the negatives are passed off as unnecessary details that busybody liberals take too seriously.
But I think nothing demonstrates Card Stacking more than the Anti-Vaccination demonstrators, specifically a Facebook post by Sherri Tenpenny.
Dr Tenpenny wanted to prove that there was no link between Vaccinations and Infant Mortality rates and that predictions of Huge Child deaths through lack of vaccination was nonsense. Evidence that the United States had a High Infant Mortality rate despite being one of the most Vaccinated countries would prove her point and that evidence is exactly what she found.
To her followers this image was all the needed and if you go look at her page you’ll find hundreds of comments of people happily (and angrily) supporting her arguments and attacking anyone who disagrees. None of them questioned why the other 168 countries on the planet earth were not shown on this graph nor did any of them think to check out the source link otherwise they would have known this.
Yup, Dr Tenpenny quite literally deleted 168 countries from the graph till the United States was at the top a classic example of Card Stacking Propaganda and a warning of what happens when you take people at their word without ever checking their facts.
In Second Life people Cherry Pick their facts all the time. I made reference to Tam McGregors blog in which numerous Dani Cultists pointed angrily at the matching wireframe on a window was all that was required to convict Tig of Mesh ripping but the Entire Chassis, instrument panel and textures matching on a wireframe comparison was still “unproven” when it came to Dani.
The most hilarious example comes from MarkTwain White, in case you’d forgotten him, in his ‘official’ guide to the Blake Sea he happily portrays the mystical event of the Warships coming to the Blake Sea as a year long horrific hell to which he personally took charge and did all the work to heroically save the Blake from such evil but casually forgets that all the powers he demanded from Linden Labs to deal with the Battleships were removed earlier when he ,and his admins, abused them to impose his own law and ended up persecuting the Ironclad Community, non-sailing ships and the earlier form of the Aviation Community.
Once again it’s a matter of not getting caught up in the heat of the moment. People are Bias and that bias may not always be obvious but really no-one is going to explain their argument and the other guys in a clear and consistent manner for you to understand. People cherrypick, it’s in their nature to do so the only defence is not immediately jump to the rash conclusion of the person you like the most being correct.
Always look carefully at both arguments, think carefully and always be prepared to change your mind if you find out something new.
To conclude this rather long winded discussion; I said back in “So then this happened“:
people tend to get their news from hearsay. Rumours and anecdotes told by their friends who in turn got them from one of the two sides to the story, meaning everything they hear is biased in someone’s favour.
For the larger part the majority of the Aviation Community seems intelligent enough to either remain sceptical or keep out of the argument all together, the silent majority as it were. However the louder minority ,the idiots who know they are wrong but persist anyway, believe they have already considered all the information they were given at the time, believed themselves to have come up with the best intelligent solution and thus the argument has already been won in their head. Even with the introduction of new evidence or alternate viewpoints for them to be considered incorrect, to have reached the wrong conclusion, is an affront to their ego and an insult directly aimed at them.
For me this is one of the most frustrating things of Second Life, or life in general, watching a section or an entire community go on, believing in the same bullshit, persecuting an individual or a group of individuals all because of the some lie that has become so indoctrinated into the culture of the community that no-one thinks to question it.
You can always turn your head and say “I don’t do politics” or “I ignore the drama” and for the best part you probably think that none of the above really applies to you, but in reality you, like everyone else, are the ones Community Leaders most like to prey on. The ones who sit unaware and ,like the scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, truly believe they cannot be fooled. And honestly it’s not your fault. “I don’t do politics” is the one phrase community leaders love to hear, it means you’re not going to get too involved in the drama but with a little push via any one of the techniques listed above you may actually start to believe that I lie through my teeth, that there is Drama in the Jeogeot Gulf, that MCE is a monopoly, that SL Aviation is censored by Tig and her Admins or that Tank and Aeon really are alts of each other.
Unaware that you are unintentionally supporting someone’s agenda, a shitty business practice if you will. And at some point you will subconsciously make a decision to fly to some airport, attend some event, buy some product or choose to specifically not support someone, based on what you know.
If you “do not do politics” then you wouldn’t be part of the SL Aviation group or of any group, you wouldn’t talk to any other aviators or be fully aware of where all the airports are or who runs them. You’d not be part of the community, you’d just fly.
And since we know you do. because you’re reading this blog, then you do “do politics” even if you’d rather not.
There are people in this community who seem nice, good people but are really trying to manipulate you. Don’t believe everything you are told, laugh louder than anyone else when people try to tell you who the “bag guys are”, remember that changing your mind is not a sign of weakness and just do what the fuck you want, I don’t care, just don’t let these idiots take advantage of you.
It’s not rocket science!