Vlad, is that you?
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Here at The Truth About Guns, we communicate a pro-gun, informative message. Obviously we draw a lot of The People of the Gun as our readership. We also attract readers who don’t share our love of things that go bang, and that’s OK, too. Maybe they’ll learn something.

But it seems that a handful of people who aren’t fans of firearms — let alone the right to keep and bear arms — spend a lot of time stirring the pot in comments in these here parts.

This seems to have grown more common in recent months. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t help but wonder if at least a couple of our friendly provocateurs might actually earn a paycheck for their work.

During the last election cycle, the LA Times wrote about the use of professional trolls and their efforts to shape public opinion:

Hillary Clinton’s well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet’s worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton’s campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront  social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

That’s right…Clinton’s supporters spent good money “correcting the record” via trolls. Why? Because they know publicizing the facts was having an actual effect on low information types.  As these people began to learn more about Hillary, the less they liked.  So Hillary supporters had to do something to stem the hemorrhage of “I’m with her” types.

More from the LA Times:

“It is meant to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical,” said Brian Donahue, chief executive of the consulting firm Craft Media/Digital.

…”It runs the risk of being exactly what their opponents accuse them of being: a campaign that appears to be populist but is a smokescreen that is paid and brought to you by lifetime political operatives and high-level consultants.”

In other words, it’s Astroturf.

From the Urban Dictionary:

Creating the impression of public support by paying people in the public to pretend to be supportive.

The false support can take the form of letters to the editor, postings on message boards in response to criticism, and writing to politicians in support of the cause.

Astroturfing is the opposite of “grassroots“, genuine public support of an issue.

For a prime example of anti-gun Astroturf in action, see: March for our Lives.

anti-gun troll paid commenter influencer

Here at TTAG, we have at least one agent provocateur (rhymes with ‘glad’) who spends more time posting comments than I spend writing stories. And I’m on the staff. Either he has a lot of free time or he does this (and who knows what else, wherever else) for a paycheck.

How many others might also fill that bill? Who knows. Maybe none. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

I’m flattered that we might have people who are actually paid to agitate here at TTAG. But I suspect I’m not the only one growing tired of the trolling in comments.

What sayeth the rest of you?

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  1. This is news? Easy way to find out if our “romanian” buddy is a troll. Track his IP as you have access to it and it’s a matter of public record. Guarantee you it’s coming either from a off-shore VPN or a commercial troll farm.

      • I would argue that Vladdy boy broke at least a handful of federal laws on here… if it can be shown that it’s a commercial operation, TTAG would also have a very solid civil case.

        • I’m talking about the content of his rants. If the FBI can nail somebody for posting a Boogaloo meme, I guarantee you that Vladdy boy is just as guilty.

          The argument could also be made that he made unauthorized use of a computer service if TTAG told him to knock it off. In New York (just to pick a random state out of a hat)… that’s Penal Law § 156.05. Not sure about the exact federal statute, but I could see a creative interpretation of 18 U.S.C § 1030 But then again, that’s a VERY specialized area of federal law, that I am FAR from proficient in.

        • Careful that you don’t ignore those who claim the high road (pwrserge, etc.) as the core POTG and those who attack as the trolls. The opposite might be true. Remember, the devil hides in the clothes of the righteous.

        • I’ve never claimed to be righteous…

          I just REALLY hate commies. Given my family history, that’s not unwarranted.

        • skip the hyperbole there pwr. Hitler’s death camps took plenty of my close ancestors and I’m not in the mood to argue with those waving the red flag of victim. I take action.

        • I prefer whit and mockery over “action”… While I can hardly claim to be a non-violent man, I’m not in a hurry to start a civil war.

          Oh, and FYI… I was RAISED in the Soviet Union. The only thing I want to see is communism burn.

        • @ “not vlad” No one is waving flag of victim by pointing out that nazis (who were a type of socialist) as well as communists were cut from the same statist cloth and needed to disarm any supporters of Democracy.

          The poster “vlad tepes” (aka 2asux) openly supported tyranny and statism that got lots of people in Socialist and Fascist countries and occupied areas murdered by the tens of millions. As well as supported disarming law abiding from even protecting themselves or families in legal self defense.

          The Second amendment is a core part of our rights, and not just a right, but a very important one in protecting all of the rest of our rights and deterring tyranny and tyrannical actions every government has eventually tried.

        • “The poster “vlad tepes” (aka 2asux)”

          Sure ‘vald’ is 2Asux?

          The overall writing style is no way similar…

        • Vlad and Crisco Kid are the same, they’re the only two posters I’ve ever seen use the term “hill jack” among others, they both threw around Jethro and other idiosyncrasies exclusive to that idiot. Not sure about 2Asux, who seemed to take a different tack. Wonder why the real Vlad didn’t post on this thread?

      • Dan,They are probably doing it out of 501c3 charity right? most of the pressure groups in the retailers and the successful program to kill NRA affiliation are run out of charities.

        The guys who did mass shooting tracker out of reddit anti gun forums were working with gun control groups, including at least one with a paid consultancy.

        In the press you see comparisons of NRA vs Bradey funding, but these aggregations never come to anything but the tip of the iceberg given the scores and scores of gun control advocacy groups out there.
        GunsdownAmerica was able to successfully go after NRA money. And Color of Change, which is a general DNC minority vest pocket advocacy charity along with many others went after walmart on ammo.

        So of course they would be trolling on sites such as TTAG, and even more so on other fora.

      • Whoa… not so fast Mr. Zimmerman. While Vlad w/moniker may be paid to do his cut and paste comments, it must be said that Fake Vlad DOES NOT condone nor support his rants. We are a totally separate entity from Vlad w/moniker. Make no mistake. Vlad w/moniker does not speak for us – that is, POC and the indigenous peoples of America and Hawaii. His agenda is his own. Our agenda and our goals are entirely different from his. Granted, some of our comments may cross paths but do not mistake his comments for ours. We DO NOT subscribe to a white socialist state. He does. Hope this clarifies things for you and your staff. BTW, I think you and your staff are some of the most tolerant of people. Keep up the good work.

        • We would like to ask for your indulgence and permit some further clarifications. Just because we DO NOT subscribe to a white socialist state it does not mean that we do not subscribe to a socialist white state. Furthermore, we are a totally separate entity from Vlad w/moniker unless we are incarcerated again and they force us to take our medication.

      • Have I been banned? I’ve posted here for years as ‘jwm’ and suddenly I can’t get a comment through. If I’ve been banned a simple yes or no will do.

        • I’ve been using the ‘jwm’ avatar for at least 7 years. I just tried to reply to you again and the comment just vanishes.

        • I think you will find that the page will reload as it usually does, but will go to the top of the page instead of to the comment, which it cannot go to because the comment does not exist. This is TTAG’s preferred method of shadow banning, which they, of course, deny is even possible.

      • As a liberal gun owner, I can tell you that Vlad is very clearly a conservative who is trying to rile up other conservatives. It’s a lone whack job.

      • Well, since a while ago TTAG has blocked people from outside of US, or at least from Europe, the only way to post a comment for such peopel is to use a VPN bypass, just like I’m doing right now. So an IP address means nothing, if someone want’s to hide their location it’s as easy as clicking a button on your browser. 🙂

    • trolls are everywhere these days….just a fact of life…they’re easily identifiable and won’t change anyone’s mind…so let them play their silly-ass games…..

  2. I’ll bet there are several of these rent-a-troll types around here…I suspect they are the ones that reply to dozens of comments in the thread with the same ignorant rubbish.

  3. On certain places you’ll see people shitting up threads for literally 10 hours a day with liberal stuff. The same people, that is. 5 to 7 days a week. In fact they were at it literally all labor day weekend.

    I can’t tell you how bad our resident anti-gun are but I gotta say, it must pay well because who in their right mind has that kind of free time these days?

    • I don’t know……there are plenty of self-appointed malcontents out there.

      Most actually believe it’s their job to rile folks up.

      Occassional Cortex has a program to pay these dopes in her Green Raw Deal.

  4. Fake news and commentary is ancient and pervasive. The thing is, I naturally and easily sense it on any topic I am knowledgeable about. Most people only know their, job, family, and football though.

    • I go back and forth thinking he is either performing a subversive parody or sincerely channeling pure leftest ethos into rants that exist on the periphery of logic. Reading his stuff ties my brain into knots looking for the connections that aren’t there. Either way it’s impressive. 👏👏👏

  5. What isnt taken into consideration quite frequently is that there are people who enjoy guns, hunting, shooting, etc but don’t buy into MAGA, blue line, 3% BS that seems to be pre-requisite to be accepted. There was even a contributor (who doesn’t seem to have posted/written in some time) that provided a left leaning approach to gun ownership, which offered a decent balance. Not discounting that some people might be here to troll, but others are here for the content (EDC dumps and paid adverts notwithstanding) and do find some of the articles and comments educating, entertaining, and worth responding to. The problem is if you don’t want to ban all mooslims, carry openly 24/7, and stand your ground and consider every infraction a DGU you’re a freak. There is room for argument and debate.

    • Frankly your post is a troll. of course everyone has a different o[pinion on all kinds of political issues.
      That doesn’t change the fact that the DNC is actively working to ban all guns, and even ending Heller, (the right to own a revolver at home) is broadly challenged by the Democrats.

      The fact that you went after “stand your ground” and defined that as extreme is telling. For stand your ground defesne to be valid someone has to be trying to kill you. Ok? Or do you not know?

      The poster you are referring to went full fudd, and was supporting bans on all semi auto guns. meaning banning even basic glock for home defense.

      • “For stand your ground defense to be valid someone has to be trying to kill you”
        Not necessarily true. In most stand your ground laws you only have reasonably believe they are going to do you harm, which is where all the grey area comes in. There are situations where in hindsight people weren’t in danger but at the time it may or may not have been reasonable to feel they were.

    • Oh whatever dude. The line couldn’t be more clearly drawn for you these days. The left is the side of extremist gun control. That’s a fact. Cry about liberal gun owners all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that extreme gun control is a major, perhaps even the primary, cause of the left. You can’t get all butthurt on a gun blog when the left gets attacked for that. And Trump actually gets attacked here plenty. And TTAG has always been political. Always.

    • Kali, you are right but the hardheaded right wing gun nuts on here will never admit it.

      Most of them use this forum as a ‘holier than thou’ pissing contest to see who can advocate for the most insane and violent solution to the ills of our nation.

      Some would call it virtue signaling, the way they go on about their rights and Dema-Commies, etc.

      And they think others are trolling them, but often the news is not fake and it’s quite embarrassing to the right wing gun nuts.


      • You must have a lot of free time on your hand to go through every single post on here to find these violent pissing contests.
        Moreover I’ve read some of your posts in the past and just like this one it’s all inane dribble.
        Vlad is a moron who just gets everything wrong, but at least the posts are entertaining.

      • “Miner49” has posts here opposing Heller. Meaning he thinks law abiding persons with background checks, training, waiting periods, ought to be banned from owning a revolver at home.

        So that shows you as he rants about “right wingers” he is totally out of the mainstream and a troll for the gungrabbing ultra left wing

      • It’s leftists who use the most insane and violent solutions to the ills of any nation they managed to dominate. Of course after disarming their populations, to stomp out any opposition. From USSR, to China, to North Korea, leftist ideas unsuprisingly always result with millions of dead bodies.

    • That hasn’t been my experience as a reader for years. I’ve seem a lot of diversity of thought both from the writers and the commentators. There are thousands reading the articles and only typically only dozens of commentators. You shouldn’t gas light yourself into thinking all of TTAG thinks one way or the other from such a small sample. Just because most posters might lean one way on any particular topic doesn’t mean a contrary argument isn’t convincing. Though now you are making me wonder if a left leaning gun enthusiast website even exists or is possible. 🤔

      • No, it isn’t. The very definition of left is anti-freedom, the very definition of which is anti-gun rights. The further left one really is, the more one is against individual freedom. A centrist is just someone who is willing to compromise on issues of individual freedom, and we all know exactly where that leads. Fudds are centrists on the gun issue, which is THE defining issue on the topic of freedom, so they may as well be considered centrists on any other topic as well, and anyone willing to compromise at all on any aspect of freedom and/or guns may as well be considered a full-blown marxist, because that’s where all that leads anyway. The only upside to centrists and near-leftists is they may have not gone to far to be saved. Yet.
        One must also consider those who may only appear to take a political position simply for the cover to gain power – aka socio/psychopaths to whom individual freedom is not a consideration or perhaps even non-existent, simply an illusory tool. These people are what we call professional politicians, and are sometimes useful as tools themselves, but beware the fable of the scorpion if you try.

        • In today’s political environment, centrists are people in deep denial. Basically the task for them is deciding how much freedom and liberty they are will to surrender to the hard left. Personally, I think our current situation is similar to what happened in Eastern Europe when the Soviets began transforming the newly occupied societies into a Soviet model. The change was deliberate but slow.

  6. Personally, I’m an amateur troll. Taking money for it ruins the integrity of the troll.

  7. We’ve had a number over the past several years. “Brad the Impala” is one, Pig Farmer Bill was another one iirc.

    Are they paid? No idea. But I have to wonder what a paid troll would hope to accomplish on this site, with the approach they use. Their comments often have only a thin veneer of reasonableness at best, and are more usually juvenile, insulting and crass. I’ve pretty much stopped bothering reading them, let alone responding, but most of their inane pronouncements, suggestions and self-contradictions are shot down – surprisingly often, civilly – pretty much immediately.

    This is not a subtle redirection of conversation, or an attempt at weaselly reasonableness; it’s about as subtle as a 2×4 “protest sign handle” to the back of the head. So … who, exactly, are they trying to convince here? It certainly isn’t regular readers. Or do you think they’re just trying to generate comments that can be used in prop pieces elsewhere?

    • {rolly a little from column A. and a little from column B.

      I’m sure that a lot of the local trolls comments are meant to derail the conversation,
      witness the plethora of antivax comments coming from out of nowhere,
      with some being ‘false flag’ comments meant to give anti-freedom people something to
      point to in an effort to discredit the progun movement, or perhaps just the intellect of its members, again,
      witness the plethora of antivax comments coming from out of nowhere.

      Just because it isn’t subtle, does not change the intent behind the action.

      • While it is possible the anti-vax nut who posts here is a “meat puppet”, like people who think Sandy Hook was a hoax, it is also possible that they are simply a fringe.

        The instructive aspect of anti-vax is while this is a small fringe present among people of all political beliefs, it is people on the left who are more likely to subscribe to anti-vax flat earth views. Pew Research has shown this clearly. With the “Sandy hook is a hoax nuts,” it is also a tiny number of people, but what is instructive is where it came from: from basic and fundamental mistakes by the press in reporting Sandy Hook, specifically labeling the gun taken from lanza’s car trunk as the murder weapon, when that was clearly a shotgun to anyone with a basic knowledge of guns. so what it really shoews is that while the major mainstream mass media disinforms a huge mass of people on gun issues on a daily basis, their bullshit occasionally also gets a tiny number of gun owners confused.

      • Define “antivax”. VAX (11/780) was a computer sold by Digital Equipment Corporation, and was the de-facto standard platform for Bell Labs Unix.

    • “usually juvenile, insulting and crass”

      That would not be the leftist posting on here, you were describing the homophobic slurs, the attacks on folks’ parents and other similar verbal attacks by the extremist POTG on this forum.

      It is interesting that you feel Vlad’s post with citations and quotes from actual sources is somehow less valid then those pretending to be Vlad’s mom talking about his childhood and sexual habits.

      There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

      • miner49er=2Asux=vlad

        Still waiting for an answer from a year ago from “mnier49er” as to his claim US gun murder rate rose for the past generation — when in fact the rate fell in half.

      • If it’s so offensive why are subjecting yourself to it? Sincere question.

        Based on your comments I disagree with your world-view, politics and almost certainly would hate your guts in real life. I suspect you’d feel the same. I get it, you don’t like guns or gun owners….so practice your freedom of (dis)association and go find some support group where you can whine and shriek against (fill in the blank with communist outrage of the day) and feel at home. Don’t go away mad- just go away.

      • Anyone using the fake words “homophobic” (or “misogynist) in a faux serious manner is a certainly a protard troll.

    • Anybody else remember MikeB20000 or whatever the bunchanumbers were? He was almost refined compared to the trolls of today.

      • MikeyBdigits blessed us with his presence yesterday. I was so happy to see all of the big trolls on TTAG all in one day. So much fun!

    • The noise gums up conversations with content.

      The trolling exasperates people into being obnoxious in turn.

      The obnoxiousness lets some others be obnoxious other ways in turn.

      The false flag agitprop seeds the site with “evidence” of unworthiness, there to dismiss anything well said because of the venue.

      Of course it’s on purpose. When you’ll lose the debate, you make sure a debate on the merits never happens. Our Vladicle is obviously here mostly to coarsen the connversation.

      • The unexpected consequences for this involve a lot of people getting exposed to odd bits of truth (see FBI reports) and looking them up out of disbelief. Also it probably drives a lot of traffic to Reddit and the Chan’s because when normal boards are just as coarse why not.

  8. I never engage Vlad, but he is not necessarily paid. I have seen his kind many times. He amuses me.

    • I rarely engage. I get more entertainment out of the responses to ‘ol Vladdie.

      “Vlad’s Dad” is the best. Let’s not forget…TTAG makes money when more people visit the site and view ads, so having a troll or two is simply part of the experience. I just ignore the rants, and anticipate the responses.

      I think that whole thing about the Pg2 troll scandal a couple of weeks ago made a few people break into a sweat, though. I’ve noticed that a couple of long-time users who angrily engaged with each other over the fallout haven’t been seen here lately. They might have been banned.

      • Entertainment? I just don’t have the time to read the troll comments. I’ve read enough TTAG comments the past few years to know whose comments I know I can learn from and who to just keep scrolling past.

        • Yeah. This.

          I keep a dance card, and a few contributors – dyspeptic gunsmith, *wyo*, et.al – I’ll look at their comments, because they have been verifiably true in the past.

          TTAG doesn’t have “votes”. It’s actually a useful feature. “rhymes with ‘glad'” would not make the cut.

  9. “This seems to have grown more common in recent months. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t help but wonder if at least a couple of our friendly provocateurs might actually earn a paycheck for their work.”

    Dracula the Marxist basement dweller comes to mind.

    • The REAL Vlad Tepes AKA Vlad the impaler, was not a marxist, He was a rabid anti- muslime.
      His daddy sent him to Constantinople as a ransom hostage to ensure his daddy paid tribute to the mooslimes.
      Not uncommon at that time in eastern europe.
      The question to this answer is; why do eastern europeans hate musselmen?
      This VD here is a troll.

      • Europe (and America) could use some of Vlad’s, Jan Sobieksi’s and Charles Martel’s action nowdays.
        Instead we have Macron, Merkel and sniveling bureaucrats that can’t wait to pay the jizya.

      • @ Daveinwyo

        Correct,the historical personage,however this one remains a Marxist basement dweller .

  10. The best way to get rid of a troll is silence. Ignore them. Do NOT respond. They are not there. A good quote to keep in mind about tools and other negative people:
    “Ignore negative people. They feed on your reaction and if they see you being affected by what they do/say, they’ll keep doing it.”
    Indifference to them and what they say is the best deterrent.

  11. The group of paid trolls who are some of the most prolific at sowing strife and discord in American discussion groups are those from the Internet Research Agency, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    It’s a multi-story office building, filled with people who deliberately infest American social media, with the one agenda of stirring up the American public against each other. Yes, they’re paid. It is, in fact, their regular 9-5 (or whatever hours Russians keep) job.

    If you do some digging, you’ll see the IRA has been at this for years and years.

    Since they use VPN’s (and multiple ones at that), it’s difficult to block them by IP address. Since they can change their moniker, it’s difficult to block by name.

    But what you can do is neither of the above – but you could set up your comment commit script to launch a lovely parting gift back towards the poster’s browser…

    • I thought the same thing. The first time I read his posts, it just set off an alarm and it made me think that whoever he was, English wasn’t his first language and that he is not from the US. It reads like someone going off a script. That would be absolutely hilarious, because everything he says is the same shit you hear the leftists say and you know it’s just silly tripe.

  12. Yep.

    And it is a compliment to TTAG.

    Usually ONE troll with multiple Userids that target one story at a time multiple times a week.

  13. If anyone’s paying Vlad and Whiner49er they aren’t getting their money’s worth.

    It’s good to be back in a civilized country, did y’all know this website is censored in the UK?

  14. Trolls exist because we feed them. I’ve been guilty of it but have stopped replying to or commenting on troll posts. They divert us from productive discussion. And since the trolls get paid, they have the time to waste our time.

    Of course, we may differ about who actually is a troll. There is one person who frequently brings up vaccinations and the over-prescription of mood- altering drugs. Some people think he is a troll. I do not.

    The signs I use for trolls are:
    1. Posts crafted to make it seem like racists hang out on TTAG.
    2. Long, frequent posts with lots of assertions but no evidence. Someone with that much time to kill has time to provide citations.
    3. Posts that constantly are inflammatory and disrespectful.
    4. Posts that indicate this is not a person who shoots.
    5. Posts that are primarily accusative, advocating against the 2nd Amendment and sound constitutional principles.
    6. Posts that are disruptive.

    No one criterion is perfect, but, as a whole, they help me know whom to ignore.

    • Agreed. Vlad is likely a genuine troll. Pg2 is simply someone who likes to stir up the pot for attention because he’s bored. Big difference.

    • “2. Long, frequent posts with lots of assertions but no evidence…”

      That’s Vlad to a “T”. Guilty on my part for poking him periodically.

      • No, Vlad almost always cites his sources.

        You may not agree that the sources are credible, but Vlad does not just rant without any support for his viewpoint.

        • I’ll bet money that you cannot list even ONE post where Vlad ever mentioned a source or posted a link to anything.

  15. There are some frequent responders on TTAG who clearly have decades of experience in firearms and firearm instruction. They understand the social, political, and ethical issues around firearms, as well as the technologies and mechanics. Some of them post frequently and carefully debunk our trolls.

    Just wondering if some of them are paid to keep it all interesting and attract readers. They seem to invest significant time. If their time is monetized, it seems a good investment by TAG.

    • Can report to being a long time user of TTAG 10ish years. Posted a lot of comments. Many submitted articles, some published, some not and even took a flight from Detroit to Dallas and rented a car to Austin to attend TFF in 2016(one of the coolest things I’ve ever done). Never been paid.

      • TFF was a blast, if you played your cards right you’d have spent another week, allowing attendance at the F1 race also in Austin, I finally gave up TFF because I’m too old and broken to put out that effort on 2 successive weekends, had to choose.

  16. I have had leftists call me a Russian bot on multiple occasions. Just because someone or multiple are trolling does not mean they are paid for by someone. I noticed people here feed the trolls endlessly and then people wonder why they keep coming back.

    Either way it’s irrelevant. What they are doing here is not helping them. I don’t know why anyone cares at all. I’m surprised it made it to an article.

    It’s likely not a paid trolling. I saw those during the election. Paid trolling in closer to the scam ads in the comments.

  17. Trolls gotta troll. I get that.

    My beef is with the hordes of regulars who take the bait, engage these fakes endlessly, and become complicit in their hijacking of the entire board. Once I see that crap in play, I walk away.

    It’s not worth it to sift through that sludge to read what might be interesting. Nor is it worth it to post my ideas, as they’re just as unlikely to be read by a thinking person.

    • If I may ask, some of us may not recognize the trolls. There are other Good Samaritans on other boards (Waltzin’ Mathilda comes to mind) that post an explicit “Troll. Downvote. Block, and move on.”

      Could you do this for the rest of us? It would help. You are the anti-virus. Thanks.

    • Agreed. Just ignore them. It makes no difference if they’re paid or are just assholes who like to stir shit up. Just I-G-N-O-R-E them. Trust me, it’s better all the way around that way. That is all. As you were.

  18. I notice a lot of comments about IP address. What I have always found interesting (and funny) is that every instance of some agency declaring political interference by “Russian trolls”, they offer the IP address as proof.

    Meaning: these nefarious Russians are evil masterminds… but are less tech savvy that your average teenager. Apparently the most famous spy agency on the planet does not know how to hide their IP address? Yeah ok.

    As for paid/organized commenters on TTAG: Yes. You can assume that ANY conservative or pro 2A outlet is full of them.

  19. Wondering when and if this was gonna be addressed. Used to enjoy the forum, but as of late it seems like a handful of (probably) paid instigators have hijacked the site and with their childish, disgusting antics have driven some folks to look elsewhere for a place to jaw jack. Pity, but that’s what they do, whether it’s keyboard jackoffs or antifa, destroy what they’re too stupid to understand! Any GUN forums around?

    • I agree “kinda-sorta”. Sometimes the trolling and anti-trolling is so extensive, that it is hard to find the gems of knowledge and wisdom for which I read this blog daily. I’ve only been carrying a few years; this blog has taught me a great deal. We have some great contributors with long experience and a lot to teach. So, sometimes it takes a lot of sifting but I liken it to panning for gold. When you find it, the work it took fades into the background as you gaze on that glittering ore.

      Yeah, I know, gold in the wild does not glitter. But it sounded good, no?

  20. I have no doubt that this is happening at least part of the time, but have you considered another possibility? There are a whole lot of mentally disturbed people in the U.S. and some at least may actually believe that their comments are changing the pro -gun peoples minds. Remember some people brainwashed by the news media and not playing with a full deck to begin with are easily molded into supporting the “Green New Deal”, voting for Kamala, or Bernie, or Elizabeth or some of the other Communist left. Someone that gullible will swallow anything.

  21. Or…it could be that they just live sad, pathetic, lonely, little lives and this is the only way they can get anyone to interact with them, being who they are in real life. I have to say, as for myself I tend to ignore “who” made a comment so I don’t prejudge and dismiss what may be a valid point (even a broken clock is right twice a day). But because of this I find myself unintentionally responding to the resident bloodsucker from time to time, with regret for falling into his trap once again. When will I ever learn? It’s like reading an entire, slightly annoying, article only to discover it was authored by Harold Hacksupsome. and realizing I just wasted precious time and mental energy for naught.

  22. My local newspaper here in deep blue Massachusetts has paid Bloomberg commenters online. At least one person has admitted to me after being incessantly badgered that he was a paid commenter. I know exactly who these people are too and how many online personalities they have. It took me a few years to get it down and figure them out, but I managed to get the trolling Kung Fu necessary to take them on and make the anti-gun rhetoric worthless. Sometimes I sit back and marvel at the thing of beauty I have wordsmithed knowing that I have tongue tied a gun grabber who is paid by the post. I want to make it clear I don’t get paid, I just make sure that I nullify their position and then log off and watch a good movie on Netflix or Prime. I am not attempting to change the dialog because I don’t think that bickering on the internet accomplishes anything, I don’t want these people to be the only voice out there. I do it for the sheer pleasure of taking on the most arrogant cocksure people I know, and lest they think I am some dumb bimbo who sleeps with a bible and a Glock under my pillow, oh no. I went to the same elite east coast universities they did, only I paid attention in class especially when it came to critical thinking.

  23. I’m not sure giving him this much attention is the way to go

    If someone’s paying him he must be making bank though

  24. quote——————-Here at TTAG, we have at least one agent provocateur (rhymes with ‘glad’) who spends more time posting comments than I spend writing stories. And I’m on the staff. Either he has a lot of free time or he does this (and who knows what else, wherever else) for a paycheck.————-quote

    No I do not get paid and since I am retired I wish I did. But I will say this much. I have stated many times the Far Right cannot stand free speech. It is they that would be the very first to destroy it (Trump is a living example of that). Many others have said so without shame. The other side of the story irritates and enrages them to no end especially when it touches on outright myths the Far Right Try to pander to the uneducated who never bother to research the other side of the story and take as gospel the pure propaganda of “the anointed ones” who lead their cause. How else do you think Trump got elected, it was through the ignorance of the people who either never bothered to research his past or did not want to.

    I must say that in the past I was very much on the side of the Far Right when it came to gun rights but with age comes experience and wisdom. We now have seen more gun violence and more heinous crimes in the U.S., especially against children, than all other industrialized nations combined. Yes there was an attack on Children in a School by terrorists in Russia a number of years ago and occasionally in China but the magnitude and number of attacks on our children and our people in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions and there are many gun owners out there , maybe even the majority of them that do not post here (and for good reason) that are saying, we have got to do something and since we know the Republicans will never fund a paid for health care system and since we know that the Democrats will never agree to give up medical privacy laws the only thing left to do is what most countries ended up doing,( even those that did institute mental health care) and that is severely restrict the access to weapons of war. It has worked in other countries and depending on the severity of the restrictions (that are definitely coming)will determine if it can indeed work here or at least vastly reduce the current level of insanity.

    It is not the “real level of violence” (even though today it is far higher than it was when I was young in regards to mass murder) but it is the “perceived level” of violence that will cause more gun control laws to be implemented as the public in general is now terrified to go to any large gatherings of people (myself included) and terrified to send their children to school (something never before seen in the U.S.)

    Even in the conservative State of Ohio the Republican Governor was shouted down by the people after the Dayton massacre. When they were shouting “do something” he knew the jig was up and if he did not “do something” he was on his way out of office. Other Republicans are getting nervous as well as 2020 approaches because if they “do nothing” we just could see a Democratic controlled House and Senate as well as the already pre-ordained next Democratic President in 2020. No court in the land would dare declare an assault rifle ban unconstitutional including the present Supreme Court because if they did they know they too would be on the way out of their positions because the public panic and fear is just that great in regards to “the assault rifle”.

    In conclusion I find it quite disturbing that anyone who does not follow the “party line” is declared either a troll or a paid agent of a foreign country. That is not American style Democracy or freedom of speech. With that kind of a mentality it only blinds “the true believers” into the false sense that the majority of Americans are on their side which the Stats show is exactly the opposite. That only leads to a “no comprise stance” which has already doomed them to ultimate defeat and this time its not going to be giving up just a small amount of 2A rights or should I be candid and say “perceived 2A rights”. All of the current “approved by the courts” gun ban laws in the last 2 years certainly prove that beyond all doubt.

    • Hey Vladdy… does the CCP pay you per word or per post? FYI… you have no “free speech” rights on a private computer system. (Such as a third party website.) I’ve already cited two statutes you can be charged under. I can keep digging. I have a friend over at FBI Cyber Division… Might give him a call. I’m sure he’d love to nail a left wing terrorist supporter to the wall.

      • What did everybody just say? Stop feeding the trolls. Al Goldstein did it for 30 years and he had a saying: “If you ignore me, I’ll disappear”.

      • Oh please Surgi, do your best to turn in Americans to the secret police so they can be censored.

        You could not reveal your true nature anymore clearly then your intention to call the FBI about people saying things you don’t like.

        Your threats and intimidation generally have no impact upon courageous American patriots who wish to speak the truth.

        You often say that your family came from a communist country, so follow trumps advice and head back to the shit hole so you can improve it as Trump ordered.

      • Actually I feel sorry for our Romanian товарич. He must have been duped or be getting killed on the exchange rate (Rubles to dollars). Otherwise why would his posts be so verbose?

        • I doubt Vladdy boy is actually Romanian. They are the only people I know who hate communists more than I do. After almost 25 years under Nicolae Ceaușescu, that’s hardly surprising. The guy made Stalin and Pol Pot look like little kids throwing a hissy fit.

      • I get paid by the word. It should be obvious from the above pile of self-serving claptrap that I wrote to prove I am better than you.

      • Hey serge – could you possibly clear up your earlier reference to someone getting busted for a “boogooloo meme”? Details and a link if possible, my good sir!

        • I posted a link, it’s in moderation. You can google it. Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children ran a piece on it.

          Oh, and Pg2… go fuck yourself with a power drill.

      • (you have no “free speech” rights on a private computer system)

        That is only when there is an assumption of privacy and that is where the can of worms gets opened.

        • Nope… private as in private property, not private as in expectation. TTAG definitely qualifies as a private computer system that allows limited conditional access to third parties.

    • “2. Long, frequent posts with lots of assertions but no evidence…”

      Vlad, you don’t convince anyone of anything here in there direction you appear to support.
      I would classify your posts as “hyperbolic, non-factual, ad hominem nonsense” and you would be incapable of escaping my labeling.

    • “No I do not get paid and since I am retired I wish I did.”

      In order to get paid, you’d need to provide a marketable skill or good.

      • He’s one of those millionaire Socialists, not quite the billionaire Socialists like Bernie, but one who knows if he isn’t a part of the revolution he will certainly be among the victims.

    • None of your comment will come to pass, vlad. None. Trump will be sworn in a second time and with the dems making threats to stack the court he will have the moral high ground to do just that.

      It’s been 7 years since Sandy Hook and if that did not bring on a gun control wave nothing will. What you have to face is that every time some nutter shoots helpless, unarmed folks more folks viewing the horror are driven to accept the simple fact that laws and the police cannot protect them. Throw in antifa terrorists on the news and mainstream America wants to tool up. And the numbers of gun sales backs this up.

      Bottom line is this. Socialism is dead in America. It has failed and the people know it. Trump will get to fill the courts for four more years and then there may well be another gop president after.

      The dems are on a sinking ship and they do not yet realize it.

      • In the early 1980s when the newly created Peoples Republic of Afghanistan said they would have Communism in a few years, representatives from the Soviet Union said they hadn’t got that far in 60 years.

    • “How else do you think Trump got elected…”

      Since you asked, comparing Trump with Clinton, think potential judical appointments and the brilliance of the electoral system.

      • I knew hillary wasn’t getting elected and said so numerous times here on TTAG. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Heartland of the liberal progressives. Even in Berkeley I saw no support for her. The only bumper stickers that had her name on them were the hillary for prison type.

        The dems lost their base. They’ve gotten so extreme as to have removed themselves from the equation. They will crash and burn in 2020 and then they will have to reject the extremists or perish.

    • A Dem win 2020?


      Ohhh boy, if you only knew…lots of OTHER nations Intel depts are saying Trump will win! and in some of these cases if the intel guy is wrong? he don’t go home and the family gets the AXE too!

      China is already thinking that way and that is the reason WHY HK is not burning or crushed under tank tracks right now…fallout with Trump at the helm and Trump will not take BS like OdumbBUTT ‘boy’ did!

    • Nice try Vladdy. 1. Unemployed is not the same as “retired” 2. You don’t “speak” as a 60+ American male.

  25. If there are antigun “trolls,” then there are probably progun “trolls” too. Does it really make much of a difference if a commenter is paid or not? The substance of the comments themselves is what’s important to engage. Fight bad ideas with good ideas.

    I’ve been accused of being a “troll” at least once on every site I’ve commented on, simply for writing something perfectly reasonable that nevertheless angers the hive-mind. One guy said I was a “JIDF agent,” whatever that might be. Calling people “trolls” is a lazy, facile way to dismiss a POV you don’t agree with. It’s a bit paranoid too.

    For people who hate “trolls,” install a “block commenter” button here. Then everybody can ignore anybody they want, “troll” or not.

    • It’s not possible to block professional trolls in the manner you describe, because things like site accounts, IP addresses, browser fingerprints, etc are temporal to them and easily replaceable if someone is motivated.

      Even if it was possible, TTAG is ceding mindshare of the comment section to trolls, and if not trolls, then hyper-aggressive comment addicts who guard their turf with shotgun blasts of replies or page-long rants.

      Either way, Dan and crew appear to be losing this battle from my perspective as a long-time reader and lurker. There’s more trash and eye-rolling insanity than ever before, and it’s a stain on the site.

      Whether it’s intentionally done to reduce TTAG’s signal/noise ratio in online culture somehow, or mental illness manifesting here is irrelevant. The result is the only thing that matters, and TTAG has picked up a number of these actors who cling like barnacles to the comment section.

      I don’t claim to know the answers, but all of the places I like to read and post are aggressively moderated, and most have user moderation. Few examples: Hacker News, r/askhistorians, r/askscience. Signal/noise ratio through high standards and constant moderation, with a few technological aids like user moderation, reports seems to work. There are some secret-sauce type filters and algos they don’t share for good reason, and I can’t speculate there.

      I hope TTAG considers holding its own comment section to a new set of high standards soon.

      • Professional trolls will change IP addresses and VPNs more often than most people will change their underwear.

      • I understand that trolls can change IP addresses. I’m talking about blocking commenters by name. I see a name I don’t like, I block it.

        Vlad is the guy most of you are talking about. Has he ever changed his name? And how would he even know if I blocked him, so as to decide to change IP address?

        Most of all: commenter blocking is easy and cheap to implement! Try it. If it doesn’t work, what have you lost by trying it? There’s no downside to TRYING it.

        • Unless TTAG and W.O.M. LIKE the trolls, and purposely court them. Then a user moderated system would be the LAST thing they would ever want. In that case they will ignore both the possibility of it, AND you.
          And I’ll bet money that that is exactly what they will do… Pretend that they never read your post.

        • “Most of all: commenter blocking is easy and cheap to implement! Try it. If it doesn’t work, what have you lost by trying it? There’s no downside to TRYING it.”

          Very old school here. IBM punch cards old school. So I don’t get all the aggravation about Vlad, and name blocking, and all that jazz. I just look at the commentor and the target. If either are Vlad, I just delete. How hard is that? Others are just as easy.

      • Probably so. But have you ever noticed how lefties and “news” media receive marching orders and talking points from a central source every day? Those can be delivered by “pro” trolls on their social media and commenting sites. I see no reason why it doesn’t happen on our side too. I’m not much worried about it on our side, so I’ll concede the point.

  26. The trolling at this point is amateurish. If they are being paid, it has to be minimum wage and with training wheels. Once the DNC chooses their horse, the pro trolls will be out in force.

    Once the pros are out, I hope TTAG has security for the comments section that will make it harder for someone to trace any commentor and for a hacker to put our info out.

  27. It’s no accident. It happens in a variety of forums and is a targeted strategy with scripted statements and responses. I recently read about one left wing activist organization (and I’m sure there are many) that coordinates the messaging and instructs people on how to ‘seem reasonable’ while pushing a counter agenda. Unfortunately I’m not find the details right now, but will post if I can dig it up.

  28. Since, this is not a log on site to make comments. It will be hard to get rid of commenters like Vlad Tepes whom spreads misinformation. Vlad Tepes is defiantly a troll that stirs the pot here on TTAG. Just how to get rid of the anti-2nd Amendment and gun control trolls is the big question. Will we have to go a log on type forum to eliminate them? I do not know if that is possible. Having standards outlined on TTAG that viewers agree to might be one solution before you can make comments or your comments are subject to removal if you fail to follow the rules. Some ideas to start with might be the following, which could be Firearms friendly, Pro-2nd Amendment, Anti-gun control, no threats of violence against anyone, no racist comments.


  29. While I am sure there are any number of independent, intelligent, interesting and interested people around the entire world, I know for a fact that there are a LOT of socialist provocateurs posting on other sites from other nations. They push their agenda relentlessly with a vigor that can only suggest they’re being paid to do so. They are all too glad to foment strife and dissent among Americans and would be delighted if this stubborn nation of freedom-loving people was disarmed and crushed under a boot. Maybe they’re Russian. Maybe they’re Chinese or North Korean or Syrian or Iranian. We have no shortage of enemies abroad.

    But how do we protect ourselves against such interference? We really do believe in all of the Amendments including the first with the right to free speech and to say what you want no matter how stupid, illogical, inappropriate and heedless of historic and real-world accuracy it might be.

    It used to be we also believed in the right to mock and belittle stupid things. Stupid ideas, stupid concepts and outright sedition were not tolerated. Perhaps it is time to remove one of the gloves and start slapping stupid down as it should have been all along. When cities declare they will not follow the laws of the Union, they need to be asked: are you in open rebellion or merely trying to ignore the law? That is sedition and every leader who espouses it should be arrested and tried for the crime. Are you saying the US cannot repel an invasion? Then you are a dumb@ss and need to drink a large mug of STFU. Every nation has the right to repel invasions. Channel your inner Red Forman (from that 70’s show) or Lee Ermey, the Duke, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood or whoever you favor as someone who will take no sh!t from idiots and send the idiots packing.

    • It’s actually the US that is behind the rest of the world in “nationalizing” their internet. Other body politics, notably the EU and China, have already walled off their internet from the rest of the world’s “harmful politics.”

  30. In the words of John McClaine, “Welcome to the party pal!”

    Those of us with a background in firearms forums, usenet and FidoNet have seen it all, from anti-gunners threatening and doxxing pro-gun people to forged posts and multiple [screen name] personality syndrome.

    The AHSA trolls cyclically claw their way out of their collective grave to call for “compromise” (surrender) with the proponents of racially invidious gun controls.

    Like Holocaust deniers, they prey on the ignorant and the gullible.

    They’re just annoying gnats. Out them to the uninformed, then swat them away like the insects they are.

    • I have been debating these issues online, both on Usenet and blog comments, since the tail end of the 1990’s.

      The only new strategy for the anti-gun cult is a near-obsession with mass shootings, to the exclusion of all other homicides by firearm, let alone all criminal homicide. Otherwise, they trot out the same arguments that had been refuted for over two decades.

  31. Meh…this is far from the worst trolling I’ve seen on TTAG. Ya’ know how it stopped??? Casting aspersions on “his” sexuality. I generally ignore the trolls here. And I hope other long-term commenter’s do too.

  32. Watching Hank use my username and have a fake conversation with himself several days ago was amusing, and mildly creepy. In my opinion, this forum is heavily populated with trolls who hide behind a fake 2nd Amendment supporting position, but quietly push the left agenda wherever else possible. And then there’s the profiles that can only be here to intentionally make the 2A community look bad.

    • I’m seriously so, so happy that I’ve enraged you to the point you have these grand delusions about me. It truly brought a smile to my face. I hope to bring you more misery in the future.

        • I don’t know but you’re the crying about something I didn’t do to you like a paranoid nut job and it even happened days ago. Do you know how pathetic that is? But… I’m just happy you’re butthurt.

        • Don’t worry, Hank. Pg1.5 thinks I’m you, and I’m Geoff, and I’m Scallywag, etc. He gets confused easily.

  33. Let the trolls troll… freedom of speech is worth dealing with the occasional a-hole.

    Pg2 ammiright?

    Oh and congrats on actually posting a gun related post a few days back (I think it was on self defense ammo)… you finally got old enough to buy a gun! Happy birthday!

    And yes… in this case I’m the a-hole 🙂

  34. Vlad, Vlad, Vlad the impaler. Could have been a whaler, could have been a tailor, he turned out to be Norman Mailer! He stepped back and he smoked a joint. Twenty thousand peasants had to get the point. Mommy was a hamster, daddy was a jailer. Real tough childhood for such a fucking failure!

  35. Back in early 2017 I exchanged emails with Farago and suggested something similar to the Northeastshooters.com(NES) forum where you have to register with the site and be approved. NES is pretty heavily moderated, but users can create their own threads and discussions. He replied “How bout you run it?” Maybe consider something like this?

  36. What about that guy in CA who self-doxxed himself? On LinkedIn, there’s only one USAFA grad who worked at a certain tech company. He always advocates for school prayer and other ultra right wing positions. He always is pro 2a, except for arming teachers.

    He is honestly the only the only reason I come to this site anymore. He’s the Kat doesn’t write for this blog anymore, and his euphemisms for racist terms are truly some word-smithing.

    • He hates boomers, everyone really.

      I don’t think he’s funny. He makes us look bad for constantly saying WHITE LIVES MATTER. And what is up with Holocaust denial? Is that a thing now?

      • It has become more trendy because it’s the ultimate taboo in the current era of ever increasing politically correct taboos. The final frontier of free speech as it were. Both the mainstream right and left will rain fire on you for even flirting with it.

  37. Wow, this whole discussion was about the JERK Vlad,,,any pro 2 A supporter who’s read just one of his rants know he’s a liberal stooge, .
    I personally miss Vlad’s Dad… he was funny as hell & way smarter than his goofy kid.
    Vlad’s mom is interesting also.

  38. Personally, if it was my site, I’d just delete his comments. My reasoning, it’ s mine and I can do what I like.

  39. -bullycide Kat A. for advocating murdering your husband and being fat
    -hate Ronald Reagan for legalizing abortion
    -repeal 19th
    -segregate Netflix, Basketball-Americans
    -expose truth about NASCAR
    -celebrate White History Month (#whitelivesmatter)
    -supporting Wayne
    -oppose Oliver North
    -support NRA
    -oppose gun THOTs like Dana “non-OEM equipment chest rig” Loesch
    -expose Holohoax
    -expose ((Mental Health) ). )
    -support YouTube channels like tmhonfire102
    -expose Vlad as Dan Zimmerman.
    -support 2A

      • Yeah, TTAG saying it was ok to shoot your husband was an all time low. I don’t think people realize how upsetting that was … to normal people.

        • I think that article really hilighted the divide between conservatives and alt right.

          Also- I think we all know that the trolls work at TTAG

        • Basically, there a bunch of articles written by TTAG implying it was ok to kill your husband for “abuse”. People called that out as BS. Everything is apparently abuse today.

          It launched the career of the troll “J on bo at” who later resurfaced as “ t r u t m a n”

          He got into it about a certain detail of his military career and self doxxed himself. It turns out he’s a real person and it’s a sad situation of substance abuse and mental illness. Some people find his racist jokes funny. I do not.

        • Yeah. I was clueless too.

          Goes to show that I dont read every post……not even every other post.

          Sorry Dan….you need more posts about guns and ahooting… fun stuff..not politics and asshatery all the time.

          Guns are fun.

        • Whoa! I must’ve been encased in carbonite when this went down. Sounds like someone had delusions of grandeur.

    • quote—————-expose Vlad as Dan Zimmerman.———-quote

      Now that was the most hilarious line I ever read here.

      • Dan, we know that’s you. Your mom told me you suffer from multiple personality disorder. You just don’t recall being Vlad while posting as Dan and vise versa. It may be due to all the paint chips you consumed as a child, per your mom.

  40. What I don’t get is why? Other than, sure, they could be paid. But they’re not changing anyone’s mind about firearms. They’re not causing any infighting if that’s their goal. I just don’t get. They might snag a regular into a pissing match, but so what? They’re just wasting their own time and possibly someone else’s money.

    • Bro. Can’t you read? Vlad w/moniker DOES NOT have the same agenda nor goals as Fake Vlad. He does not speak for POC nor the indigenous peoples of America and Hawaii. He promotes a white socialist state. We want our own country/nation. Do not think for a moment that we support or condone his comments. Clear?

      • Bruh. Do you even? I will lay it out for you one more time man. Vlad w/moniker supports a socialist white state we support a white socialist state, see the difference? We do not support or condone his comments because we want our own paycheck.

    • When I have posted links to various anti-violence options having nothing to do with either pro or anti-gun politics, those posts have all been deleted.

      Which perplexes me. I’d think that arguing for violence being a human behavior thing, not a gun thing, would be welcome here.

    • It’s not just you. I’ve have several of my comments deleted, every single one of them for unknown reasons. Last time was a few days ago, when I mentioned the name of a now-supposedly-banned former user.

      And you can read above where longtime user ‘jwm’ is complaining to Dan that all his recent posts are being deleted.

      Who knows?…there seems to be no rhyme or reason.

  41. The VPN angle doesn’t hold up as as being strictly a Troll tool. Lots of people are sick and tired of being tracked for targeted advertising filling their screens. So Firefox add-ons like NoScript, Ghostery, AdBlockPlus and of course using an anonymous VPN will clean up your internet experience considerably.

    Another thing about VPN’s, if you find you are blocked on some websites because of the country your IP hails from, the VPN allows you to log in from another country. I know I’ve run into that on YouTube, videos restricted by region of the planet.

    A comment on TTAG forum software, the most restrictive thing about it is users cannot start their own threads. Other forums use software that allows people to start threads. One I’ve liked in particular is this one:

  42. You caught me, John.

    Not only do I get paid for trolling (as in not supporting the echo chamber), I make enough money that I was able to hop into my G650, flee Bahamas, and within a day end up sitting here on the beach of Bora Bora, delightfully trolling while my foldout solar panel recharges my laptop battery, smart phones, mini-fridge, Bluetooth ear buds.

    The really cool part is that via AI, adaptive variations of the same 150 postings/comments endlessly respond to blogs all over the world. Computer does all the work, I get all the money. American ingenuity, free enterprise, favorable tax laws. Got the world on a string. You betcha, by goom.

  43. Others may disagree, but in my view TTAG has the best comment section ever and this might have something to do with the lack of moderation.

  44. I honestly figured most of the trolls on here were pro gun people who are really bored and were having a laugh. Many of the positions they adopt are so extreme, I thought it was satire. I guess it could be real?

    • Oh it’s real. Try being a young white person today. I think older people are out of touch with the anti- white male christian hatred.

      • ” I think older people are out of touch with the anti- white male christian hatred.”

        Not true. We just rather remain law abiding citizens in response.

      • What about being a Christian middle aged white guy? Are you some kind of ageist? I get no respect.

        Just joking around. I’m bored, but as you can see, I’m not a good troll.

    • Dude – stay away from vaccines, especially ones for stuff that won’t kill you.

      My dad got measles. It wasn’t a big deal.

      Maybe if you live in SF, have 400 gay partners, multiple STDs and take antibiotics once a month and have a messed up immune system… then yah that herd immunity matters.

      My body. My choice.

    • …almost. Two longtime users who have been here for years got into a big tiff last week, and now they’re both banned. One of them told me the story outside of TTAG. It happens.

        • I posted his username, and my comment was taken down within twenty minutes, so I guess it’s now verboten.

          But it rhymes with “Flute(ken)”. He kinda went overboard in an on-screen rant with one of the site’s contributors, and was finally banned after being a participant for the past few years.

        • Haz:
          All I said (but to a TTAG worker) was: “Perhaps you ARE Pg2/vlad… they like to sow confusion also.”
          I wouldn’t exactly call that a rant, but it was certainly “over the top” of what TTAG was willing to tolerate. I’d call it more like: “touching a nerve”, or “opening a wound”, but rant is fine.
          Even that was more of a joke, as I had previously said: “perhaps Dan Z IS Pg2. At this point, anything is possible.”, but not in seriousness. But TTAG took it seriously…. Almost as if I really touched a nerve. It certainly provoked a reaction. 🙂

  45. So, TTAG has this crazy “free speech” policy where they’re really pretty laissez faire about what people say even when it gets super obnoxious. Personally I think that this sort of “high road” approach is best.

    That said, let’s get something out of the way here about trolls:

    To continue to exist they requires sustenance and that their sustenance is your interaction with them.

    This is true regardless of if they’re paid or not.

    Paid trolls get paid to shit-stir. When they consistently fail they change tactics or they quit and go somewhere where they can generate replies to themselves and get paid. It’s pretty rare that they get paid by the comment, and when they do they tend to run scripts to automate that process. You’re not seeing that here. You’re seeing cut/paste hackjobs of arguments.

    Regular-old-pay-attention-to-me-I’m-so-ronrey-trolls do it for the psychological reward of getting attention, and like some not-so-bright high school girls they don’t care what that attention is. To them any attention is good attention but the more agitated the reply the better.

    So, if you want this shit to stop… ignore it. Just don’t feed the damn trolls. It’s really that simple. It’s like quitting smoking in that regard. Once you realize that all you have to do is stop expending energy you don’t need to expend it’s a lot easier.

    Realistically, trolls are of little concern so long as the board is adult enough to identify and ignore them.

    Now, there are other accounts here that, IMHO, are probably trolls. The subtle and dangerous kind. These are run by actual thoughtful people and they’re designed to shit-stir in the other direction by getting other members of the board to agree with them. They don’t tend to post much because, generally, their shit doesn’t fly here. I don’t have proof of this, merely a strong suspicion, so I’m not putting anyone on blast here by name. However, when you see someone suggesting something outrageous that, ya know, might just fit into that anti-gunner caricature of us, be careful in your interactions with that poster.

    • TTAG’s current censorship spree kind of negates the “free speech” policy though, don’t you think?

      • I haven’t noted any “censorship spree”.

        I note that sometimes people complain “my post was deleted” but I generally think that this is because their post didn’t show up (usually it shows up later) due to, in order of commonality, 1) an error with the server or 2) it was put on hold for review because it contained something that was auto-flagged.

  46. If Vlad is a troll, then he has reached the pinnacle of trolldom. He has people making copycat accounts, he has family members showing up, and now he actually has an entire article and long comment section made in his honor. I, for one, think he’s just some guy from Ohio with a 32.

    TTAG, how can you have an article on trolls without mentioning the very obvious, probably paid, actual shills that show up every now and then to puff up Wayne and Company?

  47. I would venture to say that the “VLAD” persona is probably a group of individuals who are writing the comments and sharing the handle in a rotating schedule.

  48. A troll is someone who disagrees with me, and is therefore very easy to spot.
    As The Last of the Old Ones, let’s just say I’ve been around the block a few times and the best lesson I have learned is that I am usually right, and that is the reason that I don’t care at all about other viewpoints, since obviously they are wrong.

    See how easy that was?

    This always works because you know that anyone who disagrees with you is just a petulant child, still struggling to understand the world, and that is the reason I never hate anyone, just feel pity for the poor little things….

  49. Vlad is cool. ……. Whatever happened to Elaine? Dad burn it, I was wanting a sequel to that secret agent man Male Concubine. You reckon they got married and ran off to ?????? ,, ? We’d be dead if we knew

  50. It’s simple. The more time we spend in our echo chamber the less we feel we need to be involved out in the real world. How many hundreds of man hours has Vlad and friends wasted that would have been better used.

  51. And you’re just now figuring this out? Jeez….

    I would recommend you have a change the way you allow comments on site. Most sites now seem to require you log in and create and account. Would that cut down on the static? Maybe; I’m no expert but perhaps. That would at least give you mechanism to lock/delete the account and force said trolls to create a complete new account.
    Also reverse IP address look-up has been around forever, how about that? There are ways to mitigate troll activity if you just put forth some effort, TTAG.

    • Roger “Verbal” Kint: You think you can catch Vlad Tepes? You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught, and sticks his head out? If he comes up for anything it’ll be to get rid of me. After that… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again

        • Herald: I bring a message from your master Marcus Licinius Crassus, commander of The Internet. By command of His Most Merciful Excellency, your lives are to be spared. Trolls you were and Trolls you remain. But the terrible penalty of crucifixion has been set aside on the single condition that you identify the body or the living person of the Troll called Vlad Tepes.
          Sparticus: I’m Vlad Tepes!
          Antoninus: I’m Vlad Tepes!
          Slaves: I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes! I’m Vlad Tepes!

  52. Well, Vlad Tepes had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his mommy’s basement and told me his secret. “I am not the Dread Troll Vlad,” he said. “My name is Ryan. I inherited this astroturf operation from the previous Dread Troll Vlad, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Troll Vlad, either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Vlad Tepes has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.” Then he explained the name was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would read the ramblings of the Dread Troll Westley. So we Ubered back to the troll farm, took on an entirely new crew of trolls, and he stayed aboard for a while as first mate, all the time calling me Vlad Tepes. Once the crew believed, he left the troll farm and I have been Vlad Tepes ever since. Except, now that we’re together, I shall retire and hand the name over to someone else. Is everything clear to you?

  53. Geeeeez….. Can’t we just have another 9mm vs .45acp debate? Or even a Glock vs 1911 imbroglio? I miss that stuff………