Types of misinformation and discourse manipulation happening in this sub

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Hey everyone, I wanted to document some of the types of disinformation/discourse manipulation that I see actively happening on this sub. I started lurking here when the Intercept article dropped in May and have read new submissions daily since.

I am not saying that everything listed is deliberate manipulation or trying to fan the conspiracy flames. But I think that a lot of the core, reasonable members are getting sidetracked, exhausted, and frustrated by this style of content and that makes it easy to escalate hostility in tone, switch off, or otherwise be turned off from the community.

From reading the undercurrents of posts here, I think that there is a core contingent of people who are rational but open-minded, and wish to examine claims of UAP seriously, with maybe a slight bias towards belief, but very much ready to accept debunks when they make sense. However, in recent weeks (since the hearing) there has been a marked change in tone and content of posts.

My hope is that this post will help folks recognise when certain reactions or effects are being sought by posters and take a step back before unnecessarily engaging or spending mental energy.

Overhyped, obviously fake videos

Usually these come as links to some YT or tiktok content which is old, debunked videos being presented as new, or links to obvious grifters who are trying to monetise clicks. They have hyperbolic titles like “INSANE NEW FOOTAGE” or “REAL ALIEN CAUGHT ON CAMERA” etc.

Some of these posts will be from genuine newcomers who are interested in this topic but seeing low quality content out there.

The effect of this is to lower the average quality of post on this sub and tire out members by making these clickbait claims.

I’m honestly not sure why so many of these get approved, especially when they’re often reposts in quick succession.

Obvious attempts at trolling for an emotional response

Sometimes comes as posts, mostly in comments. I have noticed an increase in actively hostile, sarcastic, internet-dunk-style posts which all revolve around “you people are morons/crazy and will believe anything”. These usually don’t contain any substantive criticism, or if they do it’s low effort.

The effect of this is to make established members feel attacked and to try to get hostile responses – the classic, original trolling method. Another effect is to try and make newcomers/lurkers feel embarrassed to be considering UAP seriously/associating with this sub.

Larps

Comments and posts claiming to be from people with this or that connection/authorisation/inside info. Usually presented with zero proof. I think these are especially dangerous because at the core of it, the bulk of the UAP literature is composed of witness accounts, and therefore folks here tend to have an open-minded approach. I am not saying everyone here is automatically believing every larp, and there’s usually good analysis/discussion. But the thing is, even when we know it could be false, a compelling story is something that sticks with us and colours our view of any new info we get. A big example is the number of callbacks to the 4chan larp in recent times. The danger is that we start to see connections and try to spot patterns that aren’t there and muddy the waters.

Low effort/bad faith debunks

“If aliens made it all the way here why would they crash?” “If the conspiracy is true how could they possibly have kept it a secret?” “Grusch didn’t even show any real evidence”

Sometimes these are from people just coming into contact with the topic for the first time, but most are just Dunning-Kruegering their way into what they think is a “gotcha” moment. It’s tiring because it’s ill-informed and yet people feel the need to correct the record, kind of like when you ask a Lord of the Rings fan why the Fellowship couldn’t just fly an eagle to Mordor.

I think that the mods should probably make a sidebar message or something with an FAQ covering these commonly-asked questions and then take a more restrictive view on approving those posts.

Discourse manipulation

Not limited to this sub but I think we’ve all seen how conveniently stuff like the Las Vegas encounter was made to dominate discussion for days without adding anything of value to the body of knowledge. It’s just obvious distraction tactics.

Political dimension

My perception is that there is a wide range of political views here. I think the American members could maybe keep in mind a little more that a lot of international folks are here – more than rest of Reddit – and it’s not really about your politics for us. I think many of us want to see real information, but it’s worrying to see trends emerging trying to link disclosure to any “side”. In most of the rest of the world politics is pluralistic, there are more than two options, and about policy not which team you belong to. Please don’t let this get dragged into becoming a political football.

Thanks for reading & peace to all

submitted by /u/niphette
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