Trolls are an all-too-common denizen of the internet. We see them on Facebook and other places. Recently I had an experience with them on this blog. I wrote a blog post critical of Governor Gary Johnson and his connection with political consultant Roger Stone.
While much of the responses I received were genuine, there were also some that were suspicious. They used the same language and nasty attacks. And this leads to one of the things that’s wonderful about the web. You can be a troll if you like but trolls leave tracks. This blog uses WordPress, and its comment feature indicates the IP address used by the commenter and time of posting to the comment narrator (me).
Here are some comments from purportedly different people using the same IP address:
HP — firstname.lastname@example.org — 220.127.116.11 — Submitted on 2011/12/28 at 8:08am
Shouldnt use your column to settle scores. Sounds like Mr. Stone is in your wheelhouse BIGTIME!
Smoke — Rogermanis@hotmail.com — 18.104.22.168 — Submitted on 2011/12/28 at 7:42am
Warren—this is just sour grapes. If the NY Libertarians had nominated Kristin Davis insrtead of you thay would have won 50,000 votes and wouldn’t have to petition their way onto the ballot. You are the one who hurt the party.
Joe paine — Joepaine1@hotmail.com — 22.214.171.124 — Submitted on 2011/12/28 at 7:39am
Warren– You make a living getting drunk drivers who kill people behind the wheel for a living off. Who are you to criticize anyone?
Not only are they from the same IP address (in bold), but they were also posted within about 30 minutes from each other. Here’s another couple:
Susan Greenberg — email@example.com — 126.96.36.199 — Submitted on 2011/12/27 at 4:15pm
I read what you wrote defending older men have sex with teen age girls. It was perverted. I would not want my daughters anywhere near you. I’m glad you moved to Florida. The children of the Albany area are safer because of it.
Seth Greenberg — firstname.lastname@example.org — 188.8.131.52 — Submitted on 2011/12/27 at 4:10pm
Warren – didn’t you publically call your opponent Kristin Davis a whore ? Didn’t you refuse to share the NYLP voting delegate lists and convention rules with any other candidate before the NY convention? Who is guilty of dirty tricks? Look in the mirror.
Again with the same IP address. And the comments were posted 5 minutes apart. There were also two other comments posted within 12 minutes after the last one, using different IP addresses but similar language and form of attack (references to my work as a defense lawyer, or to Kristin Davis, who is not even mentioned in the blog post).
One other piece of evidence is the purported e-mail addresses. I searched for them on the web and can’t find a single one of them. Here’s a Google search for Pederson’s:
If these were real people using their real e-mail addresses, you would think at least one of them would show up on a Google search. But they’re not real people. It’s all probably one or two cowardly people using fake names to attack others while remaining hidden.
Here’s two more:
DontMissYou — email@example.com — 184.108.40.206 — Submitted on 2011/12/27 at 3:45pm
Gee if the NY Libertarians had had a fair and open convention to nominate a candidate for Governor perhaps Roger Stone wouldn’t have killed your chances to get 50,000 votes and put the Libertarians on the map. Instead you used gestapo tactics and refused to share delegate lists with the other candidates. You reap what you sow. Even in South Florida.
PeteSzabo — firstname.lastname@example.org — 220.127.116.11 — Submitted on 2011/12/27 at 3:43pm
I read what you wrote defending older men having sex with teen age girls. It was perverted. I would not want my daughters anywhere near you. I’m glad you moved to Florida. The children of the Albany area are safer because of it.
These two were posted from the same IP address, two minutes apart. And notice how the second one is exactly the same, word for word, as the “Susan Greenberg” comment. And another comment (not posted) used the same language as “DontMissYou”.
The image below shows some of what I see in the WordPress comment moderation screen. Please note there were two more that I could not fit onto the screen. Click on the picture to see it in a larger size:
For an excellent discussion of tracking trolls, see Chantal Stained Glass.