Can Someone Channel Ron Paul Supporter Energy For Good Instead Of Annoyance?

from the note:-this-doesn't-make-you-look-good dept

Are you familiar with the horror movie Candyman? In it, naive victims-to-be summon the titular character by repeating his name five times while staring into a mirror. Unpleasantness ensues. Strangely enough, the exact same phenomenon applies to Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. But you'll need a web browser instead of a mirror, and you only need to say his name once.

The online omnipresence of Paul’s supporters is impressive to the point of being terror-inducing. Virtually any online poll in which Paul appears can be counted on to swing wildly in his favor — in the wake of one such incident, the National Journal begged Paul’s supporters "please stop emailing us." Stories involving Dr. Paul make it to the front page of Digg on a daily basis, and any blog post that triggers a Google Alert for his name is sure to see a flood of comments arrive shortly thereafter.

Now some of his supporters have been caught promoting their preferred candidate using decidedly unsavory means. SecureWorks has released a report detailing the mechanisms behind a four day pro-Paul spam flood (one that we noted back on November 1). Apparently a botnet was employed to send unsolicited emails via infected computers, in much the same illegal style that's used to hawk pirated software and disc0unt v1agra.

Dirty pool, to be sure — and foolish on the part of the Paul fans behind it. The spam and rigged online polls aren't fooling anyone, and only make it easier to dismiss the campaign's online prominence as a the work of a handful of talented geeks. But there's no CPAN module that lets you create a blimp via Perl script; most of the pro-Paul comments left around the net contain enough context that they appear to have been written by actual humans; and incidents like the one that occurred at the San Francisco Republican Straw Poll make it clear that Paul's campaign has some real grassroots support behind it. I'm not buying Ron Paul contracts on Intrade just yet, but it would be nice to see his online armies knock off the transparent internet antics and start channeling their energy toward more productive — or at least dignified — ends. Unfortunately, as my fellow Techdirt Insight Community member and blogger Tim Lee has discussed elsewhere, the odds of this happening don’t seem to be very good.

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Comments on “Can Someone Channel Ron Paul Supporter Energy For Good Instead Of Annoyance?”

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Rich Kulawiec says:

I've tuned them out as well

The annoying behavior of [some] Ron Paul supporters greatly
overshadows whatever merits his positions may have. One of
these jerks sent their *CHILD* up to our front door on
Halloween, not to get some candy, but to force campaign
literature into our hands. That’s inexcusably rude, doubly
so because the pitiful coward responsible didn’t have the courage
to do it themself.

A couple of weeks later, someone put Ron Paul flyers
on every car in the neighborhood — even though it’s
clearly posted as no soliciting. Since they chose to
do this in a cold, wet, very windy night, the next morning
found lots of those brochures littering streets, front lawns, etc. A call to local Ron Paul HQ asking them to
get their butts out in the rain and clean up their mess
did not result in any action.

Given this behavior, I’m not buying the-botnet-did-it
story just yet. I’ve seen way too many spammer excuses over
the years.

Brian says:

Whatever, Rich

So let me get this straight:

Ron Paul supporters should post online; they shouldn’t vote for their candidate in internet polls; they shouldn’t leaflet; and they shouldn’t canvass door to door.

Anything else? I suppose I should assume you think they shouldn’t make phone calls or run radio or TV ads either?

It becomes increasingly clear that just about every last ****sucker out there who complains that Paul supporters are “pushy” really is angry that they exist in the first place, and the only thing they would consider “un-pushy” is if they ceased to exist.

Talk to the hand. I hope you get robocalled every ten minutes between now and the primaries, have your door knocked on every ten seconds, and have your car covered from end to end in bumper stickers.

Pneal says:

some more info:

Dear Tom,

The spam that was going around from this bot had tiny url links to Ron Paul youtube videos. Youtube has a habit of deleting videos that spam links to; thus, the end effect of the botnet was to have Ron Paul videos deleted, and annoy a lot of people about Ron Paul. Anyone with the savvy to create a bot would know these would be the results; thus, your argument that it was a Ron Paul fan (or fans) creating the bot is an error; Ron Paul fans didn’t do the bot or the spam.

I’ll grant you that yes, many internet supporters of RP are annoying, and i don’t agree with the spamming of windshields either. There are thousands of RP supporters going door to door, as well as funding some innovative campaigning. We won’t know how well we’ve done until the primaries.

Bkusz says:

Passion and exuberance...

Perhaps it is not a handful of Paul supporters all making the same comments and spamming polls as suggested many times in past Paul stories, instead perhaps it is indeed a large percentage of your fellow internet users that concur with most of Ron Pauls ideas and participate on the net like they always have.

In fact imo it does appear that an overwhelming amount of web users support Paul and those who do not are in the minority as there are far more individual comments for Ron Paul than against.

What Paul supporters need to do is work on the other 230 million that are not online, That’s the next goal..

I also am happy to see the exuberance and passion that Ron Paul supporters have brought back to the political arena. Politics should inspire passion and exuberance. Would anyone suggest apathy be better? Perhaps apathy is what cost us Americans the most. So bless there exuberance and passion and may they change the world.

Want to no more about Ron Paul, don’t trust anyone, Google Ron Paul, read all you want about him and make up your own mind. Wikepedia has allot of good info too..

Regards to all

Letma Peoplego says:

Not Me

I don’t make my election decisions on which candidate I like the best. I am more evolved than that.

I support the candidate who’s supporters I like the best. Obama supporters are cool but a little young. I want to feel powerful and important. I think I will vote for Hillary or Giuliani…then I will know that I am a player.

Blame lack of coverage says:

Blame the lack of media exposure

Blame the major media outlets for lack of coverage. Ron Paul has millions of supporters who are terrified his messages aren’t getting heard so they are doing everything they can to get his message out there. They believe whole-heartedly in him and want to share their passion with you and everyone else. With a fair shake from the media you would see the spikes in traffic decline. As it stands the few literature pieces published on Paul cause spikes because it happens so rarely.

dorpass says:

So cute, they all flock together...

– People smart enough to build a bot net are not necessarily smart enough to consider what happens beyond it’s operation
– Emails coming from outside of US sound like bot net works pretty damn well and it makes sense to do it if you are trying to get noticed
– It IS possible to rig an online poll by having one person vote many times. It is easily done even by barely computer literates people

And way to prove the point of the article, Ron Paul supporters!

Brad says:

Some People Just Don't Get It

There is Logic and Reason behind the positions of Ron Paul.

The Hasty conclusion of a cursory glance followed by a derogatory slant is what causes the onslaught of comment. Ron Paul supporters are more than happy to attempt to educate, should the discussion be about the issues and problems facing our nation.

Unfortunately, many who fear for change in their paradigm relocate themselves to playground rather than intellectual tactics. Rather than discuss issues, they label the messenger and denote their discourse as Spam.

Views Untested Are Worthless !!!

Reality Will Be Reality Whether Believed In Or Not.

The rest of the candidates are just more of the same continuance of ineptitude that will result in the collapse of the American Experiment.

I Vote For Virtue; I Vote For Ron Paul.

Dave (profile) says:


This annoyance trait can be attributed to their absolute refusal of notion “The State” (or “Gov”) [shall] reign(s) supreme over the individual. This is a (supremacy) disease in thinking that is epidemic in America. It has been promoted by a ‘controlling’ faction of our country that has continued to consider themselves alone above any ‘law'(by control I mean they have and have had control of all the resources media ‘law’ enforcement ‘military’ and wealth for some time). The same way Germany’s consciousness became polluted during Hitler such has happened here. FEAR OR GREED, the devil himself has taken us for a ride.

Freedom is such that it is intimately intertwined with freedom. The founders knew this. The bible speaks of this. The two are inseparable. Attack freedom and sacrifice humanity itself. Look at what these people have done (TORTURE KILLING INNOCENTS). Paul and all of us who have awakenED to the truth of the matter help those in UNECESSARY FEAR to see the LIGHT. I myself have always maintained my faith in the individual, individual responsibility, democracy and, therefore, humanity and FREEDOM not kingdom, not serfdom, not neoslavery. LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE FREE PURSUITS OF HAPPINESS. The tighter this “empire” tries to control and squeeze (repress) the individual the more we will like hamburger slip out between it’s talons. Freedom is and will always be OMNIPOTENT (all powerful) and OMNIPRESENT (always there here and everywhere). We don’t need to police the world to promote this. Policing is in conflict to this. It is inherent.

Pauls message is an imperative because the path we’ve been on other than being an utter hoax, fraud and a farce, like the war on drugs, has been tearing the very fabric of humanity, from such a hypocritical corner as “standing for freedom.”

Have faith, believe in and allow the change for a necessary for this all important rEVOLution. The stealth empire must give way to the individual (the benevolence of the individual) and democracy. Don’t believe the evil focus that comes from your mindbox (TV). Believe what you know in your heart to be true.
“We The People” and Ron Paul love, faith, peace, goodness and prosperity wins in 2008!

John L (user link) says:

I understand your points

I get your drift, and you’re brave for going ahead and posting anyhow, but I’m really not sure what you’re trying to say.

Paul supporters have not rigged any online polls, and the spam incident does nothing to indicate otherwise. They are just more enthusiastic and will all pretty much vote for anything they can to support their candidate.

Judging a candidate based on a small number of supporters (or, likely, just one in the spam incident) seems a bit banal. As you can see from your ever growing comment section, the supporters are a wide variety of excited folks.

But, you seem to (sort of) understand this. The campaign is extremely decentralized, and that is new to a lot of people. They are so used to thinking top down about everything (thank your Federal Government for that), they can’t imagine that there isn’t some secret cabal hired by Ron Paul to run all of this. There isn’t, and thus we have anyone and everyone expressing enthusiasm every which way. It’s kind of exciting, if annoying at times.

I apologize for the rude types, but try and remember that sometimes freedom is a bit messy.

Leonardo says:

Earth to Tom...

Wow! and you are in IT Business, Humm…
Where tha hell have you been?
Oh wait, better yet, what tha heck are you guys smoking in “Information Technology” now a day?

Like mother always said “If you can’t stand the heat, get tha hell out…”

Do you know the “most dangerous weapon” of all Tom?
Yes, “Ignorance” and there’s quite a few out there…

Try a “legitimate piece” to make a different and people will respect you for it Tom. Cause this distortion ain’t gonna cut it…

Victor Germann says:

Some real info

I read this from the link, at SecureWorks, the author provided,

” We were also able to see the other types of spam being sent by the botnet – quickly dismissing the idea that this botnet was created for the purpose of political spam.”

So the experts at SecureWorks DO NOT think it was done for political gain, but you do????

You Wrote:
“his supporters have been caught promoting their preferred candidate using decidedly unsavory means”


“Dirty pool, to be sure — and foolish on the part of the Paul fans behind it”

Yet your own source (SecureWorks) comes to the EXACT opposite conclusion.

Did you not read the report you site? Am I missing something here?

Nidian says:

Paul Spam

SecureWorks wrote that piece. They identified the creater of the spam. Reactor Mailer is the brainchild of a spammer who goes by the pseudonym ?spm?. He calls his company ?Elphisoft?, and has even been interviewed about his operation by the Russian hacker website He claims to hire some of the best coders in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States, the post-Soviet confederation)

Just let you know, this is what the SecureWorks article said in their conclusion:

“…we are left asking the question, who paid to have the Ron Paul spam sent and how did they connect with the spammer, nenastnyj?? The evidence shows that despite being capable of sending upwards of 200 million messages a day, nenastnyj is not one of the major spammers of the world, and seems to focus on spamming as an affiliate for larger kingpin? operations. The Ron Paul spam was very much a one-off job among the other tasks in the Reactor interface. It almost seems as though there may have been some pre-established relationship between the sponsor of the spam and nenastnyj. However, given the current state of law enforcement activity concerning spam in the countries of the CIS, it is unlikely we will get an answer to these questions…”

In other words, “spm” created the spam. It was recognizable work and SercureWorks found that “spm” (a Ukrainian ‘bot master’) used ‘nenastnyj’ as a middleman.

So does it make sense this Eastern European was huge Ron Paul supporter or hired by someone who has more than the Yellow Pages at his disposal?


BenBolton says:

What supporter energy means:

“And way to prove the point of the article, Ron Paul supporters!”

We have some things we believe in very strongly: personal liberty and the constitution.

It’s not our fault the other candidates don’t have such a powerful message backed by years of integrity through consistency…

As to the SPAM, you always look at who it benefits, and since the youtube videos were removed as a matter of policy and the press reports negatively on it… do you really believe “People smart enough to build a bot net are not necessarily smart enough to consider what happens beyond it’s operation”? Maybe that’s why you haven’t joined the revolution yet.

Tannim says:

Amazing how uninformed you are!

The spambot has been traced to a Ukranian spam syndicate. That was reported several days ago. Proof positie that no Paul supporter did it.

As for your complaints about Paul supporters (like me) canvassing the Web and spreading the truth and debunking the myths, well, guess what: it’s a free Internet, pal, and if you don’t like it, log off. We all spread the word in different ways, Web included.

You should be happy that people are energized and involved in the Presidential campaign instead of bitching about it. You need to realize that the non-Paul candidates want to regulate, tax, censor, and destroy the Internet, and that should concern you, because it affects YOU (and the rest of us) directly.

So don’t go complaining about us Paul supporters doing our thing. You don’t have the right to not be offended. Instead, find out WHY it’s happening and then actually DO something about it, either for or against it! Otherwise you have no real grounds to complain.

M Cooper says:

I agree!

All those geeks using computer viruses to put people in parades, win paper polls, and hanging signs on every other overpass around where I love need to quit.

All those geeks sending fake donations to Ron Paul whose campaign chest now totals more than what McCain has raised in verifiable individual donations needs to quit.

All those geeks sending fake polls, even those which show Ron Paul has more support among military members according to donations than any other presidential candidate needs to stop.

Not everything can be faked with a computer. Not every Ron Paul supporter is a bot-net. Not every online poll is ‘rigged’ for Ron Paul.

Considering there is no verifiable evidence linking this to Ron Paul’s campaign (rather it seems to be taking a popular subject and using it to spread malware – much like anything with “Britney” or “Aguilerra” in a subject line does).

More irresponsible reporting by TechDirt, then again – I’m not surprised anymore.

dorpass says:

Re: Blog spam not from supporters.

“There are a lot of non-supporters on blogs posting annoying pro support comments on every article in order to generate annoyance.”

Agreed. Just the comments section here is proof of that. And I love how they are up in arms about BLOG misreporting something… I bet they get upset about bathroom stall “misreports” as well.

PaulTard#352569 says:

Re: Re: Blog spam not from supporters.

We get upset with ignorance and misinformation, wherever it appears. Let’s face it, Ron Paul has enough of a hurdle to overcome with MSM blackout or bias. Many people will search out the name Ron Paul on the internet, and unfortuately will inevitably end up reading blog postings to help them form their own opinion. Many won’t question what they read and follow-up on claims, they’ll just jump on either the “for” or “against” bandwagon. That’s what America has been conditioned to do.

We Paul supporters just want a fair hearing, and a fair shake. The establishment/corporate agenda is desperate to not allow this, and they want to push the most of us as possible into the “against” camp. The people who think and are against Paul are a small group. The people who don’t think, and just eat what they’re fed, are the ones that make or break a candidate. We want them fed the truth about Ron Paul, therefore every negative post needs a counter-post. Luckily for us, this is easy because Ron Paul’s positions mostly don’t need defending. The truth and respect for the Constitution is a beacon of hope that shines bright for all.

excuses4tyrants says:

I get so sick and tired of you people! Always showing up and taking the time to want to be heard; crying about how the government is taking your civil liberties and policing the world. There is nothing offensive about calling you Paultards or always hanging a libelous adjective on your candidates name. If we just all did what we’re supposed to, no one would have to worry: we could just vote for Hillary or Rudy and they can 9/11 the whole country and you’d better like it. By the way, some of the near-unanamous legislation breezing through the house of Representatives lately tells me that when they decide to round up violent radicals and thought criminals, they just need to check Ron Paul’s donor list and re-educate any/all who caucus/primary for him. Have a nice war!

Elaine McKillop, esq. says:


Isn’t overthrowing an oppressive government peacefully a “good thing.” I don’t know what planet you have been living on but where I come from the media bias against Ron Paul is a sure sign of manipulated propaganda being put fourth as “News”. We are internet savvy and it is easy to find the truth if you look for it. Like the NAFTA highway which is very real missy. We are fed up with the lies and distortions. An example, any reference to Dr. Ron Paul is prefaced with negativity such as “under dog” “long shot” or a Kook” that can’t win, and now you are attacking his supporters. To be quite frank YOU annoy us. You claim Ron Paul supporters “rig” the on line polls. What about Romney who has rigged just about every straw poll he has been in. There is plenty of video footage to prove it. Ron Paul’s living breathing supporters out number Romney’s at every public event, his thugs are in with the Republican party allowing count tampering and yet he is a “front runner” and you expect us to believe that? I for one support civil disobedience. I am tired as hell of apathy that has allowed the media to become like Nazi Germany’s propaganda machine and Politicians who scoff at the Constitution as though it were passe and not the supreme law of the land. I hope Ron Paul supporter do not become disheartened by misinformation such as the latest surge by the likes of Huckabee, who let a rapist out of jail and then covered up his part in the fiasco, and who once gave a speech calling for all of the victims of AIDS to be locked up and isolated. Have a great day madam, I hope I have annoyed you. The Revolution is on and it will not be a quiet one.

RonPaulSpammer says:

Get used to it, dilweed.

Not only are us Paultards not going anywhere, and not only do we own the internet, if Ron Paul loses or gets killed or drops out, we’re still gonna be here. Because his is a candidacy of ideas, you can’t get rid of it. Freedom is like a mental virus. It’s annoying to the complacent or the ignorant or the happily unfree. To normal, thinking, rational people, it’s a tonic. And once you drink it, you can’t get enough. It creates enthusiasm. The idea that you might just be left alone by the idiots in DC. That idea alone is invigorating. So too bad if you don’t like our “tactics” or you find us annoying. Maybe you should leave politics to the passionate and find another hobby, like karaoke or badmitton.

Alex Hagen says:

I swear Techdirt is just contrary sometimes

I swear Techdirt is contrary for contrary’s sake sometimes. You state that the online polls are rigged, but offer exactly zero proof of that. You imply that some of the posts left on message boards are not from humans, but have no proof of that either. I am not exactly a Ron Paul supporter, but I have no doubt his popularity on the Internet is real. I think to imply otherwise just makes you guys look kind of dumb.

I have to agree with Will. Seriously, I like the subjects that Techdirt covers, but your reporting really seems to getting worse…and it was never the best to begin with. In the last several years I have noticed more instances of you guys letting your bias get the better of you and just outright errors creeping through. You need to really re-think your story writing, fact checking, and editorial processes.

dorpass says:

Re: I swear Techdirt is just contrary sometimes

I have to agree with Will. Seriously, I like the subjects that Techdirt covers, but your reporting really seems to getting worse…and it was never the best to begin with. In the last several years I have noticed more instances of you guys letting your bias get the better of you and just outright errors creeping through. You need to really re-think your story writing, fact checking, and editorial processes.

You DO know this is not a library of congress here or state department? May be you should rethink what you read and where you comment. Hopefully the conclusion will be with you commenting elsewhere. Much obliged.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Whatever Rich

I must say that you’ve done an excellent job of completely
misreading what I wrote. Oh, and fabricating things
that I didn’t actually say. Bravo.

Do you not grasp that using, and I mean using, children
for political campaigning is wrong?

Do you not grasp that soliciting in a neighborhood that’s
explicitly posted against it is wrong?

These things are wrong regardless of the candidate, regardless
of the position, regardless of the merits. They’re rude.
They’re uncivilized. They’re intrusive. And they piss
people off — something that anyone who’s
actually worked on a campaign already knows. “Don’t alienate
the voters with tactics, only do it with strategy if you must” is a maxim that I thought every novice politico
already knew. Apparently not.

I understand enthusiasm for a candidate, been there,
done that. And I applaud it — at least it shows that
people are interested in the political process, which
beats apathy. But enthusiasm does not excuse rude behavior.
Besides, anyone of even middling intelligence can find
plenty of creative ways to propagate the same message to the same
people without aggravating them. Heck, it’s easier
now than it’s ever been (in part thanks to the Internet)
to do precisely that.

So my expectation — of the Ron Paul campaign in particular
because of its stated desire to break with a great many
things best described as “business as usual” — is that
they’ll try to be better than the rest: no invasive
telephone calls, no mindless slogans, no push polls, etc.
If these folks are really as progressive as they claim
to be — and it’d be refreshing if they were — then they should
be able to conduct a campaign at a higher, more principled
level than their competition, setting a standard and
challenging others to live up to it.

PaulTard#352569 says:

Re: Whatever Rich

Hmmm…sounds like you want us to run a non-campaign. No calls, no slogans, no polls.
This is exactly why Ron Paul supporters are angry at the media and the “journalists” out there. They denigrate Dr. Paul both subtly and not so subtly, and expect us all to just eat their words and like it.
The so-called “establishment” just doesn’t like that we’re playing by their rules and doing it effectively, unlike the last few Presidential elections where they had an independent, like Nader, to point & laugh at.
Has anyone else noticed yet how they’re floating the idea, some practically begging “run as an independent!” Yeah, they’d love that, it makes it so much easier to define that candidate as an outsider to the general sheeple.
I’ve got news for ya – the sheeple are mutating back into American humans, and they’re getting more pissed by the day.

Make sure you visit, and donate if you can!

Elaine McKillop, Esq. says:

Re: Whatever Rich

This campaign is not polite. It is down and dirty and the other guys started it. The biased and manipulated media has ignored or attacked our candidate with demeaning remarks, now they are attacking his supporters. In every way you can identify support Ron Paul wins. He has the most google hits, he has the most meet up groups with the most active members, which are all over the world, his grass roots efforts have put up signs and billboards all over the country. He is attracting crowds to his rallies, 5,000 in Philly, 1,000 in St Pete, he has raised over $10,750,000 this quarter and the next money bomb will hit on December 16th in honor of the Boston Tea Party. He has sold more shirts, sold more yard signs, he has the most songs written about him and yet he is not called a top tier candidate! He has done all of this with the main stream media using everything in their box of propaganda tools to marginalize him. We are better than the rest because we are the men of reason who do not choose to be sheep anymore, a Revolution is not always pretty, we may be vocal but we are peaceful, the hell with being polite, the word is no longer in my dictionary.

PS What make you think that children should not be involved in the political process. My home-schooled child could recite the Bill of Rights when he was three. He was not raised to be a slave to the state. I taught him about liberty early.

ChurchHatesTucker (user link) says:

What the frak?

OK, I get the all-too-predictable campaign to discredit one of the few candidates who is actually a threat to the established interests that you otherwise rail against.

I understand the knee-jerk reaction by the usual hacks.

What confuses me is why someone who is otherwise so savvy fails to see this smear campaign for what it is. And on top of it asks that his supporters, who are, granted, disproportionately represented online, to stop showing their support online.

Maybe you should be asking why his support comes in large part from the same people who are concerned about the same issues that you, and the rest of techdirt, are concerned about.

RonPaulSpambotNet says:


It looks to me like all of these articles say the same thing.

They aren’t written by real people, it’s just a computer program that writes all the news using a single algorithm that filters viewpoints and changes the wording around. It’s only a few people behind it, and they fear they are losing their grip on the blinders they have been using to frame every viewpoint.

The computer program is named, “Socialism_Or_Fascism_Make_Your_Choice”.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Some real info

Secureworks’s research looks reasonably good, but
they’re hardly the only ones who have looked into this.

The problem is that without a money trail (or equivalent)
it’s impossible to say for certain who was actually behind
it. Past experience (length, disappointing past experience)
indicates that it’s often the case that the money behind spam
runs is laundered through a series of entities in order to
obscure the trail and create plausible deniability.
Uncovering that is often very difficult without some
combination of (a) subpoena powers (b) an insider
(c) a major mistake or (d) a security breach. Competent
spammers know this and organize their operations to avoid
these issues.

So I’m not yet ready to buy the conclusion
that the Ron Paul campaign (or anyone in it) had nothing
to do with it. Maybe that’s so. But I’ve yet to see
convincing evidence — even circumstantially convincing
evidence — of it. I’d like to; I’d like to believe
that they’re not spammers, doubly so because (as I hope
everyone already knows) the Democratic and Republican
parties both are spammers. (One of the few truly
bipartisan efforts in this country.) I think it’s best
for the moment to consider the question open and to await
further information.

Matt says:


Agree with comment above – people familiar with Paul in the younger age demographic who frequently use the net are probably trying to counter the near void of MSM exposure. And it appears to be working. He will now need to (rather quickly) build on this momentum to gain that MSM exposure which he can’t win without.

Agree sending your kid to the door on halloween to hand out RP flyers isn’t the best idea, but then again it’s just as well-intended supporter.

If I recall, there may have been a few small indiscretions committed by prior (winning) campaigns. How about that little diddy over on the east coast where the Bush supporters plastered every car at a McCain rally with flyers showing McCain with his “illegitimate black child.” (oh you adopted? our bad!)

dorpass says:

Re: Dorpass

Hahaha, now if you REALLY read the articles here and REALLY read the comments, you would’ve know that you got me confused with another person, whose nickname I am blatantly mocking. But, alas, your comprehension skills lack at every level and here you are, confused yet again. And if you have been wishing for dorpus (FAT HINT) to drop off the internet for months, that means you haven’t been reading TechDirt for “years” as you claim. Dorpus has been posting for quite a bit longer than just months and his posts have ALWAYS been off-topic/lies and most commonly, first responses to any new entry. But nevermind that, enjoy your confusion.

Darren says:

The Definition of Hypocrisy

I don’t like the annoying Ron Paul supporters so I think I’ll write an article that will definitely bring them out.

Believe us, we equally do not like journalists who purposely misrepresent Ron Paul’s positions, spin the truth on ‘botnet’ stories, or call us kooks, whackos, fringe, paulites, paulians, and my favorite bigotted name ‘paultards’.

I can’t believe in 2007 people still make fun of people that have mental disabilities. I guess it takes superior intellect to pick on people who don’t normally fight back.

It’s all about perspective.

Richard Wicks says:

How the mainstream media can get Paul supporters o

It’s pretty simple.

All they have to do is start doing their job and start reporting actual news rather than BS on Britney Spear’s haircut, and having questions about baseball during Presidential debates.

The mainstream media for the last 15 years has *completely* abrogated it’s responsibility to inform people.

The coverage of Paul is mostly deceptive and erroneous but when it’s at it’s peak of quality it’s shallow and uneducational. For example, if I can know more about Operation Ajax and how it eventually directly led to the 9/11 tragedy than a professional journalist can, why am I working as an Electrical Engineer instead of a journalist?

Do your job or get out of the business of journalism to make room for somebody that can. The entire country is tired of a media that is more concerned with the latest film in Hollywood than investigative and truthful reporting on people who are slated to next be the rulers of this country.

An informed electorate is essential to maintaining a democracy and from what I see, the mainstream media is intent on destroying democracy within this nation.

TX CHL Instructor (profile) says:

New tactic...

RP supporters need to do a spam with links to YouTube videos of the Liberal candidates.

Except that probably wouldn’t actually work. I would be willing to bet money that YouTube would find a reason to make an ‘exception’ for Hillary’s videos.

The COTUS isn’t a perfect document; it’ just better than what we are living under now. Don’t think RP has a chance? Then go stick your head back in the sand, and don’t bother to vote at all, since the winner is going to be Tweedledum or Tweedledee anyway…

Johnson Rice (user link) says:

Note to self: Take everything Tom Lee says with a grain of salt. Didn’t even do the research to see that it was ‘one guy’ and not “Ron Paul Supporters” and there is no proof as to whether this guy is actually a supporter, or specifically trying to discredit Paul… like for example… Tom Lee. The only people who seem to spam blogs and social news sites as much as Ron Paul supporters, are Ron Paul haters….

JJ says:


What amazes me about these comments is that they attack Tom for trying to “discredit” Ron Paul. Tom does no such thing. He’s simply saying that Ron Paul’s supporters need to be less overbearing in their message because it turns people off. That says nothing about Ron Paul’s candidacy.

And what happens? Yup. People attack him for being anti-Paul, basically proving Tom’s point.

Let’s make this clear: it is NOT an anti-Ron Paul post. Not at all. It’s simply pointing out that his supporters can often do more harm than good. And how do many of them respond? By doing more harm. Brilliant.

Christopher Williams says:

Our Man...The Good Doctor...

Ron Paul is a stand-out among the brainwashed or brainwashing super-elite. Ron Paul is America’s middle figer to “the establishment” and in order to show D.C. that his supporters are for real, I am running for Congress and plan on overthrowing the Freemason, Real-Estate Brokering, profiteer who is currently representing my district in Texas. His name is Rob Orr and my name is Christopher Williams. Ron Paul for President…Christopher Williams for Congress. I got your back Dr. Paul.

Darren D says:

JJ's Bizarre Comment

JJ says,

“What amazes me about these comments is that they attack Tom for trying to “discredit” Ron Paul.”

UH, JJ – I missed the comments that are attacking Tom for trying to “discredit Ron Paul”. Could you show some examples? I see a lot of on point comments.

What amazes me is that you read all these comments and then came up with an unfounded conclusion.

Jared says:

I agree with JJ in post 62

Brilliant. But i don’t really expect much more from stoners, which i suspect make up a not insignificant part of Paul’s supporters. Cheap shot. But anyway, i think he does have some good ideas although i can’t support all of his positions. The supporters, as with any cause, are probably the worst part in some ways. I think it’s unconscionable to use children as described in an earlier post. I get thoroughly annoyed by stuff plastering my car. I think it’s great that you supporters are so passionate and mobilized, but as was kind of the point of the article, you do need to tone things down a bit and be less irritating.

Titobandito says:

People are just tired

I believe that Dr. Paul has re-flamed the torch of Liberty in this country and more and more people are opening their eyes to it. Internet bloggers is just the beginning, the Ron Paul Revolution is going to take this country by storm. If you just listen to Ron Paul you’ll realize that he is a patriot of the level of Gorge Washington. The Media won’t be able to ignore him much longer. Just wait until the Ronald Reagan Republicans get the RP message. This is unstoppable.

Join the Tea Party 12/16 and make history!

Tea Party

David says:

Reality check for Tom Lee

What you fail to realize is that the far more numerous Paul supporters online are annoyed by the likes of YOU. You, apparently a tiny minority if we are to believe the evidence of our eyes, claim to be put out because you are not in the majority. My guess is that you would be quite happy if swarms of Paul haters were to converge like locusts and shout the tiny Paul supporters down. Sorry, my friend, but the shoe is most definitely on the other foot. You are lucky that so many are as civil as they are, but I conclude your philosophy is “I’d rather pretend I’m the only one right than admit I’m the only one wrong.” You are so smug, yet any of us can see you don’t even have the facts.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that we are fighting with all the odds against us, but if we fail I promise you will one day get to see exactly what we were talking about. If you were to only realize the peril we are in as a country you would have some insight into why we crazy Paultards feel such a sense of urgency.

One last question to ask yourself: Can you honestly say that every last Paul supporter is a fool? Do some research.

grrranimals says:

So, confessing my ignorance here, the name Ron Paul had not much crossed my radar (or I was studiously ignoring it, take your pick.) Judging by the comments here, he’s the next Messiah, strong on personal freedoms, yada yada. Being a child of the computer age, I popped out to look at his voting record.

Hmmmmm…let’s see….lots of “no” votes supporting abortion rights and a sprinking of “yeses” where those rights are being curtailed.

Public expression of religion act (i.e. where people can get their attorney’s fees covered when their freedom from/of religion rights are violated)? He votes no.

Clean energy act of 2007? Votes no.

Bill to prevent the Organization of Petroleum Export Groups (NOPEC)? Votes no.

Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) Reauthorization? Votes no.

Secure fence act (i.e. Let’s keep them furriners on t’other side of a big-ass fence act)? He votes yes.

Looks to me like what you got here is your standard issue, big bidness loving, keep them furriners out, women should be knocked-up and stay home standard issue Republicans. And it sounds as if this great “grass roots movement” of this “down-trodden, underdog every-day Joe” is nothing more than the pissing into the wind of the Republican Party attempting to portray their candidate as something he’s not. Geez, can’t you guys come up with a new act already? Nader’s been trying it for years without much success.

RP’s voting record can be found here –

xtrabiggg (user link) says:


Perhaps instead of convoluted explanations like ‘botnets’ and ‘online armies of spammers’ or ‘green faries who take over my computer’, we should just ulook to Occam’s Razor for an answer:

Perhaps there is so much web traffic surrounding Ron Paul is because there is a lot of REAL PEOPLE supporting him!

Any other explanation is an attempt to deny reality and mislead the sheeple.


CowHerd says:

That made it easy!

Thanks guys!

Your incredibly childish and insulting posts have made the decision for at least one undecided. Ron Paul, and his “supporters” (read: cult) can kiss my shiny metal ass.

The least you could do when presented with such criticism is respond in a a manner that does not *prove* the point the author was trying to make. But…apparently you couldn’t comprehend such a basic concept that most 4 year olds are capable of learning.

Such support from such immature and talentless hacks only makes it even more clear to us that RP appeals only to the lowest common denominator.

Hallonsylt says:

Re: That made it easy!

So you admit that you refuse to support a candidate,not based upon his positions but because you don’t like his supporters? And this, a candidate who’s positions are radically different from all of the other candidates? I mean, come on, can you not see how immature that is?

What’s more important, your country or your personal feelings? You’re not a little baby, right?

And another thing, any candidate who wins must receive the support of A-holes, as they are a significant part of the population, rich,poor, black, white or whatever. It is absolutely illogical to expect that a popular candidate will ever only acquire quiet, demur supporters.

Besides that is the obvious fact that Ron Paul in fact is not treated fairly by the media, so those conditions demand that his supporters PROVE that they really exist by being SEEN EVERYWHERE.

Dave says:

I never choose a candidate according to who he is or what he believes in, and I certainly don’t care about what he’s done or where he’s going to take us. That’s so old fashioned. I like to choose who I vote for by how much I like the candidate’s supporters. Last election I picked the candidate who my favorite celebrity liked, but this year I feel the election is so important I’m going to work a lot harder to make the right decision. For the primaries I’m siding with the people who have the nicest clothes. I know it will mean going to a lot of rallies to gather information, but I don’t care, I love my country that much.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Using RP To Pump Up Techdirt Ad Revenues

A fair number of people here are accusing TD of using the RP issue to pump up page views and ad revenues. This accusation may make sense as part of a “cut and paste” response that simply drives by the blog and pastes in the opinion, but have a look around you at the page you are reading right now and the rest of the site — no wait, don’t bother clicking the rest of the site if you don’t want to generate more page views.

This is comment #83, and if you look left, top, right, and bottom, you see no ad at all. In fact, on my screen, I need to click 21 pages up before I see ads. Looks to me like a lot of “wasted ad space”. Seems to me like maybe this particular blog is not as much of an ad whore as you accuse it to be.

Many/most blogs/news sites will show you a half-dozen or so comments on a page, and make you click “Read more” to get the next half-dozen. They are trying to crank up page-views and ad revenue. Do you see that here? Nope.

Techdirt added ads in about 2005. They put up a few on the right side, at the top. It’s done discretely, non-intrusively, and tastefully. Does that seem like a blog that squeezes every penny of possible ad revenue out of a page view?

I’m affiliated with this blog, though I am not employed by it. I sometimes talk with Mike about his business, and I remember telling him back in 2002 to get some freakin’ ads on his pages and monetize his traffic. He said “No, I don’t want to look like I’m about the money, and I don’t think the readers want to see ads.” Took him a few years to be sure the readers wouldn’t be offended. You don’t know anyone who is less interested in being a sell-out than the guy who runs this blog. IMHO, he does it to a fault.

So (leaving the politics of RP out of my comment) I will say that the accusation made about pushing page views makes me suspect that the posters are just using a template of some sort to attack Techdirt, since the charges don’t fit.

Tom R. says:


I’m really disappointed in TD for this post. If I wanted to see willful ignorance, I’d go to FOX News.

How about posting that Newsweek ran a hit piece on Paul’s opposition to the NAFTA superhighway saying it was a conspiracy theory, only to have Paul followers send angry letters to the editors with a link to the government website of Manitoba that explicitly states plans have long been underway to create said highway? Newsweek loses credibility, more awareness is gained of the NAFTA highway and Paul doesn’t have to lift a finger.

Why not do some research into why Paul’s campaign has so little control over the momentum building behind him? Doesn’t it seem odd that this Taxas Libertarian whose own party would just as soon have him fall off the face of the earth is getting record-breaking donation drives that he had no hand in organizing, made even more remarkable by the fact that it’s not just a singular, fluke event. It’s happened several times and will likely continue to do so.

Make some actual observations about the candidate and his campaign instead of a thinly disguised ad hominem attack on Paul supporters for supporting their candidate in a political and media environment actively working to marginalize the man.

erik s says:

funny RP supporter fantasy world

Disclaimer: I am not involved in your elections at all, since my home country is Sweden (just Tech-interested and way too much time today).

But a few points are interesting:
– any person at RP headquarters could just as easily have said: “Let’s use these 300$ to buy us some time on a ukrainian botnet, untraceable back to us…”
– not a single RP supporter responded to the list where RP’s actual voting/political opinions are mentioned, seems the facts don’t stand up. Sounds to me like an orchestrated PR campaign going on here… – “employ” 2000 highschool kids at minimum wages (good money at that age, no money to you) and let them patrol the internet 24/7 using all the computers they have access to.

alternatives() says:

'dirty pool'?

There are plenty of places where Dr. Paul is not discussed, perhaps you’d be happier there? Or how about wonkette/redstate/freerepublic/other places that ‘ban’ anyone who brings up the topic?

If one wishes to discuss ‘annoyance’ – I so look forward to your many articles about robo-calling over the next year. Perhaps you can back ’em with actual facts VS “Now some of his supporters have been caught promoting their preferred candidate using decidedly unsavory means. ” Because you did not show us how you knew that Ron Paul SUPPORTERS were ‘caught’. Perhaps you were too busy crafting prose like “Unpleasantness ensues.” “terror-inducing.”?

Sean says:

Online FAKE

Ron Paul:

* Won more straw polls than any other candidate
* Raised more money than any other candidate
* Has the largest meetup group members, exponentially, than any other candidate


These accusations that his fan base is strictly online is completely ignorant.

Person says:

Techdirt: If you're going to mention Ron Paul at l

It really annoys me when the media (including Techdirt) tries to portray Ron Paul supporters as spammers. We’re not.

One incident of a supposed Ron Paul supporter sending spam emails, and the entire campaign gets dinged for it? Who even looks at spam anymore? Rudy Giuliani gets caught billing the city of New York for a large amount of ridiculous expenses relating to his mistress, and all you care about are a couple of spam emails?

As for winning all the online polls, maybe it’s because there are PHYSICALLY A LOT OF RON PAUL SUPPORTERS. It’s not just online polls either. He has the most youtube views and the most Google hits. He wins nearly every straw poll.

I wonder how his supporters managed to “spam” him with donations from 37,000 different individuals for a total of $4.2 million in a single day? And he doesn’t even have Oprah helping him out. With $5 million last quarter and over $10.7 million this quarter from individual donations, it’s hard to see how this is the result of a few spammers.

If you’re wondering how Ron Paul only manages to get about 10% of “scientific” polls, then looks no further than the bad polling methods. I think most Ron Paul supporters (including me) either don’t have landline telephones or don’t have time to sit around answering telemarketer calls – I mean poll calls. And that assumes the poll itself isn’t biased.

As for the main argument of the article, that Ron Paul supporters channel their energy for good, I think that’s what 99.9% of Ron Paul supporters are doing. We’re trying to get the word out about a candidate that the mainstream media largely ignores. People are getting tortured, our civil liberties are disappearing, we’re keep killing people in huge dead end wars, our gov’t is running up an unfathomable debt, our currency is becoming more and more worthless, and all you care about are a few spam emails? Thanks for getting you priorities straight, Techdirt.

By the way, I found this article while browsing Techdirt’s website, not through any type of search or other website.

Jonathan says:

Annoying indeed

While I don’t really agree with some points in this article, I do agree with the title. I read Digg on a daily basis and am beyond sick and tired of comments like “Ron Paul would never do that” or “Ron Paul would never let that happen if he were president” and the like. That’s great that Ron Paul wouldn’t do that, but for the love of GOD can some of you practice just a smidge of self-restraint? You don’t need to reiterate the fact that you believe Ron Paul is the “End all, be all” when it comes to politics at any given opportunity. Plus, it would be nice if the supporters would post a link to something backing up the fact that “Ron Paul wouldn’t do that”. You’re not changing any minds without offering proof of why he wouldn’t do this or that.

Although I think it’s great that people are getting excited about politics, some folks (Not just in the Ron Paul camp) tend to take it overboard. That said, yes, in my opinion, a large number of Ron Paul supporters are annoying. Sorry, but it’s true.

Alright, I’m ready to be yelled at.

Davedude (user link) says:

Paul has integrity

The interesting thing about Ron Paul is that he has never sought money or power. He has a very consistant voting record that has kept him from gaining power because the others in congress are annoyed by his lack of willingness to compromise his principles. He doesnt vote for pay raises or even want to take his congressional pension. If anything his supporters are a little annoyed that he doesn’t seem to want it more. But that’s part of his philosophy too. He believes if he has the right message and does things honorably people will be drawn to it. He doen’t believe in centralizing government and that goes for his campaign too. He’s open to just letting the people try to do what they can to help. This draws alot of people who have never voted or even taken part in class election. They are young, inexperienced. They dont even know the rules of campaigning. They just have ideas for spreading a message and they go with it. The campaign is trying to get the word out about how to best spread the message without annoying people, but this has grown bigger than they can keep up with. It’s also no secret that there are people who have tried dirty tricks to get Paul’s support to die off. They try to ban him from debates, they say hateful things about him. Call him a traitor. Sean Hannity wont even mention his name on the air when he talks about the other candidates. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone did this to hurt his campaign.

Jake says:

The Moral Of The Story?

Decentralisation can be a double-edged sword. If Ron Paul applies the same principle of trusting the judgement and specialised experience of his subordinates after he achieves high political office, he will go far and serve his country well. However, some of the incidents mentioned here should serve notice that he needs to set stricter ground-rules and be more vigilant in enforcing them, otherwise he ends up with egg on his face when some well-meaning fanboy with more zeal than sense does something daft like hire spammers or get caught trying to fiddle an online poll.
I just hope this doesn’t get too far out of hand; I don’t care for his politics, but he sounds like an honourable man, and God knows his chosen field could use a few more of those.

Annonymous says:

Time Magazine Person of the Year @ youtube

I know this is an old article, but this article makes alot of sense as of lately to me. I’ve been watching a thread on youtube for a couple days now that i’d responded to in reguards to whom should be person of the year. And The Ron Paul Campaign came in and flooded it. And are attacking anyone whom suggests anyone but Ron Paul. I’d never realized how annoying these people were until now. Thankyou for your article.

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