Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy: The Paulbots And You
We’ve all seen them. We’ve all argued with them on Facebook, and in the dark, lonely comment sections of morning blogs where sanity takes a page from Little Red Riding Hood and cheerfully trots into the forest, never to be seen again. And somehow, because caffeine takes a few minutes to get into the bloodstream and up to the brain, we’re convinced, if only for a couple of minutes, that it’s actually worth it to debate these people. Somehow, every morning we’re temporarily convinced that a large portion of the American electorate actually bases their vote off of comments by readers supposedly fluent in English at the bottom of articles in the blogosphere.
And this is why we see no real harm in the legions of Paulbots that charge daily like a horde of angry libertarian lawn gnomes onto Facebook, Twitter, every blog ever conceived, and even Youtube. But they’re far from harmless, and debating them plays straight into their hands.
Let me explain. Ron Paul’s had a long life, most of it spent in isolation and social rejection. Before entering Congress, he was a medical doctor (hence the bots’ obsession with emphasizing DR DR DR DR DR PAUL) and his Wikipedia page lists “delivering more than 4,000 babies by 1976” as a major accomplishment. In Congress he sponsored a whole 464 bills!—one of which passed, which authorized the Federal government to give a parcel of land to the Galveston historical society in Texas. Paul has been called an advocate for the one percent, but his success rate has been less than that—one out of 464, or about 0.22%.
Up until recently, Paul has lived a quiet life as the world’s most rejected author and one of the only members of Congress that could pass for a muppet. So why the spontaneous support from anonymous web warriors? Because going viral is the easiest way to get attention.
Paulbots are especially vicious on Facebook, for example, because the Facebook system rewards their efforts. Ever wonder why your good friends’ posts show up more often than yours? It’s because of something called an affinity score, Facebook’s way of filtering information: only the most popular posts—the ones with the most likes and comments—actually show up on your feed for an extended period of time. The rest will get buried in obscurity much sooner rather than later. The same thing with blogs and forums; the more comments the more prominent the post. In other words, all a Paulbot has to do is start an argument and whatever article they want to promote is GUARANTEED to go viral.
The way to defeat a radical politician isn’t to argue with them (or their supporters); that just gives them strength. Paul can sit in his cave like a libertarian energy vampire and feed on a growing online reputation even he couldn’t have dreamed of. This is the only lifesource he has; his reputation won’t come from political achievements. In fact, according to the national safety council you have a better chance getting assaulted, shot, and dying from the bullet wound than Ron Paul does of passing another bill in Congress.
So screw the cyber warfare and have your coffee. It turns out the best way to deal with Ron Paul is to completely ignore his supporters. And if you must talk to them, please tell them their candidate needs a brow wax and a substantial nose job. For the people.