On “Astroturfing” and Paid Shills

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Read this post entitled “Their voice. Amplified.” or Why I’m banning 151.200.70.* comments at Newsrack Blog. Via Making Light.
See also this post where the author observed:

…the Internet is populated with strings of comments by the same posse of commenters. …

I’m not sure what to make of this. It sure seems like organized blog commenting to me. But is this kind of coordinated commenting wrong?

The answer has to be no, if the coordination is simply like-minded individuals who get roused by the same posts, all know each other and are compulsive writers. On the other hand, if these are paid industry representatives, they have every moral obligation to state that fact when posting comments so that we all at least know which side their bread is buttered on.

And read this and this and this. Then consider the possibility that this kind of thing could be happening in many different contexts, including, possibly, the “feminist blogosphere.”

–Ann Bartow

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