Monday, August 31, 2009

The BoycottNovell spam operation takes a blow

Apparently this morning the AstralKnight account was deleted from Reddit, probably for TOS violations, dealing a severe blow to the so-called perception management operation run by or on behalf of Roy Schestowitz. A spirited discussion about the perp a few days earlier might have been the catalyst for this.

Now all Reddit needs to do is nuke the NastyMicrosoft account.

Karma’s a bitch.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

An analysis of the BoycottNovell spam problem on Digg, Reddit, Mixx and other social news web sites

Summary: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The following accounts on Digg, Reddit, Mixx, Propeller, Twitter and many other websites are dedicated almost exclusively to spreading content published by Roy Schestowitz through his BoycottNovell (BN) blog as well as Usenet. They are all operated by the same person:

  • CyberPhoenix
  • AstralKnight
  • DiamondWakizashi
  • BoycottMicrosoft
  • BoycottWindows
  • NastyMicrosoft

Continue reading below for evidence and additional details.

[Update] As of mid-September 2009 or so, activity from all these accounts seems to have ceased. Occasional monitoring of some of the targeted web sites has not turned up additional aliases engaging in the same behavior. If I may be so bold, it looks like this worked as expected =)

And he asked him, "What is thy name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion: for we are many."

Aliases ¶

This person has many "nyms" or aliases, so we could call him CyberAstralNastyBoycottPhoenixKnight, but for brevity we'll just refer to him [1] as SpamBoy.

We'll begin with the first and oldest known alias and work our way up from there.

CyberPhoenix ¶

The CyberPhoenix alias has been active, as far as I can tell, since mid-2007. His activity can be traced initially to Digg, where he submitted hundreds and hundreds of articles over the span of a few months. Here are a few examples:

As you can see, there's a bit of a... uh, pattern there.

This account was deleted on 2008-10-05, probably for TOS violations. [2] This Digg aggregator/analysis tool shows that the account did indeed exist, how many stories were pushed to the front page with it and the date it was deleted.

At around the same time, SpamBoy targeted Mixx, where he's managed to avoid banning so far. Using the Mixx activity history on his account, we can see that his first submission was to an Inquirer story on November 26, 2007. Since there are 20 submissions per page plus 18 on page 177: 176 x 20 + 18 = 3,538

So for the last 21 months, SpamBoy has submitted an average of 168 articles per month to Mixx, or just over 5 per day. That does not include his parallel submissions to Digg at the time, at least until his account was deleted, and it does not include other activity that we'll get to in a bit. I should point out that not all of the Mixx submissions point to Schestowitz' material of course, but most of them do one way or another (he has a few interesting ones there).

The current modus operandi on Mixx seems to be to submit stories that point to a domain called "tweetme", which in turn point to the Digg submissions of the BoycottWindows alias (see below), which then point to his (now suspended) BoycottMicrosoft blog on, which finally end up linking to BN. For example, this submission goes to this tweetme page, and then to this Digg page which in turn links to — although again that blog no longer exists (we do have a screenshot of it though, see the section for that alias below). Of course not all of his Mixx spam is so convoluted. Many submissions go directly to the dead Opera blog, while some link directly to BN.

I'm not sure if this is a retarded attempt at obfuscation or some sort of social web extension/mashup voodoo or what, but at least he ensures maximum coverage I suppose.

On Reddit, a CyberPhoenix account has been active for about a year. Although the activity tabs of the profile are empty, using Google to search Reddit yields a comment in this story. Quote:

ASUS needs to replace the Abusive Monopolist tainted Xandros pseudo-Linux with a REAL Linux distro.

(permalink) (screenshot)

On Reddit it's possible to delete one's own comments and submissions (even an account). The comment is obviously gone from the profile but it remains in the story, so I guess that might be a glitch of some sort. There are probably more that Google can't find, including many submissions as well:

Note the third link was recently re-submitted with the AstralKnight account. Funny that, eh?

On other sites

On Slashdot: (comments)
Propeller: (seems inactive, not sure if it's the same person)
There is also a Twitter account, but that's definitely not SpamBoy.

AstralKnight ¶

The AstralKnight alias appeared around January of 2009 almost simultaneously on Digg, Twitter, Reddit and Propeller. The Digg account (dead link obviously) was used extensively as well, and also probably deleted for TOS violations on 2009-05-25. Below are some of his submissions:

[Update] This account was deleted or blocked for TOS violations by Reddit on 2009-08-31. The wording below was modified to reflect that.

On Reddit, the account was active for about 5 months. Again using the history feature we see that he submitted just over 1,000 stories (last page here). This account was interesting because it was used almost exclusively to submit posts made by Roy Schestowitz to the USENET group comp.os.linux.advocacy, or COLA. Since Schestowitz' submissions to COLA can be described without equivocation as a veritable crapflood (that's just a two-hour period of a single day), our friend SpamBoy (the subject of this article, not the other one) had his work cut out for him, volume-wise.

Additionally, with the AstralKnight account SpamBoy perfected (or perhaps continued) his technique of pasting idiotic prefab comments as responses to people who complained about his flamebait. Literally hundreds of times over. Ready? Click here(dead link now, click here for a screenshot of Google cache). Now compare to his comments on Mixx. On Digg he did the same thing. For example, see the first comment here, and compare to, say, this or this. Or just look at this screenshot, taken before the account was deleted.

The other thing that SpamBoy did with the AstralKnight alias on Digg and Reddit was to "spin" whatever Schestowitz had posted on a given day by linking to the principal source of the article on BN. For example, the first link in the group above is just a regurgitation of this. That way he could at least keep up the appearance of not linking directly to BN. Of course that takes time and effort, so he eventually gave up on it.

There's also a Twitter account with this alias. Apparently the only thing he's been doing with that the past few weeks is post links to his submissions page on Reddit with the text " The latest news about Microsoft crimes and quality open source alternatives ". I suppose the 140-char limit eventually got to him.

Then we have Propeller, where SpamBoy has operated an account for about 5 months, with more that 350 submissions at this point (none of which seem to have been voted up). These submissions point almost exclusively links to his Reddit submissions, which in turn as we already saw are links to Schestowitz' USENET posts.

And finally, he also has an account on OSNews, created quite recently. Apparently he pissed people off to the point that his comments were deleted.

On other sites

Slashdot: (no activity)
Mixx: (yes, another Mixx account)

DiamondWakizashi ¶

This is an alias that SpamBoy uses only to post comments to BN. Usually something along the lines of "Novell is Microsoft's bitch" and brainy stuff like that. It's easy to tie this alias to the rest. If the writing style isn't a dead giveaway, he also makes the classic nymshifter mistake of linking to content created with his other aliases — in this case his suspended blog on Another? Here he is linking to something "funny" he spammed Reddit with not 24 hours before.

BoycottMicrosoft ¶

Apparently not satisfied with his righteous work so far, SpamBoy decided to get even more creative. This account was created around the beginning of June 2009 on as a sort of nexus for some of the others. It was very active, but (un)fortunately it's now been suspended, likely also for TOS violations. The link between this alias and the others is easy to establish. For example, the CyberPhoenix profile on Mixx has his home page set to that (screenshot), in addition obviously to linking to it repeatedly in his submissions (this being the first one). We already saw DiamondWakizashi link to it as well. Here is AstralKnight linking to it as well (screenshot). Of course you're probably wondering what it is that BoycottMicrosoft did on his Opera blog. Up until a week or so the Google cache of that page was available, but unfortunately it's gone now (probably because the Opera server was returning a 404 on the page). Fortunately I managed to snag a screenshot. For just $9.95 (plus shipping and handling) you get a Windows logo doctored to look like a swastika and plenty of links to BN.

BoycottWindows ¶

Created as a sort of add-on to the BoycottMicrosoft one, on Digg, Twitter and Reddit (now deleted, also for TOS violations). It was used exclusively to submit links to the now defunct Opera blog, which in turn as we mentioned linked to BN. He uses the same clever swastika logo there and everything. All of his tweets point to his Digg submissions.

The Reddit account was deleted after complaints were filed, but it's still possible to find articles submitted (also includes a comment) with it — of course all linking to the Opera blog. Interestingly, a Reddit user might have been responsible for the suspension of the Opera blog. This is a screenshot of the Google cache view of the original page showing his activity. Here is an example of the kind of multi-section spamming for which he was banned. But a simple thing like a ban does not stop a man on an important mission like this one, so there's more.

NastyMicrosoft ¶

This one is just a flat-out spam machine on Digg, Twitter and Reddit. It does nothing but link to BN and vote up submissions by BoycottWindows on Digg. As can be seen in this screenshot, the account is essentially the same as BoycottWindows. I'm surprised it hasn't been deleted as well. The pattern of copypasta replies can be seen here (screenshot).

I think SpamBoy just got tired of pretending he was doing anything other than promoting BN (especially the idiotic obfuscation he tried to pull off with his Opera blog and Twitter) and decided to create another alias to save himself some time.

komrad ¶

An account on FSDaily that is dedicated almost exclusively to posting links to BN. Of all the users on that website, komrad has the best karma in town. But since he does not link to other accounts or post comments, there is no evidence of this being tied to SpamBoy, other than the fact that coincidence is usually not that elastic. How many devoted fans with OCD can Schestowitz possibly, after all? There's also a Twitter account, but that's just one of those scummy "make millions licking envelopes from home" spammers. Then again, maybe there isn't that much of a difference between the two.

Still, the komrad account is rather old, so I might be more inclined to believe that this is one of his more established collaborators instead.

Other sightings ¶

Some potential dopplegangers spotted around the 'net doing the usual diligent perception management work.

  • A rather interesting account called No More Microsoft Software Ever! (aww) that was brought to my attention seems to be pushing the stock BoycottBoy talking points on the ZDNet forums with uncharacteristic zeal. See for example the thread attached to this article. Looking at some of those posts I think we might have a winner. If not SpamBoy himself, this guy definitely gives off a lot of BN minion mojo. Curiously, an individual message posted with this account that I had previously linked to from here was deleted.

Reactions to SpamBoy ¶

It's not hard to imagine that SpamBoy's activities are generally described as spam (right!). But it's just not the spam itself. It's the idiotic way he goes about his business that tends to rub people the wrong way. Other than his canned responses, he uses phrases like "low-quality garbageware", "Novell is Microsoft's bitch .....LOL!!!", "Abusive monopolist", etc. It's like reading something written by an incoherent mental ward escapee that has to use a limited vocabulary and a collection of canned text paragraphs in order to communicate. Couple that with the pattern of accusing anyone that complains about his spamming of being "astroturfers" [12] and you start getting the idea.

On Digg the response was basically limited to people berating him in the comments, but Reddit is a bit more democratic, so there have been several well-received complaints about his spamming, at least one of which possibly resulted in the deletion of the BoycottWindows account and/or the BoycottMicrosoft blog on Opera:

That's a lot of grief. Someone even got desperate enough to request a GreaseMonkey script to filter the spam (assuming one is using Firefox):

Finally, the complaint that probably ended up causing the removal of the account:

Even over at Mixx people noticed what was going on and linked to this page:

Those who complain about all this are dismissed as being "the usual haters". And they might all even work for Microsoft, of course.

Those who think SpamBoy is being "abused" because he "tells the truth" and so on are usually not aware of the extent of his spamming, or are "advocates" (I use that term loosely) who believe it is their God-given right to crap all over everything and disrupt any community or newsgroup if it furthers their righteous battle against the evil empire.

Gaming culture? ¶

Something that stands out with the first three of SpamBoy's aliases is their apparent association with the gaming culture, something that I figured out rather quickly simply by looking at Google search results. CyberPhoenix has to do with some card game called Yu-Gi-Oh!, AstralKnight seems to be related to either something called Tohou Project or a Nintendo game called BomberMan 64 and DiamondWakizashi might be out of something called "Naruto". [3] Besides the obvious lack of originality of course, this perhaps indicates that SpamBoy might be one of those angry acne-ravaged teenagers that live with their parents and have way too much time on their hands. Then again, I might have this all wrong. So it was interesting to find this I guess, although that doesn't seem to be in character.

Motivation ¶

It would be fair to argue that since not absolutely all of his endless submissions to social bookmarking sites point to something Roy Schestowitz writes, promotion of his apparent advocacy role model and authority figure isn't his primary motivation. However, the sheer volume of links to either BN or COLA posts by Schestowitz pretty much dwarfs everything else. By far. So it might be helpful to think about it this way. In order to be SpamBoy, you need to:

  1. Be a rather enthusiastic FOSS enthusiast.
  2. Hate Microsoft. I don't mean figuratively, but literally.
  3. Be positively enthralled by anything and everything Roy Schestowitz writes.
  4. Have a massive amount of free time on your hands.
  5. Possess a near-limitless reservoir of stamina to keep this crap up for at least two years (so far).

You can easily go 2 for 5 here most of the time. Maybe 3 for 5. But 5 for 5? That's special. Really special. Still, it's not just a matter of declaring SpamBoy a shill. His principal objective might not be the promotion of a specific person or website. It might very well be that he has simply picked one (with a high level of daily output) specifically to carry out his saturation assault on the web in the name of freedom or whatever. And given the available evidence so far, it would also be misleading to just claim that he is in cahoots with Schestowitz, although he's the single obvious beneficiary of SpamBoy's activities. [9] But we'll examine that in more detail below.

Identity ¶

So who the hell is this person? Let's run through some possibilities.

Someone who is trying to discredit Schestowitz and/or BN ¶

Given the negative reception SpamBoy has almost everywhere, I suppose we have to take this into account. Entertained primarily by him and his collaborators, obviously. I could possibly buy this is if the alleged attack wasn't so exhaustive and CyberPhoenix had not preceded the other aliases, because he started out actually not linking to BN. An ineffective and obnoxious advocate perhaps, but one nonetheless. The level of effort and time that would have to be put into this is beyond comprehension — and there are many other less complicated and less expensive ways to discredit people, especially someone like Schestowitz.

Some unknown dude that just appeared out of nowhere ¶

I suppose this is possible but unlikely because SpamBoy seems to be at least slightly familiar with FOSS advocacy, even if he happens to completely slaughter it by way of his methods and the material he tends to promote. It's also unlikely that someone would suddenly meet the 5 point criteria mentioned in the Motivation section above.

Roy Schestowitz in drag ¶

I doubt this, but I had to include it because it's been a constant accusation from people who have run into SpamBoy on his various target sites. I don't have a particularly high opinion of Schestowitz, but I think this would be too gutter — even for him. It would also mean that he's actually fabricating time out of thin air, considering the volume of activity he engages in under his own name every day.

One of his cadre (the BoycottBoys) ¶

Also unlikely since there would be some indication of this somewhere, because as a group they don't tend to be particularly bright. [5] Also, none of them (with a single possible exception [6]) seem to match an informal corpus analysis of SpamBoy's work. Unless there's a member of the club I still haven't had the pleasure of spotting.

There is some indication that SpamBoy might be at the very least logged into Schestowitz' IRC channel. See for example the reaction time to this, although I'm not sure about the GMT offset of the IRC log's timestamps.

The '7' guy from comp.os.linux.advocacy ¶

If you've ever had the misfortune of spending any amount of time on this newsgroup, you have probably run into this person. He literally goes by the handle '7'. Now, COLA is not exactly the most interesting collection of human beings on the internet [7], but '7' is among the worst by far. Of special interest here is the habit of replying with prefab tripe to just about every comment. For example:

Or this as well. And I'm not the first person to notice it.

There are also some similarities from a corpus perspective. I mentioned the use of repeated interstitial CAPS for emphasis and the pattern of using !!! to end sentences. The way his comments are structured also indicates a possible match.

Another coincidence is the fact that besides Schestowitz' posts to COLA, AstralKnight also spams Reddit with a lot of idiotic comments by '7' there. For example:

You'd think he would post links to comments by people other than '7' and Schestowitz, but no, that's not the case as far as I can tell.

That said, I would be less than honest if I didn't mention that if we entertain the idea that he is indeed SpamBoy, his corpus outside of COLA posts that is not comprised exclusively of trollish canned templates does not seem to match this person's alleged meatspace identity. There are comments made early in the life of the AstralKnight account on Reddit and many of his Mixx submissions that simply don't fit with the stuff a middle-aged Brit would be concerned with, like gun control or Zionism. This also breaks down with the gaming angle mentioned before to a certain extent, although I suppose it's possible to be a failed inventor and a fan of Japanese children's games (one of my co-workers is a respected Java architect and book author with published CS and engineering papers, yet he spends large amounts of time playing military-style shooter games online when he's at home).

So is SpamBoy the same person as '7'? I think there's a high probability of that being the case, but so far it's impossible to prove, and it will likely be less so once this is published. Still, if someone has some evidence that would tie him to these aliases, I'll be more than happy to revisit this. His "outing" on COLA might be incorrect, for example. [8]

Mark Fink ¶

The Mark Fink fiasco prompted some people to theorize that the person behind that alias was also SpamBoy. There are many similarities between 'Fink' and '7' once we compare their posts to Ubuntu mailing lists and COLA (respectively). Not enough to completely nail it, but enough to generate suspicion.

There is one curious factoid that might be interesting though. If we look at the FinkGate timeline, there is a one year gap (almost to the day) between the two appearances 'Fink' made on the Ubuntu mailing lists. SpamBoy's original CyberPhoenix Digg account was deleted on October of 2008, and although he seems to have been active on Mixx the whole time, it's interesting that 'Fink' made his second appearance a few months after SpamBoy redoubled his spamming efforts with the AstralKnight alias. Coincidence?

Of course it's possible that Fink is '7' but has no relation whatsoever with SpamBoy. Or that SpamBoy is Fink but has nothing to do with '7'. The possibilities are endless when there are so many personalities.

Sometimes the scraps of available evidence are more interesting insofar as what they don't show.

Collusion? ¶

Regardless of SpamBoy's identity, the elephant in the room here is obviously the fact that his main online activity involves disseminating everything Roy Schestowitz publishes. It is also a fact that Schestowitz is quite aware of his activities going back to the end of 2007. [4] So it's more than fair that we examine the possibility that SpamBoy might be working with/for him in some fashion. I already mentioned the possibility that SpamBoy is just evangelizing in his own slimy way and simply happened to pick Schestowitz as his primary content provider. The question to ask here is whether or not there is any type of collusion. [10]

I'm not the kind of person who automatically assumes the worst, even in cases where the worst might be the thing I would enjoy seeing happen. I've already made it clear that I don't believe SpamBoy is associated directly with BN. A few weeks ago I received a private message through Reddit with a link to one of Schestowitz' IRC logs. As you can see there, Schestowitz removes AstralKnight's Twitter subscription [11] from his IRC channel after noting that his tweets are "stupid".

When I initially saw this I thought that was a good move, since having SpamBoy's infantile mutterings all over his logs was detrimental at best. Along with previous evidence of him being aware of SpamBoy but denying any knowledge or association with him, this helped reinforce my belief that SpamBoy was indeed working completely on his own without any contact whatsoever.

But then something crawled up my frontal lobe and made me do a second take on that conversation. That looks forced. I read that a few times and all I saw was this:

"Hey there everybody I'm disavowing this guy.... ready? OK here I go... HIGH FIVE, I just banned him! Did everyone see that? I totally just did!"

There are obviously two ways to interpret this. Either he's just being honest and just wants to disassociate himself from SpamBoy, or he wants something he can point to and say " see, I have nothing to do with this dude, I even called him stupid ".

Why make such a big show out of that? I have a hard time believing that Schestowitz did not recognize the "micoshaft windummy!!!" style of his friend '7' from COLA, which is what those tweets pointed at. Yet he still called them "stupid". Why not just remove the thing from his Twitter script and be done with it?

Further, I have an even harder time believing that SpamBoy would have continued his worship of Schestowitz after being called "stupid" — yet to this day he is still spamming the internet with Schestowitz' effluvia.

So I kept thinking about the style of "damage control" he used during FinkGate. After Fink craps all over the ubuntu-devel mailing list, insults half the regulars there by claiming they worked for "M$" and/or Novell, and actually contacted someone's boss to try to have them fired because of their alleged support for Mono, this is what Roy Schestowitz said to him:

I liked what you do, but try to distance yourself from the site to give it credibility. Make it look like a personal gripe while the site keeps it polite.

In light of this, the alleged booting of AstralKnight's tweets from his IRC channel with such fanfare takes on a different light, in my opinion. If he had just removed the subscription from the script without announcing it to the world, I wouldn't have ended up putting two and two together. I'm not a cynical person, but this just smells a tad rotten.

Now, I'm not implying that Schestowitz unleashed SpamBoy on the internet. But what I do suspect is that he knows exactly who SpamBoy is, and he has no problem with what's being done (essentially) in his name, as long as he gets a bigger audience in the end. After all, he is obsessed with his traffic figures, how many GB his blog serves every month and how long it will take him to be "bigger than Groklaw". [13]

Let's look at some more interesting bits. Despite claiming (repeatedly, actually) that he doesn't know who AstralKnight is, Schestowitz seems to think poor SpamBoy is just a misunderstood soul:

look at the abuse AstralKnight gets [...] The shills want him down

Remember he is not talking about the CyberPhoenix alias here, which I suppose he can be forgiven for encouraging since at that time SpamBoy had not yet started his reign of terror. No, this is the Digg account that did nothing but submit links to his articles, cleverly spinned versions thereof, or his posts to COLA.

Here for example he says he doesn't know who AstralKnight is again, yet as that guy on IRC correctly points out, Schestowitz had been consistently voting up SpamBoy's Digg submissions — that second one in fact just a day after he removed his tweets from the IRC logs. Maybe it's because it just happens to link to a comment of his in COLA. And then there are things like these:

The submitter gets abused by the usual bunch [...] Seems like Microsoft's agents perhaps. They do have some, but I am not sure which ones

SpamBoy is abused by Microsoft agents, of course. We just don't know which ones.

Conclusion ¶

All in all, I think we have a case of what Schestowitz likes to call useful idiots. He's not necessarily sponsoring the spam shitstorm, but he doesn't seem to have too much trouble with it, either. He could have contacted SpamBoy through Reddit for example (they have a private message thing) and asked him to tone it down at least. And I think SpamBoy would have obliged him. But again, he's expendable (can't be directly tied to him) and too useful to just let go.

It's sad, in a way. I think Roy Schestowitz really does mean well. But his quest of becoming the next Pamela Jones/Groklaw and creating a real community around his work has failed miserably, and instead he finds himself surrounded by a scary cadre of weirdos, spammers, nymshifters and abrasive idiots with dubious IQs who tend to do more harm than good to his cause. And if he is indeed giving them the nod — if not outright encouraging them — then he's partly responsible for their actions. At the very least those actions ultimately reflect negatively on him, whether he likes it or not.

Moar? ¶

Any additional information that could be relevant to this article would be highly appreciated. Please contact me if you have anything that you think could be useful.  §


Digg is also seriously [fucked] because it's gamed pretty badly.

I usually report any suspicious submission as spam, at least as soon I spot a distinct and objectionable pattern. When the same person always posts to the same domain, for instance, that's a red flag.

Revisions ¶

  • [2009-09-01] Additional Reddit discussion links; account deleted from Reddit (yay), a few more links and tweaks.
  • [2009-09-16] Some cleanup, moar quotes, correction of the ZDNet link.
  • [2009-09-18] Added a quote, testing out some new styles.
  • [2009-10-04] Noted SpamBoy's sudden disappearance; some formatting changes.
  • [2009-10-17] Noted cessation of spamming activity, fixed some typos.

Notes ¶

  1. ^ I cannot bring myself to believe this could be a woman.
  2. ^ Although it's possible for an account owner to request deletion from the Digg support folks, there is already an established pattern of deleted accounts in other social sites, so it's not hard to imagine Digg simply nuked him.
  3. ^ As is probably evident by now, I'm too old for this shit.
  4. ^ Schestowitz was accused repeatedly of operating the CyberPhoenix account on Digg as far as I can tell. This was also mentioned by a person who helped me gather information for this article and who was active on Digg at the time. I don't believe that to be true. Also, that comment predates the spam shitstorm unleashed on other sites during 2008 with the other SpamBoy aliases. I'm merely using it to show that Schestowitz has been aware of this person in some way or another for a while, as well as the fact that he was linking to his blog from more than one site. He's even grateful about his "compliments" and so on.
  5. ^ More specifically, they seem to suffer from something called liar's remorse. Look it up, it's an interesting read. People who do dishonest things in the name of a cause they consider to be worthwhile often have a subconscious desire to get caught, and they make "mistakes" towards that end. Some also use that when they end up being discovered as a sort of excuse. " Ha ha, I wasn't really serious about this ".
  6. ^ "Chips B Malroy" was a close enough match to warrant a second look.
  7. ^ And I'm referring both to the wacky "advocates" and the people who like to bait them. Seriously, that place is just scary. COLA used to be a bit better back in the day. Sometimes threads would be crossposted to so I was peripherally aware of what went on there, and in general the people there used to be actual advocates that seemed to sport IQs higher than the average sea slug. Alas, the quality seems to have taken a massive dive at some point in the past few years. Schestowitz' 24/7 crapflooding obviously has not helped with that.
  8. ^ In this particular subject though, I'd tend to trust these guys. They are good at that. '7's reaction to that post also seems to confirm its validity.
  9. ^ Gain does not need to be financial in order to qualify as such.
  10. ^ I contacted Schestowitz with a request for comment and a few questions about SpamBoy's activities, but predictably I received no reply. Here is a copy of the email I sent him.
  11. ^ I understand this is a sort of script that takes posts made by certain people on Twitter and echoes them to IRC. They are visible in most of his recent logs. His regulars need to request to be added to the list of Twitter accounts it monitors.
  12. ^ This is a big thing with the BoycottBoys as well. Anyone who does not think exactly like them is "the enemy".
  13. ^ See the "does anyone have any scandals I can use" and "bigger than Groklaw" quotes here.