Following are excerpts from the official FAQ, entire text is found at:
[comp.os.linux.advocacy] FAQ and Primer for COLA, Edition III
Copyright: (c) 2002 The FAQ and Primer for COLA Team -- All Rights Reserved
Frequently Asked Questions and Primer for comp.os.linux.advocacy
April 19, 2002
| Beware of those who would call you a friend for |
| many will eat your bread while working against |
| you. They will take credit for your good works |
| and blame you for their own misdeeds. |
| - TheGreat Unknown |
(OFFICIAL FAQ CONTINUED)
7 Anti-Linux Propagandists and Trolls
The comp.os.linux.advocacy newsgroup is a newsgroup that is under siege by
one or more factions of anti-Linux propagandists. In the past those
factions have appeared to be confident and smug; however, as of late it
appears that they are becoming ever more desperate. The reason for their
desperation appears to be as a result of growth of the mind share of Linux
and the continuing failures of their chosen cause. Besides the true
anti-Linux propagandists there are also the occasional classic newsgroup
It can be difficult to determine what type of person a particular
disruptive personality is; an anti-Linux Propagandist or just a troll.
That is because they both use some of the same tactic. What it not
difficult to determine is what their purpose is when they post to COLA.
They are doing it to disrupt the newsgroup and sidetrack its purpose of
existence. Regardless of their reason for the disruption, they are trying
to prevent: the free exchange of knowledge and support based on experience
of using Linux that would otherwise be happening in COLA, if it were not
for their interference.
The free and open discussions between the experienced users and the new
users and the would be users of Linux that is our goal. That is the goal
of all those who would be Linux advocates as well as all others who come
to COLA to discuss Linux. All of us, Linux users new and old, those
curious about Linux, and others, have come to COLA as students and as
teachers. All that is except for the anti-Linux propagandists and the
trolls, they have come to COLA to destroy it and prevent its being an
asset to the Linux community.
As has been stated else where in this document, all are welcome in COLA,
except those who come to COLA to destroy Linux, COLA, or the Linux
If COLA were a physical location like a building where those who would
advocate the growth of the Linux operating systems and the Linux community
gather, the anti-Linux propagandists would be raiding that building. They
would be vandalizing the building, painting graffiti on the walls,
defecating and urinating on the floors and furniture, breaking down the
doors, setting fire to the building and physically assaulting the resident
Linux advocates and the visitors who happen to be in the building at the
time of the raid.
COLA is not a physical location, so they have had to adapt their methods
so that they can do an on-line version of what was described in the prior
paragraph. A key method used by anti-Linux propagandist to attack Linux,
its users, sysadmins, developers, advocates and those who have come to
COLA to lean about Linux. is a form of propaganda known as disinformation.
One of their favorite version of disinformation is known as FUD.
7.3 A Common FUD of the Anti-Linux Propagandists
An example of dishonesty of the anti-Linux propagandists is their common
claim that the Linux proponents in COLA oppose the use of any other
operating system. They also would have you believe that the Linux
proponents in COLA oppose everyone who does not use Linux all the time.
Those are some of the lies that they use to try to discredit Linux users
who post in COLA.
The truth is that a user of one or more operating systems other than Linux
are not opposed in COLA for that reason alone. Many of the Linux Advocates
in COLA have experience on many other operating systems besides Linux.
Many do use multiple operating systems on a regular basis. It is due to
this experience that any disinformation regarding the capabilities of
Linux, or that of other operating systems are easily detected by the Linux
It is not difficult to tell the difference between an anti-Linux
Propagandist and a true advocates of another operating system. Occasional
mention of other operating systems is fine. However, it is the frequent or
continuous promotion of other operating systems that turns a welcome
poster into an unwelcome troll or anti-Linux propagandist.
7.6 Trespasser Disinformation Tactics
This is a list of the disinformation tactics that the that the anti-Linux
propagandists who post in COLA have been using. All of these tactics have
been used in COLA by the anti-Linux propagandists against the Linux
advocates and the rest of the COLA readership to further the cause of the
anti-Linux propagandists. This list has been worded as though you are one
of them, so that you can better see through their eyes how they think.
[1.] Act offended or claim that opposing viewpoints are incredible and/or
unbelievable. When you are unable to valid argument to refute a Linux
advocate, use empty statements such as:
* "OH PULEEEZE!"
* "Only a Linonut would say that"
* "And they wonder why no one takes Linux seriously!"
* "How dare you say that!"
* "That's the way to offend thousands!"
[2.] Distract your opponent from the issues at hand by accusing your
opponents of being "petty", "pathetic", "childish" or any of a number
of other such terms.
[3.] Put your opponent off guard by insulting him. The liberal use of
profanity and vulgarisms can be very effective, particularly when used
against you more dignified opponents. Your experience as a school
yard bully can be handy here
[4.] Be patronizing, condescending and present an air of superiority. It
may hide your inferiority to the casual reader. Use phrases like
"kid" or "son", to elevate your relative apparent authority by
attempting to diminish that of the Linux advocate you are addressing.
[5.] Discredit your opponent or his position through the use of
inappropriate laugher and other non-verbal grunts.
[6.] When your tactics are turned on you, call you opponents trolls. Do
not accept the fact that by calling someone using your tactics a troll
that makes you the real troll.
[7.] Keep posting non-stop. Flood the group with your idiocy and nonsense.
Some readers may equate your volume with proof of quality. You will
tie good Linux advocates in knots trying to refute you and they won't
have time for real advocacy.
[8.] Brag about destroying newsgroups and threaten to do the same to
[9.] Drive as many good Linux Advocates out of the group as possible.
10. Refuse to admit your errors
Never ever admit your errors no matter how blatant they are. If you
find no way out and have to admit that you are wrong, phrase it so
that you can accuse your opponent of being wrong.
11. Never apologize for your misbehavior
Never ever apologize no matter how out of line you have been behaving.
If you should ever find it to your advantage to apologize, phrase it
as a slap in the face of the person who you have already wronged.
12. Blame your stupidity and lies on your opponent
Blame your own stupidity on the Linux advocate you are dealing with.
Such as when you have made an unsupportable claim that suggest a list
of details and your are asked to present your non-existent list reply
with, "I don't have to list them for you; you aren't bright enough to
know what you're missing by using X instead of a real Y, I'm not going
to explain it to you." Then hope that nobody reading the thread
realizes that your statement translates as, "I lack the knowledge or
facts needed to counter your position or your position is too complete
and accurate to be refuted. So, I will say things to sound superior
to avoid admitting you are right."
13. Embarrass your opponent
Locate or create apparently embarrassing information or detail and
utilize it out of all proportion-trying to create a scandal around it,
to hijack a thread or drive everyone to distraction.
14. Blackmail your opponent
Locate or create apparently embarrassing information or detail and
threaten your opponent with exposure to force him to do as you want
him to. This tactic can be combined with the "Embarrass your opponent"
tactic if you can no longer get your way though Blackmail.
15. Avoid answering direct questions
Avoid answering a direct questions that you fear by claiming to not
have seen the question then refuse to address it for other reasons.
Keep it up along with other tactics until your opponent is distracted
from the question.
16. Turn a question asked of you back on your opponent
Better yet, turn the questions back on the Linux Advocate with a
question like: "What do you think is the `right' answer, lamer?" You
have now taken the heat off of your ignorance and you have cast doubt
on the credibility of your opponent.
17. Don't substantiate your claims
Refuse to present evidence to support your invalid claims. Repeat your
invalid claims and have your anti-Linux propagandist comrades do the
same. Do the same for any invalid claims that you have notice your
anti-Linux propagandists comrades make.
18. Don't discuss evidence counter to your position
Avoid examining or discussing evidence counter to your position. This
is especially effective when combined with 3.2.8, Dancing Fool,
wherein you change your position with every post.
19. Present multiple personalities
Change your position with every few article you post to
comp.os.linux.advocacy. Appear to be supporting all sides of the
issues. You can make a statements or opinion in one posting then
follow it up with a another post with a contrary opinion. You can even
get into an argument with yourself. This could cause readers to
dismiss the subject of the thread.
20. Narrow the scope of threads so that you can handle it. Narrow the
scope of the issues that are being addressed in a thread to details
you feel that you can refute, ridicule, or dismiss leaving the main
21. Widen the scope of threads to swamp out the original issue.
Widen the scope of the issues discussed in a thread to the point that
the original issues are buried away and hopefully soon forgotten.
22. Use invalid statistics
Introduce statistics to try to hurt Linux, Linux Advocates, and/or the
Linux community at large. Do not about them be valid or real. It would
be nice if you can find those statistics on-line, but if you can't
find any, invent them out of whole cloth. If they are discredited,
don't let that bother you, keep citing them. If you see a fellow
anti-Linux propagandist using statistics, cite them as well, no matter
their lack of validity.
Lie, lie, lie, lie. If you do it often enough you may create the
appearance of truth.
24. Ignore dictionaries when they don't support you
Rage against the use of dictionaries or other such documents, their
use can only hurt you and expose your ignorance.
25. Attack new posters who favor Linux
Some of these Linux Advocates may be new to Linux and COLA. Show no
mercy. Pounce upon their innocence with every single one of these
tactics. If you are lucky you might turn them to your side, at the
very least you may be able to drive them out of COLA and neutralize
them as a threat.
26. Attack typos and ignore the content of the message.
Point out your opponent's grammatical flaws and spelling errors. By
doing this you can concentrate on form while ignoring substance. This
is a very handy method to discredit your opponent and by extension his
position, without once again exposing your ignorance of the issues
begin discussed in the thread.
27. Use Spelling and Grammatical Errors to Distract
Make statements like, "Why do you nea d to dbug the cernal? Is lienux
not working agen!" When this tactic works, you have disarmed the
supporters of Linux who have chosen to ignore you because of your
idiot act, others may react to your style and fail to refute your
disinformation. Meanwhile, you have posted your disinformation in
support your cause.
28. Start trolling threads
Start threads with subjects like "Linsux Sux", "Linux fonts are bad",
etc. Manufacture false evidence to back up your claims when possible,
but don't worry that that is not important. All that is important is
that you consume the efforts and resources of Linux Advocate as they
try to refute your trolling threads and that you scare the new and
casual readership of COLA.
29. Unreasonably proclaim your reasonableness
If your method to deliver anti-Linux propaganda is not among the more
article style, you can try to claim to be reasonable. Of course if you
really were reasonable, you would not be an anti-Linux propagandists
in he first place; however, compared to your more radical comrades you
may seem to be more reasonable. You can not be certain that the
readership of COLA will accept your actions as being reasonable
without your prompting them to think of you that way. So you need
frequently mention how reasonable you are.
30. Expose yourself on COLA.
Post articles in COLA containing ASCII art depicting your body
including your genitals, either in the message body or in the sig.
Discuss your bodily functions and your bodily wastes, the more
disgusting the better. It will tend to drive away more of the casual
and new readers. The Linux Advocates who are frequent posters may
become disgusted enough to avoid threads that you involve yourself in.
31. If it makes Microsoft or Windows look bad call it a rumor
Claim that anything that tends to make Microsoft or Windows look bad
is an unfounded rumor and that you opponent is being unfair. If the
information is obscure enough claim that it is an urban legend, hoping
that no one knows that many legends are based on fact.
32. Promote Windows at every opportunity
Microsoft Windows needs a lot of help to be successful in the mind
share of its targeted user base. Point out to everybody on COLA how
wonderful it is. Ignore the meaning of the name of the newsgroup and
33. Claim false Alignment
Remind Everyone that you are a long-time Linux user and advocate. Of
course it is not true, so you will be accused of being what you really
are. When that happens and you are accused of working against Linux.
Deny! Deny! Deny!
34. Use of false identities
Create throw away identities to enter the newsgroup to spread discord
and after a few days or weeks, stop using that identity. If you are
losing an argument create a new identity to support the position of
your main identity. If things are getting slow, create a few
identities counter to your primary identity. Start a n-on-1 argument
with your primary identity being outnumbered. Then have each of your
new identities be convinced by your primary identity to the error of
35. When thing get too hot go away
When all else fails and things get too hot, disappear from the group.
This is not as drastic as it sounds. You might stay away for a few
months and then return hoping that the other wintrolls have softened
up the field a bit. If you don't want to stay away at all. Create a
new primary identity and drop the use of the other one.
36. Enter COLA as a sleeper.
If you are a new anti-Linux propagandist, or at least your current
false identity is new, then make your entrance as a dedicated Linux
user. After a little while, claim to have seen the light and "convert
back to Windows". Then you can promote Windows all you want for a
while, before your true nature is commonly known. Sometimes this works
for several hours before you are shouted down and have to move on to a
new identity or continue on as "normal" anti-Linux propagandist.
37. Enter COLA as a false disgruntled Linux user.
Create a throw away false identity to enter the newsgroup in order
claim to be short or long term Linux users who "have had enough of
Linux and are returning to Windows." Stir things up for a day or two
and disappear forever.
38. Never leave a Linux positive thread unchallenged.
If there is a thread developing that is positive for Linux, hijack
that thread at all cost. Even if it means sacrificing your current
identity. One method to do this is to ramble on about other topics,
with or without the use embedded insults. Even if you fail to hijack
the thread, you may be able to derail it enough to cancel the
positive-for Linux-impact that it could have had.
39. Lie about what you know
Claim credit for experience, knowledge, or education that you do not
have. It will impress readers who are not knowledgeable on the topic
of the moment. Be careful to not engage someone who is truly
knowledgeable on the subject in conversation or your actual ignorance
will be exposed.
40. Avoid providing any help.
Because you claim to be such an expert so often, you may from time to
time be asked for assistance. Don't provide it, you would only
destroy the image you have lied so long to create. Treat an honest
request based on a real situation as an argument: Restate the request
for assistance in a real situation as a hypothetical situation that
you can argue against.
41. Use of Undefined Terminology
Use terms such as "indoctrinated" as a substitute for "educated" or
"experienced" when referring to a Linux Advocate. Use "pedantic" in
place of "correct", "precise", or "accurate" when referring to a Linux
Advocate. Create and use personal definitions such as "commercial
quality" for impressive sounding terms to mislead the unwary. But
never share your definitions for your inappropriate terminology. This
is commonly known as Troll-speak.
42. Use fake email addresses.
Use a fake email address, not just a de-spammed address like real
advocates use, but a completely fake and made-up one. If you feel the
need for the appearance of normality use a real appearing email
address-maybe not one of yours, but you can try to explain your act of
identity theft as an accident.
43. Citing vapor postings
Cite the statements that you had "intended" to include but never
actual written into your past posting. Gamble on the possibility that
nobody will remember what you posted and that nobody will do the
research to determine what you have posted. If you loose that bet, use
another disinformation tactic to deflect the results of your using
44. Use being an idiot as an excuse
When you are criticized for using disinformation tactics, claim
ignorance of the disinformation tactics and use your apparent idiocy
as an excuse for your actions. Do the same for your comrades, when a
Linux Advocate corners one of your fellow anti-Linux propagandists
tell that advocate something like "What are you doing? It's only John
Doe for goodness sake!"
45. Criticize Linux Advocates but ignore anti-Linux propagandist
Always criticize the behavior of Linux Advocates, but, ignore the same
and even worse transgressions are being committed by your fellow
46. Accept the claims of other anti-Linux propagandists as face value
Always treat other anti-Linux propagandist's statements as being true.
Accept their interpretations without question, don't bother verifying
their statements. If they claim something against a Linux advocate
always side with the anti-Linux propagandists.
47. Don't do your own homework
Make your opponent do your research for you. Depending on who much
credibility you still have will determine how successful you will be
at this tactic.
48. Don't let your ignorance stop you from posting
No matter how little you understand of the issues being discussed in a
thread, post anyway. If you don't know what you are talking about just
pretend that you do.
49. Restate the issues to support your preconceptions
If the issues being discussed in a thread are not exploitable by you
for your purpose, restate the issues to support your ability to attack
Linux Advocate opponent.
50. Claim god like attributes
Claim god like attributes, such as being all knowing. If you don't
want to make that claim, behave as though you are, any way.
51. Claim only you understand what the issues are.
Claim and other wise present the attitude to imply that only you know
what the issues really are. Attempt to project the attitude that would
tend to discredit your opponent at the same time.
52. Invoke the mythical average user
Always use the mythical average users as your yardstick for usability.
No matter what is being discussed about Linux, restate the abilities
of the average users to fall short of that needed.
53. Use extortion to build an army
Use extortion against a group to generate an army of flunkies to do
your bidding and do you fighting for you. Such as when things are not
going the way you want in COLA, crosspost a threat in another
newsgroup a thread of your intention of making thing miserable for
them if they don't take up your battle for you. This is a dangerous
tactic for you the anti-Linux propagandists. If they don't react the
way you wanted them to, you will either have to forget it or you could
carry our your threat. If you forget it, you will loose even more
credibility. If you carry out your threat you will still loose
credibility and you could open yourself up for reprisal from those
your are hurting by carrying out your threat. Even if you do form your
army, you will be held responsible for the results of their actions on
your behalf. A recent case (as of this writing) of this tactic being
used by a anti-Linux propagandists can be revived by reading the
thread that resulted with the crossposting of Message-ID:
ozub8.40974$Wf1.7452626@xxxxxxxxxxxxx to comp.os.linux.advocacy and
54. The devil made me do it
When you are caught in a situation for which you can not explain you
actions without a confession of your dishonesty and your alignment,
blame it on someone else. Create a boogyman to take the blame. A
variation of this tactic was used in the thread cited above, in which
the failed extortionist blames all the Linux Advocates in COLA for
forcing him into attempting extortion.