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They're Bombing "The Google"
October 24, 2006 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Chris Bowers of MYDD is launching an ambitious campaign to Google Bomb the top 70 congressional races with negative articles for the respective republican candidates. If you don't find this ethically perturbing you can find the code for pasting in to your blog here.
posted by sourbrew (39 comments total)

 
I am wondering what googles response to this will be, and if this can be all that effective with only two weeks left.
posted by sourbrew at 10:00 AM on October 24, 2006


This guy's making a huge leap of faith in assuming Republican voters actually know how to use computers.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:08 AM on October 24, 2006


I am wondering what googles response to this will be

Probably very little, as with the 'failure' thing.

if this can be all that effective with only two weeks left

Probably not, I don't think google updates weightings nearly that quickly
posted by MetaMonkey at 10:09 AM on October 24, 2006


This is kiddie stuff. The GOP has gamed the system for years (cf. Gannongate, Armstrong Williams, etc.) and is much better at it. If it's really a problem, they'll throw staff, money and legislation at solving it (let's make Google a restricted "free-speech zone" where search results on federal officials are concerned), while a castrated mainstream media looks the other way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 AM on October 24, 2006


This is a really shitty thing to do.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:13 AM on October 24, 2006


This is kiddie stuff.

Exactly. (And, yes, it's waaay too late for teh google bombs.)
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:16 AM on October 24, 2006


If I Had An Anus,

That probably deserves its own fpp, i was debating between posting that, this, or the Use it or Lose it campaign that bowers is also running.
posted by sourbrew at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2006


This is pointless, but I don't think it is unethical. The code seems to rely on new articles and editorials as the payload, which is fair game. If they were generating fake stories and then googlebombing with those, that would be something else entirely.

This guy's making a huge leap of faith in assuming Republican voters actually know how to use computers.

I understand that's a joke, but Karl Rove won the last two elections through very sophisticated datamining of mail order databases, voter registration information, magazine subscriptions, product registration info, credit data, etc. If there is a legally available source of data about people out there, they have it and have connected them all together.

Believe me when I tell you that what the republican party knows about most voters would surprise the NSA, and it's all legal.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2006


This guy's making a huge leap of faith in assuming Republican voters actually know how to use computers.

Well, he's a lefty, so he's always up all night on LSD and blow having sex with male dog hookers he wants to marry, and making up phony global warming data on his Mac. You gotta expect a little muddle-headedness.
posted by freebird at 10:35 AM on October 24, 2006


Several of the links are to Wikipedia articles. You would think Bowers would understand the nature of Wikipedia well enough to know that at the very least he should link to static editions of each article rather than the current article, but apparently he doesn't.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:47 AM on October 24, 2006


How is this unethical?
posted by destro at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2006


This is bad.

It's true the right wing media machine will find a way to spin even honest, straight-shooting efforts into the Tale of the Librul Boogeyman.

But there's no need to make it easy. Why not... you know... just campaign against the actual crap the Republican incumbents really do have to account for? It's not unethical if you associate their names with their genuine unhonorable actions.
posted by namespan at 11:13 AM on October 24, 2006


Believe me when I tell you that what the republican party knows about most voters would surprise the NSA, and it's all legal.
posted by Pastabagel


OK, I believe you.
Now tell me how YOU know this.
Do I already have a pretty good idea?
posted by nofundy at 11:17 AM on October 24, 2006


From this link (nod to If I Had An Anus):

Thus, Democratic candidate Webb will appear with his first name and nickname only -- or "James H. 'Jim' " -- on summary pages in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville

and then this:

Every candidate on Alexandria's summary page has been affected in some way by the glitch. Even if candidates' full names appear, as is the case with Webb's Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. George F. Allen, their party affiliations have been cut off.

So the democrat, whose name is the bizarrely long "James H. 'Jim' Webb" will have his last name cut off, which is the word that is the most visible on all his campaign materials, but Allen only get's his party affiliation cut off, i.e. the 'R' that everyone is looking for to vote against.

This is pretty transparent. Their blaming the font being too big. like nobody tested that? I'm thinking someone was tweaking the fonts until he wounf one just large enough to cut off the (R) and not anything else, and then tried to toy with Webb's name, nickname etc. (why not just Jim Webb?) to cut off his last name.

The nice thing about Democrats winning in Nov. is that it will likely mean a lot of low level Republican party grunts start ending up in ditches and face down in rivers as everyone tries to cover their asses.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2006


"Sorry, I wish I could volunteer and help my local dems out, but I'm gonna be googlebombing all next weekend. Well, in between episodes of Star Gate Atlantis, but in a way I'll sort of be helping you guys out already, right?"


"... hello?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:24 AM on October 24, 2006


As much as I love a good black box election conspiracy theory (and subscribe to them I do), this is just silly.

The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes.

So for this to have any effect, we would have to have someone:

A)select the correct person
B)see the summary screen and somehow get confused by the lack of an "R" next to one guy's name even though it shows him as voting for a name pretty similar to what he thought he voted for, then
C)go back and blindly vote for "the other guy"
And D)ignore the results screen that then shows him voting for the opposite person from his initial choice.

Does this sound likely to happen more than once? No.

So, why in the world would they (the evil, omnipresent They who are guilty of so much) go to all that trouble for very minimal gain when rigging the vote count with the boxes is so easy?

This is the first black-box voting glitch I'm inclined to believe IS just a glitch.

Next time, think these things through and raise a fuss about the issues that REALLY matter. Otherwise you're just dilluting the mindspace.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:31 AM on October 24, 2006


OK, I believe you.
Now tell me how YOU know this.
Do I already have a pretty good idea?
posted by nofundy at 2:17 PM EST on October 24


Well, I have no idea what you are thinking, but let's just say that bagels show up frequently at breakfasts, and pasta is pretty popular at a lot of lunches and dinners, and no one questions when they're around, you know?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:34 AM on October 24, 2006


"As much as I love a good black box election conspiracy theory (and subscribe to them I do), this is just silly."

I would have to agree, it also slices republican off of Allens name... it seems like a no big deal type issue.
posted by sourbrew at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2006


Why not... you know... just campaign against the actual crap the Republican incumbents really do have to account for?

Because with the Republicans having all the power, that's like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

We've been haranguing the Democrats for being wimpy against asshole Republican tactics, when responding with asshole tactics is likeky the only way to win. The nice guy doesn't win.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2006


And eating bagels and pasta gives you insider information with the republican party and all they know and don't know?

Interesting.

Are these invitation only meals where one might see Gannon?
posted by nofundy at 11:50 AM on October 24, 2006


with negative articles for the respective republican candidates

A simple recitation of the facts should suffice.
posted by three blind mice at 11:56 AM on October 24, 2006


The "Google dance" doesn't happen often enough for this to substantively affect the results, so I don't know why he thought it would work. If somebody had been working on this sort of oppo-based gaming of the system a year ago, and worked on making sure that lots of (say) fake blogspots were pointing to these negative articles ....

optimally, it would look a lot like all the real lefty blogs pointing to these articles. So, I don't get it.
posted by dhartung at 12:03 PM on October 24, 2006


I hadn't read the portion about it only being after you cast your initial vote. I thought that it was something that applied to the entire voting process, not just the tallied results. Had that been the case I would most definitely think that it deserves to be an FPP, and I will probably be making one about some future form of disenfranchisement or vote engineering that this election will no doubt produce.
posted by sourbrew at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2006


This misdirection nonsense almost happened in the DC Primary – the contractor that mailed out the voting station info shuffled the voting locations so that many people got assigned to voting locations that were, inexplicably located on the opposite side of town.
posted by vhsiv at 12:27 PM on October 24, 2006


I usually like Chris Bowers but this is kind of silly. Democrats are better off spending their time making phone calls and knocking on doors to get the vote out than to be playing around with gaming Google.
posted by octothorpe at 12:31 PM on October 24, 2006


Yeah, I had intended to say that I view this as a distraction from his more important project of getting unthreatened candidates (safe seat, or not running) to give up 30% of their war chests for the good of the party: Use it or Lose it. This is a much better use of his time and will probably have real, substantial effect.
posted by dhartung at 12:45 PM on October 24, 2006


The idea of "Google bombing" a candidate's website in an attempt to sway the election against them is so silly and impotent as to make my head hurt. Here, let me make fart noises with my armpit -- it should have the same impact on the upcoming elections as this nonsense.
posted by jperkins at 1:00 PM on October 24, 2006


They aren't google bombing their website, they are linking to news articles that present the candidate in an unfavorable link. The idea being that there doesn't appear to be any connection between mydd and the article, it would just show up as one of the first results for a name search on a candidate. I think he based this off of some research too showing that some relatively high percentage of voters googles their candidate to learn more.
posted by sourbrew at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2006


Okay... this worked when Dan Savage did it because he spent months on it and focused on one particularly disgusting candidate and utilized an element of humor (alibeit very juveline humor) in his attack.

I applaud Bower's initiative, but Use it or Lose it is a much better use of his time and energies.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2006


My apologies for posting the derail fodder. I feel dirty.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2006


And eating bagels and pasta gives you insider information with the republican party and all they know and don't know?

Interesting.

Are these invitation only meals where one might see Gannon?
posted by nofundy at 2:50 PM EST on October 24
[+]
[!]


Um, that's not what I meant. And now I don't know how to extricate myself from this metaphor.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:53 PM on October 24, 2006


This seems like a waste of time.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 1:55 PM on October 24, 2006


My man, this is how to hack a vote!
posted by jperkins at 2:05 PM on October 24, 2006


Those of you wondering what PastaBagel is talking about, really don't understand campaigning in the modern data age. An awesome little Cliff Notes of how it works is in the documentary "Century Of The Self" which you can find on archive.org.
Here's nice little linky.

Most of the stuff about campaigns and how they work are in the 4th episode, and it's not about the Republicans so much as the Clinton and Blair campaigns. But you know the Republican campaign machine is more than apt at learning from their defeats.
The first 3 parts are more about industrialized marketing and the founders of the current state of affairs along with a nice little "here's why Freud sucks" take on the whole of American society. I found it very enlightening and made me want to crawl in a hole and cry for humanity. But then I had a Coke and felt so much better (if you get that joke, you'll love this documentary).
posted by daq at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hope these Google bombers don’t anger the Swift Boat Liars. Karl Rove might smear and disappear them. Can’t we all just brainlessly stay the Republican curse?
posted by BillyElmore at 2:45 PM on October 24, 2006


> This guy's making a huge leap of faith in assuming Republican voters actually
> know how to use computers.

Well, here's one posting from a computer he built (and installed Linux on, and tweaked kernel parms 'til it screams like an American of middle eastern ethnicity being extraordinarily rendered for torture in Turkey.) Can y'all say the same or better? Don't tell me you're the kind of drooler who had to buy a 'puter. Got a Dell, did you?
posted by jfuller at 4:59 PM on October 24, 2006


Santorum!!!
posted by VulcanMike at 5:33 PM on October 24, 2006


[a fewcomments removed all the this is a bad post blah blah blah stuff really should go to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 6:26 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


National Journal: Political bloggers coordinate 'Google Bombs.'
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on October 25, 2006


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