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I had this thought.

For almost every insane conspiracy (Gates implanting microchips) there is a real "conspiracy" going on (Gates working to keep vaccines under patents, Gates laundering his reputation).

What if we mimick those conspiracy sites, infiltrate the telegram groups, share the "real" conspiracies and eventually convert them to the left?

That last step seems like a big jump, but I don't think it is. They are dissatisfied with the status-quo, but have been misled about the causes.

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I've had discussions on Facebook, with people I know, about articles they shared.

This one example I have in mind, they claimed a media personality (in the Netherlands) was corrupt. This wasn't supported by the text of the article they were sharing. The claim the article made was different.

The article (from a shoddy conspiracy website) was basing it's claim on a story by a reputable site. This article did not support the conclusions in the shoddy one either.

That's like 3 degrees of lies.

I'm saying this to highlight the need to actually mimick the format that is being used. To get into that conspiratorial frame and trick them into paying attention to the truth.

If you simply share a article of, say, The Intercept, they won't pay attention to it, because it's not clickbaity enough, too complex and doesn't fit with what they expect.

I don't know that it's EVER possible to change someones mind about conspiracies, but it seems to me like this could work.

The real conspiracies are so much more interesting too, and maybe this is subjective, but they show you something about the real world. A world that does not exist in black and white, but has people in it that are more often incompetent or greedy, but not always capital-G good or capital E Evil.

Bad things happen because we have bad systems. We can change the systems.

There is no cabal of shady people pulling the strings, the people in power are not competent enough to make that happen.

@urusan
You mean that this would be the (false) conspiracy someone could spread if they wanted to get the anti-vaxxers to vaccinate themselves?

Just like with the recent mask wearing example (anti-maskers masking up because vaccinated people shed RNA) it may work.

But that's getting people to do the right thing for the wrong reason. I'd prefer to get people to do the right thing (but not necessarily the opposite of what they were doing before) for the right reason.

@urusan
I think you may have a chance of getting someone to change their mind on _why_ Bill Gates is a asshole. But you will have a much harder time changing their opinion 180°, they are too invested for that.

If you want a anti-vaxxer to get vaccinated, you may have to start by agreeing with them that big pharma has some big problems. (See for example the opioid crisis, Shkreli price hikes, insulin pumps with the printer ink business model) Way before you start on vaccines.

@kingannoy

Interesting thread from a comms point of view.

Regarding if it’s possible to change ‘believer’ minds... An article circulated recently that asked that question. I didn’t read it. (I figured what was the point if not possible.) But it seemed based on a study, and it may have been around deniers as much as conspiracy believers.

You know ye ol’ saying: Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still.

It’s the instigators (the sources) that need to disappear. Forever.

@wion
I don't want to convince them that the implanted microchips made by Bill Gates are bullshit. I just want to add a real conspiracy next to the existing one, in the hope that the realness will eventually drive out the bullshit belief.

Those studies usually show people "facts" from "reputable sources" but they usually don't trust either of those.

My proposal is to use the same vulnerabilities of the conspiratorial mind, but for implanting facts instead of bullshit.

@kingannoy

Right. I get what you were after, I think. I was just responding to the one thing you said: ‘I don't know that it's EVER possible to change someones mind about conspiracies’. I’m not sure it is either, meaning I doubt it.

One thing I’m not clear on is if you see a difference between conspirators (i.e. chaos makers) and those who gullibly believe it.

@wion
I don't know that there is a clear separation anymore between promotors of conspiracies and believers. Looking at things like Qanon those lines get really blurry.

I agree that changing someones mind is really hard. Research backs it up. But mostly that's aimed at getting someone to "change camps".

What i'm proposing is:
Identify the underlaying grievance.
Find a related real issue.
Dress it up as conspiracy.
Get them angry about this related, but not opposite, thing.

@kingannoy

What you are suggesting sounds like a multi-layered comms strategy to subvert the thinking of the gullible who are typically subverted by the conspirators. I’ve wondered about strategies like this before too in relation to climate issues. But... a lot of work even to try.

@kingannoy

I have a more stepped-back take on society right now, oriented around ecology. The biosphere is going to shit. Society doesn’t seem to care much, nor can it really do anything if it wanted to. It is too far invested in high energy. Ten-year transitions are a fantasy. There will be a crash at some point to some degree. So with that backdrop fact, it’s hard for me to care much about conspiracies. They are part of the failing ecology. Nature will deal with the fools eventually.

@wion
I'm not at all sure I can do this, it's just a thought experiment up till here. But I give myself better odds with this technique then with making the instigators of conspiracy theories disappear forever 😅

@kingannoy Did you see the thing where now anti-vaxxers are talking about wearing masks and "distancing" from the vaccinated (so they don't get "mRNA shed on them" or some similar nonsense).
I for one like to imagine this was some well-intentioned "infiltrator" getting them to do the right thing (for the wrong reasons) :)

@meejah
Yeah, I heard that mentioned. It's nice that it gets them doing the right thing, but it would be even better if they did it for the right reasons.

I mean, I like the story, but this has potential to backfire right? There is a large group of people being told to be afraid of people that got vaccinated?

Even ignoring the potential for dangerous situations, imagine that's someones mom, and they're finally able to responsibly hug again after getting vaccinated...

@kingannoy Oh, it's definitely "bad" overall, no question ...

@kingannoy so, I raised a similar idea about a year ago, and was promptly directed to the concept of Prospiracy!

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/03/04/prospiracy-theories/

@sean
I like that!

But it's not exactly what I'm thinking of. The format is perfect, and that is definitely something I would need to practice.

Imo two crucial parts are missing here, people love conspiracies because:
- They are dissatisfied with the world and the conspiracy explains the cause
- They want to be smarter then "the sheeple"

These all seem to explain the "normie truth" in a conspiracy way. The message itself should be a leftist take basically.

@kingannoy ah, I get what you're saying.

One of the things that always bugs me about conspiracy theories is how they come so close to the truth in many instances, but magically fall just short of actually reaching the correct conclusions.

For example, there are countless conspiracy theories about a New World Order running things, doing horrific things to the human race, making the world generally less free, and so on and so forth. But, the theme of an economic elite and governments making the vast amount of decisions for society in such a way that they retain their power is ostensibly true, and not really above anybody's comprehension - it's just less of a mass-coordinated clandestine effort and more of a series of self-interested moguls trying to ratfuck civilization (and each other) for their own gain over and over again.

@sean
I think the clue is in coming close to the truth. What makes a compelling story, what aligns to our ideas and ideals of the world. How do we learn those ideas and ideals? We have been hacked from early delvelopment from stories. It's no wonder conspiracy stories are prevalent. Plus they are more interesting than normal power and corruption. Which is mundane and not romantic. There is a romantic ideal of freedom in a lot of conspiracy theories. They feel more true.
@kingannoy

@kingannoy The insane conspiracy theories exist to cover up the real conspiracies. This technique goes back at least to the Aliens at Area 51 thing in like 1960.

And yes, that's a conspiracy theory. Or maybe just a "government theory", since governments have people on payroll *explicitly* to spread disinformation.

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