So after processing available data, I concluded that there is no significant group with the signature of these exploiters (low win rate, high experience points which determine who is considered best). I linked my posts on the subreddit (1, 2, 3) of the game and got downvoted and trolled, because I questioned their beautiful conspiracy theory that “explained” why they can’t get good rank. Finally I was accused by mods that I just want to drive traffic to my blog for money, despite the blog doesn’t even have monetization. Then – when I attempted to reasonably discuss another game feature, I was banned from their subreddit for “being toxic”.
Instead of crying somewhere, I decided to teach them a lesson by creating a troll post (archive). I created a throwaway account and posted completely fake statistics that tell them what they want to hear: that exploiting is widespread and this is why they can’t get good rank. The plan was simple: let them upvote, celebrate and join the fake account in abusing me and then reveal the troll and make them look stupid. To make it more embarrassing, I placed multiple clues in the post:
- The first letters of each paragraph in my text comment spelled “BULLSHIT”
- I linked the original dataset which was actually the lyrics of the song “Never gonna give you up” by Rick Astley.
- I put “Fake News” watermark to the right top corner of the chart
- The scientific discussion made no sense even if the data was true: I was talking about “standard deviation of correlation” (which is nonsense, but also one upvoted comment that some random fool used to criticize my real post) and also talked about damage which wasn’t present on the chart
- The post contained lots of abuse for the real me which is unscientific
Then something completely unexpected happened which turned some laughter at the expense of some morons and slackers into something much more valuable: some of my clues were found. Pretty soon someone checked the original data and later the “BULLSHIT” was found. But the obviously worthless and misleading post was not removed or at least downvoted and flamed, it rose to the top and it remained on the first page for a day:
Its reddit statistics:
107 (73% upvoted), 8.4k views. Also, my only comment (the fake discussion text) got 88 karma. Let’s compare it to my real posts about the same topic:
Also, neither of my comments got positive karma. Not only my real posts got me negative karma, but their combined audience is about 1/3 of those who saw the fake post, despite it was caught very soon!
This is how fake news spreads on social media and gaming forums: people support and spread lies they like, even when they are fully aware that they are fake while actively suppress – with the help of mods – the true information that contradicts their viewpoint.