So I've been posting a lot of these theory related to discussions, I thought I could contribute to the DOTA2 discussion a bit by doing that, and I thought also a good way to post these "I'm LF someone to play with!" messages at the end, as well as mention my twitch stream which is pretty boring. Besides I'm doing this twitch streaming in part because of this other problem everyone should know about by now. Anyway, I'd like to find some people to play with. Problem is that almost everyone who has contacted me so far, has turned out to be a Russia troll, and that kind of sucks. More than that the problem is that I haven't really found people to begin with, like I started playing this in October 2020, and well spent the first couple of weeks noobing around and not really understanding the game much, but after a while I decided to try and find some people to play with. So I joined like every discord server out there with a DOTA2 theme, or at least the major ones with a lot of users, and then I even joined every major facebook group on DOTA2, and on top of that I joined these reddit threads.
On each of these platforms I've attempted to find people to play with. I think a gracious guess is that there has been a total of less than 100 people who have contacted me. Maybe a closer estimate is something like 50. Out of these people something like 20 are still on my friends list, but we don't really play together, and out of the remaining or 30 or so, some invites I just rejected immediately, and for the rest of the players, after playing with them for a while it became obvious they're a Russia troll, and I decided that I don't want to play with a Russia troll and removed them from my friends list.
But the problem is that there's quite a lot of players playing DOTA. If I post on all of these platforms, it just seems weird that I've met so few people. A discord with like several thousand members? If I post like once a day that I'm looking for people, for 2 weeks straight, and end up getting like 5-10 message me, that seems kind of low?
So the problem isn't that I got contacted with the Russia trolls. That was perfectly expectable, because I already knew in advance I would get these trolls to contact me. The problem is… Where is everyone else? Am I just not getting their invites through for some reason? Is there a bunch of people who have sent me invites but they have mysteriously disappeared along the way? Am I actually even getting through on those Discord servers? What's going on here?
Additionally the facebook groups. I think facebook is not very popular among gamers in general, but if I search for groups with the keyword "DOTA" there's maybe a couple of dozen groups that show up in the search results, at least that are private groups, when enabling public groups, there's some more. Anyway the groups I joined are private, in part because I tend to mention this Russia harassment case at some point, and I'm not quite comfortable in mentioning this in public groups because I'm on facebook with like my family and stuff and real names and so on, so I stick to the private groups. Well I posted these messages in like I think 8 facebook groups, or something of that magnitude, that I'm looking for people to play with.. And I got a total of 2 people responding that they want to play with me, and I think they were both Russia trolls. But the total membercount in these groups is like close to a million people, or half a million. The biggest group alone has like 250k members, and the rest are smaller. So how it is possible that Iget only 2 invites from these groups over like a month? This doesn't seem normal?
So I've come to suspect there might be some kind of messing with from the Russians part. Like I know there's all kinds of hackery that could be engaged in, for an example, DNS-Hijack is something even I know of. There's this DNS server that you give a website name, like reddit.com, and the DNS server tells you what the IP address is. So in the DNS- hijack, you connect to a fake DNS server that gives you a fake IP address, with the effect that you end up connecting potentially to a fake website that's made to look like the one you're actually trying to reach. But this level of 'hackery' is like done by a couple of teenagers for fun, and probably wouldn't work for an extended period of time. Then there's professional criminals who like try to get your credit card number or something, but these are like a bunch of crooks who come up with a way to try and scam money from someone. However, I know I got into trouble with the Russian security services, these are not teenagers hacking someone from their school computers during lunch break, nor are they thieves trying to scam some petty amount of money, they're pretty serious people. So I've been in contact with the Finnish counter-intelligence, but they don't have the resources to even dream about something like this. The problem with the Russians doing something like this online, is risky, because of other Western countries who are trying to keep up with whatever the Russians are upto. If they had such clever methods at their disposal, it seems a bit like an exaggeration to use those to mess with me. But anyway, if you imagine there was something comparable to a DNS-hijack going on, that would be a perfect answer to the dilemmas presented here. How come there's so few people who have reached me? DOTA is huge, there's so many players just daily, it's like several hundred thousand players every day. Well, if my message isn't actually even getting out, like it's supposed to, that would definitely solve the problem of getting so few people to reach me. And the second part of the problem is also solved by this answer – how come it's possible that a large percentage of the people who actually id contact me, ended up being Russia trolls? The number of the Russia trolls in other words is not surprising and it's expectable, but their ratio proportional to total number of people reaching me is through the roof, and that's an understatement.
So there's a chance for an example that when people go to the DOTA reddit or whatever, and I've made thread here, maybe it just doesn't show up on the feed, and the only people who show up commenting end up being Russia trolls. Maybe the whole thread isn't getting on the actual reddit, but it seems this approach would be extremely risky. Or maybe just the friend invites mysteriously fail, and that's why I'm not getting them. But these options don't quite explain the Facebook Dilemma. There are some commenters on Facebook, I joined DOTA2 USA for an example, and DOTA2 USA EAST. It would seem that the friend invites disappearing can't explain what's going on Facebook.
On the other hand considering the capabilities of the Russian security services and their general interests.. Well they have always paid attention to the media. I think it was Lenin who made the point that papers are important. There's a quote related to that which I can't remember, so it goes back a long way. To think that the Russians might want to mess domestically with people like online activists, close them in a bubble, make them think they're participating in actual activism while it wouldn't quite be the way you thought… Maybe something like that is in their disposal. Or maybe just tinkering with the visibility of various media articles is something they can do. This would make perfect sense, there's some divisive news story or something that has propaganda value – well whoever made that article, it would be nice if you could have more people read it? And in the inverse case, if you wanted to demote the visibility of harmful news, maybe there's a way to hack into the way news spread online by manipulating the spreading process. These are often based on these feeds and especially on facebook, customized feeds, so some people don't see stuff on their feeds by default, and so on. Maybe something like that is involved.
Regardless of all this speculation, I'd like to find some actual people to play with, and preferably people who are not Russia trolls. So if you want to play, and also you're not scared by this whole Russia thing, then please send me an invite and add me to party. The steamid is:
PS. +18 only, I play on EU West mainly, I like all roles, can also play on EU East and US East. And I'm a Herald, rated at like 100 MMR. Although this is probably primarily the result of these Russia trolls messing with me in DOTA, like I get supports throwing games on purpose, and if I'm playing support then I get carries throwing the game on purpose, and so on. But regardless of that, please invite me.
PPS. I also created a subreddit on the theme of Propaganda and disinformation, incase someone is interested in that then pls send me a message
- Another desperate attempt at finding people to play with 😀
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