Scientology youtube comments

Discussion in 'General Scientology Discussion' started by Swundel, Jun 9, 2018.

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  1. Swundel

    Swundel Patron

    I thought I'd open a thread for this, as it's a (seemingly) very little-discussed aspect of Scientology's public communications that I've become quite fascinated with. Perhaps some of you old-timers (or better yet, recently left) might be able to put it into the greater context of Scientology policies and beliefs.

    For some years now, the official Scientology youtube channel has allowed moderated comments. The comments that the moderators let through have generally either been what I call "Yay" comments: short meaningless phrases of approval such as "Nice video!" or "This is so cool."
    In recent years, we've also seen "neutral" comments come through in reasonable quantities, especially when they very directly engage with the topic of the video: this has been particularly true in the short videos explaining some fundamental Scientology belief.

    With the 2018 Superbowl commercial hitting over 4 million views on youtube (that's a 40 fold increase over last year's ad: I am not sure why that is, but I fear it may be quite significant), these guidelines seem to have been put to the test. The first few days saw the old policy of "yay" comments applied - relevant neutral comments aren't very common for an ad like that, anyway. After that people picked up on the artificial moderation and commented on it.
    I was astounded by the sheer numbers of these "meta" comments they let through! Letting one or so through per video has been a thing for the last 12 months or so at least, but this time we're talking up to a dozen: in fact, these comments have so taken up the top of the comments that I don't rule out the possibility they retroactively deleted some of the excess "yay" material. Alternatively, it simply got buried at the bottom of the comment stream (where a dozen or so still remain).

    Moreover, they began engaging with comments directly. I don't think I've seen C of S directly reply to someone before, but in this ad, they absolutely have.

    A seeming wog*: "Ya' know, is awesome and scary to see how everyone in the comments are all happy"
    Scientology reply: "We're gonna focus on the "awesome" part."

    *Channel full of anime doesn't exactly spell out Scientologist in my eyes. The user's profile seems utterly authentic and has no reference to Scientology or its front groups.

    Another example of a comment they let through, this time with no reply:
    "For some reason these comments make me feel like I’m in a scary horror movie where everyone is robots and show no emotion but a terrifying happiness. Like an uncanny feeling that something is horribly wrong but I still can’t place my finger on what exactly it is..."

    Not only is that an acute observation, it's neutral leaning negative rather than positive.

    Now, let us be clear, this is still a heavily moderated comment section. Youtube shows the number of total replies submitted to a comment as "View 65 replies", but if you expand it only shows the ones that passed moderation. This metric gives us well over a 95% reject rate for all replies given, which is probably roughly proportional to all comments in general: though I think it's a bit inflated due to an effort to delete all non-Scio replies to a comment also replied by the channel itself, as an effort to highlight these official replies.

    A good indicator of heavy moderation is that the word "cult" does not appear once in the comments.

    But that's precisely why these comments are so interesting. With such extreme curation, the comments that are left are there almost certainly to serve some purpose.

    Interestingly, the channel actually posted a version of its moderation policy as reply to someone accusing them of deleting negative comments.

    Nope, we're not deleting anything, you have my word on that. I'll share our curating process with you - There are both positive and negative comments in the queue.

    The first thing we try to ascertain quickly is if the posting account is real or not, and I can tell you that in roughly 90% of the negative posts, and roughly 30% of neutral or positive posts, are from what appear to be fake accounts, therefore we don't share them. Why would we or anyone?

    Secondly, FYI, we'll post and respond to sincere, genuine negative questions or points when we feel we can have a mutually respectful conversation that can lead to better understanding on a topic, but guess what? The majority of negative comments are not about issues, they're simply trolls or insults, or bots, or name-calling and there's simply no point to making them part of the community as they have nothing constructive to offer the dialogue. I hope that helps in understanding.

    Now, are we perfect? Will trolls/bots slip through review sometimes, yep, but we do our best and we're sincere and genuine in the attempt to create a constructive, curated stream that is welcoming and informative.

    They definitely make their moderation sound like a lot of work. I must say that describing a stream as "welcoming" when half the comments you read are about how creepy said stream is is a little bit funny, but nonetheless it is easy to see the effort made. For instance, the people running the channel have been unusually liberal with humour. This produces some wonderful quotes:

    - Church of Scientology, 2018

    On another comment, they explained "We have a liberal comment policy: someone has to be outright mean, malicious or intend to do harm to not make it into the comments."

    Now, 95% censorship is still a bit borderline when it comes to "liberal"; but certainly, this is a bit new and unúsual for the normally so very opaque organisation Scientology is. I'd love to hear from some of you more saturated in the field of Scientology's external communications: how much of a break with the past is this really, what is it aiming to achieve, how far do you expect it to?

    Comments cited have been stripped of the names of their senders for a nicer flow of text: similarly, quotes from Scientology have been stripped of any introductory sentences addressing the commenter. Some particularly annoying mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar may also have been resolved, and additional line spacing added in line with the improvements in the Golden Age of Knowledge re-release. If they do it to LRH, then I can do it to them, damn it.
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  2. DagwoodGum

    DagwoodGum Cosmic Recyclable

    Good thing Hubbard didn't have re-write access to all the collective truth available on You-tube being his time was up long before You-tube came along with the collective, visual, crib notes versions of the greatest truths that mankind has identified. As priceless as all of this is, Flubs would have slapped a big fat price tag on all of it given half a chance.
  3. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    They say they are not deleting anything and then proceed to provide such a broad criteria for defining things as not valid enough to post that virtually anything is subject to deletion.

    Definitely Scientologists.

    But I have to wonder about who they would let do the censorship? It has to be someone who is completely impervious to all the criticism and totally willing to distort the reality of public opinion. It goes against everything Scientology is designed for. They were never intended to be exposed to this kind of broad public opinion. Even the GO and OSA were designed to fight well defined battles that limited the scope of exposure. Now they have full time posts where people must manage raw internet traffic for public view without it appearing that they are manipulating the data.

    Freedom magazine is operating out of SMP now, Yes? I have to think that one will absorb the other if it wasn't the intention to just create a streaming model for Freedom Magazine all along. I just don't think they have thought through the interactive ramifications of all this. It isn't possible for them to do this without confirming how bizarre they are in the public eye.
  4. wogwog

    wogwog Patron

    Are OSA agents trusted to handle the comments moderation, or would they be willing to hire this out to a Scientologist run online PR firm?
  5. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    I don't think there would be such a thing as a Scientologist run online PR firm that wasn't totally controlled by OSA and most likely at least staffed by ex-OSA, ex-Sea Org types who are still heavily connected and trusted.

    To moderate Scientology traffic you need to be able to be trusted to be hatted on OSA policy for this kind of thing, and probably including OSA generated comments and accounts.

    The GO and OSA have long histories of using non-SO people for their ops and by now I would expect many Scientology businesses are essentially OSA fronts where the same people have moved from one of these businesses to the other, intermarry and have second generation people who don't know anything different.
  6. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    Karen#1 posted this back in Dec, 2015:

    Whether it's this particular "internet unit" that moderates the YouTube (and other) comments or whether they outsource some of it to Ex-OSA or even non-scientologists living in some third world country I have no idea. I would imagine though that everything is run from this unit, including internet trolls assigned to various forums (like ESMB) and also those assigned to defend against critical postings in the comment sections of online articles.

    If feels weird writing that because Scientology policy is of course to attack those who are critical, never defend. But sometimes in the comment sections they'll use other strategies as well.
  7. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Thanks. That was a good thread. I think we might be tempted to think of OSA and this stuff in simplistic linear terms but it's probably more accurate to think of this like an Islamic community where there are various degrees of fanaticism throughout the extended family and community but everyone goes along with it and helps cover to some extent. People leave the Sea Org for various reason that aren't necessarily a reflection on their devotion or lack of. They might get old or sick, have a pregnancy, they or a spouse gets Fitness Boarded, debts, etc. They know too much and are still a valuable resource to be asset stripped so better to figure out how to keep them involved, producing and where you can keep tabs on them. The internet traffic workload for OSA must be huge and growing all the time. To realistically manage it would take a lot of people and resources. If you have been in the SO long enough to be trusted with this then you must be so burned out that you can barely function as a human being. If you've been in that long and have that kind of "clearance" then there must be plenty of other places where you're more valuable than monitoring YouTube comments. So if you are stuck doing this it's kind of like being stuck in the basement with a red Swingline.

    Anyway, maybe it's all internal OSA or they use some of the more fanatical cousins on the outside but I can't imagine that they would outsource this to a wog company in Calcutta or some such.
  8. dchoiceisalwaysrs

    dchoiceisalwaysrs Gold Meritorious Patron

    "I just don't think they have thought through the interactive ramifications of all this. It isn't possible for them to do this without confirming how bizarre they are in the public eye."

    Full blown narcissists simply never see themselves or their actions as bizarre. That they are bizarre doesn't even enter their crowded bizarre mind. And do Ronbots actually think? Remember they are running on programs installed by EL CON.
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  9. Dave B.

    Dave B. Maximus Ultimus Mostimus

    Morgan Freeman sexual abusing his underage adopted daughter was covered up. But plenty of people know about it. Maybe do better research/vetting on pitchmen next time.

    Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  10. DagwoodGum

    DagwoodGum Cosmic Recyclable

    Wow! I never even heard of this before now. Someone is doing a hell of a job suppressing information that is deemed "not for public consumption". Thanks for posting this, puts Freeman in the same camp as the rest of those that always carry a piece of the ghetto inside of them, ready to spring out upon people like me who wouldn't suspect anything of the sort until it happens.