“Russia Russia Russia!” It’s back

How do I know?

Aside from having read segments of the Mueller Report — especially the Russian election interference sections and responsive indictments — I read lots of readers’ comments to Times articles and editorials.

I feel I’ve joined a village forum dedicated to important issues of the day. A lot of readers know more than I do about all sorts of things and I learn from them.

Occasionally, a reader will offer vehement criticism of a point of view which has not been presented in the initial essay, from which I assume the reader has his/her opinion ready to go and just sticks it in wherever.

But then there are the comments which are…weird. Not well written; the sentences are tangled up and not really communicative. Expressions which are not quite in American English stud the comments, and an inscribed “factual” event — purportedly the inspiration for the comment –will cause me to shake my head: I don’t remember that happening, I think. Oh, and the reader calls himself an anodyne “American” name like Jim or Bob and he comes from NYC or SF. (The Times doesn’t require us to use real names and locations.)

These comments look like jigsaw puzzles an unskilled and impatient person completed by jamming pieces into places where they don’t fit.

Ah, I say to myself, the Russian trolls are back.

Several points to make. First, you don’t have to get anxious: this trolling fails to persuade; it does not change my mind by planting falsehoods into it, so I assume it isn’t changing yours, either. Second, this new troll group is working (too hard) to create the illusion of greater complexity in their “comments” than the pre-Mueller trolls did. They still don’t make any sense.

I’ve been on Twitter for years. It’s taught me one good lesson: when I read a new news item that startles me, I wait to see if any credible person responds. Often the hot item slides quickly into the Great Social Media Garbage Can, i.e., it disappears. Didn’t happen.

That’s how I treat the Russian troll letters. If any dubious item is included, and if I’m not sure about it, I’ll check it out via Google and on Twitter.

So “Russia Russia Russia!” is back. It was never a hoax and it isn’t now. On the other hand, it didn’t sway or discourage many votes last time — even if you give it credit for those infamous 80,000 — and on the principle of You May Have Fooled Me The First Time But You Won’t Fool Me This Time, I don’t believe Putin’s efforts will affect us voters.

Yes, yes, I’m an optimist who thinks better of her fellow American voters than a lot of people do so don’t give me any “kinahora”over this.

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