The Wisdom Of Alinsky, Fameball Decomposition post by Neal Rauhauser; 2013

Neal and his nodes. For awhile Rauhauser had a wordpress called Fameball Decomposition. He had plans of making his little graphs professionally but they weren’t quite the success he claims below. They were pretty and people could see their Twitter account on the graph but there was no sense to the graphs.

Neal would select the data he wanted to input then he’d manipulate that data to get the final node graph. 

Junk IN = Junk OUT.

The Wisdom Of Alinsky

We are known for fameballs – colorful, funny social network graphs of Twitter accounts that illuminated the drama of the day. Less commonly seen were the temporal and language signatures, which we used to out the operators of sock puppets and serial harassment accounts. This is entertainment for us – taking classes on social network analysis and natural language processing, stitching together a potent forensics system using nothing but free software and services, tying it all together with less than a thousand lines of awk/sed/python, and then branding and successfully promoting it.

Judging by the RAEG generated as we unraveled sock puppets and humiliated their operators, the system is a roaring success … however:

Alinksy’s Sixth Rule states:

A good tactic is one your people enjoy.

But this is closely followed by Alinsky’s Seventh Rule:

A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

Last night, after much heated discussion among the dramacrats of the famecabal, Alinsky’s Seventh was successfully involved … however more conservative members invoked both Alinsky’s First & Ninth Rules:

Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.

The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

Faith without works is dead; we had to turn these applications of principles into concrete action.

Therefore, the power of the fameball is still available to those who need it, but it now comes in the form of dossiers stored on Evernote, another system that we’ve been programming for a few months. If you are a grassroots organizer and you’re plagued by disruptive sock puppets, just hunt up one of the puffs and they’ll take care of you.