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Something Interesting Alexa Showed Me Regarding Recent Trolling Activity

Posted on 12/05/2003 4:22:27 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod

Hi everyone.

One of the things I have noticed lately is that, at least from where I sit, trolling activity has increased greatly recently. Many relatively new accounts, or older accounts with previously little or no activity, suddenly coming on and posting negative comments about President Reagan, saying they are lifelong Republicans but no more, and a bunch of other things that could be legitimately held beliefs on their part but when taken in aggregate make it clear that there is quite a bit of trolling action going on.

I found the following to be quite illuminating. Alexa.com is a website which tracks web usage for those who voluntarily use their software (a browser toolbar extension). They accumulate the data and compile it into useful reports, such as traffic reports. They also report on related topics-- "People who visit this page also visit".

So, what sites do "People who visit" Free Republic also visit?



TOPICS: Free Republic
KEYWORDS: alexa; computers; dirtypolitics; dusrupters; fifthcolumn; fifthcolumnists; fr; freerepublic; greatthreads; ispy; leftists; spyware; trolls
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1 posted on 12/05/2003 4:22:28 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Thanks for the headsup.
2 posted on 12/05/2003 4:27:39 AM PST by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Nice research... So we're surrounded by a bunch of wackos! Scary but not surprising I guess.
3 posted on 12/05/2003 4:29:15 AM PST by ReleaseTheHounds
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To: I Am Not A Mod
You also have to consider that many of us visit the Leftists' sites to know the enemy.
4 posted on 12/05/2003 4:32:05 AM PST by Flyer (FReep IS in the FreeRepublic dictionary! HOORAH!)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Very interesting- info is appreciated.
5 posted on 12/05/2003 4:32:05 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the TrackBall into the Sunset...)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: I Am Not A Mod
next thing to do is trace ip addresses to office/home locations and cross reference against vehicle registrations -- lot's of SUV's I'd bet...

/dark humor

7 posted on 12/05/2003 4:33:22 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
I visit DU every day, often more than once.

I can't help it. It's like when you see a bad accident on the road and can't stop rubbernecking.
8 posted on 12/05/2003 4:36:11 AM PST by Maceman (Too nuanced for a bumper sticker)
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To: I Am Not A Mod; sweetliberty; MeeknMing
very interesting....
9 posted on 12/05/2003 4:39:48 AM PST by nicmarlo
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To: the invisib1e hand
1. Please tell me how an invisible hand can turn off dark humor.

2. Do not confuse my Yugo for an SUV...it was a present from my old comrade, Marshall Tito.

10 posted on 12/05/2003 4:39:50 AM PST by harrowup (So perfect I'm naturally humble)
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To: Flyer
I visit all those leftist sites to see what the kooks are up too.
11 posted on 12/05/2003 4:40:38 AM PST by Defendingliberty (www.defendingliberty.com)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Noticed what I though were old timers bashing Rush nonstop yesterday. Makes more sense now. They were out in force yesterday.
12 posted on 12/05/2003 4:41:23 AM PST by Republican Red (Karmic hugs welcomed!)
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To: Flyer
There are many here who browse left sites to see what the left is up to. Yet you don't see a whole bunch of conservative sites ending up on the related sites for them.

Plus, Jim said that in the http logs he has seen a lot of newbie traffic coming from sites of which he was not really familiar but now he sees a lot of them here.

The Deanie Weenies have their seminar poster routines down.

13 posted on 12/05/2003 4:42:09 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Many relatively new accounts, or older accounts with previously little or no activity, suddenly coming on and posting negative comments

Hmmm.....

DU sleeper agents.....

Why am I not surprised?

14 posted on 12/05/2003 4:47:07 AM PST by Freebird Forever
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To: I Am Not A Mod
At least the new thread and post stats here will make it easier to identify sleepers.
15 posted on 12/05/2003 4:51:49 AM PST by Flyer (FReep IS in the FreeRepublic dictionary! HOORAH!)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: I Am Not A Mod
<*golf clap*>

Nicely done.

Anyone that loads Alexa and allows it on their machine is foolish. I recommend running Spybot Search and Destroy *and* Ad-Aware a 2-4 times a month to strip out tracking cookies and spyware.
17 posted on 12/05/2003 4:54:13 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Defendingliberty; Maceman; Flyer
Hopefully you're not running Alexa's tracking software when you do, though.
18 posted on 12/05/2003 4:55:46 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: ReleaseTheHounds
Hey....maybe Jim Robinson can get us good guys/gals secret decoder rings to authenticate us!
19 posted on 12/05/2003 5:01:58 AM PST by JimVT
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To: FreedomPoster
Hopefully you're not running Alexa's tracking software

Not here. Alexa is almost as evil as RealPlayer.

20 posted on 12/05/2003 5:06:07 AM PST by Flyer (FReep IS in the FreeRepublic dictionary! HOORAH!)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Mr X rejects modern society. He sees popular culture as corrupt and decadent. Instead of watching television and eating at McDonalds, Mr. X reads classic literature and grows his own organic food. Instead of sending his children to public school, he teaches them at home so they will learn proper values.

Mr X is:

1. A conservative
2. A radical leftist
3. A nut
21 posted on 12/05/2003 5:07:46 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: Flyer
10-4 on that. There is no RealMedia video or audio stream I need to see/hear enough to make me load that crap on a system.

I use Zoomplayer for most A/V stuff just because I don't trust M$ and Media Player. You should check it out.
22 posted on 12/05/2003 5:09:02 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
More trolls:


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1028540/posts?page=191#191
23 posted on 12/05/2003 5:09:20 AM PST by Catspaw
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To: I Am Not A Mod
There was also a lot of trolling over the holiday weekend, so a lot of these visitors were probably on Thanksgiving break.
24 posted on 12/05/2003 5:09:51 AM PST by rabidralph (Creating drama in the "black community" since 1962.)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Wha? Am I the only one arguing politics on metallica.com while I'm here?!?!
25 posted on 12/05/2003 5:13:51 AM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: I Am Not A Mod
This doesn't really mean what you think it does. I run a fairly large internet business and spend half my waking hours analyzing and studying this kind of stuff, and I've been in the Alexa offices to discuss business opportunities. Although Alexa can and does track click behavior, the information you refer to is the result of their "editorial process", where they look for "similar" sites. When I check Alexa for one of our sites, they have a competitor's site listed that went out of business almost two years ago.
26 posted on 12/05/2003 5:14:19 AM PST by halley
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To: Flyer
At least the new thread and post stats here will make it easier to identify sleepers.

When I click on your link, it looks like it's giving the stats for myself. How would one get stats for someone else? Thanks!

27 posted on 12/05/2003 5:14:55 AM PST by BlackRazor
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~; hellinahandcart; netmilsmom
PING PING PING!

Others have noticed lots of trolls lately too! This thread is not about the exact same problem we noticed, but it's very close.

28 posted on 12/05/2003 5:14:59 AM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: BlackRazor
How would one get stats for someone else? Thanks!

Duh! I hadn't thought about that. Never mind. . .

29 posted on 12/05/2003 5:16:37 AM PST by Flyer (FReep IS in the FreeRepublic dictionary! HOORAH!)
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To: Flyer
I hadn't thought about that. Never mind. . .

Well that's kind of silly! If they're tracking that info, I don't see why they couldn't make it public.

30 posted on 12/05/2003 5:20:49 AM PST by BlackRazor
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To: BlackRazor
If they're tracking that info, I don't see why they couldn't make it public.

Well, I have done my quota of requests to John Robinson this month (getting FReep in the dictionary). It's your turn.

31 posted on 12/05/2003 5:24:53 AM PST by Flyer (FReep IS in the FreeRepublic dictionary! HOORAH!)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Two comment; the Alexa toolbar is spyware that Ad aware removes. I fail to see how anyone in their right mind would let someone track something as private as surfing habits. It should be remove like Gator, Lop.Com, Xupiter,etc.

The other thing is, not everybody likes Reagan. I don't put my lifelong distaste for the man and why I feel him vastly overrated and why I feel others are using him name to feather their own pillows out of respect for the feelings of his family and admirers in the difficult time of his very tragic illness I wouldn't wish on anybody.

But I will mention it one time here merely to make a point we have a right to our opinions, and just because it may differ with yours that doesn't make one a 'troll.'

I may give credit where credit is due, but I reserve the human right to not like another human if I so chose, and you should think about that. Have a nice day

32 posted on 12/05/2003 5:31:05 AM PST by bicycle thug (Orville and Wilbur, 100 years of the Wright stuff. Dec. 17th, 1993-2003)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Many relatively new accounts, or older accounts with previously little or no activity, suddenly coming on and posting negative comments about President Reagan, saying they are lifelong Republicans but no more, and a bunch of other things that could be legitimately held beliefs on their part but when taken in aggregate make it clear that there is quite a bit of trolling action going on.

Thank you for confirming my recent suspicions, along these lines. I, too, have noticed this, as well.

33 posted on 12/05/2003 5:32:07 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("The Clintons have damaged our country. They have done it together, in unison." -- Peggy Noonan)
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To: Maceman
I visit DU every day, often more than once.

Hope you keep several bars of soap and plenty of disinfectant handy. That site smells worse than a landfill.

34 posted on 12/05/2003 5:37:03 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter are living proof that not all blondes are dumb.)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Okay, fine, you noticed it *now*. But it also *has been*, back *then*. *Then* being, I've seen that pattern of strange "also visited" sites over the past year of so I've looked at Alexis.

IOW, it's not a NEW thang.

35 posted on 12/05/2003 5:41:20 AM PST by bvw
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To: I Am Not A Mod
Others have pointed out the know-thy-enemy business.

I would also point out that I'm taking an on-line history class through the local CC. One section of the mid-term required that I write up a half a page on each of 12 topics/people on a given list. When done, I counted 10 of the 12 that were on socialists and/or socialist programs. I visited lots of "their" web-sites gathering the info.

We also have to post to a discussion area of the school's web-site. I posted a question asking why there were so many socialists on the list. No one replied.

To be fair, I have to say that when we have a choice of whom to review, I always pick solid conservative people/programs. My half page on Joe McCarthy received a "You continue to do excellent work" from the instructor.
36 posted on 12/05/2003 5:43:35 AM PST by FrogMom (There really ARE barbarians at the gate!)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
I just noticed you linked INDYmedia to here. That is not wanted by Jim Robinson. You should have the link severed out of respect for this site's owner.

It is interestingly enough the only site you mentioned I've been to, and I can understand Jim's feelings. I don't like it either.

37 posted on 12/05/2003 5:44:51 AM PST by bicycle thug (Orville and Wilbur, 100 years of the Wright stuff. Dec. 17th, 1993-2003)
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To: I Am Not A Mod; Jim Robinson; John Robinson
Plus Jim said that in the http logs he has seen a lot of newbie traffic coming from sites of which he was not really familiar but now he sees a lot of them here.

If you don't mind my asking, where does Jim say that? I am very curious b/c I and some others have also noticed some new posters--and we suspect that most of them are the same person. These are not legitimate new posters; they are clearly disruptors.

So far, our list includes the following names, most of which have not been reported to the mods, that I know of, (b/c we're not yet sure what we could definitely tell the mods about these posters, whom we believe are pretty much all the same person.)

bbaby091

nashvilleguy

hicksmokey

Mystery2000

pris

afk

bravehearted1 (not sure)

SweeTY2004

banglanta

katia

BeBeATLsFINEST

Tony08540

KKRN

Stenson63

Hagitay

gigi6

Furhouse

cbfromgf

alwayshavesomethingtosay

Rick Shelton

sparkl

ANYONE ON THE ABOVE LIST WHO CLAIMS TO ACTUALLY BE A LEGITIMATE POSTER, FEEL FREE TO EXPLAIN THAT TO THE MODS. IT IS MY OPINION--OPINION--THAT THE NAMES ON THE ABOVE LIST ARE DISRUPTOR NAMES, OR ARE THE MULTIPLE NAMES OF ONE DISRUPTOR.

I haven't seen attacks on Reagan, but here's what I have seen:

A thread will be posted about some regional incident--a crime of some sort. Example: a little boy allegedly pushed down stairs by mother's boyfriend, or a teenage girl who kills two people while drag-racing, even the kidnapping and probable murder of the N.D. student, Dru Sjodin, and the threads about the murder of the Ass't. U.S. Attorney Mr. Luna.

All of a sudden, a brand-new poster will appear. This person will invariably launch a semi-literate, mostly lowercase, attack, on someone who has expressed a strong opinion on the horrors described in the article.

Sometimes the newbie will later be joined by one or two or even three other brand-new posters. In this scenario, they will then proceed to talk to each other, filling the thread with stupid crap which the disruptor obviously regards as a really great comedy act.

The most common theme this disruptor will impart is "who are you to judge?" This person always spells "judgmental" as "judgemental". Sometimes the disruptor manages to get in the lib-nut buzzword "hate", and if the critter is having a really good day, it will get in something about "you call yourself a Christian, but you are so mean", or something like that. A standard (yawwwwn) theme of jaded left-wingers.

The other hallmark of this disruptor is that it will usually claim to KNOW one of the persons mentioned in the posted regional news story. For this reason, the disruptor is called by some of us "the obligatory insider".

A legitimate poster, hellinahandcart, has started a ping list about this. That way, those of us who happen to regularly read such regional threads can be quickly shown threads on which this same disruptor has appeared. I'm sure hellinahandcart would put you on the ping list if you requested it.

I haven't reached any hard-and-fast conclusions about why this idiot is doing all this; just thought people here should know about it.

38 posted on 12/05/2003 5:46:08 AM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: I Am Not A Mod
suddenly coming on and posting negative comments about President Reagan, saying they are lifelong Republicans but no more, *

This sounds like the folks who have been calling into C-Span the past year and posing as former Republicans.

The Democrats will be losing more Baby-boomers than they will be gaining.

The Democrats need to attract new voters to their party, because older ('lifelong') voters aren't shifting to the left. Older ('lifelong') voters are shifting to the right.

Wisdom comes with age, unless you are a Democratic politician.

39 posted on 12/05/2003 5:53:32 AM PST by syriacus (Democrats fear approving Bush's judicial nominees for LIFETIME positions.Let's have terms for judges)
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To: I Am Not A Mod
WHAT! No Yahoo 'Financial' Chatrooms????????

Being the capitalist pig that I am, I go over there too, to keep an eye on my investments.

......Oops, sorry.......My contributions to the fascist right-wing corporate interests that prey on the innocent of the world and pollute the environment.

40 posted on 12/05/2003 5:54:09 AM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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To: Devil_Anse
Good job summarizing! You are great!
41 posted on 12/05/2003 5:55:56 AM PST by netmilsmom (He who angers you, controls you!)
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To: Flyer
I should have added that I periodically look at that page. The preponderance of lefty sites in the related sites section is new. Either those who browse those sites to see what the adversaries are up to have stepped up their activity, or it is what I suggested that I think it is- trolls.

Plus, it is not like this list is of the sites most Freepers would go to in order to check up on the left. Some of these are pretty obscure.

42 posted on 12/05/2003 5:56:02 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: bicycle thug
The other thing is, not everybody likes Reagan. I don't put my lifelong distaste for the man and why I feel him vastly overrated and why I feel others are using him name to feather their own pillows out of respect for the feelings of his family and admirers in the difficult time of his very tragic illness I wouldn't wish on anybody.

I had a rather benign view of Reagan, even tho I voted for him, until recently.

If you can, check out "In His Own Hand", which is a book of his (handwritten) radio addresses from the 1960s and 70s. It proves the 'amiable dunce' theory quite wrong, and shows that Reagan had formulated his political views early on, and his vision was executed without wavering wherever he had the opportunity to implement it.

There's another book of his correspondences that I spent some time reading at the library, and he comes across and a genuine and engaging sport; not the 'taciturn', aloof, dimwit that the media would have you believe.

I'm not saying you'll be in love with him, but it certainly was in stark contrast to the picture you get of him from 'the media'.

43 posted on 12/05/2003 6:03:06 AM PST by IncPen ( The liberal's reward is self-disgust.)
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To: halley
"Although Alexa can and does track click behavior, the information you refer to is the result of their "editorial process", where they look for "similar" sites."

You are suggesting that The Hollow Planet, the Billboard Liberation Front, and Mobilization for Global Justice are similar sites? Not buying it.

Plus, just a few weeks ago there were sites there that were more what one would expect, such as NRO and Frontpagemag and so forth.

Besides, Alexa's own explanation contradicts what you say is how it works:

For example, Alexa uses links on the crawled pages to find related sites. The day-to-day use of What's Related also helps build and refine the data. As the service is used, the requested URLs are logged. By looking at high-level trends, Netscape and Alexa can deduce relationships between web sites.

44 posted on 12/05/2003 6:07:17 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: bicycle thug
"I fail to see how anyone in their right mind would let someone track something as private as surfing habits."

Let's say you were part of a radical group that wanted badly to have everyone think they were larger and more important than they really are. A group which wants everyone to think that 'lots of people think like we do', and not that they are a bunch of left-wing radicals. One way to do so would be to ensure that the group is over-represented in a tracking sample, such as by having them all use the toolbar.

45 posted on 12/05/2003 6:09:53 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: Devil_Anse
"If you don't mind my asking, where does Jim say that?"

He said it on the abuse report page for this thread when I started it.

46 posted on 12/05/2003 6:12:09 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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To: No More Gore Anymore
You might be interested in this
47 posted on 12/05/2003 6:15:12 AM PST by Gothmog
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To: IncPen
I'll check it out. Reagan was anything but stupid. And he did many great things in his time. I became aware of him in the sixties and on that very personal level on how someone strikes you I found him grating on my nerves. And I don't trust everyone invoking his name.

If President Reagan were healthy, I believe he would not like those instances where the person mentioning him reaped large personal gain. Like I said, he was far from a dummy.

My point to the person starting this thread is that he or she should be careful about grading FReepers in a black and white fashion.

The moderators here understand shades of gray and do an excellent job filtering out those who should move on with little error. I see no point in trying to do their job for them.

48 posted on 12/05/2003 6:17:24 AM PST by bicycle thug (Orville and Wilbur, 100 years of the Wright stuff. Dec. 17th, 1993-2003)
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To: Gothmog
Funny because the last person to post to me last night accused me of being a troll .. for defending father's rights and the Constitution, and the rule of law.

HA- HA.

This is a timely ping! There are some very confused people ( liberal women from what I have seen the last few days )around here and lots of real trolls. Watch out.. you may have just gotten a post from one. ;]

49 posted on 12/05/2003 6:21:41 AM PST by Diva Betsy Ross
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To: bicycle thug
You are missing something- I am one of the moderators. We post from this account (the screen name is sarcastic) when we don't want to clutter up the LM, AM, or SM self-search and don't want to have our pagers going off whenever someone replies to the thread.
50 posted on 12/05/2003 6:21:49 AM PST by I Am Not A Mod
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