Fake it till you make it – a take on fake users

Hotfix

Active member
Why would you need a plugin for that... just go into the CP and create users.. Kinda ..... uhmmmm... won't say it... but it's not something I would do. Mine has been up for several months and I have a few users. Don't feel the need to inflate the user base. It will either take off or it won't - either way the domain is paid for 4 more years and the hosting is paid up for 11.5 more months.
Fake it till you make it is the key to success – at least for my generation.

There are good evolutionary reasons for avoiding things that aren't already popular.
Nobody wants to be the first one to try a vaccine, or join a forum you've never heard of.

Therefore, getting your first members can be a catch-22:
  1. A forum with no users doesn't look safe
  2. People don't want to join a forum that doesn't look safe
The easiest way to escape this situation is by having lots of fake accounts and by posting content using multiple accounts.
It can seem pathetic and immoral, but that's what my generation has to do to look safe ie. popular.

Creating fake activity is a billion dollar industry:
Sockpuppeting, astroturfing, fake views and reviews are methods used by militaries and advertising agencies all over the world.
You might have heard of Cambridge Analytica – a company that was in the business of making unpopular political views appear more popular before they grew popular.

Older people grew up when the internet was somewhat just
It was enough to create good content and wait for some archaic search engine to find and index it.

Why wouldn't relying on good content work anymore?
We are competing against giants like Reddit and Quora, and websites with over twenty years of content;
it's much more difficult to be seen today than it was ten years ago.
There are millions of highly skilled content creators who are never discovered because the holy algorithm can't recommend them all.

The web dinosaurs are still alive
It used to be possible for forums with the worst UI and toxic moderators to get lots of traffic and users.
I don't think a forum like @Oldengine's Smokstak would stand a chance if it were launched today:


Meanwhile we have a huge graveyard of awesome looking NEW FORUMS that never got past 10 active users – probably because of their high morals and dignity:


Increasing inequality
The economic inequality, the social inequality, and the internet inequality get worse every year.
The Matthew effect, pareto principle (80/20), and the winner-take-all market become more powerful as the world and the internet globalizes.

The blessed early adapters
The early adapters of the internet didn't have to compete against billions of other people for clicks and attention.
For example in 2008 you could literally post any video on YouTube and get thousands of views – good luck trying to get a thousand organic views today with a fresh account.

*I name names cuz I don't want to talk crap behind anyone's back

*I replied in a new thread cuz I didn't want to bump up a thread from 2013
 
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sbj

Well-known member
Hmmm... Do you want a pat on the back? Or our nod to create fake users?

Meanwhile we have a full graveyard of awesome looking NEW FORUMS that never got past 10 active users – probably because of their high morals and dignity:
This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard. "Probably because of their high morals and dignity?" What?

You clearly don't understand how the forum world works. You think shiny themes make a difference but their dignity stopped them from becoming big?

There is a fake activity addon if you need to fake it. Go ahead, nobody will judge you for that. Just, I doubt it will make a difference. You can fake it until you make it, IF you have an audience. If nobody is there to see your faked activity, what difference does it make?

Why wouldn't relying on good content work anymore?
We are competing against giants like Reddit and Quora, and websites with over twenty years of content; it's much more difficult to be seen today than it was ten years ago.
Yes, it is much more difficult these days but good content always works. It just takes more time to get traction.

There are millions of highly skilled content creators who are never discovered because the holy algorithm can't recommend them all.
Or they just suck? How do you know there are millions of highly skilled content creators? And even if this was true, like do you expect them to work for free and create content for your forum? Like what does this suppose to say? That Google is the Evil?

Also this idea of faking is not new at all. But anyone with a brain cell will be able to see if your activity is faked or not. You can't keep the illusion for a long time alive. People notice it sooner or later.

It is wasted time to try to fake it. Instead invest your time to plan your content. You must understand that all people are on their phones and leech content. So it is up to you to deliver content. You have to work for it. Plan what you will serve, how you will serve it and where you will get the content to serve. From nothing comes nothing.

If you can't give a user a reason to use your site other than "to discuss things", then your forum is just one of the thousand discussion platforms on the internet. Why pick you over the other one? There is 0 reason to do so. I rather stay on Reddit or on Twitter if I want to burst out my idea about the next big Marvel movies. Why choose your platform to do so? If I am into gaming, there are thousands of Discord servers to hang out with people. What can a forum offer to me? If you can find an answer for that, congratulations, you found your content.
 

Ozzy47

Well-known member
Sock puppets/fake users is nothing new, nor is it wrong. I wrote up an article in 2016 on another site about building a successful site. I’ve now posted that here. See point #3 in the article.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
It's not necessarily "wrong" but it is deceptive. I have never used fake posters (or paid posters for that matter).
 

Oldengine

Active member
The web dinosaurs are still alive
It used to be possible for forums with the worst UI and toxic moderators to get lots of traffic and users.
I don't think a forum like @Oldengine's Smokstak would stand a chance if it were launched today:

Gosh thanks! I'm a 79 year old retired communications engineer running a XenForo forum. Am I missing something here?
Apparently the old dog needs to learn new tricks.[/QUOTE]
 
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beerForo

Well-known member
It doesn't need to be FAKE. It can be REAL! So you have a forum. You need content. Let's say it's a vehicle forum. Nothing wrong with multiple company accounts creating posts. Perhaps Ford Fanatic. And Engine Expert. Mark them as staff. Just don't use names like Phil or Frank, and post useful content. The same way companies have multiple Twitter accounts or IG accounts for specific purposes.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
It doesn't need to be FAKE. It can be REAL! So you have a forum. You need content. Let's say it's a vehicle forum. Nothing wrong with multiple company accounts creating posts. Perhaps Ford Fanatic. And Engine Expert. Mark them as staff. Just don't use names like Phil or Frank, and post useful content. The same way companies have multiple Twitter accounts or IG accounts for specific purposes.
That is still disingenuous however. Why not just post it as your own account? Having a bunch of fake/dummy accounts with content that rarely ever post to try to encourage new user sign ups makes little sense to me, as it really doesn't actually encourage any more traffic than if you as the owner post everything yourself.

I also am of the belief an administrator shouldn't do something they don't want their users doing; I don't allow multiple accounts for users, so why would I make multiple accounts to post content as if they were users?

Also having multiple Twitter and Instagram accounts is more for market segmentation, because people have a limited interest more often than not. It makes sense to maintain segmented content targeted at individuals, than it does to have just a single account for all content, especially when it is for marketing or optics in general.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
That is still disingenuous however. Why not just post it as your own account? Having a bunch of fake/dummy accounts with content that rarely ever post to try to encourage new user sign ups makes little sense to me, as it really doesn't actually encourage any more traffic than if you as the owner post everything yourself.

I also am of the belief an administrator shouldn't do something they don't want their users doing; I don't allow multiple accounts for users, so why would I make multiple accounts to post content as if they were users?

Also having multiple Twitter and Instagram accounts is more for market segmentation, because people have a limited interest more often than not. It makes sense to maintain segmented content targeted at individuals, than it does to have just a single account for all content, especially when it is for marketing or optics in general.
How? XF has their official account and admins have accounts too. If Chris wanted to announce a new feature from his own account he could but he logs in as XF. And the Bug account replies to bugs. All I am saying is you can do similar things and be REAL not FAKE. That's my point.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
How? XF has their official account and admins have accounts too. If Chris wanted to announce a new feature from his own account he could but he logs in as XF. And the Bug account replies to bugs. All I am saying is you can do similar things and be REAL not FAKE. That's my point.
Those are not the same as content.

Staff have their own individual accounts, and there are accounts used for automation purposes. Things like rss feed posters would fall under that as well.

Those are different than posting content as different user accounts to pretend to be journey users, and if you're posting them as staff accounts what benefit is there to not just posting it on your own account.

My issue is entirely with the act of trying to pump numbers with methods that are dishonest. The benefit gained by such method are miniscule and you would find better returns just trying to build a community.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
If you like the content and it is posted by Flim Flam or Jib Jab why do you care? I also do not do this, but just curious.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
If you like the content and it is posted by Flim Flam or Jib Jab why do you care? I also do not do this, but just curious.
I do not care what people do on their sites; they can succeed or fail upon their own decisions, and it does not matter to me in the slightest.

This however was someone encouraging people to do something that is inherently disingenuous, and usually leads to problems when the site is found out. There are many ways to work on getting activity on your website, and this generally is not one of them.

That said, I also do not set up sites when I do not have a target audience I know will be on my site to begin with. Pretty sure that would be one of the first things to make sure you have before starting a site, rather than using fake posters.
 
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