I'm not afraid of you, Ghost!
So I was hanging out on my computer this evening, watching some videos and browsing on Fanpop, when I noticed something that disturbed me. In not one, but two different spots. I discovered several examples of what I believe to be "Ghost Accounts".
"Ghost Accounts" are what I'm calling additional accounts created by an already existing Fanpop member to skew the results of a pick or an argument in their favor. I have read things posted by other Fanpoppers suggesting their existence in the past, but hadn't knowingly spotted any for myself. Tonight I believe I spotted three different people doing this.
The first example I discovered through a series of picks created by a user that I had never seen around before. I'm all for new users, so I answered the picks and made some comments. Within the comment sections of these picks, I noticed two other users that I had never seen before. The thing is, the three users didn't always answer the same way, but their comments were always similarly rude. I decided to compare all three users and I discovered that they had much in common. They had all joined Fanpop this month, none of them belonged to any spots, aside from their icons - their fanpop user pages were all blank, and they had all answered picks from the exact same four spots, and only those four spots.
I found the second example within a pick that had been answered 444 times. This pick had three pages of comments, and on the second page, I saw the following: Three comments that said the exact
same thing, in a row. All three user names were different but fit the same pattern, Girls-first-name followed immediately by a two digit number. An example of what they looked like is "Mary25". And all three belonged to users that had no icons, contributions, or information to speak of. Not to mention they didn't belong to a single spot.
The third, and luckily, final example I noticed was within the exact same pick as the second example. As I mentioned, this particular pick had three pages of comments. After reading through them, I went back to check the results of the pick. I found the option that came in second place particularly odd because in those three pages of comments, I hadn't seen a single one in support of it. This option had been added to the pick by a user other than the picks creator. I went ahead and clicked on the person who added this option only to discover, you guessed it, that their user page was blank! In fact, this was the only pick they had ever answered.
Obviously, I have no way of knowing if these are in fact "Ghost Accounts", but the coincidences seem overwhelmingly in favor of that being the case. Since I had never before noticed behavior such as this, and I noticed it three whole times today, I decided to think of three reasons that creating these accounts to answer picks is just plain silly. Without further ado:
#1 - You Know Better!
It's not a presidential election, Fanpop is for fun! There is no point in seeing your choice win if you
know it isn't genuine. Do you really think that seeing your favorite thing "win" a pick will have more impact on someone than reading your well thought-out, well written comments would?
#2 - It's disrespectful to Other Users
There are two main functions to posting a pick. One is that you get to share your opinions with others. The other is that you get to see what other people think. By tampering with the results of a pick, you deprive its maker of the latter by making said results inaccurate. I know that when I post a pick, what I most enjoy afterwards is reading the comments that it spawned from others. It's great to make your opinion known, but use comments to do so. I guarantee that they will
#3 - Being in the Minority is OK
So what if your opinion is not the popular one. Take pride in the fact that you're an independent thinker or that you see something where few others do. Or better yet, flex your debate skills by trying to persuade others to see your point.
So those are my reasons. I know that most of you who are reading this are cool, respectful people who realize the idiocy of committing the aforementioned act. I was just annoyed with what I saw tonight so I had to release my irritation somewhere. Thanks for listening.