Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Sockpuppets and Doppelgängers

with 14 comments

Total Black: $1,545.96
Total Red: $270,000.16

If Above the Law‘s David Lat thought the brouhaha in Breakfast With Narcissus was a bit of a catfight, I wonder what he’d say about the commentary to that same post.  Nothing is what it seems on the Punch & Judy internet show.   Apparently, Nando of Third Tier Reality has a doppelgänger.  A Faker, named Doug, who masquerades as him on various blogs.  Interesting aside, that at the time of this posting, the Faker profile is down.  It worked earlier today when Nando posted it on Breakfast With Narcissus.  But then comes Doug, of To Be A JD, who claimed the opposite, that Nando really is a split personality, who is now backpedaling from his prior persona since his true identity has been revealed.  In this schizophrenic world, “Nando The Blogger” posts as himself, a concerned JD watching out for those unsuspecting law students coming behind him, whereas as DougNando, the Jekyll to his Hyde, the “real” Nando gets to post all the nastiness he wants, frothy-mouthed comments rivaling any coprolaliac out there.  It’s got all the making of a cyber geek movie.  So how can we know the difference?  Who’s who in this Phantos world?

Internet sockpuppets are a real phenomenon, “an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending to be a different person like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet.” I’ve been the victim of a few hands shoved up my electronic skirt.  Both Blade and Minnesota Man come to mind as two puppeteers on this site who posted under other names.

From the blogger’s perspective, and at least as far as WordPress goes, the IP address of the commenter comes through on their emails.  So I know that Doug has posted here a while back, though back then he was posting for another blog: Wealth Deposition Stock & Option Strategy.  See, WordPress emails the blog host when a comment is posted and that email includes whatever information the commenter includes—email address (whether accurate or not), name, website, and comment contents.  But WordPress also provides the commenter’s IP address.

I can confirm that every one of Doug’s comment came from the same IP address, even as far back as his first comment on Fifth Day of Accounting.  The problem?  I just uncovered by reviewing the IP addresses in those emails that Doug is also T-Bag.  Both have the exact same IP addresses.  Moreover, whoever commented from that IP address has, in fact, also commented here as someone calling himself Nando.

Craziness.  Absolute craziness.

The real Nando has also commented here before,  his first comment being back in Paycheck to Paycheck.  How do I know?  The real Nando always includes his email address with his comments.  That email address did not come through with the comment from (fake)Nando I mentioned above.  To further drag us down this rabbit hole though, the most recent comment by Doug was not from T-Bag/Doug/(fake)Nando’s IP address.  Looks like Doug/T-Bag/(fake)Nando has his own doppelgänger.  Or maybe that post came from a mobile device?

I must admit that I’m really disappointed in this T-Bag/Doug/(fake)Nando split persona.  I really came to respect T-Bag and value his contributions.  I suppose it’s somehow possible that they are separate persons: roommates in the same apartment.  Or a neighbor stealing a wireless signal.  Perhaps.  Maybe T-Bag’s wife—if he’s really married, and if he’s really a “he”—-is really Doug.  I admit I’m not too clear on how IP addresses work.  But I do think they are specific to computers, not networks.  Each computer on a network, I believe, gets its individual IP address.

What is the point of all this?  What’s the point of this posting puppetry?  Why this silliness?  Honestly, it seems so petty.  I’ve commented previously on my confusion about people getting up in arms about my posts.  But I don’t understand why people take on fake internet personas.  I was tempted to switch the settings on this blog and force all future commenters to create a profile and log in.  But that would only delay the T-Bags/Doug/(fake)Nandos and Blade/Unconcerned/Zines to just create multiple log-ins.

Time to call it a night.  Fakers have taken enough of my time.

Total black is up because I got paid.  Nine hundred is promised to the new landlord.  Five hundred to the auto loan.  Total red won’t be coming down just yet.  I don’t think I should get into the habit of lowering the auto loan each month by my monthly payments.  I don’t think it’s that simple.

14 Responses

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  1. Wow. Just Wow.

    Frankie

    July 31, 2010 at 00:35

  2. Doug created his own Blogger profile in December 2008, and then created one for “Nando” in January 2010. He originally came online telling us “I love the scambloggers. I really do. But they need to lose their identity, and start suing the law schools for fraud, if they want any credibility.” (Because lawyers have nothing to lose by doing so, right?!)

    I have also seen comments from Doug posting as other people. It seems that “Clark”,”Cletus” and “Zeke“ have also posted from IP address 24.3.188.242 in Pittsburgh, i.e. the same as Doug‘s. To be fair, I have seen the same handles post from an IP in Washington, DC. Those “commenters” do not bother to provide a link to a profile or blog. They post under the option of “Anonymous” and then write a name at the end of their entry. Sometimes, those people post under the option of “Comment as Name/URL, and provide only a name.

    Let me guess: the last comment from “Doug”, on this blog, came from an IP in Washington, DC, right? By the way, JD Underdog has passed a state bar exam. (I do not want to reveal any more, lest some troll try to identify him.) He also has a knack for changing up his blog theme, design, and occasionally his handle. I have never met him, but I have emailed him before. (Oh wait, did I go through the trouble of creating a second identity – complete with the creation of another email account – and then email myself?) He recently invited me to join his blog as a contributor. Knut is definitely not me, either. Why the hell would I report being a first tier law grad, and then create an entire new persona and storyline, when my blog is enough for me to maintain? (I can handle if others deride me for going to a third tier law school. In fact, I often state on blogs that I graduated from Third Tier Drake.) I don’t know where Knut went to law school, and frankly I don’t care. I don’t even know what region of the country he is located in, or whether he has taken a bar exam.

    Also, the writing styles of Underdog, Knut and Nando are COMPLETELY different. I would basically be devoting 10 hours a day to maintain all three blogs. For example, Underdog is far too mellow to be me, an admittedly aggressive personality. Also, Knut’s last post reveals fundamental disagreements between me and him on how to get the word out. He thinks we can write letters to student papers and deans, and that lawyers can complain to their employers. I think we should publish the outlandish salaries of law profs and deans, to show prospective students where their mountains of borrowed money are going.

    As far as Doug claiming that I am – or have someone else – posting as him on my blog, that is nonsense. I often delete his comments, as he provides a link to his blog. I am certainly NOT going to provide free advertising to someone who has posted articles about what a pathetic loser I am. However, when he actually makes a cogent argument or acts civil, I will copy and paste his comment, delete his original comment, and then re-post what he said word for word. Again, I do this because I do not want to give this person free advertising to a blog that seeks to paint me in the worst light possible. Would you, or any other sane person, provide free advertising to such a user?

    Lastly, Doug has posted several comments where he has told me that he is incredibly “ripped” – as if that would intimidate me. He has also posted comments along the lines of “Don’t mess with me.” An interesting note, is that Doug has changed his profile.

    Doug’s (old) Blogger profile

    “JD2B
    • Gender: Male
    • Occupation: Retired
    • Location: WV : United States

    About Me

    Zero Debt, Home is Owned, Steady Income, Going to Law School (scholarship) for Intellectual Enjoyment–Nothing Else
    Your hand has been replaced by a rubber stamp. What does it say?
    Middle Finger
    Interests
    • My God
    • My wife
    • My friends
    • My pets”

    The profile now features a picture of a scowling man and does not include any of the info above.

    In the end, it shows people that the law school industry and its apologists are running scared, if they need to resort to these underhanded tactics. I also receive plenty of spam, from stupid “writing program” websites. They need to cloud the issue.

    Nando

    July 31, 2010 at 04:46

  3. @Frankie: Surprising, huh?

    @Nando: I didn’t include IP addresses because I’m unfamiliar with what one may do with them. Couldn’t some scrupulous hacker do damage? But I also didn’t post an IP address because I don’t want to alienate my commenters. I’ve never posted any Rules of Commentary—perhaps I should—but I won’t give out identifying details. I guess I just view that as unspoken between me and my commenters. Plus, since I’m not a scamblogger per se, though I may wax scambloggy from time to time, but instead write about my efforts to get out of debt. Because of that, I value my commenters and don’t want to lose them. Especially since they often act as a quasi-Council of Edlers to bounce my ideas against and a group to keep me in check. Thank God other commenters, Donnelly for example, were cleared, i.e., no alter egos. There are more Fakers than I cited above, but I understand that some people may not settle on their internet handle for a bit, so I’ve not called out people who changed their name after a few posts. Only those who post in short succession and on the same blog as different persons.

    That all said, I won’t confirm or deny that IP address, you posted, Nando. But I can say that someone who commented as T-Bag on Breakfast With Narcissus from IP address—let’s use 123.123.123.123—also commented as Doug and as Nando. And that same IP address has been posting as T-Bag here for months, then as Doug before that. That person, apparently, has two blogs: To Be a JD and that Wealth Deposition Stock & Option Strategy blog I cited above.

    I’ve heard of static IPs and proxies and such, so I suppose it’s possible someone could intentionally posting as if that person were at the same IP address as someone else. That’s a lot of work though and would require Person A to know Person B’s IP address—and know that Person B posts from that same IP address. Or there’s a simpler possibility: shared computers. The temp agency I worked for in New York, for example, had computers in a common area for everyone to use. Someone who sat at that computer after me, for example, and posted on the same blog, could look like he/she were the same person posting as two different people, thus leading the blog host to think sockpuppet. That is one possibility, I think.

    Here, however, with T-Bag/Doug/(fake)Nando: T-Bag already told us he’s in law school. That’s the kicker. And Doug is a student as well, hence his blogging about becoming a JD. I suppose T-Bag and Doug could both be attending the same law school, right? And all their posts are from the same dorm? But T-Bag’s married. Maybe Doug is T-Bag’s wife—or vice-versa. Sockpuppets don’t stick to their actual genders.

    As to your question about Doug III posting from DC? Not this time. That post came from an IP address, per WHOIS, that shows up in Amsterdam.

    Crazy, crazy, world out there.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 06:48

  4. This exchange is fascinating but the motives are confusing.

    Sambloggers warn prospective law students of (in their perception), the realities of job prospects and debt. I’ve suggested to a few prospective law students that they look at some of the scamblogs before signing on so they have another view than that of an admissions office. It’s never bad to be as fully informed about something as possible.

    I don’t understand why someone going to law school spends time quarreling with scambloggers. If a law student has rejected the scamblogger position, what’s the point arguing? Fewer law students increases the value of the JD of a student currently in law school. When these folks finish law school, they can go back to the scambloggers and post about their great new job, etc. Wouldn’t a law student’s time be better spent studying, looking for internships, getting law related jobs while in school? What am I missing?

    Is there some term other than scamblogger – I doubt that term will really catch on with practicing attorneys (many of whom are aware of the present job market realities, but who graduated when things were different).

    govtlawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 09:06

  5. You’re wasting alot of time, energy and brain cells on this issue. I can’t imagine why you find a need to defend your success or explain their failure. Let it go.

    Donnelly

    July 31, 2010 at 09:09

  6. Get over it. The first time I posted, the comment I was responding to was left by somebody called “Concerned,” so as a counterpoint to that I used the name “Not Concerned” or “Unconcerned” or something similar. My second post was “Zine,” which I chose for no real reason, and I’ve been “Blade” since. I didn’t realize I was supposed to wear it like a tattoo the rest of my life. If this makes me a “puppeteer” or a participant in some grand conspiracy, so be it.

    Blade

    July 31, 2010 at 10:00

  7. @Blade: I just get to tease you, and Minnesota Man, about it.

    @Donnelly & Blade: I’m not up-in-arms. Today’s post was just a natural follow-up to yesterday’s post, especially after Above the Law weighed in. And but for this DougNando dispute that opened up in the comments, I doubt I ever would have uncovered anything. But what does bother me about it, is when one reader purports to be more than one person, thus intentionally trying to amplifying her or his position, particularly when commenting on the same post.

    As I wrote above, I value my commenters’ advice and feedback. I’m not about to make life decisions based on them, but a few did encourage me to take this clerkship, for example. What if ten T-Bags under nine different aliases all discouraged me from taking it because they’re all bitter and don’t want to see TTTers succeed, for example. After a while it does get difficult to maintain a position—like my unwillingness to budget, for example—when multiple people take you to task for it. But if those “multiples” are really one person, then its a fraud on me. Anyone commenting on a blog but under different names, posting the same or similar messages, intentionally tries to show that multiple people agree with that position, when it’s really just one person.

    Commenters serve a different function on a personal blog. And from lawyers (or prospective lawyers) these sort of hijinks are especially troubling, particularly when involving an advisory role or discussing the profession. What’s next? Ballot-box stuffing? Getting proxies to pretend to be a concerned citizen and urge legislators to pass a piece of legislation. Clearly we’re moving further and further toward blogging, internet-based communication, etc. One woman was already prosecuted for faking an internet persona that lead to someone’s suicide. It is a bit troubling that people think this is acceptable.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 10:58

  8. I’m not Doug or Nando or JD2B or any of the rest, nor do I maintain any blog.

    I post from a shared, ultra-high speed Comcast connection at an off-campus residence. I do know who “Doug” is, but as he didn’t (until recently, unless he did so months ago and I didn’t notice) come on this site.

    I think you can judge me based on my posts here, but I understand any doubts or confusion. I was very tempted to email you when I found out (the truth) about the comment on the First Tier site you mentioned, but when I clicked on it from here I honestly thought it was Nando.

    I’ve always give you my best advice here, and I’ll continue to do so. Most of what “Doug” put out there was BS (and no, he isn’t ripped at all), and he actually is moving, so at least I know he won’t post here from this IP past August.

    Even though he likely deserves it, I’ll say no more about him as it shouldn’t have come here in the first place.

    T

    T-Bag

    July 31, 2010 at 11:53

  9. Curiouser and curiouser . . . . Both the “To Be a JD” and the “Wealth Deposition Stock & Option Strategy” blogs have been pulled as of the date and time of this comment.

    @T-Bag: all I can say is the same IP address posted repeatedly on this blog. Someone named Doug, who linked his name to first to Wealth Deposition and then to To Be A JD, also posted in the past from that same IP address. Comments under the name Doug did trail off around February and comments under the name T-Bag picked up in March.

    Just curious. I can say that the email address you included at the outset, T-Bag, is not the same as that provided by Doug early on.

    I guess you know him, as you say. So perhaps you’re the “victim” here. Or maybe Nando moved to your off-campus residence too? 😉

    Curiouser and curiouser . . . .

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 12:22

  10. We need this noise:

    http://www.dramabutton.com/

    Frankie

    July 31, 2010 at 16:18

  11. Wow. I can’t believe all of this drama. I love the “drama button” btw, Frankie. Doug, as far as I knew, was an ex-cop from Pittsburgh that decided to defer law school for a year due to some surgery. It doesn’t really make sense that he would know T-Bag at all, since T-Bag is a law student.

    I still think that Doug is the Drake Dean here to fuck over Nando (who has never kept his identity a secret). And I want no part of being on Doug’s bad side. He’s commented on my blog recently and hasn’t said anything inflammatory at all.

    I’m cool with all y’all. The more opinions out there, the better. We need transparency.

    Angel the Lawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 19:46

  12. If this is all true, Doug/T-Bag/Fake Nando sure has a lot of time on his hands dedicated just to sullying Nando’s online reputation. Really? What has Nando ever done to Doug/T-Bag/Fake Nando personally for him to do this? I agree with Angel that I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever this person is ends up being a dean or employee of a law school, ABA, or NALP whom Nando has gone after on his blog.

    HardKnocks

    July 31, 2010 at 20:32

  13. Curiouser and curiouser again.

    And yes, I love that Drama Button too! I want the audio file to upload here.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 31, 2010 at 20:43

  14. LoL: I “found” you through “Doug,” you may thank him or curse him based on my contributions here!

    Doug (no more quotes…) was a student, but there was more than one person who posted under his pseudonym here once they saw how agitated/reactionary some of the scamblog authors got. There are a lot of people that a) live here and connect through the router b) used to live here or are friends with people who live here that occasionally jump on our wifi if they’re at the picnic tables/benches out back. From what I understand, one cable connection = one IP, although each computer does get assigned its own number on that IP. I don’t think that shows up anywhere but on the network host though. Sorry, I’m not in I.T.

    Sorry, but it’s not a dean. Don’t be surprised if you (well, probably not here, but Nando’s site) start getting IP hits from down south in a little while though.

    And like I said, I have to (for a few weeks anyway) /had to see the guy on a daily basis, and since he didn’t come here (until you were seen posting on the scam blog sites recently) I didn’t think it was worth “outing” him to you, at least until he’s gone. No need now, so all the better.

    T

    T-Bag

    August 4, 2010 at 13:12


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