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On “Dangerous” fictions

Found this piece from July 2022 by Cory Doctorow, where he talks about an author who was apparently a protege of Philip K. Dick’s who I never heard of – Tim Powers.

In it, he brings up an oft-repeated trope regarding “dangerous” fictions, a pet topic of mine:

“The Powers method is the conspiracist’s method. The difference is, Powers knows he’s making it up, and doesn’t pretend otherwise when he presents it to us. […]

The difference between the Powers method and Qanon, then, is knowing when you’re making stuff up and not getting high on your own supply. Powers certainly knows the difference, which is why he’s a literary treasure and a creative genius and not one of history’s great monsters.”

As popular as this type of argument is (and Douglas Rushkoff trots out something similar here and here), I personally find it to be overly simplistic and a bit passé.

First of all, I would argue that all writers – by necessity – must get “high on their own supply” in order to create (semi) coherent imaginal worlds and bring them to fruition for others to enjoy. Looking sternly at you here, Tolkien. In fact, perhaps the writers who get highest on their own supply are in some cases the best…

Second, no one arguing in favor of this all of nothing position (fiction must be fiction must be fiction) seems to have taken into account the unreliable narrator phenomenon in fiction.

Wikipedia calls it a narrator whose credibility is compromised:

“Sometimes the narrator’s unreliability is made immediately evident. For instance, a story may open with the narrator making a plainly false or delusional claim or admitting to being severely mentally ill, or the story itself may have a frame in which the narrator appears as a character, with clues to the character’s unreliability. A more dramatic use of the device delays the revelation until near the story’s end. In some cases, the reader discovers that in the foregoing narrative, the narrator had concealed or greatly misrepresented vital pieces of information. Such a twist ending forces readers to reconsider their point of view and experience of the story. In some cases the narrator’s unreliability is never fully revealed but only hinted at, leaving readers to wonder how much the narrator should be trusted and how the story should be interpreted.”

My point is that the un/reliability of the “narrator” can extend all the way out through to the writer themself. (And what if the reader turns out to be unreliable?)

Can we ever really know for certain if a writer “believed” that thing x that they wrote was wholly fictional, wholly non-fictional, or some weird blend of the two? Do we need to ask writers to make a map of which elements of a story are which? Isn’t that in some sense giving them more power than they deserve?

Moreover, if the author is an unreliable narrator (and to some extent every subjective human viewpoint is always an unreliable narrator to some degree), how can we ever trust them to disclose to us responsibly whether or not they are indeed unreliable? Short answer is: we can’t. Not really.

This is one of those “turtles all the way down” arguments, in which (absent other compelling secondary evidence) it may be difficult or sometimes impossible to strike ground truth.

All of this boils down for me to the underlying argument of whether one must label fictional works as fiction, and if not doing so is somehow “dangerous.”

The Onion’s Amicus Brief earlier this year why parody and satire should not be required to be overtly labelled – because if robs these millennia-old art forms of their structural efficacy, their punch as it were.

Wikipedia’s Fiction entry’s history section is sadly quite scant about the details. A couple of other sources point to more specifically the 12th century in Europe (though likely it goes back farther). One source whose credibility I have no concept of states:

“In the Middle Ages, books were perceived as exclusive and authoritative. People automatically assumed that whatever was written in a book had to be true,” says Professor Lars Boje…

It’s an interesting idea, that structurally the phenomenon of the book was so rare and complex that by virtue of its existence alone, it was conceived of as containing truth.

Up until the High Middle Ages in the 12th century, books were surrounded by grave seriousness.

The average person only ever saw books in church, where the priest read from the Bible. Because of this, the written word was generally associated with truth.”

That article alludes to an invisible “fiction contract” between writer and reader, which didn’t emerge as a defined genre distinction until perhaps the 19th century. They do posit a transition point through in the 12th, but don’t back it up by any evidence therein of a “fiction contract.”

“The first straightforward work of fiction was written in the 1170s by the Frenchman Chrétien de Troyes. The book, a story about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, became immensely popular.” – another site whose credibility I cannot account for – seems to agree with pinpointing that genre of Arthurian romance as being linked to the rise of fiction, though pushes it back a few years to 1155, with Wace’s translation of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. The whole piece is an excellent read, so I won’t rehash it here, but quote:

“This is the literary paradigm which gives us the novel: access to the unknowable inner lives of others, moving through a world in which their interior experience is as significant as their exterior action.”

They suggest that fiction – in some form like we might recognize it today – had precursor conditions culturally that had to be met before it could arise, namely that the inner lives of people mattered as much as their outward action.

“It need hardly be said that the society which believes such things, which accedes to – and celebrates – the notion that the inner lives of others are a matter of significance, is a profoundly different society from one that does not. There is an immediately ethical dimension to these developments: once literature is engaged in the (necessarily fictional) representation of interior, individuated selves, who interact with other interior, individuated selves, then moral agency appears in a new light. It is only in the extension of narrative into the unknowable – the minds of others – that a culture engages with the moral responsibility of one individual toward another, rather than with each individual’s separate (and identical) responsibilities to God, or to a king.”

It’s interesting also here to note that, A) the King Arthur stories did not originate with Chretien de Troyes or Geoffrey of Monmouth, and B) many people ever since still believe them to be true today to some extent.

Leaving that all aside, one might also ask regarding my own work, well isn’t this all just a convoluted apologia for the type of writing I’m doing? Absolutely, and why not articulate my purpose. You can choose to believe me or decide that I am an unreliable narrator. It’s up to you. I respect your agency, but I also want to play on both the reader’s and the author’s (myself) expectations about genres and categories. These are books which take place squarely in the hyperreal after all, the Uncanny Valley. They intentionally invite these questions, ask you to suspend your disbelief, and then cunningly deconstruct it, only to reconstruct it and smash it again later – and only if you’re listening.

Further, as artists I believe our role and purpose is to some extent to befuddle convention, and ask questions that have no easy answers. Yes, this will cause some uneasiness, especially among those accustomed to putting everything into little boxes, whose contents never bleed or across. Some people might even worry if it’s “dangerous” to believe in things that aren’t factual. Is it? I think the answer is sometimes, and it depends. But it largely depends on your agency as the reader, and what you do with it in real life.

Consider the case of this purveyor of tall tales, Randy Cramer, who claims with a straight face to have spent 17 years on the Planet Mars fighting alien threats to Earth.

He is the very definition of the unreliable narrator, whose labels of fact of fiction likely do not accord with consensus reality on many major points.

The video below is a good, if a bit annoying, take-down of many of Cramer’s claims, though unfortunately I think leans rather too heavily on deconstructing his body language, when his words alone are damning enough (btw, looks like the George Noory footage comes from an interview he did for his show Beyond Belief):

The question remains: is this an example of a “dangerous” fiction?

To understand that, I tend to think in terms of risk analysis, in which we might try to estimate:

  1. The specific harm(s)
  2. Their likelihood of occurring
  3. Their severity

One definition of harm traces back to Feinberg, and is something like wrongful setbacks of interest. A Stanford philosophy site further elucidates, quoting Feinberg:

Feinberg’s defines harm as “those states of set-back interest that are the consequence of wrongful acts or omissions by others” (Feinberg 1984)

Is saying you spent 17 years on Mars a “wrongful act or omission?” Perhaps. But as the Stanford article points out, actually defining what is or isn’t in someone’s interests is incredibly squishy.

In Cramer’s case, perhaps it is willfully and wrongfully deceptive to say the things he is saying. Do we have a moral or legal responsibility to always tell the truth? What about when that prevarication leads to financial loss in others?

In Cramer’s case, according to the second video linked above, he does seem to ask people for money – both in funding creation of a supposedly holographic bio-medical bed which can regrow limbs, and in the form of online psionics courses and one-on-one consultations.

But is it wrongful if the buyers/donators have agency, and the ability to reasonably evaluate his claims on their own?

Wikipedia’s common-language definition of fraud seems like it could apply here:

“…fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.”

Is Cramer a fraud? Is he a liar? I wondered here if Cramer might have a defamation case against the YouTube author referenced above, who calls him a pathological liar. But last time I checked, truth is an absolute defense against defamation claims. That is, the commonly accepted truth we agree on as a society – more or less – is that Mars is uninhabited, and there is no Secret Space program, etc. So if it went to court, it seems like the defamation claim would not have a leg to stand on.

Of course, it’s *possible* it’s all truth, and what we call consensus reality is based on a massive set of lies itself that is very different from ‘actual’ reality. But that’s not how courts work.

What if Cramer included disclaimers like you might see on tarot card boxes, or other similar novelty items, “For entertainment purposes only?” It depends what authority we’re trying to appeal to here: a court of law, the court of public opinion, or one reader’s experience of a particular work. Each of those might see the matter in a different light, depending on their viewpoint.

In my case, I include disclaimers regarding the inclusion of AI generated elements. I leave it up to the reader to try to determine A) which parts, and B) what the implications of AI content even are. Should they be trusted?

My position, and the one which I espouse throughout, is that – for now – AI is an unreliable narrator. Making it about on par with human authors in that regard. Are the fictions it produces “dangerous?” Must we label them “fictions” and point a damning finger at their non-human source?

In some ways, my books are both an indictment of and celebration of AI authorial tools, and even full-on AI authorship (which I think we’re some ways away from still). To know their dangers, we must probe them, and expose them thoughtfully. We must see them as they are – as both authors and readers – warts and all. And decide what we will do with the risks and harms they may pose, and how we can balance all that with an enduring belief and valorisation of human agency.

Because if we can’t trust people to make up their own minds about things they read, we run the real risk of one of the biggest and most dangerous fictions of all – that we would be better off relying on someone else to tell us what’s ‘safe’ and therefore good, and trust them implicitly to keep away anything deemed ‘dangerous’ by the authority in whom we have invested this awesome power.

Special Message from Elon Musk for Conspiratopia Readers…

Wow, big if true! Such generous!

More info…

AdEx Ad Purchasing Results

As part of my hyperreality investigations, I recently tested out a decentralized crypto-based ad network called AdEx.

One interesting element is you top up your account with DAI ahead of time, rather than wait to be billed (read: screwed) by Google Ads at the end of the month (if you’re not vigilant about your spend). Another interesting element is there appears to be no moderation or ad review & approval process. Which might be good or bad, depending on where you stand.

There are a number of drawbacks though. I won’t do a full assessment here, but it appears all ads are image-based. If there’s a text ad option, I didn’t see it. Then there are quite a lot of settings, etc. that are not entirely clear what they are. Same for content category names. When you choose where your ads will be placed, you pick from categories like “Politics” (straightforward-ish), but then there are categories like “Irregular Content” or “Deceptive / Phishing” which… I’m not sure about.

Then, of course, there are ETH network fees, which I guess I was foolishly not expecting, because I think the site advertised “no hidden fees,” iirc. So despite putting about $20 USD into DAI, and starting with an ad buy of 5 DAI against one image-based ad unit, I had to pay a fee of 14.50 DAI on top of that to activate it.

Which, okay, it’s an experiment. But the initial estimate of impressions for 5 DAI was 10K impressions. Instead, I ended up with a little under 3K. And for all that, only netted 22 clicks. Okay, maybe my ad sucked. Probably. But it looks like the sites it ran also pretty much sucked, upon my manually checking them:

These appear to be almost all entirely spam sites. Do they get legit visitors? Maybe? It’s basically impossible to tell. Granted, this was an experiment, but it doesn’t exactly fill me with hope and excitement about the possibility of using alternative crypto ad exchanges over something like Google Ads.

Conspiracy Theory Is Actually Just Postmodernism In Disguise

I should preface this by saying I don’t know anything “officially” about postmodernism outside of what I read on Wikipedia and Googling around (and a really stupid Jordan Peterson article I won’t link to). And the fun part is, that’s kind of postmodern itself. You can become an expert in five minutes. And then of course being an expert then makes you automatically untrusthworthy as a source. It’s ninja turtles all the way down, I tells ya…

Anyway, I gathered some of what I found already here, so I won’t rehash that all at length, but wanted to pull on a couple strands I didn’t cover there.

Namely, that Lyotard himself defined the postmodern as, “incredulity toward metanarratives.”

Anyone who has looked at conspiracy theory stuff online will know that people are always saying in a tongue and cheek way: “Don’t question the narrative.” That is, they feel oppressed by or don’t agree with whatever they perceive to be the “official” metanarrative.

What’s a metanarrative in the context of postmodernism? Also from Wikipedia: “a global or totalizing cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience.”

So when they jokingly say, don’t question the metanarrative, they are literally demonstrating Lyotard’s own definition of the postmodern. They are incredulous of the metanarrative. They want to question it, to challenge it, to tear it down and replace it with their own version of the truth. Their own metanarrative.

This is a decent WaPo article by Aaron Hanlon from August 2018 about Postmodernism. I’ll pull out a few choice quotes. Regarding his book, The Postmodern Condition, it:

“…described the state of our era by building out Lyotard’s observations that society was becoming a “consumer society,” a “media society” and a “postindustrial society…”

Hanlon continues:

“This was a diagnosis, not a political outcome that he and other postmodernist theorists agitated to bring about.”

“[…] Right-leaning critics in the decades since Bloom have crassly contorted this argument into a charge that postmodernism was made not by consumerism and other large-scale social and technological developments, but by dangerous lefty academics, or what Kimball called “Tenured Radicals,” in his 1990 polemic against the academic left. At the heart of this accusation is the tendency to treat postmodernism as a form of left-wing politics — with its own set of tenets — rather than as a broader cultural moment that left-wing academics diagnosed.

“[…] This “gospel” characterization is misleading in two ways. First, it treats Lyotard and his fellows as proponents of a world where objective truth loses all value, rather than analysts who wanted to explain why this had already happened.”

So if we accept Lyotard’s original assertion, that postmodernism is characterized by mistrust of “grand narratives,” it unequivocally has that in common with garden variety conspiracy theory. But not only that, right-leaning conspiracy theory has reconstructed its own grand narrative where Postmodernism is the grand narrative which it mistrusts… Which is entirely postmodern in itself if you think about it. A subset of postmodernism attacking its own superstructure…

It would be funny if it weren’t so foolish and tragic. Because this kind of blatant self-denial creates a somewhat predictable (and boring) loop. Conspiracy theory denies it has anything in common with Postmodernism. It then projects its shadow contents onto the “other” & villifies the perceived differences. When, in actuality, they’re rooted in the exact same thing. The same social-cultural phenomenon that’s been happening for decades now, generations. Brought on by consumerism, industrialization, media-saturated soeiety, etc. Which is what the original theorists were observing happening all along, and which is still happening today. Nay, which is in utter free fall today. Hyperreality is on over-drive, and virtual & augmented reality haven’t even yet kicked in. HFS. Are w ever in for it!

I mean, no wonder people are clinging to any & every life raft they can find. I don’t blame them. I do blame the short-sightedness of getting bogged down in dumb political-territorial games & losing track of the larger phenomena at play though. When instead, we could be working on finding a way through it all. There is so much greater possible insight we could have into our shared condition than just fighting or getting sucked down into the quagmire of loser scripts that constitutes conspiracy theory outright.

The world is literally never going to learn, though. I’m old enough to accept that now. At least I got to write a nifty blog post about it.

Prohibited Misinformation on Tiktok

Thought these prohibitions around misinformation were interesting & worth keeping from Tiktok’s Community Guidelines section on Integrity & Authenticity:

Misinformation is defined as content that is inaccurate or false. While we encourage our community to have respectful conversations about subjects that matter to them, we do not permit misinformation that causes harm to individuals, our community, or the larger public regardless of intent.

Do not post, upload, stream, or share:

* Misinformation that incites hate or prejudice

* Misinformation related to emergencies that induces panic

* Medical misinformation that can cause harm to an individual’s physical health

* Content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processes 

* Conspiratorial content that attacks a specific protected group or includes a violent call to action, or denies a violent or tragic event occurred

* Digital Forgeries (Synthetic Media or Manipulated Media) that mislead users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video, other persons, or society

Do not:

* Engage in coordinated inauthentic behaviors (such as the creation of accounts) to exert influence and sway public opinion while misleading individuals and our community about the account’s identity, location, or purpose

Now, I’m someone who likes to find the edges of policies like these. So there are certain things my brain automatically zeroes in on while reading…

  • “misinformation that causes harm” – where harm isn’t clearly identified… means the door is potentially fairly wide open to interpretation apart from their enumerated types in the list that follows.
  • “attacks a specific protected group” the definitions of protected groups or classes often tend to be somewhat narrower than people think. A Facebook leak from 2017 showed the … complexity of these kinds of definitions when the rubber meets the road.
  • “denies a violent or tragic event occurred” does this mean denying happy or non-violent events occurred is also forbidden? Status unclear.

I wonder what they would think of RealNewsChan.

Misinformation is just another front in the Hyperreal Wars.

Narrative Warfare & The Hyperreal, Part 16

Have been thinking a great deal on the similarities between folklore and conspiracy theories, as being grassroots stories we tell ourselves and one another to make sense of the world. I maintain that folklore, conspiracy theories, and what we call “disinformation” etc. are all part & parcel of the same phenomenon: the hyperreal, where the blending of fact & fiction are seamless and more or less indistinguishable.

Have also been reading Corkery’s excellent 1924 classic, “Hidden Ireland,” which has lead me to fill in a lot of gaps around my knowledge of Irish history, such as the Flight of the Earls, the Plantation of Ulster, the Tudor Conquest of Ireland, the decline of the Bardic Schools, and so on. There’s a story in Irish history which was used for centuries to establish or challenge the legitimacy of rulers, that of the founding of Ireland by the quasi-mythical Milesians.

From the Wikipedia:

Professor Dáithí Ó hÓgain writes that the “account of how the sons of Míl took Ireland was a literary fabrication, but it was accepted as conventional history by poets and scholars down until the 19th century”.[3] For centuries, the legend was used in Ireland to win and secure dynastic and political legitimacy. For example, in his Two bokes of the histories of Ireland (1571), Edmund Campion tried to use the myth to establish an ancient right of the British monarch to rule Ireland. […]

Geoffrey Keating‘s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (written c.1634) used the myth to promote the legitimacy of the Stuart claim to royal authority in Ireland (related to the origin of the Lia Fáil), demonstrating that Charles I was descended, through Brian Boru, Éber and Galamh, from Noah and, ultimately, from Adam.

Whether we call this narrative warfare or just another example of the hyperreal, the end result is the same: people using stories – and changing stories – to justify their own position or to attack the position of another. It all sounds eerily familiar, and it’s clear how deeply penetrating these types of stories can be as guiding myths in cultures.

Quatria is def mind-blowing

I remember when I first found out about Quatria, reading through the voluminous letters left by Edward Allen Oxford. It changed something for me, and my perception of the world.

It looks like the same thing happened to this Reddit user, after I posted a link I found about Quatria being potentially blocked by Wikipedia onto a thread about Tartaria misinformation (archived).

This feeling is why I still love (some) conspiracy theories, even after all this time. Especially the Quatria Conspiracy.

Making Edward Allen Oxford

While Edward Allen Oxford is a totally true figure who actually existed, I will admit to a bit of creative invention on my part. The only photo of Oxford which was in my possession was badly damaged by the ravages of time and weathering in the attic within which it was hidden for so many years in Eastern Canada.

As a result, I found myself in need of assistance in restoring this piece of Quatrian history. Regular old Photoshop 6 & my early 2000’s SCSI scanner was not up to the task. So I had to enlist the help of an AI, constructed years ago and largely forgotten by its creator, Richard Rider.

It took me some time to boot up the ancient machine this largely legacy software calls home. But once I did, we were “in business.”

Rider’s AI then proceeded to scan all known databases, past, present & future for any records remotely matching the fragments which were in my possession, or which were registered on the blockchain for his relatives, ancestors, or descendants, based on the DNA pulled from hairs in the sample I found in the attic in Eastern Canada. From these, it generated a composite facial reconstruction, and many intermediaries along the hyperreal spectrum, which I was able to selectively apply & discard in turn, until I landed on the matching photographic reconstruction you see below, which has now become quite well known as a result of the massive news coverage Quatria has been getting lately.

This image will soon be released as an NFT, through the famous site called SuperRare, where prices for suchwise artefacts are exceedingly handsome.

Forum Seeding & The Hyperreal, Part 6

While we’re on the topic of the Ancient Hieruthians, via the post in this series about dictionary definitions & the hyperreal, I thought we should make a small detour.

First, a seed artifact posted on Medium, under one of the Quatria publications, explaining in perhaps overly complex terms what the Hieruthian Hypothesis (similar to the Silurian Hypothesis) is. (archived)

And a supporting invented dictionary definition of Hieruthian posted through another account (archived).

Hieruthians (“Old Ones”) in Quatrian myth & prehistory were basically very early mammals, like the kind we see depicted creeping about the forest floor in paintings of dinosaurs, before dinosaurs were wiped out by successive cataclysms, and mammals rose up to take their place in certain ecological niches…

Tangent that I will come back to another time, before we take too much of a detour of a detour of a detour:

Wait, one more side-tangent before the actual topic at hand, forum-seeding.

Another one from Quora, in an effort to triangulate out the data points for SEO:

Is the Hieruthian Hypothesis a plausible explanation for Kumari Kandam? (archived)

The thing most interesting to me here is the invention of an alternative spelling, “Kynari Kendal.” It’s so convincing as a place name, I had to look it up to see if it was “real.” Or rather, whether it’s a spelling shared by others (wherever it falls on the scale of the hyperreal). Apparently it’s unique to this user. Go figure.

Ok, forum seeding…

Obviously, I didn’t invent this technique. I haven’t even used it that much, but it’s easy to do and ripe for dissemination & manipulation of networked hyperreality narratives…

First things first: If you’re going to make fake posts on conspiracy or other forums like Quora, I recommend using an AI-generated headshot, courtesy of That site is a miracle for work like this, as each one is uniquely generated, meaning you can’t take it into Google image search and find any original image source (like if you just copied a photo from somewhere else).

I only did two of these, but there’s no reason to believe doing hundreds or thousands would not have a severe impact on hyperreality. Use with caution, lest you send the multiverse careening to the edge of destruction!

Meet Cal

I like to let the photo generated by the AI help determine the direction of the character backstory…

Cal is your typical average straight-laced ISO compliance professional by day, and “the good kind of conspiracy theorist” by night. And he is just, like, totally curious as heck about the Hieruthian Hypothesis & ancient Quatria in general (like so many of us these days). Who can blame him? Good work, Cal! Keep asking questions!

Meet Jesse

Jesse “Martini” is just your average fun-loving post-grad student in ancient history & literature. And he’s “not a big conspiracy guy” by his own self-admission, but he’s wondering about the Hieruthian Hypothesis, and another very controversial topic: the alleged splitting apart of the continents of Arctica & Antarctica.

Yes, Arctica was totally a continent…

Because of prior experiments on Quora, I knew that this was potentially a hot-button topic! (See below)

When did the continents of Arctica and Antarctica split apart? (archived)

This science enthusiast was none too “enthused” about the idea of there being a continent called Arctica. Except, in fact, that according to Wikipedia in my timeline, there totally was! (archived)

Now, Wikipedia could be wrong, bear in mind. It could be subject to the global international conspiracy to filter out Quatrian history from our collective holographic display, but there are certainly a lot of footnote references included, and who am I to go and bother checking footnoted references for validity? [A whole other blog post, remind me!]

If it was really wrong though, there would likely be a huge flame war on the Wikipedia Arctica Talk page, and there is not… So either the Guardians of Reality were asleep, or this is totally “real,” at least insofar as anything in the distant distant past can be proven to be…

Now, whether or not Arctica & Antarctica were ever one continent… well, that’s a whole different story I will leave you to try to resolve on your own. Suffice it to say, the Earth we know today is not the Earth which once was, or one day will be…

Just ask anyone on a conspiracy forum.

Dictionary Definitions & The Hyperreal, Part 5

In part 3 of this series, I looked at one of the ways the Hyperreal works on a question & answer website like Quora.

If you’ve never used Quora, it’s basically a site where people go to ask other people things they could just as easily look up in a search engine. And then other people take those things, look them up in a search engine, and reply to the original asker with usually the answers they found in a search engine, plus usually some condescending remarks. In other words, it’s a great experience for everybody, clearly.

As I began to see those patterns take shape, I came up with an idea. What if I could just seed the answers I wanted into Google results? This way, I could ask leading questions anonymously (which Quora allows), knowing people would just Google them, and then their answers could help me launder content further along the spectrum of the hyperreal.

Having experimented a lot with Medium, I knew that it would be relatively easy to rank quickly in Google (often occurs within a few hours). So I set up a kind of meta-data thirst trap account, “pretending to be” dictionary definitions. I put “pretending to be” in quotes because, really, I have as much of a right to define words as anyone else. There’s no monopoly on language. It’s a living thing…

The Medium account is: (archived)

I also set up a “publication” on Medium to further strengthen my SEO: (archived)

Looks pretty legit (despite dark-mode in screen shot), if I say so myself!

I would definitely believe “Online Dictionary” and so should you! What’s not to believe with all this meta-data!

Then I set up about defining some words & concepts, complete with pronunciation guides, and usage examples, so Google would hoover them up, and it did! Usually within a few hours.

You know, common everyday words most people use like Hieruthian (archived), Crypto-Civilization (archived), and Poesiarchy (archived).

Google will happily purr them back out to you as “correct” answers to definitions of these common Quatrian words & concepts.

And thus as a result, on the marvelous “can you Google this for me” website that is Quora, you will get results like these if you ask the right leading questions to lead people into your meta-data thirst traps:

Example throughput:

What does the word “poesiarchy” mean? (archived)

Quora response:

A highly creative answer, to be sure. And this “reality lurking in the shadowy peripher of our lives just waiting for a chance to manifest” mentioned by the responder sounds, in fact, just like hyperreality — the quarry of our present inquiry. So maybe this person landed on the secret inner meaning, despite the false trappings & trail that had been laid down to entrap them…

Sidenote: I only planted about 5-6 of these definitions. Imagine if someone did hundreds, or thousands, and free dictionary aggregator sites picked them up. If they were good & useful words, how long would it be before they made their way into real people’s everyday vocabularies? Perhaps not long at all.


Speaking of free dictionaries online, this one of “cultural layer” (archived) is pretty interesting.

It begins with a disclaimer: “The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.”

Perhaps all dictionaries should have a disclaimer that they might be outdated and potentially biased?

Further, the OSINT trail for “The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition” is anything but comprehensive – at least in English. There’s a 2016 blogspot source called Russian World Citizens Project (archived) which itself is pretty sketchy looking, and only points back to this same site as a source.

It might be “real” but it might also be hyperreal…

Does the difference even matter?

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