James Carrion (Mufon Director) laments on the 2007 California Drone hoax and highlights the problems that are inherent to UFO forums/message boards, an excerpt follows:
The Internet Matrix
In 2007, the California Drones photos came on the scene and also spread like wildfire throughout the Internet. However this time, the witnesses were allegedly members of the public, ALL of who chose to remain anonymous and could not be proven to be real people. Despite this glaring red flag, the Drones saga is still actively promoted today as a valid case, especially by the message boards of the Open Minds forum http://lucianarchy.proboards.com/index.cgi?
When I joined the boards, I was treated by the moderators and anonymous membership in the same way I was treated by the Dive Company message board members, in a negative way using disinformation methods of deflection and intimidation. When I pressed my case, I was then kicked off the boards. Now the interesting thing about Open Minds is that the two principles who allegedly own it and with whom I have had some interesting email exchanges don't seem to be real people themselves. I could be wrong here but I challenge anyone to investigate this for themself and if you can surface a real resume for either partner, then I will retract my statement. You can read MUFON's opinion on the Drones in the April 2008 issue of the MUFON Journal.
So what are the dangers of these message boards since even MUFON has its own board at http://mufonmembers.proboards.com/index.cgi?
The danger lies in the anonymous nature of these boards. Anyone can sign up without proving their identity and they can make any claims that they want. For example, on the MUFON message boards we had a poster who was very critical of MUFON and claimed to be a former MUFON member. When I asked the person to confidentially send me his/her name so I could verify that they were indeed a former member, they stopped posting on the board and it is doubtful they were ever a MUFON member in the first place. More likely they were an agent provocateur in the employ of the intelligence agencies.
The Intelligence agencies can use these message boards to promote false information, build myths like the 2006 Kinross case and the 2007 Drones saga, practice disinformation techniques and character assasinate any one who dares question their tactics. Imagine you are new to the UFO subject and your classroom for learning more about the phenomenon is one of these message boards. How can you believe anything that you read on these boards, even MUFON's own board, when intelligence operatives have free reign? It is one of the questions I have been asking myself for awhile and since MUFON is in the process of completely revamping its web site, is one of the issues that will have to be seriously looked at. MUFON may end up with a new message board site that restricts anonymity for these reasons.
Now I have to laugh when folks prematurely declare that MUFON is dying and that the Internet will replace it. Hogwash! MUFON is the voice of reason in this sea of disinformation, and MUFON field investigators have to prove themselves to be real people in order to investigate cases. MUFON has also taken a zero-tolerance stance on whistle blowers and anonymous inside sources to avoid being manipulated by the intelligence agencies as so many Ufologists have in the past.
So my friends, beware of La-La land (the Internet), don't believe everything you read there, don't trust anonymous sources and if you feel bullied on a UFO related message board, let me know as I would like to keep up on the latest intelligence agency disinformation and manipulation tactics.
I made a Blog post back in January 2008 that referenced the ‘episode' that James refers to at the Open Minds Forum and it can be viewed here.