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internetdetectiveArm chair detectives, be they bloggers, forum owners, chat room administrators, web casters or even those who follow or subscribe to one or more of these on line locations, will never, ever, solve even the most simple crime or problem.

The simple reason is that they are lousy investigators. They do not know and therefore do not follow even the most basic rules of investigation.

So, what it is that someone is trying to solve when investigating and how do they go about it?

For this exercise, let’s take a look at the current problem of finding out who it is that is creating a number of rather odd twitter sock accounts.

A number of so called armchair detectives who are bloggers, tv personalities and even a lawyer or two seem to have it in their heads that I have something to do with the creation of these things. Rather than try and convince these morons they are wrong, I am going to delve into why they will probably never find out who it is that is making those things.

The key to any investigation is to establish what it is that one is investigating and what is the goal of that investigation.

detmanualThe answer is the acronym NEOTWY.

Now, what the hell is that supposed to mean? you ask.

Let me break it down for you so that even the simplest of mind among you can understand:

wheN When did it happen?

wherE Where did it happen?

whO Who made it happen?

whaT What happened?

hoW How exactly did it happen?

whY And most important of all WHY did it happen?

The WHY is the most important question for it is the key to all the other questions. Another word for Why is MOTIVE.

motiveIf one can find the motive for why someone does something, it will go a long way to finding out who that person is and the proof needed to convince everyone that it is that person who is behind whatever action or actions are being investigated.

Another part of proper investigation is this most important rule: Let the evidence lead you to the suspect.

Personal bias: This is also one primary reason those in the on line community fail to get the right answer. They allow their personal biases to creep into whatever it is they are trying to discover dooming themselves to failure before they even start.

This leads to a “rush to judgement.” and is one of the reasons that jury selection is so detailed and drawn out even in the most routine of cases. In a way, jurors are investigators in that they are a determiner of fact based on the evidence presented to them in court.

Now back to the sock puppet issue as the example cited in this article. As I said before establishing motive for the sock puppets is the foundation for finding out the rest of the answers in determining who created the socks and how to deal with them.

At various points of my personal investigation to try and find out who was behind the socks, I made all of the mistakes one could make in doing so. I allowed my personal bias to creep into my investigation.

I tried to push the evidence toward an answer that I wanted to find and I also rushed to judgement on a number of occasions.

I then decided to start all over again, from scratch, this time following the established rules of investigation.

Will I find the answer? I cannot be certain. I do not have the resources that a professional investigator would have. I lack a lot of skills that a professional would have at their disposal. I am not an expert in information technology nor do I have anyone in my personal network of contacts who have all the above skills or motivation to assist me in my little investigation.

It is safe to assume that the sock creator or creators know this as well. The individual or individuals know that few if anyone is motivated to seek out who they are nor do their targets and allies possess the resources necessary to conduct a proper investigation.

So there you have it. Due to the ineptitude of the on line community as well as their bias, the Twitter sock trolls are safe to keep on keeping on.

I will be searching but am unlikely to find the answers I seek but I will be watching just in case.

Stay tuned