#TGDN Frequently Asked Questions

By @ToddKincannon
1. What is #TGDN?

#TGDN is the Twitter Gulag Defense Network. It’s a way to protect your account against wrongful account suspensions by wimps who want to suppress your speech. These people abuse Twitter’s spam reporting feature to cause accounts to be suspended. Conservatives are primarily targeted. It turns out that the more followers you have, the harder it is for these jerks to suspend your account. #TGDN insulates you by ensuring that you have 3,000 followers after you join. At 3,000, it is practically impossible for an average user to be suspended. But #TGDN is more than that. #TGDN has evolved into the leading conservative and libertarian community on Twitter. That does not mean you have to be a conservative or libertarian to join— anyone who needs protection against speech suppression is welcome to sign up. Liberals are welcome, but be advised you might not like your timeline after you follow a bunch of conservatives. 2. How do I join #TGDN?

Send an email request to TGDNhelp@gmail.com with your Twitter handle(s) and allow a few days to get added. I strongly suggest you have a backup account. If you do, let me know and I’ll add it too. If you run several accounts, you can add include all of them. Here’s what your email needs to include: A. B. C. The twitter handles you want included in #TGDN. Optional: Whether you want your account to be in the guaranteed followback lists explained below. (Hint: I strongly recommend it.) Optional: Whether you want to be in a state, province, or country chapter of #TGDN. This is optional and just a way for people to get to know each other. (Hint: I strongly recommend it.) Optional: If there are members of #TGDN who can verify you’re a real person, you may want to let me know so you can be vouch verified from the beginning. See below.


Take Home Message: All you really have to do to join is email TGDNhelp@gmail.com with your Twitter handle. There are some other things you can do too, but they’re totally optional. 3. Are there any standards for admission?

Do not be a Nazi, a Klansman, a spammer, or an impersonation account. That’s about it. Also, you can get kicked out for breaking one of the Three Rules of #TGDN. At one point in time I kicked people out for severe whining, but that’s well under control. Page 1 of 5


What are the Three Rules of #TGDN?

Rule #0.0: Violating this rule won’t get you banned, but make a backup account. It’s just critically important that you have one. You never know when your main account might get suspended. Perhaps the jerks who are trying to suppress speech on Twitter find a new method that #TGDN doesn’t currently work against. Making a backup is simple. I suggest you make a second account that looks just like your main account but makes it pretty obvious that it’s your backup. For example, if your main account is @JoeSmith, then your backup might be @JoeSmith2. I recommend you use the exact same avatar and background. I also recommend you identify your primary account in the backup accounts’ profile. It’s not a bad idea to identify your backup in your primary account’s profile either. Make sure your backup account is in #TGDN as well. If something happens to your primary account, having a backup allows you to immediately get back online and tell folks what happened. It prevents your speech from being suppressed. Occasionally, maybe once a week, you might want to tweet your backup account’s user name from the primary account so that your followers will know it’s you and follow it. Rule #0.1: Violating this rule won’t get you banned, but please try to limit how much you talk about the administrative aspects of #TGDN on the Twitter public timeline. If you have a request or question, I strongly suggest you email TGDNhelp@gmail.com instead of a public tweet. At the very least, try to keep it in direct messages with me. Unless there is some need for the whole world to see your question, ask it by email or, worst case, direct message. Also, please avoid begging for followers on the public timeline. Rule #1: Follow most every other member of #TGDN—at least 3,000. It’s preferred that you follow everyone. However, there will surely be a few people who you’ve had prior run-ins with that you may wish to avoid. Rule #2: You agree to never use the spam-block (or “Report Spam”) feature of Twitter against a non-spam account. Political accounts are not spam accounts. You can still block whoever you like for any reason at all, but spam-blocking is reserved for actual spam. When in doubt about whether spam-block is appropriate, just use the regular block function. Rule #3: Never threaten anybody with physical violence or engage in severe weirdo behavior. #TGDN is dedicated to free speech, but I won’t tolerate out-of-control craziness. I will tolerate regular craziness, but if I think you might be a danger to yourself or somebody else, I will kick you out immediately. 5. I heard @ToddKincannon ordered #TGDN to do _____. What’s that all about?

I have made a number of suggestions to folks in #TGDN, such as to make backup accounts, check out resources on various things, etc. They are not orders and you do not have to follow them. Some, including the left-wing website Daily Kos, have claimed I’ve ordered people to Page 2 of 5

spam-block legitimate accounts of people who I had a disagreement with. This is completely and totally false. In fact, you don’t have to follow my account or even like me to join up. 6. I signed up. Now what?

Start following people on the official #TGDN lists. The lists are here: http://www.twitter.com/toddkincannon/lists. Click on each list, then click “Members” and start following. I recommend you follow no more than one list per day, and Twitter has some limits too discussed below. Do NOT click “Subscribe” on the lists—just follow the individual members. 7. I see “Guaranteed FB” lists. What are those? The Guaranteed FB lists (“Guaranteed Followback”) are for people who have guaranteed they will follow back any #TGDN account that follows them. Follow those lists first. I highly recommend you join those lists. If you want to, email the request to TGDNhelp@gmail.com. 8. I see “Vouch Verified” lists. What are those?

There are a lot of fake Twitter accounts out there. The vouch verified lists contain accounts that I have verified to be who they claim to be. The best way to get added to a vouch verified list is to get someone on the list already to vouch that you are who you claim to be. Ask them to vouch for you to me and I’ll add you to the list. This is totally optional, and if that method doesn’t work for you and you really want to get vouch verified, I’ll work something out with you. I hope eventually everyone will want to get on the list, though. It’s nice to know that the person you’re talking to on Twitter actually is who they claim to be. Keep in mind, though, that it’s possible somebody might fool me and get vouch verified who shouldn’t be. Always be careful online and never just assume that someone is who they claim to be. 9. What are the other lists?

Those are the regular members of #TGDN. 10. Help! I’m stuck at 2,000 follows!

Twitter has some inherent limits that make it impossible to follow all of #TGDN in a single day or even in a week or two. Twitter limits you to 1,000 follows per day, but I do not recommend following more than 700 in a day, and fewer if you have a new account. Limit to 200 per day with new accounts, such as your backup account. Twitter also will not allow you to follow more than 2,000 accounts until 1,820 follow you. Here’s how it works: Twitter lets new accounts follow up to 2,000 other accounts. Past that, however, Twitter will only allow you to follow 10% more accounts than the number that follow Page 3 of 5

you. So, if you have 2,000 followers, you can follow up to 2,200 accounts. If you have 5,000 followers, you can follow up to 5,500 accounts. The 2,000 follow barrier is broken when you have 1,820 followers. But that only allows 2 extra follows before you hit another limit. It can be frustrating, but there are some tools out there that will allow you to manage the situation. If you Google these apps: Tweepi, JustUnfollow, and ManageFlitter, you will find some third-party apps that allow you to manage your account better. I strongly recommend you use them. And do not hesitate to unfollow #TGDN folks who are not following back if you get stuck. 11. I’m following [famous person]. They should follow back but they don’t! Should I dump them to make room for #TGDN follows? That’s totally up to you, but here’s my recommendation. Go through the list of people you follow who don’t follow you back. Make a list and put those people on it, then unfollow them. After you’ve followed most of #TGDN, which will take a couple weeks or so, refollow the folks who don’t follow you back. You’ll have plenty of room to do it then. If you’re a conservative activist, and you probably are, I’d suggest one change to this advice. Don’t unfollow stars of the conservative movement who have so many followers they can’t reasonably be expected to follow back. For example, @secupp has about 200,000 followers. It is ridiculous to expect her to follow 200,000 people back. It would be impossible for her to keep track of that timeline. Yet if you follow her, I don’t want you to unfollow her because of #TGDN. I would not unfollow any stars of the conservative movement for #TGDN. They can coexist just fine—the only difference will be that it will take you slightly longer to follow everybody in #TGDN. But it’s worth it, in my view. 12. My timeline is hard to follow now. What can I do?

Most people seem to like following the current members of #TGDN. But some folks don’t want to follow a lot of people because it makes their timeline hard to follow. The best thing to do in that situation is to make a private list or two of your favorite follows and just view the lists when you want to look at what used to be your timeline. It is a very simple solution and here are some tips from Twitter on how to do it: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-how-to-use-twitterlists 13. I see accounts with #TGDN in their profile or that say they are in #TGDN. How do I know for sure? Some accounts have #TGDN in their profiles despite not being official members of #TGDN. There’s no way to stop this—you can put whatever you want in a profile. The way to tell if an account is an official #TGDN account is to go to that account, then look at that account’s lists. You want to select “Member of” to see what lists that account is a member of. If one of the lists you is a @ToddKincannon list, that person is a real, official member of #TGDN. If not, then that person is not a real member. You may want to suggest they sign up.

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Is there anything else I can do to avoid spam-block suspension attacks?

Yes. If it looks like someone is trying to bait you into a fight, simply block them and move on. This is especially true if they have very few followers, very few tweets, and especially if they are an “egg” account—one without a profile picture. Start reply tweets with a “.” in front of the usual @ no matter who you are talking to. Also, if you know someone is a troublemaker, break their handle with a “/” when tweeting about them. Instead of “@Troll” tweet “@/Troll”. When you are in an argument, don’t tweet too fast. And if it seems you are being ganged up on, block the gang and move on. At the very least, don’t engage any of them besides the one you were originally talking to. If you take this advice, and you have 3,000 followers, the chances of our account getting suspended are practically nil. However, if you do get suspended, be sure to save any emails from Twitter and send them to TGDNhelp@gmail.com so I can take a look at them. This will help me figure out if the jerks behind these suspensions are using new methods that we need to counter. 15. Does this cost anything?

No, and it never will. But I may put up an optional PayPal tip jar to cover administrative costs in the future.

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