Well, I think OP’s concerns are valid, in so far that it is possible to get threads closed, and that there are people who will resort to various dirty tricks in order to further their agenda.
Of course, I am loathe to go into detail on some of the tricks I think people use, as I don’t want to give anyone else any ideas, but since OP already brought it up, let’s talk about alts.
First up, we have astroturphing. The most infamous example I can think of with this concerns the outrage surrounding the hiring of that dev that apparently had some of her naked pictures uploaded to an amateur porn site (can’t remember her name). Regardless, CCP apparently did some digging and found that most of the crap was coming from only a handful of individuals using a bunch of alt accounts. (Sorry, my googlefu is failing me, but it’s probably for the best anyway)
Second, I too have suspected certain individuals of intentionally trying to get topics closed. But, of course, I have only hunches, and no proof. So, I’ve never said anything.
Third, some guy used a bunch of alts to vote in my multiboxing survey. He made it pretty obvious, so he might have actually been trying to undermine confidence in the results, rather than trying to skew them.
And, I suspect that there is at least on other dirty debate trick that people do with alts, but like I said, I don’t want to give anyone else any ideas.
Oh, and I suppose I’ll bring this up as well -I think there are people that intentionally try to weaponize outrage in order to bully CCP into making the changes that they want. Of course, I strongly suspect that that’s what happened with all the turbo krab and afk miners over the recent mining changes, and then it seems like Dark Magni saw this, and then tried to do the same thing with all his “CCP is an untrustworthy purveyor of limited edition goods” threads. I’ve also caught some pieces of the meta show that made me suspect that goons are intentionally stoking the outrage fires in an attempt to get CCP to implement/bring back mechanics that are conducive to empire building.
I don’t think CCP or the ISD’s are going to change anything. So, it’s probably not the best idea to go posting dirty debate tricks people can use. Don’t want to give the bad faith arguers any tips and tricks.
And no, I don’t have any good answers for you. There are ways to fight dirty debate tricks, but it ain’t easy. I mean, there’s a reason why the same crap philosphers were complaining about 2,300 years ago is still being used today -it’s because it’s effective, and hard to combat.
Sigh. I might maybe possibly make a video about this.