"User123 is saying some outlandish stuff, I think they're hobbernocking us. As in, they're pretending to support our opinion just to make our opinion look bad."

(hobbernocking just a fake word for example)

I could only imagine this word being used in a negative connotation, unless someone were using it to positively affect an opinion.

I believe "demonize" could be a proper word here, but it doesn't really have the concept of "going behind enemy lines" to make something look bad. At least I've never seen it used that way.

Compound words and phrases are both acceptable answers.

  • 1
    Concern trolling? And hence User123 is a concern troll? Wiktionary tells me concern trolling can be defined as "Someone who posts to an internet forum or newsgroup, claiming to share its goals while deliberately working against those goals, typically, by claiming "concern" about group plans to engage in productive activity, urging members instead to attempt some activity that would damage the group's credibility"
    – Mohit
    Jan 27 at 8:26
  • 2
    Just "trolling" would also work - it has a wider range of meanings, but one of them is "to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content". (There are also several compound nouns if the OP wants to rewrite their sentence.)
    – Stuart F
    Jan 27 at 9:28
  • It seems concern trolling is exactly the word I was looking for. Thank you, Mohit.
    – Prince
    Jan 27 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


Such individuals are "false flagging," or engaging in "false flag" operations, defined by Merriam-Webster as:

: a deliberate misrepresentation of motives or identity

See the following example from Wikipedia, which is relevant to the case you cite:

Political campaigning has a long history of this tactic in various forms, including in person, print media and electronically in recent years. This can involve when supporters of one candidate pose as supporters of another, or act as "straw men" for their preferred candidate to debate against. This can happen with or without the candidate's knowledge.


A difficult question. On the level of their deceit, the person is a sham, a pretender, a fellow-traveller. But these show no intention to expose the opinion.

They have the intention to expose the opinion, so may be an exposer. But this does not show the initial support of the opinion.

The only single relevant word I can find is a mole, which has the notion of support followed by betrayal but does not imply open support, so does not fit your specification.

With no single word to combine the notions of pretending and exposing, I can only suggest that a phrase may help.

Possibilities are a fifth column sham, a vociferous mole.

someone who pretends to be something they are not:

fifth column
A cardinal technique of the fifth column is the infiltration of sympathizers into the entire fabric of the nation under attack and, particularly, into positions of policy decision and national defense


The person might have been playing devil's advocate: making a statement for the sake of argument, not because you believe it.

Devil's advocate is a phrase often used in the English speaking world. It refers to when, for the sake of debate, someone presents a point of view they don't necessarily agree with, to make someone else consider an opposing point of view to their own. --- RationalWiki

  • There is an element that is contradictory though: the intention to make the people with that point of view look bad; in fact, it is the opposite (the intention is good).
    – LPH
    Jan 27 at 16:02
  • And wolf in sheep's clothing. Jan 27 at 17:16
  • This does not work here. Devil's advocates are rarely deceitful -- it is common to say "I'm just playing Devil's advocate!" And Devil's advocacy seeks to pressure test an argument rather than to make an opposing argument look bad.
    – user770884
    Jan 28 at 13:23

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