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"Anonymous"

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
First, a definition since I know most of you will have no idea what I'm talking about:

Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain.[2] It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.[3]

In its early form, the concept has been adopted by a decentralized on-line community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually toward a loosely self-agreed goal, and primarily focused on entertainment. Beginning with 2008, the Anonymous collective has become increasingly associated with collaborative, international hacktivism, undertaking protests and other actions, often with the goal of promoting internet freedom and freedom of speech. Actions credited to "Anonymous" are undertaken by unidentified individuals who apply the Anonymous label to themselves as attribution.[4]

Although not necessarily tied to a single on-line entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chan, Futaba, their associated wikis, Encyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums.[5] After a series of controversial, widely-publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased.[6] In consideration of its capabilities, Anonymous has been posited by CNN to be one of the three major successors to WikiLeaks.
For nearly 5 years, I've been surfing 4chan. I'm not a regular user, but I'd say I visit maybe 4-5 times a week. My love of taboo and things people consider wrong and offensive always attracts me to the site because it's full of the strangest things you could imagine and is as politically incorrect as you could imagine. It should go without saying that 4chan is not safe for work. That being said, it also tends to play host to some truly awful things from time to time, things that make me question how worth it visiting the site should be to me. I've seen things I never thought I'd see thanks to the anonymity and freedom of content (until the mods decide to cover it up which can take time) the site encourages.

4chan is also a primary source of people that have become known recently as "Anonymous". As you can tell by the above quotes (if you didn't read it, stop and go read it you lazy slouch, it's a minute of your time) Anonymous is a leaderless group with no structure and no cohesion. It's as easy to be a 'member' of the group as it is to breath or blink your eyes. The idea in and of itself is quite beautiful, it's pure freedom of expression and exchange of ideas and without leadership no one commands another. It's anarchy in the purest format.

However, Anonymous has grown to be known for it's 'hacktivism' or as the word implies, activism through the act of hacking. They have gone after numerous groups and organizations who simply piss them off, agitate them, or go against any of their opinions or beliefs. Scientology, The Westboro Baptist Church, Sony, etc. Through their actions, they caused thousands possibly millions worth of infrastructure damage and they continue to do so in the name of no specific cause other than they were simply bored or annoyed.

So what do you think? Have you been an 'anon' meaning, have you visited the sites mentioned? What are you views? Do you believe something like this would ever bring about real change? Do you agree it's a form of terrorism?
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
As a partially active member of the movement, I have to say that the non-hacktivist part of Anonymous is very positive. I've hung out in their IRC channels, spent time on their wikis, and been to their Scientology protests, and they're all great people just wanting change and exposure to things they care about.

Hacktivism is a grey area that gets into moral justification. If a corporation decides to make their own moral decisions about what groups you can donate to (VISA and Mastercard said Wikileaks wasn't okay, but the Ku Klux Klan was okay), are you justified in assaulting them online? I think it's taking on hate and prejudice, corporate power and the influence of those that seek to suppress information- the key plank of the Anonymous platform. I think calling it terrorism is a gross misappropriation of the word.

Information is free.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
Expect Us.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Hacktivism is a grey area that gets into moral justification. If a corporation decides to make their own moral decisions about what groups you can donate to (VISA and Mastercard said Wikileaks wasn't okay, but the Ku Klux Klan was okay), are you justified in assaulting them online?
I think this could be a different topic but really, is it that hard to understand? The KKK is a hate group with little influence but a long history while Wikileaks is a threat to numerous countries and governments including our own. I'd much, much quicker throw donation money at the KKK if I was forced to pick only because Wikileaks stands to affect A LOT of people. Obviously the only thing I'd like to mail to the KKK along with many people is a bomb but I think this is a gross simplification. People involved (myself included) who saw what Wikileaks had to leak and knew what the possible ramifications were are not the ones making this KKK argument.

It's something the misinformed and simple minded argued. And no, it's not justification enough.

I think it's taking on hate and prejudice, corporate power and the influence of those that seek to suppress information- the key plank of the Anonymous platform. I think calling it terrorism is a gross misappropriation of the word.
Here's Anonymous taking on "hate" and "prejudice" . . . with black guys forming a Swastika (the numerous cries of "NIGGA" and "Our AIDS is spreading!" cannot be seen in this screenshot, but do in others):



I'm not going to believe that claim Kaz, sorry. Besides, you know how much racism and shit like that you find on sites like 4chan anyways. Maybe the people you know claim that's what it's about, but Anonymous is every bit like the Tea Party. It's not one solid group with a set goal or goals in mind, it's a hodgepodge of ideals that often clash with one another and as a whole, tend to set the group back and demean them in the eyes of those they're trying to win over.

I believe you that there are some of them that are actually fighting legitimate injustice such as Wikileaks being blocked, Scientology and the like, but their most common activities fall into the realm of terrorism, bullying, and general douchebaggery.

Terrorism is just what it is. They threaten those they do not like with sabotage and destruction. Sounds textbook to me.
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
I don't know a lot about Anonymous, but my general impression of them is that they're in favor of whims. If you want to stand up for something that you think is important, go for it.

But if you want to be reckless, irresponsible, and commit crimes for the heck of it, go for that too.

Do whatever you want as long as you don't cross some invisible, completely undefined line and do something really bad. Because they'll turn on you.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
I think this could be a different topic but really, is it that hard to understand? The KKK is a hate group with little influence but a long history while Wikileaks is a threat to numerous countries and governments including our own. I'd much, much quicker throw donation money at the KKK if I was forced to pick only because Wikileaks stands to affect A LOT of people. Obviously the only thing I'd like to mail to the KKK along with many people is a bomb but I think this is a gross simplification. People involved (myself included) who saw what Wikileaks had to leak and knew what the possible ramifications were are not the ones making this KKK argument.
Make the different topic then. I don't want to argue it here. You say the KKK is a hate group, Wikileaks is not- yet you can give the KKK money but not Wikileaks. Why? Because Wikileaks threatens a power structure that certain people, you included, thinks is important. Anonymous doesn't think it's worth saving.


Here's Anonymous taking on "hate" and "prejudice" . . . with black guys forming a Swastika (the numerous cries of "NIGGA" and "Our AIDS is spreading!" cannot be seen in this screenshot, but do in others):
Now, Merc, let's talk about simplification. How many posts does /b/ have? 200,000,000+. How many members does Anonymous have? Nobody knows, but a lot. Thus, how many wings, movements, cliques, and variations does Anonymous have? A lot. Some take on racism. Some don't. Some do hacktivism. Some grief Habbo Hotel. The thing is, if you state that Anonymous is different (which you do), you can't then blame a GIGANTIC movement for the actions of some griefing wing. The people I've met in anonymous weren't racists- they were anti-prejudice, fighting exploitation on the streets in fact.

Also, your screenshot predates Chanology and Wikileaks, it basically predates Anonymous as an activist organization. Sure, people still do that in parallel with hacktivism and activism, but you need to start splitting anonymous into sub-groups and the individuals that comprise it. Otherwise, you're just bullshitting around.

I'm not going to believe that claim Kaz, sorry. Besides, you know how much racism and shit like that you find on sites like 4chan anyways. Maybe the people you know claim that's what it's about, but Anonymous is every bit like the Tea Party. It's not one solid group with a set goal or goals in mind, it's a hodgepodge of ideals that often clash with one another and as a whole, tend to set the group back and demean them in the eyes of those they're trying to win over.
Yes, it's not one solid group. Why the hell then, did you just smear it for Habbo Hotel when 99.99% of Anonymous doesn't do that? When entire websites, wikis, IRC channels and protest groups exist outside of /b/ and aren't racist?
I believe you that there are some of them that are actually fighting legitimate injustice such as Wikileaks being blocked, Scientology and the like, but their most common activities fall into the realm of terrorism, bullying, and general douchebaggery.
Most common, yes. Not entirely though. And terrorism is not a word that's thrown around lightly. You need to define and prove it first. Lay out a case. How many vans has Anonymous blown up? How many people has it killed? What's a real terrorist group? Compare them. Then get back to me.

Terrorism is just what it is. They threaten those they do not like with sabotage and destruction. Sounds textbook to me.
Except it's not for the purpose of terror. It's for the purpose of activism. They're not blowing up buildings or shutting down sites to terrify, they're doing it to further a sensible agenda just like a peaceful boycott will be. And remember, maybe a hundred people do hacktivism- only a couple people have been arrested out of Anonymous for it. Meanwhile, over ten thousand people protested Scientology peacefully. So, let's get a sense of scale.

And again, you're over-simplifing. Some groups have 'terrorist' wings and non-terrorist wings. Sinn Fein does that. The Ulster Unionists as well. So compare them in size (hundreds of thousands to dozens) and say- does that make an entire organization a terrorist organization, given that it's leaderless and thus can't by its nature repudiate it?

Huh.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Make the different topic then. I don't want to argue it here. You say the KKK is a hate group, Wikileaks is not- yet you can give the KKK money but not Wikileaks. Why? Because Wikileaks threatens a power structure that certain people, you included, thinks is important. Anonymous doesn't think it's worth saving.
And you've glanced over my point.

Also, when did I say that power structure is important or where did I defend it? Don't assume Kaz, you've been gone awhile (and for good reason). I've defended Wikileaks quite a bit here while you've been gone. There's much more to lose from a business standpoint when you allow donations to a cause that threatens many world governments and big business. Not so much with the KKK. They can take a stand and say it's fine but that's a risky, RISKY stance to take.

You don't have to like it, but it makes sense if you're able to look at it from their perspective rather than just assume they're villains or acting irrationally.

Now, Merc, let's talk about simplification. How many posts does /b/ have? 200,000,000+. How many members does Anonymous have? Nobody knows, but a lot. Thus, how many wings, movements, cliques, and variations does Anonymous have? A lot. Some take on racism. Some don't. Some do hacktivism. Some grief Habbo Hotel. The thing is, if you state that Anonymous is different (which you do), you can't then blame a GIGANTIC movement for the actions of some griefing wing. The people I've met in anonymous weren't racists- they were anti-prejudice, fighting exploitation on the streets in fact.
Like I said already and am now saying for a second time (and ironically proven by your points above) you met a small representation of the group just as I gave an example of a small corner of the group. Are you going to support the Tea Party if I show you a handful of them who aren't hateful bigots? I highly doubt it. Anonymous has no 'members' in the traditional sense and we both know that. It's completely gray as a leaderless organization is in the first place.

The actions of the few always make it difficult for the many. Anonymous has engaged in a lot of e-terrorism lately and not for any 'explotation' or 'anti-prejudice' types of reasons. Wikileaks is the big one, there's not a whole lot beyond that. GeoHotz broke a long standing network security system, allowing people to alter and generally ruin online gaming experiences for PSN customers everyone. Sony went after him. I have yet to see any reason to really support him.

Also, your screenshot predates Chanology and Wikileaks, it basically predates Anonymous as an activist organization. Sure, people still do that in parallel with hacktivism and activism, but you need to start splitting anonymous into sub-groups and the individuals that comprise it. Otherwise, you're just bullshitting around.
I checked the thread title and "Chanology" and "Wikileaks" are not in it.

Anonymous has been around for a long time. As I've said already, I've been around it for awhile. People still prided themselves on being Anons or being part of it. It's important after all to understand your history, correct? This is the kind of background Anonymous comes from, a bullying mentality that tends to be enacted for their own personal amusement (something they even stated in a slightly famous video they posted directed at Scientology).

Yes, it's not one solid group. Why the hell then, did you just smear it for Habbo Hotel when 99.99% of Anonymous doesn't do that? When entire websites, wikis, IRC channels and protest groups exist outside of /b/ and aren't racist?
99.99% eh? That's pretty accurate. Where did you get that number?

You're going after me for the specifics, how about a bit of following your own advice and not making up statistics or simplifications? Also, calm down. No one is "smearing" anything here. I pointed out a factual and common happening within Anonymous and 4chan's /b/ a couple years ago. As I said already, I feel understanding the history of a group and its people is vital in understanding it. Besides, you yourself are judging their attitudes based on a pocket of members you met so don't jump on me if I did the same even if unintentionally.

Most common, yes. Not entirely though. And terrorism is not a word that's thrown around lightly. You need to define and prove it first. Lay out a case. How many vans has Anonymous blown up? How many people has it killed? What's a real terrorist group? Compare them. Then get back to me.
I don't even need to Google a definition for it because I know what it is. It's using violence and/or intimidation tactics to coerce people and get what you want. It's a means to an end and the means (on TV) tends to involve violence but terrorism is not all violence like your quoted reply above suggests. I know you're smart enough to know that. You assume that because no one has died because of them (that we know of) that it's invalid to accuse them of being terrorists.

It's not that hard to see.

They threaten their enemies with digital violence such as destroying their systems, vandalizing their websites and stealing their personal information. They threaten further action if those victims do not cooperate with them. This is terrorism and you know me, I'm not one of these neocon patriots that throws the word around like it's nothing. I hate the word myself because of how often it's misused. What Anonymous does is a form of terrorism. It's a modern form since it's all online but it's real nonetheless.

Except it's not for the purpose of terror. It's for the purpose of activism. They're not blowing up buildings or shutting down sites to terrify, they're doing it to further a sensible agenda just like a peaceful boycott will be. And remember, maybe a hundred people do hacktivism- only a couple people have been arrested out of Anonymous for it. Meanwhile, over ten thousand people protested Scientology peacefully. So, let's get a sense of scale.
Terrorism is NEVER about causing terror and terror alone. I'm not sure who told you that but it's quite a stretch. Terrorism is always about furthering an agenda or goal. Like I said it's a means to an end. Also, you seem again to be attached to this idea that violence is necessary for terrorism to take place which again, is wrong. Also, they're not shutting down sites to terrify or make an impact on people? Are you sure you want to argue that? It's kind of sort of what they're known for. A peaceful protest is one thing. Crashing a website and sabotaging it is property damage and vandalism.

Also, why are you trying to downplay their size when just a few paragraphs ago you made it a point to proclaim how large they are? I have absolutely zero problem with them protesting peacefully. I have a big problem when they attempt to dismantle something like that.

And again, you're over-simplifing. Some groups have 'terrorist' wings and non-terrorist wings. Sinn Fein does that. The Ulster Unionists as well. So compare them in size (hundreds of thousands to dozens) and say- does that make an entire organization a terrorist organization, given that it's leaderless and thus can't by its nature repudiate it?

Huh.
I'll just assume my previous replies in this post has answered this already. Your definition of terrorism is clearly vague at best. What Anonymous does is typically and easily defined as terrorism even if it's for a cause you believe is right. Using threats of sabotage and manipulation (and in some form, vandalism) to protect your own agenda or to get your way is terrorism.
 

JudyView

Registered Member
Without being an expert, here are my thoughts: I've had basically a favorable opinion of Anonymous thus far. My impression is that they go after people/orgs who have caused and continue to cause harm to others. They are going after bullies.

I also am not sure I agree that it is as "fluid" and incohesive and leaderless a group as indicated in the OP. Without some form of structure and leadership, the group would collapse before it managed to accomplish anything, instead degenerating into childish "take that" behavior that would not be sustainable for longer than a temper tantrum.

I do believe they are capable of bringing about change.

I disagree on the terrorism part, and am a bit baffled at how you could equate their previous hacktivism to terrorism.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
I disagree on the terrorism part, and am a bit baffled at how you could equate their previous hacktivism to terrorism.
Did you skip the part where I gave a definition? You had to have if this is still something you're wondering about.

They are pretty unstructured, I don't think anyone would argue that. It's one of the reasons they're so scattered and are responsible for so much bullshit while at the same time being responsible for things you can agree with.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
The thing is, defacing websites isn't terrorism, so your definition is crap. What legitimate terrorist group does only defacing websites?

The Basque separatists?

Oh wait, they set off nailbombs in train stations.

al-Qaeda?

Oh wait, they have training camps and bomb embassies.

What does anonymous do that is terroristic? Your definition is nonsensical. Inconveniencing people is annoying, it's immature, it's NOT TERRORISM.
 

JudyView

Registered Member
Did you skip the part where I gave a definition? You had to have if this is still something you're wondering about.

They are pretty unstructured, I don't think anyone would argue that. It's one of the reasons they're so scattered and are responsible for so much bullshit while at the same time being responsible for things you can agree with.
I did not skip the part where you gave your definition. And just because you say they are unstructured and "responsible for so much bullshit" does not make it so.
 
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