back to article ANONYMOUS: Behind the mask, inside the Hivemind

On a frigidly cold morning in early 2008, two dozen complete strangers arranged to meet for the first time. They had travelled from all over the metro area, some taking over two hours to reach their destination. Coffee and doughnuts were sacrificed to the ritual of placing online handles to faces. The first meeting of the …

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      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: Que?

        ".....With your choice of insult you reveal your own ignorance." Really? I think not. I used to date a girl back in the day who was hardcore and very engaged Greenpeace activist, which meant mingling with a load of her activist friends. To say the common theme was self-deluding, leftie nonsense would be an understatement. Of all those I met, 90% were great at parrotting the soundbites released by the core, but couldn't actually articulate a reasoned argument to support any of their views. Don't get me wrong, there were some core members that were both clever and eloquent, and welcomed debate of both the science and statistics, and many of those few passionately believed what they preached, but the vast majority were simply sheeple riding the bandwagon. Once they'd run out of soundbites, the sheeple got very uncomfortable if you started digging any deeper into their "reasoning" or lack thereof. It seems Anon are strikingly similar, just without the get-up-and-go to actually go out in the mud and the rain to protest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Matt Bryant: lay off the 'Big Society' FlavorAid and try THINKING for yourself

      The State kept right out of the voluntary sector when there was full employment. Along came Mrs Thatcher, unemployment at 3 million and, hey presto, we suddenly discovered that what we *really* needed was for people to work for nothing.

      .

      But, if so much needs doing, why keep people out of work?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: @Matt Bryant: lay off the 'Big Society' FlavorAid and try THINKING for yourself

        Oh, I do lots of reading, plenty of thinking for myself, and I even know a bit about history. A damn more than you, by the looks of it.

        "The State kept right out of the voluntary sector when there was full employment...." When was there full employment? If you mean in the years immediately before Thatcher, then I suggest you go read up on the Winter of Discontent. I think you'll also find there were plenty of charitable organsiations long before Margaret Thatcher was even born.

        "......why keep people out of work?" You say it like there was some grand plan to keep a certain number of "the poor" unemployed. The fact is there are plenty of unemployed that simply choose not to work because they think menial jobs are below them. For example, the BBC has an article on its website about squatters (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14030336), and talks to one called Biz, an art graduate, who chooses to squat and stay unemployed as she wants to find a job "she enjoys". Personally, I think she needs a good kick in the pants. As a graduate, she must be smart enough to do any number of office jobs, she just seems to assume they are too "mundane" for her.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          History??

          Those who have actually been awake have noticed a major shift of power away from people to the corporations. We are still allowed to vote, but not to have it make much difference when we do. The boot has very firmly been on the other foot since the 1980s. If you want people to be slaves in work, the threat of unemployment is a very useful instrument. Karl Marx (or, indeed, anybody with a mortgage to pay!) could have told you that.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            RE: History??

            "Those who have actually been awake have noticed a major shift of power away from people to the corporations...." Oh please, do back that up with some detail, even a tiny smidgen of fact to go with the blathering paranoia.

            "....We are still allowed to vote, but not to have it make much difference when we do....." What you mean is you cannot find a political party that represents your point of view, becuase your POV is so rediculously unpopular it simply doesn't gain traction amongst the electorate. The Communist Party of Great Britain is still trundling blindly along, isn't it called Charter 88 nowadays? Go ask them about the failure to gain popular support as they've been failling since the early 1920s. If your POV did resonate with the electorate then you would already be celebrating success at the polls.

            "....The boot has very firmly been on the other foot since the 1980s...." Try 1649. Read up on some people called the Diggers. The corporations of their day were the landlords and landed gentry farmers. The Diggers were probably the first real "communists" in the UK. Your lack of a view prior to the '80s (don't tell me, it's all Maggie Thatcher's fault, right?) is just the short-term revisionism of the Labout Party. Please go read up on the Winter of Discontent that was caused by a Labour government and allowed the Torys to get the popular support to get Maggie into No.10. In fact, please just go get some real knowledge rather than just repeating soundbites spoonfed to you.

            ".....anybody with a mortgage to pay...." Yup, got one of them, had a few over the years, and I think you're talking out of your rectum. At least you are a resounding success as an example of monumetal fail predicated by a blinkered outlook and a lack of knowledge.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Well, yes, actually

          ""......why keep people out of work?" You say it like there was some grand plan to keep a certain number of "the poor" unemployed."

          You appear to have missed the last 25 years (at least) of UK economic thinking. I remember Nigel Lawson spelling it out very clearly in a speech - a flexible workforce is a cheap workforce. What he meant by flexible, of course, was that a certain level of unemployment keeps wage inflation down because people are replaceable. If you get bolshie, there's plenty of people on the dole happy to take your place. Or in Eastern Europe.

          Labour abandoned the concept of full employment around the same time. The Tories, of course, never believed in it in the first place. The Lib Dems...well, who cares what they think?

          The idea that there is a certain level of unemployment which is desirable and optimal is very much the mainstream thinking at the moment amongst economists (employed ones anyway, I doubt that unemployed ones see it quite the same) and the fact that it also gives politicians a useful whipping post in the form of those same unemployed is a bonus, no matter how hypocritical that is.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            RE: Well, yes, actually

            "....You appear to have missed the last 25 years (at least) of UK economic thinking....." You seem to have missed the last fifty-plus years of non-change in employee thinking. I interview people as part of my job, and I in turn have been interviewed. I have preconceptions of my "worth" which mean I would look for certain jobs with a certain level of renumeration. People I interview have similar thoughts, some wildly off-target. The idea of full employment was junked by all mainstream parties because it was becoming unrealistsic due to the mindset of the employees and their idea of self-worth - some just consider it a better idea to stay on benefits rather than do what they see as menial or mundane jobs. No-one goes to school thinking how they want to grow up to be a burgerflipper at Mcdonalds or an office cleaner, but some of us are destined to end up there due to the limits of our ability to employ our potentials in the economic environment they find themselves in. To deny that un-PC idea is to deny the simple diversity of the human race - some people can run faster than others, some people are much better at crosswords, and some people will simply be better at getting ahead. The idea of democratic equality does not magically erase that variation in ability. Hilariously, the lefties that rail against that idea seem to forget the only economy which ever came close to real full employment was Communist Russia, and that was because it assigned you a job - if you were graded as burgerflipper material that was your given job, regardless of your expectations or ideas of self-worth.

            When I was a student I did some pretty cr*p jobs to pay my way because I had to. But then I was brought up with the idea that I should work to pay my way. The problem is people are now all brought up with an expectation that we "deserve" something better than burgerflipping even if we are actually limited in what we can offer. Hence there will always be a number of people unwilling to work, whose place will be taken by those willing to accept the mundane or menial jobs (yes, students, part-time working Mums, or foreigners) as a stepping stone to better things.

            So, economic thinking adapted to include the idea that some segment of the population will always be unemployed. The new thinking didn't create the unemployemnt, it adapted to encompass it. It is not an aim to create or maintain a certain level of unemployment, it is simply accepting a fact of life. You could argue it is an unfortunate by-product of the Benefit State introduced by the economic policies of socilaist Clement Attlee (which did assume full employment), but that would be to ignore the impact of the World's economy over the last half-century. Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling for an end to the benefits idea, what I support is the idea that those that are capable of working but refuse to accept menial or mundane jobs should also lose their unemployment benefits. I would much prefer it if there actually was full employment as it probably would reduce street crime and vandalism, generally make for a happier populance, and put an end to the careers of self-serving political vultures like George Galloway.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    A club for losers, then

    With no principles and no desire to engage politically it is just a social club for maladjusted weirdos.

    If you don't have a plan, you'll get ripped apart by people who do. See Adam Curtis las tseries.

    We can either try to change the world - or ponce about behind a mask. Anonytards have chosen the latter.

  2. Danny 5
    Thumb Up

    there you go

    I've pretty much been saying this for ages, nice to see most of my suspicions regarding anon turn out to be true :)

    always in it for the lulz, as it was meant to be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Whoosh

      Also the game.

    2. Danny 5
      Thumb Down

      whahahaha

      no seriously, i mean, hahahahah, hohoho, god that makes me laugh.

      Political engagement? engage in activities with the enemy? you have GOT to be kidding me.

      why engage is political activities if you have no trust in the government whatsoever? that's a good way to set yourself up for failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        hee hee

        Because you might like to have some influence on what happens rather than being an irrelevant sideshow?

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: whahahaha

        ".....engage in activities with the enemy?...." Oh, you really need to loosen up the tinfoil hat and double up on your meds.

    3. Scorchio!!

      Re: there you go

      "I've pretty much been saying this for ages, nice to see most of my suspicions regarding anon turn out to be true :)

      always in it for the lulz, as it was meant to be."

      I can't say with certainty what your view is, but it's clearly the case that there are people who deface websites, steal data/breach security in a variety of ways for the purpose of schadenfreude (deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others, which misfortunes are in this case brought on by the person enjoying them). In it for the 'lulz'. Ah yes, enjoying the pain of others, and that lays bare the ethical pretensions of such people. It is also sad that these fools don't think that far ahead and anticipate the consequences of their behaviour, something for which Ritalin is prescribed in the US.

      There will be a backlash [ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/technology-12007616 ] and that will not be so funny, even if the original offenders are made to suffer. Why not funny? Because my online rights will be reduced because of this shallow, vandalistic stupidity. Don't give me the 'gotta-crack-a-few-eggs' argument. Stalin used that one. Various other dictators and, more recently, Labour politicians did. Furthermore these shallow prats were not chosen by any electorate.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re

        " Furthermore these shallow prats were not chosen by any electorate."

        We are the electorate. You forget yourself.

        1. Pete B

          Re

          I thought he was talking about the Labour politicians.

        2. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: Re

          "" Furthermore these shallow prats were not chosen by any electorate."

          We are the electorate. [...]"

          Precisely, and none of us elected these self appointed, supposed protectors of morals/whatever. They just decided to do it, there is no recognisable electoral context. There is a difference between them and bin Laden/clones, inasmuch that they probably do not set out to kill people, and the sequelae of their acts evidently do not kill sufficient numbers of people (if at all [1]) for it to be noteworthy, but the difference is only one of degree, and they like the bin Ladens of this world claim to have ethical insights and authority that enable them to tinker with and damage infrastructure and commerce for the supposed benefit of... ...the electorates of various countries.

          So in response to your non sequitur response, in which you demonstrate that the point zinged off your carapace, no they were not elected.

          [1] Tinkering with, e.g., infrastructure can have direct consequences (see for example the case of a Polish boy who started remote controlling trains over the net, for 'lulz'), and indirect ones; pension plans depend on investment companies, who invest in... ...other companies, whose online presence and data impact on their predictable share values and predictable dividends. You see? Good.

      2. Danny 5
        Thumb Down

        sure

        you're saying you wont laugh if someone trips and falls? when someone riding a bike makes a faceplant?

        misery is funny, it distracts us from our own misery, so tone it down mr high and mighty......

        1. ArmanX
          Stop

          @Danny 5

          If I see a YouTube video of a kid on a skateboard fall down some stairs trying to do a stupid trick, then yes, I'll probably laugh, sure. If I see someone terrified while riding on a roller coaster, I'd probably laugh then too. It's funny; the skateboarder was doing something stupid and injured himself, and the roller coaster rider is overreacting. No one is truly hurt.

          Then again, if a random person pushed someone down stairs, or broke into someone's house just to scare them, that wouldn't be funny either. It would be cruel - and if you think cruelty is funny, you need some serious help. Someone else's misery might be funny, but causing misery never should be.

        2. jake Silver badge

          No, Danny 5, if that is your real name ...

          I do NOT take delight in the misery of others.

          If/when you grow up, you'll understand why.

        3. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: sure

          "you're saying you wont laugh if someone trips and falls? when someone riding a bike makes a faceplant?

          misery is funny, it distracts us from our own misery, so tone it down mr high and mighty......"

          You clearly did not read my response, which anticipated the possibility that someone might misunderstand my words. Do read this bit again: "deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others, which misfortunes are in this case brought on by the person enjoying them"

          What would your response be if I pushed you off your bicycle perhaps resulting in an auto accident, or down some stairs resulting in a broken spine/paralysis, perhaps if I pushed you into a wall resulting in a detached retina [...] or some other injury? Also, if you find it funny that someone (other than a character in a comedy) falls on their face from forward motion on a bicycle, I would raise a question mark about your personality and your ability to anticipate the consequences of such a fall, which might include entry of the turbinate bone into the central nervous system (death), a contrecoup injury to the CNS, permanent facial disfiguration [...]

          Certainly if you find it funny that people are causing discomfort for 'lulz' (schadenfreude) this would be consistent with happy slapping shots on youtube. Perhaps I 'ought' not to be surprised that people have such moral standards.

          1. Danny 5
            Meh

            yep

            now you're debating just how much suffering could be considered fun and what's too much suffering to be fun, don't you think that's a bit subjective?

            you think i didn't get your post, in fact it seems you didn't get mine, but i'm used to that.....

            I personally draw the line at grievous bodily harm, but the limit is obviously very personal, you drew the line at digital bullying. no bodies where mutilated, nobody got hurt physically and only a few egos got smashed if you look at it, so yeah, i laughed my ass off (cringed a few times too, when they went too far even for me).

            but then, i'm a "bored lefty" too, as someone stated earlier. I laugh at people's misfortune, because if the tables where turned (and they have been), my misfortune would be (and has been) a laughing matter. i sucked it up and moved on, more people should try that.

            It's easy looking down from your moral high ground, but you obviously haven't learned to roll with the punches and end up laughing at yourself.

            There are tons of things you really shouldn't laugh at, but you laugh at them anyway and feel guilty afterwards, it's called being human.

            1. Scorchio!!
              FAIL

              Re: yep

              "now you're debating just how much suffering could be considered fun and what's too much suffering to be fun, don't you think that's a bit subjective?"

              If you are addressing me, no, I am not debating how much suffering could be considered fun and how much not. So get this absolutely straight, and stop misrepresenting my remarks because it is worse than egregious; it indicates to me a predilection for untruths.

              I said that what we see is schadenfreude - laughing at the discomfort of others, having caused said discomfort - and that the ethical pretensions aired by these people are mere ash, since they cite their transgressions as evidence of their moral standing. This is an internal contradiction in their axiological claims; there is no internal consistency, that is they claim to be one thing yet their deeds indicate the opposite.

              If you cannot see that then perhaps some remedial learning will help you here. Most towns have courses in philosophy, ethics and epistemology.

              Your stuff about my moral position (if that is what you intend) and the like is pure BS, because I merely point out that these people have no moral leg to stand on, being themselves transgressors.

              Perhaps logic and its sister, epistemology, are not your forte, but that really is not my problem. I use my education in philosophy and try hard to avoid the usual complications where values and subjective judgements are concerned. In this instance I have highlighted axiological, logical, and epistemological contradictions between their claims and their deeds. I am sure that you do not give a damn, every bit as much as I am sure that they do not, though there certainly seem to be a lot of outcries, voting down and weeping over the exposure, arrests, and other RL interventions where freetards and LULZtards are concerned. There will be a lot more, and kack handed legal defences derived from your rationale will fail badly.

              1. Danny 5
                Thumb Up

                thanks

                i need not reply in turn anymore, you have pretty much proven my point.

                now that wasn't so hard, was it?

                1. Scorchio!!
                  FAIL

                  Re: thanks

                  "i need not reply in turn anymore, you have pretty much proven my point."

                  No, and you have failed to demonstrate this is the case.

                  "now that wasn't so hard, was it?"

                  Failing to justify your point? If you are satisfied this says much of you, and your ability to reason.

            2. ArmanX
              Megaphone

              Let's make this simpler, shall we?

              I don't care if you laugh at a heart attack victim. I don't care if you laugh at gruesome death scenes. The world has no shortage of pain, nor of idiots that laugh at others experiencing it. But if you hurt someone because it's funny, you are scum of the earth.

              If you laugh at someone that got 'pwned' by a hacker, ok, fine. But if you steal personal information and release it onto the Internet, you're no better than the identity thieves that use it - scum of the earth. Moral high ground? If you hurt someone because it's funny, EVERYTHING is moral high ground to you.

    4. Naughtyhorse

      lol adam curtis

      maybe _you_ need to watch 'all watched over...' again, only this time

      PAY ATTENTION

  3. nick47
    Trollface

    Yay boobs!

    Cake looks good too!

  4. Lamont Cranston
    Meh

    I seem to be none the wiser for reading this article.

    A couple of comments on the footnotes, though:

    1) could you please put the footnotes on the same page as the item which references them?

    2) This: "No element of homophobia is implied. Rather, Anons append "fag" to the end of a term as a sign of disrespect for those who use "fag" and "gay" as pejoratives." Really? Would they like to use the n-word, too?

    1. Danny 5
      Go

      look out

      the cake may be a lie!

      problem officer?

    2. Scorchio!!
      Thumb Up

      Re: I seem to be none the wiser for reading this article.

      "1) could you please put the footnotes on the same page as the item which references them?"

      Perhaps a clickable link, maybe even a popup or a 'tooltip'.

    3. Pete B

      Re

      "Would they like to use the n-word, too"

      You really don't hang out on 4chan, do you?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They do.

      See title.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Thought they might.

        Guess that's how they mock racism.

        Do they disparage nazism by gassing jews, too?

        (Comparing people to Hitler, that's how the internet works, right?)

    5. Mark 65 Silver badge

      What if?

      The mask was taken off and she turned out to be a he?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Coat

        RE: What if?

        Mrs Bryant saw the pic and said; "Pfft! I bet she's a minger, otherwise why would she be wearing a mask?"

        Thinking about it, and knowing the negative correllation between good-looking girls and those that know anything about IT, I'd have to agree with her.

      2. bluesxman
        Go

        RE: What if?

        Then *he* has great boobies.

        What's up? Were you looking for some homophobia?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: "Would they like to use the n-word, too?"

      ^ Obviously not even a newfag.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Cheap trick el Reg...

    ...stick the most 'ample' picture on the story link to draw in the readers.

    And I fell for it. Hook line and sinker. How sad am I...

  6. theBatman
    Thumb Up

    Good read...

    That was a very interesting read, thanks!

    1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      Yeah

      And then make sure the enlargement is on the last page.

      Yeah, I checked.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: Yeah

        "And then make sure the enlargement is on the last page.

        Yeah, I checked."

        <AOL>Me too</AOL>

        An observation of merit is that ogling women's mammaries seems to improve the health of men. I have the research paper somewhere on one of this machine's HDs.

        Perhaps the moral of this story is that feminism is bad for male health, though I don't think I'd try too hard to push that one, purely for its non sequitur quality alone.

        1. Steve Evans
          Unhappy

          Typical...

          She would have to be anonymous wouldn't she... How on earth am I supposed to get her phone number now?

  7. mark 63 Silver badge
    Coat

    big article!

    I stopped at the end of page 1 , cant imagine how you could fill 4 more pages with these idiots

  8. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Pint

    Must be getting old!

    I suppose it's no different from the kids hanging around the local train station after dark with a bottle of White Lightning, meths mixed with apple juice ( that stuff is NOT cider! ) and way too much time on their hands.

    When you're young you want to belong to something odd, different, something only you can relate to and others don't get, I suppose this it the one for the modern age.

    All seems a little bit pathetic and pointless to me but everyone has to be somewhere I suppose.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Mmmmmmm long gloves....

    and cake...

    oh, and the fabulous pair of boobs!

    What's not to like?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      30 -> (nearly) 50 is young?

      Really?

      1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor
        Pint

        I'd

        certainly like to think so.

        Beer because you're not allowed to buy it yourself yet.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re:30 -> (nearly) 50 is young?

        Some people never grow up. Pay more attention and you'll see plenty of old guys in major cities driving soft-top sports cars with a titty-bird in the passenger seat.

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