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. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        @Anon 12:31

        We know but nobody said anything about their physical age!

        If you're over 30 and proud to be keeping this sort of company you really need check your priorities! If they managed to achieve something worthwhile like helping the homeless or feeding the starving by attacking the world governments I'd have some respect for them, but bringing down a few websites for tech companies like Sony, standing for Assanges right to free speech and, as true to their name, anonymously spreading stolen info, is hardly a stand for world peace is it! People like Peter Tatchell or organisations like Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, they make a difference and they don't do it hiding in Mum's basement, behind computer screens.

        This lot need to grow up, get a life and put their energies into making a real difference to real people.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          RE: @Anon 12:31

          "....People like Peter Tatchell...." Whilst I happen to think Mr Tatchell is bit of a berk, I do respect and support his willingness to say what he thinks and how he stands up for what he believes in, despite the threats of violence. Deomocracy and free speech is all about people accepting and supporting that others have different views. I suspect we'd share a few views but could probably have a great time debating the differences. The childish hacktivism of Anon simply doesn't bear comparison.

          "....This lot need to grow up, get a life and put their energies into making a real difference to real people." Spot on!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Doh!'re supposed to skip straight to page 5, ignore the article completely, and marvel at the...errr....cake. Then post something that looks like they actually read it. Like every other male on here did.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: Doh!

        "'re supposed to skip straight to page 5, ignore the article completely, and marvel at the...errr....cake. Then post something that looks like they actually read it. Like every other male on here did."

        On his return from the pub this male poster checked the image name in the teaser link, clicking Sa_v_e Image As: "anonymoussideteaser". Ah, I see. Brazen with it! I will have to report this to the commission on press activities, to be considered alongside Coulson et al. :-)

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whoever Anon are...

    ...I for one hope they go back to tearing the cult of Scientology a new one.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Dull article, lost interest on page one.

    Had to click though 4 more pages looking for cleavage shots. Should have guessed there'd be only the on on the last page.

    Slow news day?

  3. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge


    I was hoping for frosted brownies... but I do see milk is available...


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pure linkbait

    Love the way you link to the Wikipedia entry on Trolling. Advertising revenues down this month, or something?

    1. Drewc Gold badge

      What are you talking about?

      1. Link to wikipedia article

      2. Profit!

      Let us know how that works and we'll do it some more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Obvious, innit?

        You are not catering for your regular readership.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


          This wasn’t an assignment El Reg sent me on; it was one I asked them to let me publish. If it brings in new readers…good! El Reg has a collection of great writers, and it publishes news relevant to more than just its core stable of IT nerds.

          If my articles are different than those you have come to expect from authors on El Reg…also good! It’s a bad thing when any news organisation has all contributors with the exact same sociopolitical leanings. The one thing I as a reader and commenttard have always loved about The Register is the diversity of opinion amongst her writers.

          For every author who does not believe in anthropogenic driven climate change, there is one who does. For every establishmentarian, there is a disestablishmentarian. There are even a few antidisestablishmentarianists!

          If you want the truth about why the article was written here it is:

          With lulzsec running about, coverage of Anonymous skyrocketed. Much of it was blatantly wrong. Every article that was wildly inaccurate bothered me in the same way that the misuse of “you’re” and “your” does. I decided to put my time to better use than complaining about inaccuracies.

          Instead, I spent three weeks talking to nearly 100 Anons, from all walks of life, on dozens of servers. I tried my best to put together the most accurate and comprehensive article on “who Anonymous is.” Target audience? Anyone who had an inaccurate understanding of Anonymous’s origins, motivations and structure.

          The regularity of readership simply wasn't a consideration.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Whatever, Mr. Pott.

            No matter how you look at it, herds of a feather flock together.

            Lie down with dogs ...

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


              @Jake - Are you trolling or are you really that much of an anus?

              "Herds of a feather..."

              1. jake Silver badge

                @Sir Runcible Spoon

                Trolling? Moi? I would never do such a thing ...

                Anus? Some think so. I'm cool with that ... Most who do should look within, though. For the most part I'm only telling it as it is as I see it[1], which kinda pisses the kids off ;-)

                "Herds of a feather flock together" was mixing & matching cows, birds & sheep. If I had been a trifle less rushed this morning[2], I'd have typoed "school" instead of "flock" ... "pack" was already in use in the colophon ... Surely you've been around here long enough to have caught my "herding the cats back into the worm can thru' the newly locked stable door"?

                When you have to explain it, it loses impact ...

                [1] Over a third of a century in the industry tends to make one opinionated.

                [2] The Vet was making her "first Thursday of the month" house call here at the ranch.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


                  "When you have to explain it, it loses impact ..."

                  I know the feeling :) My clue was in the icon, it wasn't accusing you of being a troll, it was me being one - just for the lulz you understand :P

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    @Sir Runcible Spoon

                    I missed it because I don't do icons. With the exception of "beer", I have them all blocked as a waste of my bandwidth.

                    Icons are for the AOLer mindset. Beer is an offer of friendship.

                    Lose the "lulz", though. You're smarter than that. Life's too short ...

              2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                RE: Sir

                I suspect he is stretching the "birds of a feather" analogy to include an element of sheepleness.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            thanks Mr. Pott

            I enjoyed the article. I'm tired of MSM (and some commenters here) trying to boil everything down to [black&white]|[left&right]|[right&wrong]|[etc&etc]. Good to see a bit of perspective and balance.

            Posting anon because I identify with some of their ideas, but don't consider myself a member of the group.

          3. Scorchio!!

            Re: @AC

            "For every author who does not believe in anthropogenic driven climate change, there is one who does."

            Belief is a dangerous thing. Knowing is safer. If as you say you ' tried [your] best to put together the most accurate and comprehensive article on “who Anonymous is.” ' you most certainly understand that, because you've demonstrated a commitment to knowledge in place of belief and manipulation.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


              To 'know' something to be true is to deny absolutely the possibility that it could be otherwise. I 'know' very few things in life. I believe many things to be true - within given error bars, depending on the topic - based on information, experience and observation.

              With the exception of mathematics, it is my belief that nothing can ever be ‘known.’ The closest we can come is a state of understanding wherein the possibility of our being incorrect is vanishingly small, but still non-zero.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                IANAL but...

                You gonna die. We all gonna die. That's pretty, not nearly, definite.... Unity, actually. No error bars. Christ, even he died.

                And Mathematics? inconveniently we have Mr. Godel....

  5. TheRead

    In before old bastids exclaiming "script kiddies"

    As title, I hope.

  6. FreeTard

    And you expect...

    .. us to NOT click on the provided link...

    Like Dougal and the big red button eh?

    p.s.: nice cake.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feel compelled

    to add my approval of the jubbs to the discourse contained herein. Most excellent. Superb even.

  8. Kravex


    I've only just noticed there's a car...

    1. Openminded Cynic

      There's a car?! cake!?

      I have however noticed there are 27 pearls on her necklace.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought Mr Fawkes was hung, yet in the picture he seems to have a nice rack.

  10. hexx

    seen this?

    TeaMp0isoN -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seen this?

      LOLZ! Or should that be Lulz?

      Can you believe any of this though? If you were Anon and you were being revealed in posts like this, wouldn't you just start publishing random people's data on sites, just to hide the genuine dumps in the noise?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Re: Seen this?

        ".....If you were Anon and you were being revealed in posts like this, wouldn't you just start publishing random people's data on sites...." LOLZ! If you were Anon and your attempts to hide had been thwarted, wouldn't you be posting that idea?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The pearl necklace isn't a real one.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    ANONYMOUS: Behind the mask, inside the Hivemind

    Please post hi res, 1600x900 size 'cake' picture for my desktop

  13. Anonymous Coward


    sage goes in all fields. Less cancerous newfags please!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Must be a trap

    Everyone knows there are no girls on the interbuttz.

  15. Madeye
    Paris Hilton

    There's more than 1 page?

    lol I just turned up here to bemoan the lack of an enlargement, and what do I find? Serves me right for glazing over before the end of the first page, I suppose - it's something to do with articles based entirely on unattributed quotes ( I have the same problem with the New York Times ;-) ) ... so I can find a picture of Paris Hilton in a wig on page 5, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      unattributed quotes

      I think you'll find that every news organization uses quotes from people who request that their identity be hidden. You'll find them attributed to 'a source close to' or 'an unnamed person' or 'from a person familiar with the situation'.

      The problem you have is that you think you need to have a name/face to go with the quote. And... you're both right and wrong. The problem is promoting truth and honesty whilst preventing retribution.

      1. Madeye
        Big Brother

        House built on sand

        I am fully aware why quotes are unattributed - however I find that an article without a single attributed source is built on shaky foundations, as it is impossible to verify the veracity of any of it. In the US, such articles seem to have become the norm for anything concerning the government, or more specifically, the military. While this is a great thing for the dissemination of propaganda, it is less wonderful for those interested in getting to the truth of the matter.

        I am not suggesting for a moment The Register has suddenly become a mouthpiece for the US military, just observing that this lowering of the standards of journalistic integrity is becoming prevalent elsewhere.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    looks like ....

    Anonymous = Anarchists

    as in : an-archos, absence of leader. Count me in.

  17. Daegroth

    No clear purpose

    Well after reading this article I'm not sure if I agree with them any more or less. Personally I think they're fooling themselves, or being fooled.

    To quote the article:

    "There are no "leaders" of Anonymous. Anonymous resists the concept of leadership so fiercely that anyone who attempts to take on a leadership role is ostracised. At the same time, Anonymous can – and does – contain sub groups which may have a more formalised social hierarchy than the group as a whole."

    And then a couple of paragraphs later:

    "There are many "strong personalities" who are active Anons. Quite often these individuals succeed in rallying other Anons, or serve to as organisers for some event, project or raid. Their contributions are generally appreciated."

    So which is it? Does Anon disparage leadership or embrace it? It smacks of anarchism, and the problem with anarchism is it's an ideology, through history there have been many times that there have been attempts to formulate 'equal' groups the ultimate end is self-destruction because some people naturally have stronger personalities than others, the group tears itself apart. The difference with things like slavery and womens lib is that there was a clear and simple objective, something that Anon lacks, without it the notion of a self regulating system is complete tosh.

    1. TheRead


      Strong personalities don't have to be explicit leaders.

      Individuals within the group all, I'd assume, provide input into many decisions. There are of course, however, some forces of personality who have a bit more sway over what is going on. Lack of defined, explicit leadership doesn't mean that everyone has equal weight in decisions, but some people having more power than others doesn't imply the group is going to tear itself apart.

      Anonymous has an advantage in this, as, if somebody does attempt to exert too much power, other anons ruthlessly abandon and ostracize them. Most active anons agree on some core issues, as the article points out. I think you may be thinking of anonymous in the wrong terms. It isn't a movement like feminism or civil rights, it's more of a civilization or society not bound by location. To imagine that society itself would fall apart because there is no explicit goal in society is somewhat foolish.

      Not agreeing with everything they do, just pointing out a different opinion on what anonymous is.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An article written by fgts for fgts


    Bitches don't know 'bout this Reg faggotry.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Great article, thank you.

  20. asdf Silver badge

    probably not safe to post with the anon groupies on

    I live for danger and luckily I don't have a cute kitten video internet site to ddos 4 teh lulz.

  21. The Serpent

    I came here for the A+ boobage..

    ..and laughed out loud when the next thing my eyes alighted on was the sponsored link for Rackspace

    If that was The Moderatrix on her way to her leaving party, I'll pay her salary myself if you bring her back and give us a show at Christmas!

  22. SteveBalmer


    "Anons are teenagers, they are programmers. They are judges and nurses and lawyers. Anons are sysadmins and teachers, the poor, the rich and everything in between."

    Errm, no, they are spotty American virgins who waste their life on Xbox Live and hate Sony (a foreign company) for making a better console than their homegrown horseshit...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I don't own an Xbox.

    2. Ted Dannington

      Well, Maybe.

      Maybe the majority of the denizens on /b/ are this, sure, these days. This has not always been the case. Only since Chanology has the idiotfactor really gone through the roof.

      And the Original Fagsters are still around. Maybe not on /b/, but they're still around.

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Perhaps they are...

    @Matt Bryant re saying Anonymous should do some charitable work.. perhaps some of them are.

    @Lamont Cranston re: " Really? Would they like to use the n-word, too?" Yes, constantly. You have obviously not been to /b/ if you think otherwise.

    @Daegroth, TheRead addresses your concern. There are people who as they say are "strong personalities" but there's a fine line between that and being told to FOAD (F. off and die). Anonymous inherently rejects any leadership or structure.

    Something this reminds me of... LOD/H (Legion of Doom/Legion of Hackers) from the 1980s. Look at old Phrack magazines if you want to read about it. So, Legion of Doom were concrete in the beginning, with an specific head ("Lex Luthor" of course), and specific members. But, by the time the original members retired, their exploits were well-known, and anyone who wanted to be 'leet would claim allegiance to the LOD. In the late 1980s the feds tried a crackdown on hackers and phone phreakers in general, and one or two self-professed LOD members got caught up in this. The feds just couldn't figure out what the hell was going on, as many LOD members as they knew must exist they figured there must be cells and a leader, and just couldn't comprehend it was completely decentralized.

  24. Ted Dannington

    OhInterNet is a scar on the inter's nets

    Don't go linking to ohinternet, guys :(


  25. Anonymous Coward


    Some Are. Some Aren't.

    Some are here, posting, right now. I mean really, really RIGHT NOW.

    Some are working inside big, important buildings and places where they are paid very well indeed for providing advice to high ranking powerful people who don't know who they are employing.

    Some are hearing things said in private by powerful people and keeping tabs on things. Some even put the word out when needed.

    Some are suprised by the fact that not everything they hear is bad, but some is.

    Some aren't skiddies or likely to use LOIC because they're very well trained and experienced in their field.

    Some are mature, left-wing politically minded people who want to see change and have found a vehicle here whereby they won't be persecuted for effecting and advising change.

    Some say they are Legion, and you'd be making a serious error in underestimating them.

    Word to MB. Here's looking at you, Newfag. Just sayin'.

    Joke Alert, because it's all, and only, for the LULZ isn't it?

    Some are. Some aren't.


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