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
      Happy

      LMAO!

      "......Some are working inside big, important buildings and places where they are paid very well indeed for providing advice...." Asking "Would you like fries with that?" is not exactly important work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Angel

        It IS if you want fries!

        <particularly ones without spit on them>

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well now...

    That was a pretty good article about Anonymous.

    Makes a nice change.

  2. Dodgy Pilot
    Happy

    Yooz all so Klever !

    I feel so humbled by all your clever comments . Every time I try to read the article my eyes are drawn uncontrollably to the jubs.... my god, what wonderful jubs... and they come with cake too? I'll vote for that! :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    The point of Anonymous ...

    ... is that you don't get her phone number.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    @Matt Bryant

    Convening private players === public interest.

    Adam Smith, right?

    Well. You think NewsCorp, Thatcher and the NeoCons are the best representatives of this and it's an intellectual fallacy to challenge them. These pesky kids think the people in general under no specific ideology, threat, financial backing or other coercion are better representatives, and that they have fundamental freedoms that must be defended.

    Different interpretations. Swings and roundabouts. Stick the kettle on, point your browser at dailymail.co.uk, and forget all about it.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      RE: @Matt Bryant

      ".....You think NewsCorp, Thatcher and the NeoCons are the best representatives...." Now who's making assumptions. I wouldn't touch any of Mr Murdoch's "news" sources with a bargepole.

      "......an intellectual fallacy to challenge them....." So how exactly have you challenged them, intelectually or otherwise? By hiding in your Mum's basement and defacing webistes? Ooh, so such skillz, such intellectual artistry - not!

  5. Jason DePriest
    Thumb Up

    Great write up

    Unfortunately, the people who will read this are the ones who already know about it.

    The plebes and proles in the public will still be mislead by the media on what Anonymous is and what it represents.

    I like the folks who compare Anonymous to the weather. Sometimes you can predict it. Sometimes you can shield yourself from it. But you can never control it and it can result it good or ill based on tiny manipulations that you can't begin to understand.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    RE: @Matt Bryant

    "......But, why would they attack the Socialist Worker? Anon is in it for the lulz, but not against other anons....." Speaks volumes both for your guillibility and your own partisanship. So, only big capitalist corporations can oppress the masses, eh? You really need to go back to school and start history from scratch.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    RE: Great write up

    "......I like the folks who compare Anonymous to the weather...." Is that because you think they are just such big egos that they think they have supernatural powers over nature itself? I prefer to compare them to the yobs that kick in the glass sides of bus stops - both think they're clever beacuse they're equally childish mates tell them they are; both do little more than make an inconvenient mess and waste other peoples' money; both talk big but then run and hide; and both only do it because they can't "protest" effectively in the normal manner as they have such a tiny level of support.

  8. Jason Bassford

    "I have had the opportunity to speak to Anonymous." ???

    Really? And how did you manage that? When it's been made explicitly clear that there's no membership list and no agreement amongst "them" as to who qualifies to be one of these people and who doesn't?

    Did you head down to the local pub and happen upon somebody in a Guy Fawkes mask, ask them if they belonged to this group, got an affirmative answer and then started asking questions hoping that things were on the level?

    If there's no possible way of defining anything here - or going to a location or group where there's agreement - then how can it possibly be claimed that you managed to meet anybody who could objectively be said to be a part of this group?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Jason Bassford

      All of the individuals interviewed spoke the language, knew the memes, hung out on Anonymous-related websites, IRC servers and forums, participated in Anonymous related activities and called themselves Anonymous. The individuals I talked to would be accepted by the majority of those who self-identify as Anonymous as fellow Anons. That’s really as solid a definition as is humanly possible under these circumstances.

      If you chose to call yourself Anonymous, participated in Anonymous activites, etc. you would be accepted by them as well. Even if you disagreed with them about almost everything all the time.

      For an example of anonymous internal disagreement, start up an argument about “how can you fight censorship by DDoSing (denying access to) a website? Isn’t that trying to fight one form of censorship by employing another form of censorship?” The debate has raged on for years, and will continue to do so for years more. (Or start a Republican versus Democrat thread.) Despite this, both sides of that debate would recognise the other as Anons.

      It is all quite…complicated.

      I have had conversations about a number of topics with thousands of individual Anons over the years, though I limited myself to 83 Anons on 32 servers for “targeted” interviews for this project. If you are curious where to find some of them to talk to, there are really three main tentacles of the hivemind I can point you to;

      1) Chanology Anons have a presence on irc.anonnet.org

      2) Activist Anons of all stripes will be found on irc.anonops.li

      These are of course two of thousands of places anonymous can be found, but they are good “starter” locations for those seeing to have discussions with a specific tentacle. Asking around will get you links to other servers and then you’re off to the races.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Mr. Pott

        "If you chose to call yourself Anonymous, participated in Anonymous activites, etc. you would be accepted by them as well."

        Duh. Paraphrased, "We is us, you is not us, and therefore not us!!!!! You is bad!!!!" ... Typical of gang behavior world-wide.

        "Even if you disagreed with them about almost everything all the time."

        Horseshit. I'm effectively Anonymous, and yet my commentardary on the activities of Anon are routinely "down voted[1]" by Anon here on ElReg.

        Can you see the absurdity in this simple fact?

        Anon has an agenda. Their agenda is "our way or the highway, and we'll rough you up and try to make your life miserable if you don't see it our way".

        And the Anon idiots don't even see why that attitude is just as bad as the worst of the rest of human governments that they claim to be decrying ...

        [1] Not that I give a rat's ass about up and down votes ...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    WOW!

    Great fucking tits!

  10. Andrew Stergiou

    CENSORED "Reading “ANONYMOUS: BEHIND THE MASK by Andrew Stergiou"

    CENSORED ON THE REGISTER:

    As it is then interesting that a forum for these ideas occurs here.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: CENSORED "Reading “ANONYMOUS: BEHIND THE MASK by Andrew Stergiou"

      ????

  11. json
    Pint

    Hello Girls..

    .. where art thou?

  12. Jonjonz
    Linux

    0Oh nice jubs

    Nice jubs, why does any article with nice jubs and anything remotely lefty bring out the raving Thatcherite richboy wannabees? How quaint trying to shout down criticism when democracy died to fascism a lifetime ago. Keep up the good work wannabee, maybe someone will give you a gold star.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fella's, please do remember too...

    You don't necessarily have to do anything illegal (best check with local laws first!) to help Anonymous, if you believe in whatever cause they are currently pursuing.

    That's the great part about it, anyone can help.

  14. thecakeis(not)alie
    Trollface

    Dear Everyone in this thread; re: Matt Bryant

    Trolololololololololololololololololol

    Seriously, in just one brief scan of this thread, I have spotted 17 logical fallacies posted by that one individual. Either Matt Bryant is the biggest fool on The Register, the second most arrogant and self important commenter - the first has always been jake - or...

    ...y'all got trolled.

    Read these, learn to recognise them, and DON'T FEED THE TROLLS:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_repetition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_cause_and_consequence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppressed_correlative

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_Projection_Fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasty_generalization

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Package-deal_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotlight_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi#Red_herring

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_window_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definist_fallacy

    Our dear friend the troll has used each and every one of them in this thread.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      RE: Dear Everyone in this thread; re: Matt Bryant

      "....Our dear friend the troll has used each and every one of them in this thread." Whereas your reply shows you are unable to counter a single argument, or even offer arguments of your own. Please try again, only the next time at least try.

      1. dogged
        FAIL

        image time

        http://media.nscdn.com/uploads/cache/images/1246394182-707552-600x405-obvious_troll.jpg

        And also boring.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          RE: image time

          Hey, dogged, is this you?

          http://twstheunagency.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/child_with_computer.jpg

          BTW, really admire your ability to clearly articulate your views, you add so little to the discussion.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        I'm everyone!

        I can't be bothered to check WHETHER you've perpetrated any or all of the logical fallacies he lists. But if you have then in each case you made no valid or sound argument for him to counter. So he wouldn't NEED to counter what had already been shown to be worthless. Happy now?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          RE: I'm everyone!

          ".....But if you have then in each case you made no valid or sound argument for him to counter....." Unfortunately, dogged is merely offering the standard response of the Anon supporter - he can't argue ('cos he hasn't got a clue about the real issues or how to debate them), so he won't argue, just post pics he thinks are funny'n'cool, just for the lulz. He goes away thinking he is clever, the rest of the World + dog just think he's a tragic waste of bandwidth.

    2. jake Silver badge

      "Always" is a very long time, thecakeis(not)alie ...

      During the meanwhile, you continue to miss my point ...

      And you're going way out of your way to feed the trolls?

      Sit back and think about it. Please.

  15. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    FAIL

    MB

    MB != worth reading. Ever.

    He is a first-rate fail-troll.

    He's probably just a middle-manager at McD's anyway.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      RE: MB

      Thank you for your erasoned and eloquent participation in the discussion, you really helped me understand exactly what it is that drives the Anon mind with your precise disection of both the variety of their socio-political views and the non-centralised structure of their group.

      Oh, hold on a sec - you didn't add anything, just resorted to childish insults! And you know what they say about those that fall back on insults knowing they've lost the argument....

      Would you like to try a second go at posting something of value? Go on, it will be hard, but think of it as all part of growing up.

      1. Solomon Grundy
        Pirate

        Suck Scale

        Once again, arguing (debating) on an Internet site is absolutely meaningless. Unless you've got stats or other documented info to share so that others can research your assertions just stop and go outside or something. Matt, your babble is wasting space on my giant monitors.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          RE: Suck Scale

          "......arguing (debating) on an Internet site is absolutely meaningless...." Oh, sorry, I forgot that you and your tiny little herd of the hip'n'trendy don't debate anything, you just swallow whatever is spoonfed to you! You haven't a clue how to debate anything because it's just not tolerated amongst the sheeple. Why should I let you twits post complete twaddle unchallenged? You and many others posting here profess undying faith in the righteousness of Anon, yet you can't even provide the flimsiest of justifications for their actions. Just smacks of blind faith to me.

          ".....your babble is wasting space on my giant monitors." Well, if Mummy was good enough to buy her ickle Grundy big monintors it was probably to keep him safely indoors, away from all those other nasty kids. How about you leave the monitors, get outside and see the real World? A bit of real life experience will soon let you see the stupidity of the Anons.

  16. Titus Technophobe
    Thumb Down

    @Thecakeis ........

    I really can't see the point of your post? Mind I too am no great fan of anonymous.

  17. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Trollface

    @MB

    It's a trap, and you wandered in like the lackwit you are.

    Let me begin with your response to my trolling of you....

    "you didn't add anything, just resorted to childish insults! And you know what they say about those that fall back on insults knowing they've lost the argument...."

    Now, bearing in mind that you said that, allow me to post some selected quotes from your other posts in this self-same thread...

    "they desperately want to be fantasy freedom fighter heroes rather than just the dull, boring bunch of wannabes they are."

    "I hardly think that even a substandard troll is capable of believing this."

    "...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."

    "...you really need to loosen up the tinfoil hat and double up on your meds."

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

    "...knowing the negative correllation between good-looking girls and those that know anything about IT..."

    "Asking "Would you like fries with that?" is not exactly important work."

    "So how exactly have you challenged them, intelectually or otherwise? By hiding in your Mum's basement and defacing webistes? Ooh, so such skillz, such intellectual artistry - not!"

    " You really need to go back to school and start history from scratch."

    "Unfortunately, dogged is merely offering the standard response of the Anon supporter - he can't argue ('cos he hasn't got a clue about the real issues or how to debate them), so he won't argue, just post pics he thinks are funny'n'cool, just for the lulz. He goes away thinking he is clever, the rest of the World + dog just think he's a tragic waste of bandwidth."

    "Hey, dogged, is this you?

    http://twstheunagency.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/child_with_computer.jpg

    BTW, really admire your ability to clearly articulate your views, you add so little to the discussion."

    "Would you like to try a second go at posting something of value? Go on, it will be hard, but think of it as all part of growing up."

    In answer to that last part; Yes, yes I would. I'd like to present you with the "Hoisted by my own petard" award. Falling back on your own insults seems to be something you do in a lot of threads, I imagine that means you accept you've lost them all.

    Please note, these are rhetorical questions and do not require you to answer. You can go back to living under your bridge now. Alternatively, you can continue spouting your nonsense and we'll continue downvoting you and pointing out your hypocracy. Perhaps eventually you'll learn you're never right, judging by the standards of your peers.

    1. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Down

      @Bernard

      Anonymous as an Organisation appears to be either:

      • a group of script kiddies

      • a collection of people who have some abilities, and a bunch of fall guy script kiddies

      I cannot see why this deserves anything other than outright condemnation? Other than identifying a person responsible for drowning puppies why does this group deserve any respect?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      RE: @MB

      So, Bernie, what you're saying is you don't actually have anything to say because you don't actually have any argumnets to support your blinkered faith in the zealous activities of the Anonyputzs? I think I'll just re-employ the reference to the vacuous nature of dogged's responses":

      "Unfortunately, Bernie is merely offering the standard response of the Anon supporter - he can't argue ('cos he hasn't got a clue about the real issues or how to debate them), so he won't argue, just post vacuous non-arguments he thinks are funny'n'cool, just for the lulz. He goes away thinking he is clever, the rest of the World + dog just think he's a tragic waste of bandwidth."

      I think you'll find the majority of the comments you have collected above are in reasoning as to why I think the Anonyputzs are just childish e-vandals. Care to post anything vaguely argumentative as to why you think not?

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      RE@ @MB

      PS:

      ".....and we'll continue downvoting you and pointing out your hypocracy...." I'm not sure why on Earth you think I'm at all bothered by your reflexive downvoting, I wasn't really expecting you to actually read, consider and then possibly formulate a cohernet counter. Being downvoted by the clueless is just an amusing measure of how much the truth upsets them. "Ooh, grr, that Matt Bryant makes me soooo angry, he just won't be herded like the rest of the sheeple, but I can't think of a clever response, so I'll just downvote him!" Yeah, that really taught me - not! And since when did you "point out" anything? Your posts are nothing but noise, no substance whatsoever!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Anon

    I have been using imageboards since 2004, when they first became english speaking. I would like to thank The Reg for providing a relatively balanced article even if most of the commentards have got the wrong end of the stick and think this is just about protesting.

    I am now over 30 and work in a job where I handle multimillion pound computing hardware and work in places with unmarked doors in walls in London which require industrial secrets act paperwork to so much as look at.

    I don't participate in raids that much, although I do love to sit there and watch the fallout sometimes. So far I have however talked several people out of suicide. I've personally visited people who were kicked out of their home because their family found out they were transgendered, and bought them their first saucepan, fixed their computer and taught them how to survive. I've worked on the wireless mesh network you mentioned even though it didn't take off, mostly because people were too far away from each other to start establishing nodes. I've helped one of the people who worked on that network get through a really messy legal situation regarding access to her kids by her ex. I am now working on a wireless bulletin board (search for David Darts' "Piratebox"). I am also helping to rebuild Encyclopedia Dramtica after the original admin took her ball and went home (ate the ball by the look of her), and Essex police arrested our other one. I have found a bunch of brilliant people that I hope to know for the rest of my life.

    Anonymous isn't about protesting. It isn't about hiding behind an umbrella, or a banner to hold. It is simply a situation where people can be free to be human: To be the brilliant nasty inventive destructive beautiful monsters that people are deep down, when they aren't having to hide behind the mask of society. It is being the idd with all of the demons within. This is more about being "Project Mayhem" than being the next greenpeace or peta.

    Staying anonymous is probably a good idea. People have commented that hiding your identity is cowardly compared to notable rebels from the past, but in this day and age of information, the game has changed. When businesses are firing people because there was a picture tagged with their name of them holding a drink at a party, and crowd control at events is starting with people using computers to analyse the faces, body shapes and walks of everyone there so a dossier can be compiled rather than actively watching troublemakers then something is rapidly becoming very wrong. If a company demands my social network logins in the future so that HR can go snoop at it then i will tell them I log on to imageboards, my username is anonymous and they can go datamine that. I might even link them to /d/ for some family friendly entertainment...

    What more can I say, sometimes the world needs a few things to be broken by people doing stuff for shits and giggles. It stops us becoming a race of people that wear their identical shirts and ties to work, driving their identical silver cars (for maximum resale value) and blindly accepting the status quo, living like a pig in a cage to quote an old lyric that seems quite apt.

    I would also like to add that the masks come from a comic on 4chan, where the character ends up wearing one. Anon started wearing them because it was funny. We were wearing afro wigs and black suits before that when doing stuff in meatspace before that.

    1. Titus Technophobe
      Thumb Down

      Anon ...

      "What more can I say, sometimes the world needs a few things to be broken by people doing stuff for shits and giggles. It stops us becoming a race of people that wear their identical shirts and ties to work, driving their identical silver cars (for maximum resale value) and blindly accepting the status quo, living like a pig in a cage to quote an old lyric that seems quite apt."

      What I am reading from what you are saying is that you are a middle class guy who gets a laugh from encouraging other, younger more impressionable people to break stuff for your amusement. How hard do you laugh when they get caught?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      RE: Anon

      "....I have found a bunch of brilliant people that I hope to know for the rest of my life...." I hear lots of ex-gang members saying that they used to love being in a streetgang because of the thrills and the sense of belonging, and becuase other gang members looked out for them. Then they got caught, banged up and finally came to realise how stupid they were and how much misery they inflicted on others. You may think your mates are simply lovely now, but I hope the time will come when you grow up and realise they were just criminals all the same.

      ".......sometimes the world needs a few things to be broken by people doing stuff for shits and giggles....." If it's your own stuff then go ahead. I do target shooting, on private ranges, which is a destructive process for my own entertainment. I also like trackdays, which do nothing more than use up petrol and tires, again not really constructive and again for my entertainment. But I do both of those on land set aside specially for those activities, inside the law, and in a manner which does not inflict misery on others. I don't go to someone else's land, shoot their property or drive over it regardless. What Anon are doing is breaking other peoples' stuff, and they not only didn't give you permission to break it but also didn't even know you were trying to break it, so they are criminals and vandals, fullstop.

  19. Solomon Grundy
    Alert

    Debate Fail

    Using big words in order to appear intelligent during a public debate has been proven to be the one of the most annoying tactics possible.

    There is a reason press releases and sound bites are short and sweet; people won't read through reams of babble for the purposes of a meaningless online debate. Obviously Scorchio!! doesn't get that but he wants soooo badly to WIN. Too bad really. On a scale of 1 - 10

    Valid points: 8

    Babble: 11

    Wordiness: 14

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      RE: Debate Fail

      Number of actual arguments or facts relating to the thread topic in any of Solomon Grundy's posts? Big fat zero. So, who was it you were saying was such a massive fail at debating?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    love the picture of cake

    That cake has a really nice rack.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Anon3

    There is no use in dying for anything.

    Staying "alive" for your causes is where

    it's at.

    Anon Null

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging from the comments and the thumbs

    I think we have a majority for a revolution ;-)

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      RE: Judging from the comments and the thumbs

      "...... I think we have a majority ....." I think the reality is you could get all the Anons to emigrate to the island nation of Nauru and still not have a majority. Mind you, you would probably be quite popular seeing as Nauru's main export is phosphates from guano, and you Anons do seem to talk a massive quantity of male bovine manure.

  23. TescoValueBrain
    Stop

    confused..

    I usually read the comments on articles for a chuckle, but all the big words and political nonsense have left me doubting my own intelligence and self worth. I only saw about 7 boob-related jokes and that has spoiled my day.

    Less inflamatory stories pls Reg. To paraphrase, 'these comments have warped my tiny little mind'

    also: BOOBS!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Mmm

    such beautiful beautiful tits

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