Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Soob shared an interesting story on wired about a group of griefers, possibly Anonymous, who placed visual stimuli on an epilepsy group that caused seizures.

If I were Scientology I'd make use of this little tidbit of potential agitprop. I brought up a few weeks back that when compared to Scientology's strengths a strength of Anonymous was its non-identity. Perhaps though its identity is a weakness in the virtual sense. They still have the same group norms as before i.e. being mischievous. Perhaps their ingroup norms will be their downfall. An alternate theory would be all members of the set of anonymous are essentially anonymous (within the boundaries of the boards the inhabit) then it is possible for a mass influx of anonymous agitation propagandists i.e. scientologists to enter the group and amplify their pre-existing groups norms to make them look like even more mischievous than they act when in comparison to Scientology.

Important Update: Metafilter has a good discussion on this topic of whether or not it was the church of scientology or anonymous who did it. Some of the commentators have similar thoughts to my own. One thing to point out from discussions on Metafilter is that the anonymous group at one time were as much arseholes as the scientologists. It'll be good for both to wipe each others bad elements out. Some weeks back you had John Robb claiming:

"It is also a demonstration of the limits of what an online group can do without "crossing the line" into terrorism. As such it should be used as a template for other non-violent efforts."
Which isn't true. It hasn't crossed the line into terrorism, but they sure as hell crossed moral and legal boundaries. Some of the mefi folk have pointed out examples of Anonymous, and their group norms, committing acts of woman hating, anti-semitism, threats of rape and the myriad other juvenile festivities that are collected on Encyclopedia Dramatica. One commentator on metafilter called them a "loosely-coupled network of psychopaths". Which seems about right for their original form and raises ethical questions about connected networks of psychopaths and sociopaths. Should we let such an ideological network grow?

Of course this whole argument could be countered with an argument similar to the Ship of Theseus e.g. Which is anonymous' identity? The original women-hating anti-semites? Or the roguish anti-scientology darlings of John Robb?


Ymarsakar said...

One commentator on metafilter called them a "loosely-coupled network of psychopaths".

A real psychopath would rip these people up like pigs to the slaughter. Even a sadist that had moral limitations would crucify them in physical contacts.

There is a certain cleverness to cyberware, yes, but everyone still has a real body last time I checked.

M├╝nzenberg said...

ymarsakar, I'm afraid I'm a little bit confused with your comment. Physical violence is a possible outcome, among many other outcomes, of psychopathy. But it is not a primary essence to being a psychopath. I don't know if you've read the studies of Robert Hare, who is one of the primary researchers into psychopathy, part of his and others research has shown that violent offenders only make up a small amount of psychopaths (I think wikipedia has a number of supporting research links which shows this).

I don't really think there is a comparison to be made between violent psychopaths and psychopaths online. Either can make terrible consequences for innocents through their actions. So I don't really understand the nature of your comparison.