From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

You know him as Anonymous. In Japan, they call him Nanashi, or Toshiaki, or VIPPER. But around the world, he is the same sort of organism known only on the Internet: a collective entity, unable to control itself, doing whatever it pleases.


Characteristics of Anonymous

History of Anonymous

Conflict between tripfags and Anonymous

People with usernames are known to Anonymous as "tripfags" (or in Japan, the more polite phrase kotehan, "fixed handle"). Anonymous does not like usernames. If someone tries to sign his post and stand out from the crowd, Anonymous will mock him. Other forums that require usernames are seen by Anonymous as places where people go to enlarge their egos. Tripfags, similarly, see anonymous boards as populated by people too cowardly to reveal their real names, due to a misunderstanding of what makes the anonymity so powerful. On 2channel, where kotehan and Nanashi mix freely, the boards generally segregate to prevent flame wars.

In defense of Anonymous

When I wrote my anonymity essay in 2004, I didn't actually believe everything I wrote. I am anti-Internet, and I wanted to unleash a force on the Internet and make it less predictable. This force, the "Internet Hate Machine" (interesting choice of language), is simply amplifying the essential anarchy of the Internet. A lot of people point to 4chan as its source--the same way Richard Feynman was singled out as "the problem" when he told his Los Alamos boss about an insecurity he found in the padlocks, even though he was only dicking around and the padlocks themselves were the real problem. Really it is our infinitely large, hyperspecific selection of information (in 4chan's case, entertainment) that is at fault. People gain false comfort from being cooped up with a choir that echoes their views. When they unexpectedly run into another group that holds opposite beliefs (in 4chan's case, an active disruption), the Hate Machine goes into action.

The comedy of the Internet Hate Machine video, of course, is that Anonymous itself does not hate, but merely enjoys the fruits of other people's out-of-proportion hate. When we take into account the fact that the Fox 11 video's "victim" was himself a nerd who had tried to get Anonymous to harass his ex-girlfriend and was merely dealt blowback instead, the Fox 11 investigation was 4chan's biggest success yet. Anonymous operates on the same principle as the Ventrilo Harassment guy: watching other people blow up, when they're doing something supremely unimportant, is funny.

In offense against Anonymous

While there is no way of stopping Anonymous and no way of regulating it, it is clearly not a force for fun alone. Generally they derive their pleasure from upsetting other people. Attacking an epilepsy forum, though, could cause the deaths of random strangers. There is no malicious motive here, just laziness and a want for new sources of amusement. The imperative is on the individual to recognize that just because people leave forums unsecured on the Internet doesn't mean it's their responsibility to extract fun from other people's suffering before the window closes.

Anonymous motivated

Anonymous as a collective can rarely be motivated to do anything useful, especially if it involves standing up from the computer. This phenomenon was first noted on the Something Awful forums where many people eagerly mobilized in anonymous form to attack furry forums, but few would stand up and get off their computers to go volunteer somewhere.

However, in 2008 Anonymous was united behind the cause of attacking Scientology, probably for the following reasons:

  1. Scientology is a cult which presents a real threat to the happiness of the civilized world: it brainwashes free people, ruins lives and occasionally leads to unfortunate deaths.
  2. The basic assumption of interfering with people's Internet jobs is that there is little important information which needs to be distributed on the Internet, but informing people about Scientology is in fact an important job.
  3. The medium itself which propagated Anonymous (the /b/ forum on 4chan) was slowly degrading and no longer represented a brilliant and creative user base. In fact, most Anonymous were growing quite tired with the newbies who were desperately trying to be cool, and failing. So, the attack on Scientology represented an attempt to unite users both new and old something as entertaining and powerful as /b/'s original accomplishments circa 2005 and 2006.
  4. Additionally, they were probably getting ass cramps sitting on their chairs so long.

Comment by David X.: Anonymous may have just this one shot before being overrun, to achieve something so superbly epic, so as to pass into the legend matching the subcultures of old, even as the movement is diluted and the free internet itself falls under the weight of government regulation.

While the anti-Scientology movement represents a break from the "law" that Anonymous is unforgiving and does not want to help anyone, this law was never really set in stone in the first place. For example, many Anonymous loved Nurse-kun.

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