Anonymous vs. Church of Scientology: Internet 'War'

Has anyone been following this? Apparently, assorted people that hang out in the chans (message board/IRC?) have banded together under the name “Anonymous” to take down Scientology. They’ve already done some Denial of Service attacks on several big Scientology websites (including, and have successfully denied access to those websites, off and on, for several days. They have other things going on as well, but I’m not too clear on what. They have posted a YouTube video declaration of war here, and it’s received 1.6+ million views.

They’ve also attracted some media attention, including, Fox News, Sky News and a bunch of local affiliates, including an NBC one. I think they’ve also gotten some international coverage, as well.

Anonymous users have created a Project Chanology website, which details a longer-term plan of attack. There is a real-life protest planned on February 10. Other internet communities are being invited to join in, and I’ve seen that the Something Awful forums, for one, are simply abuzz with declarations of intent to support and protest.

As background, here is a decent summary of why people don’t like Scientology and want to see it go down.

Part of me thinks this is but a tempest in a teapot, that most of the internet folks saying that they’re gonna distribute information, protest, write letters, etc. won’t actually follow through. But that it has garnered media attention is interesting, and if momentum carries over to Feb. 10 such that a decent number of folks show up for the cameras in front of the Scientology centers… Does this have a chance at making any dent at all?

I’m not a big fan of restricting expression, which is essentially what the Denial of Service attacks are. However, it’s a way of gaining media attention, and if they can somehow use the spotlight to more productive ends, I don’t have too big of a problem with it. The problem is of course that the media tends to be focused on evil, scary hackers, as opposed to what their motives are. Hopefully, if Anonymous and friends stick to more legal methods, the actual Church will be scrutinized, instead of the ‘hackers’.

At the very least, this has annoyed the Church of Scientology and exposed at least a few more people to its scam, and that makes me smile.

Praise Xenu!

No. Long term plans require things like follow-through and attention spans longer than gnats. Chan kids lack these.

I wish them the best of luck until something shiny catches their eyes and they wander off, though.

I hadn’t heard of this, and I haven’t yet clicked on any of your links to check out what’s going on, but any attempt to expose the cult is ok by me, as long as it’s by legitimate means, so I don’t approve of any denial of service attacks.

Thanks to the internet, scientology won’t grow, with potential members constantly being reminded of what a loonball cult it is, and they can go read about it to their heart’s content. The cult will lose more and more members for those same reasons. As long as people keep spreading the truth about the cult, and as long as Tom Cruise keeps being a crazy representative, no anti group has to go too much out of their way to fuck with scientology. The cult is doomed.

Who are you pitting?

Actually, Anonymous have been around before this whole Scientology hoohah.

My niece the occasional /b/tard is going to LA on Feb. 10th, although she figures less than a dozen people will actually show, resulting in epic phail. Kids these days, and their lulz.

Much as I admire your optimism, I disagree. Whatever it is that these people offer that others find attractive I have no idea, but someone finds it attractive, in spite of all the warnings and evidence that they should not get mixed up in it.

You could make the same assertion about drugs and drunk driving. People should know better, yet we lose countless people to them every single year. People always know better than you what’s good for them, and some of them pay with their lives for their bad judgment.

This stuff just feeds that persecution complex/us vs. them crapola cults use to tend their flocks.

But the hoohah might at least get some people’s attention and build the meme that they are indeed bad news.

Heh, I don’t know. It was just my natural reaction to put this in the Pit, since Scientology itself tends to bring out almost unanimous scorn and disgust on this board, so might as well put it where folks can just let it all out.

Also, I wish the organization all the ill will I can muster?


What’s a chan? In the OP’s use it sounds like a message board, maybe; in the second use it’s an adjective aplied to kids.

What’s a /b/tard?

I don’t have the vocabulary for this discussion.


I think it’s a significant event in the history of social media, and posted about it on my blog a few days ago. Now I have a lot of people posting comments as “Anonymous.”

Chan is short for ‘channel’, mainly IRC I believe. A /b/ tard I think refers to someone who hangs out on the /b/ section of a place called 4chan.

That’s the best of my understanding, anyways. I’ve avoided 4chan since hearing of it–there’s enough stupidity around already.

From what I gather, the chans are essentially message boards, with a heavy focus on images (‘imageboards’)

I believe /b/ refers to a certain group within 4chan (supposedly where Anonymous gets a lot of its membership from), though again, I’m not sure. The chan communities have obviously been spreading beyond the message board, spilling over into IRC, etc.

EDIT: Or did it start from IRC and go to boards after?

Depends on how much this snowballs. The actions of Anonymous have hit mainstream media (including an NPR segment , more recently), and it’s been fascinating watching this unfold on various message boards, with people getting themselves all worked up making flyers, business cards, posters with various anti-Scientology messages, and giving accounts how they’ve already been flyering their college campuses and towns, pointing out the evils of CoS to their friends/family, etc. One group has already done a really juvenile protest at an Orlando center.

All this still doesn’t amount to much unless the real-life protests (on February 10, especially) pack a punch that mainstream media will report. If that happens, I agree that this could be a somewhat historic event, as the first truly open-source, internet-born grassroots political movement.

I still think it’s gonna be hard to get people away from the safety of their computer monitors, but hey, I’m already smiling.

Fair game, indeed. :smiley:

Holy shit! How did I miss that?

You can see my office in that video!

For my other FloriDopers, it’s the section of East Colonial commonly known as “Little Vietnam”, just east of downtown.

You know, I’m sure this is all very dramatic and whatnot, but I have to say…about the only thing I’d fear less than a celebrity-endorsed science fiction cult for desperate crackpots is a bunch of people on the internet who rally under the moniker “Anonymous”, say shit like “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. WE DO NOT FORGET. Expect us,” think Microsoft Sam is intimidating, and use DDoS annoyance and Fox News blurbs as weapons.

I’m no fan of Scientology, but come on, now. Are these people really who we want as the champions of the new age of enlightenment?

[George Carlin]I miss the old days of Von Daniken versus the Creationists. Aliens versus God! That was a crazy-people fight you could really get behind, where both sides had some flair. Scientology? “Anonymous”? One exists solely to get money and fuck with people, and the other just to fuck with the people who are trying to get money by fucking with people! Far too insular to hold my interest.[/GC]

Not only that, 4chan is sort of known as having a few traders of child p0rn, as well, which makes this all the more surreal. In terms of championing things, I doubt the folks working for “Anonymous” will be able to agree on much in the future. Scientology being the sUxX0rz is pretty much a slam-dunk case, and even this movement will likely fade within a month, tops, as people grow bored.

In terms of internet cultural anthropology, however, this is great fun. :slight_smile:

Okay, Anonymous are assholes. Let’s be clear about this. But Scientology is out and out evil. This is like watching Rush Limbaugh cage fight Hitler. For once, you’re rooting for Rush.

Yeah, Anon will get bored and wander off to post goatse to some kid’s message board. But in the meantime, they’re doing a pretty good job spreading the word about Scientology’s crimes. Also, I’ve seen some indication that Anonymous is outgrowing itself and the core members that started this thing are losing control. They may get turned into a more dedicated anti-Scientology group yet.

These little wars have been going on since forever. I have vague memories of some sort of #hack v. scientology conflict back when I was in college, but uh…yeah. Vague memories. Church has money and lawyers, neckbeards have neither, and eventually pounding away at cultists gets boring and the nerds go do something else. Nothing will come out of it but they’re fun to watch.

On a few points of semantical interests, “Anonymous” is an umbrella term for posters (and certain other imageboards and other parts of the “chan” umbrella) because of the fact that you can’t register poster/user-names there and all posts are therefore attributed to “Anonymous.”

Meaning, of course, that Anon equals to anyone and everyone who visits the boards and post there. This isn’t an internalized “commando” group of any kind, just an extension of the 4Chan community.

/B/Tards are people who frequent the /b/ board on, more correctly known as the “Random” board. It’s a place of horror and troll that has spawned more than a few internet non-sequitours and fads, amongst them lulcatz and caturday. The demographic is kid/teen-heavy, with a smattering of older people and at least partially tech savvy posters. (Well, the definition of partially tech savvy here being anyone who can execute a DDoS attack. Not a high treshhold to aspire to, really)
As for the success of this venture - well, fact is, Anon and 4Chan will grow bored and move on to the next shiny as soon as the opportunity rises. However, anti-scientology is pretty much the prevalent attitude on the board and I fully expect at least a minor resurgence whenever Scientology enters the limelight.

And if they somehow manage to tear every Scientology church in the world down, I will be the very first to sweep my hat off and bow to the power of Anon.

I’m curious to see what effect they will have. After visiting thier website I am a little skeptical. Escpecially after seeing the bit about starting nuclear war. :rolleyes: