I am not Anonymous

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I am not Anonymous

Post by Reverant Revan on Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:56 pm

Disclaimer:
1. To protect the identity of any of the individuals involved, I will not mention any names, nicknames or Twitter handles in this article.
2. I will not quote any individuals for the same reason.
3. This article describes my own personal experience with Anonymous. Your experience may differ.
4. Any and all opinions in this article are my own.
5. This article is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of Anonymous.
6. WARNING: This article contains graphic language.
The N-word and the F-word (the bigot one) appear multiple times.
If these words offend you, stop right now and close this article.

When I first heard of Anonymous, many years ago, I didn't pay that much attention to them.
I figured they were just another vigilante hacker group trying to "stick it to the man".
But over the years, as Anonymous grew in numbers and infamy, I started to realize there was more going on.
It appears that the group as a whole is dedicated to fight injustice, in whatever shape or form.

Operations like OpFerguson, OpISIS, OpKKK, OpKillingBay etc. are examples of how Anonymous fights those who consider themselves to be above the law, by operating outside the law.
So yes, vigilantes.
Whether you think this is good or bad, I leave up to you.

My first contact with Anonymous was when an Anon (short name for individuals within the group) started to following me on Twitter after I retweeted and commented on some Tweets this person posted.
This provided me with my first opportunity to actually witness some of the things Anonymous does, what kind of operations they are involved in and who they target.

It didn't take long before other Anons started to notice my Twitter account, where those who follow me know that I tend to be very vocal and expressive about various human and animal rights and matters of justice.
Not every Anon that follows me on Twitter announces themselves as Anons, some are obvious and have the word "Anon" in their Twitter handle and openly announce they are Anonymous, while others remain silent.

The more I learned about the operations Anonymous was involved in, the more I became convinced that Anonymous are "the good guys" and not just a bunch of scriptkiddies and wannabe hackers trying to act tough online while sitting in their mommies basement eating Cheetos from a plastic bowl.
And so, slowly but surely, I started to follow more Anon accounts and retweet more and more information.

It took several months for me to decide whether I wanted to get involved or not.
Even after receiving a Private Message from an Anon stating "Welcome to Anonymous".
Those who follow me may have noticed I never put the word Anon in my Twitter handle or profile and never claimed to have anything to do with them.

The decider for me was OpISIS.
Releasing the member list of the KKK in OpKKK was awesome and something I publicly approved of, but taking on those Daeshbags is something completely different.
I'll admit, I was impressed.

So, when I saw an open invitation between the Anonymous tweets saying Anonymous was looking for "new blood" with a web link, asking people to join their operations (Ops), I couldn't resist.
I'm not a hacker, but an autistic with natural computer skills, a photographic memory and an IQ of 143 can learn fast.

The web link Anonymous provides leads to a page that explains how to use SSL encryption, proxy servers, VPN tunnels etc.
It also links to their IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network, where you are directed to for info about Ops.
I used to own an IRC network, so I was familiar with how it works.

I joined the network and started looking around.
I noticed that in the main channel and some others there was a lot of chitchat going on between various people, some of which I recognized from their Twitter accounts.
They were mostly making jokes and poking fun at each other.

I quite enjoyed watching some of these conversations, but since I was there to learn about Ops I did not pay too much attention to them.
My mind was pre-occupied with leaked stories that were tweeted by the media about suspected terror attacks in NY and Atlanta.

Turns out Anonymous didn't leak those stories.
Some people calling themselves "OpParisIntelTeam" (account @OpParisIntel), who are NOT part of Anonymous, leaked those stories after an Anonymous administrator specifically told them not to.
And even though there were NO credible sources, the media bought it and reported it as news.

So, I was one of the people going into "damage control mode" by replying to every one of those media tweets that the information was false, not leaked by Anonymous and had no credible sources or ANY evidence.
I may have called some of them (CNN) morons for not fact checking such an accusation.
If somebody tells you terrorists are about to blow up Times Square, how about asking for sources, hmmm?

But then I noticed something weird going on in the chat rooms.
Somebody used the word "nigger".
Now, you can't see if someone is black on IRC.
So I just assumed it was two black people poking fun at each other and forgot about it.

But then I noticed another conversation where the word "faggot" was used a lot.
But, since faggot is a word that has been adopted by gay people as "their word", in the same way black people have assimilated the word "nigger" in order to change the meaning of the word, I once again chose to ignore it, since given their Ops it would be very strange if Anonymous was a group made up of racists and bigots.

But then somebody posted a global (meaning EVERYONE ONLINE receives that message) saying "<name> is a faggot".
That is when I decided to ask what the hell was going on, since any person who responds to the invitation of Anonymous to join their Ops can read that message.

So I asked why they global messaged such language and pointed out that if you're trying to attract new recruits, this is not a good way to introduce yourself.
Immediately, one Anon started to lecture me on how Anonymous "doesn't recruit", completely ignoring my question, while two others ridiculed me for asking that question.

I started to get a very bad feeling, since none of them was taking my question serious, even though I brought up a very legitimate concern.
After all, if you are "new blood" just joining the network because you believe that Anons are good people, you want to help and one of the first things you see is people calling each other "nigger" and "faggot" and this is also broadcasted to every single person online, then that might give the wrong impression.

So I told them I was starting to feel very uncomfortable.
I literally used that specific word.
The response was more ridicule and I was (very rudely) told to leave.
So I did.

I was heartbroken.
You know that saying "Never meet your heroes, because you'll only end up disappointed"?
Well, I found out the hard way and tears were shed.
The people I tried to reach out to stabbed me in the heart and spit in my face.

It got even worse after that, when the same person who lectured me on IRC decided I needed more condescending lecturing.
He told me that for over a decade now, Anons have been using those words to change their meaning.
Of course, nobody ever mentions that to the people who join their network.

When I pointed out to him that Anonymous never mentions any of that when people join the network, I got another lecture completely berating the point just like before.
That point being that this isn't about me, or what I do or don't understand.
This is about every other person that gets invited to join the network and is confronted with this behavior.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
But even people with the best of intensions can massively screw up and cause some serious damage or do something incredibly stupid and ignorant.
When you choose to ignore that, instead of owning it and taking responsibility for your actions and the damage you have caused and may cause again, that's just insulting.

You can't just say "Yeah we fucked up and offended you, but it's all good because we have good intensions."
You can't just expect anyone who joins the Anonymous IRC network for the first time to understand what is going on when they are confronted with that kind of language and the way it is used.
It is very easy to misinterpret that.

When somebody points that out to you, don't ridicule and lecture them.
Specially when that somebody indicates feeling uncomfortable with the way you respond.
Are you internet trolls? No? Then don't behave like little children and insult people at random because you feel like it. Grow up and grow a pair. Cowards.

Needless to say, I am never going back there.
I can never face those people again.
What happened was inexcusable, indefensible and unforgivable.
I expect that behavior from internet trolls, but not from Anonymous.

Don't get me wrong, I still support Anonymous.
I cannot blame and entire group made up of thousands of people for the actions of a few misguided individuals.
I am not so vindictive that I would turn my back on them just because some of them insulted me, merely out of spite.

Like I stated before, the whole reason why I reached out to them was the fact that they do good work.
And no matter how pissed off I am right now, that fact hasn't changed.
And therefore, my opinion of Anonymous in terms of what they do and stand for, hasn't changed.
I will continue to follow the Anonymous accounts and retweet their tweets and I will continue to try and help out any way I can.

But I am not Anonymous.
I refuse to call myself that.
They are not my people.
Not after what happened.

Which brings me back to the core of my argument.
It is my sincere hope that people who read this will learn from it, to prevent this from happening again.
Not just for the sake of those about to be insulted and hurt, but for the sake of Anonymous as well.
Hurting people who are merely asking a question, because you don't think it should be taken seriously and then insulting them when they tell you you're making them feel unwelcome and uncomfortable, is not a good way to win people over.

You had me, you lost me.
I don't care if you care.
Just don't ever do something this stupid and ignorant again.
Please.


Last edited by Reverant Revan on Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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