Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Comments Shed Light on Low Numbers

Some interesting comments from StumbleUpon about Jeff Jacobsen's article on Project Chanology which I commented back in Dec 17.

These comments I think explain much about why the numbers of protesters crumbled down. They align quite neatly with what I thought about it so far, namely, that more informed onlookers do not share the belief of anti-Scientologists that Scientology is that bad, and the fact that the original Anonymous feels its spirit has been sort of betrayed.

Most of the comments fall in reason 1 above, with reason 2 being an important part as well.

Indeed, at the time of writing, there are 25 comments made during the last 5 days. Seven of these could be said to fall in reason 1, and four to fall under reason 2. Four are comments about the photo, tl;dr, or are non-sensical, living the ten remaining comments to be split between neutral, positive, and negative.

Here are some representative excerpts:

Reason 1:
  • Scientology doesnt seem to be that big of a problem to me. It just appears to be about as bad as other religions. I really just wish these kids would channel this energy and creativity into better forms of protesting.
  • There are far more important/interesting things in the world that they could have focussed their attention on. Can't help feeling that this is just a bit of attention-seeking by a bunch of geeks whose only achievement was to take someone's advice and get out more.
  • Scientology is not worth your protesting.
  • (From one Andizzle314:) Anonymous has to be the most self-righteous bunch of assholes on the internet next to 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Grow some balls and take on a real religion that actually has influence on world matters.
  • Andizzle is right on the money.
  • They cannot be serious , and they are not funny either . Bunch of clueless spoiled teens , having no other stuff to do in their life (like work for money , protest some REAL issues , or just do anything creative/intelligent ) throwing overused memes on a sci-fi club . Some people decided to use their herd (sheep) mentality for their own purposes and this is how "project failology" was formed . Anonymous might seem like a good idea , but they are doing it wrong . I wont even say cancer , because 4chan = Myspace . Get over it , and find better chans to lurk .

  • Whatever... this is not my fight. Let them do what they want. It keeps em busy anyway.
Reason 2:
  • Fucking moralfags ruin everything.
  • Project Chronology, though it has roots in anonymous, is not anonymous. Someone wanted an army to combat Scientology, and they culled them through 4chan. It is an offshoot, they are "moralfags". Wearing V for Vendetta masks and rickrolling Scientology places does not make you anonymous. And while they are a diverged group from anonymous, I think that what they are going is pure win.
  • Epic win for Project Chanology, but I can't help but think that an anthropological examination of anything related to /b/ is a wasted venture.
  • i was there, the first day it started, the DDoS attacks that followed... then after a while the fags came in and ruined everything, there came millions of people who said "anonymous, the anti scientology group". wtf, that's not what anon is... this one is okay.. at least it's not a site about "anonymous" that's just about scientology.


Anonymous said...

The stumbleupon link leads to Jeff's article and not to the comments.

Bernie said...

Damn! You are right! I corrected that now.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that numbers are down, because people suddenly realized that Scientology is not that bad as they thought after having a deeper look into it.

To the contrary, the deeper you look into the Church of Scientology, the more bad it gets, but that has never been the main reason for the protests to begin with.

In fact, most of the protestors from feb/mar, but also today didn't even think that Scientology would be particularly evil compared to other organizations.
For many the first protests have been about a free speech issue and for the lulz. The thing that made Scientology protestworthy compared to other organizations or causes, that might be a lot more evil, is their suppression of free speech and their deceitful tactics to handle the public and their own followers with lies. It was worth to shed a light on Scientology, because the abusive side of it wasn't broadly known in the public.

The protests in the beginning had 2 main purposes:
1.Informing the public

Numbers are down for mainly one reason: People are bored of it and feel that the public has already been informed enough about it. The 2 purposes have already been fullfilled, so there is no reason to protest anymore.

The comments under category 1 are by people, who are actually less informed about Scientology, than the protestors, who now build the core of chanology and still participate in the protests. Those keep on researching Scientology every day and get more informed about it, while others still think that Scientology would be just an "alien-cult".

The selected comments under category 2 are comments by people, who have never been to a protest and have been against any sort of IRL protest from the beginning.

These comments are therefore not really representative for the true reasons that led to a decrease in protest attendance.

Just my opinion.

Bernie said...

Thanks, anonymous. Some of your arguments are interesting. I am not as yet convinced, but they certainly are food for thought.

Anonymous said...

^what anonymous said

indeed, numbers can drop, but that doesn't reduce the amount of disseminated information as much as you'd think.

just because fewer people show up to irl raids, doesn't mean that less people aren't still posting important information.

also, you might just be interested in scientology's private slave camp. (rehabilitation project force)
I laugh at anyone that believes that scientology isn't a corrupt business / pseudoreligion

Bernie said...

"Private slave camp" is a good example because anybody who took the pain to go beyond OG information would know that the RPF is not a "private slave camp", and thus would laugh at Anonymous belief in this respect. I posted my view on this question here. Of course you may disagree, but it is still a good example.

The reason I found the previous anonymous comment interesting, however, is that it is unlikely that the average reader would have the opportunity to go beyond that OG information through researches as the real picture is buried under a mass of negative/biased information and an average person would not have the kind of time it would require to find it. (Another thing I find interesting and partly agree with is that the initial motivation may have been more a free speech issue than the badness of the CoS).

Yet, it is obvious through the StumbleUpon comments that many have what I consider the right view on that issue: that the CoS is bad, but not as bad as it is made of to be. There are much more important issues in the world.

It is possible that they arrived to this conclusion, not through extensive researches, but through what I call cognitive dissonance instead. One part of that cognitive dissonance is the common sense realization that if the CoS would be that bad, they would seriously be in trouble with the law already after half a century of existence.

So I still believe that this point of view has an influence on the low numbers, and I still believe that the low numbers reflect somewhere Anonymous failure to maintain its initial momentum. You can hardly speak of anything having to do with the initial mass movement of one year ago. In fact, it's hardly worth being called "Anonymous" anymore. It merely is down to simple old OG in another form, and even that form is starting to get old now.

So, rather than trying to justify the low numbers, I would try to seek what may be the real reasons, and in this respect I think the comments are quite significant.

Of course, there may be other reasons too. The fact that the CoS did not crumble down after the initial mass protests may be one of many other reasons, that all combine into that one single fact: the very low numbers as compared to the initial impetus.

This fact cannot be denied, and anybody who dismisses onlooker opinions in this respect do it at its own risk.

Anonymous said...

"the original Anonymous feels its spirit has been sort of betrayed."

'The original Anonymous' is not a single organisation and therefore it is nonsensical to speak of what 'it feels'. Some individuals feel as you indicated. Others feel that the goals of the project were reached and that further action is simply unnecessary. Others continue.

"more informed onlookers do not share the belief of anti-Scientologists that Scientology is that bad"

I don't think that judgments of the value of Scientology as a belief structure are particularly relevant. Nor do I subscribe to your theory that all 'anti-Scientologists' (a peculiar expression, that! who's anti-Scientologists? Anonymous are anti-Scientology) act on belief rather than documentary evidence. You may have come across the expression 'Dox or GTFO'?

In the UK at least, most of the general public dismiss the organisation out of hand due to a widespread assumption that Scientology is a UFO cult and essentially does not exist in Britain. The idea that L Ron Hubbard had established a UK Scientology HQ (in Sussex of all places) is laughably silly - even if it is true - and it's not surprising that people don't feel the need to get up and protest about it when it is so obviously ridiculous. You might as well protest against the Truth Seekers for being insane X-files inspired druids – in my personal opinion, they're barking, but so what? They have the right! It is a truth generally acknowledged that Scientology as a belief structure is off with the fairies, but that in itself is barely notable. The beliefs are not particularly interesting or protest-worthy.

Yet Anonymous, above, is quite right that digging more deeply into Scientology as an organisation makes it look worse. It also gives you more respect for the nay-sayers; who would imagine that the CoS in the UK would really hand out legal nastygrams to protesters? Who would imagine that they would really block the sale of books? The last few months have surprisingly demonstrated that many negative comments - which I for one took as tin foil hat nonsense - were based in fact. The organisation has shown itself to be almost as scary as the tin-foil wearers said. An amazing achievement.

In response to the RPF comment, any/most people, including many protesters, will take the view that if someone willingly submits to mistreatment - or fails to check out the organisation they give their life-savings to - then they should seek legal and psychiatric advice and sort out their own lives. Oh, some anonymous care, but many are not all that interested in 'saving' anybody.

On the other hand freedom of speech, on and off the Internet, affects us all. Yes, as you say, it does not have only a positive side, but it is important nonetheless. The litigious habits demonstrated here by Scientology as an organisation need to be discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Pour decourager les autres, you might say. In that sense, Project Chanology served and continues to serve as a testbed for future conflicts.

Some feel that, at least for the moment, the point has been made that the internet will not be silenced by Scientology and its lawyers. Some feel that there is more work still to be done. Is protesting in front of orgs the best way of reinforcing that point? Well, that's a good question, and as ever with Anonymous, there are a variety of opinions. Those who want to, will; those who don't will do something else. When and if there is a stronger reason, perhaps if Scientology make another high-profile legal misstep, you may see the numbers rise again.

Finally, though I realise that this is probably pointless, I'd gently caution you against the belief that Anonymous are necessarily young, naive and incapable of critical thinking. Anonymous could be anybody. Your comments regarding the distinction between Anonymous ('misguided mob') and human/civil rights protesters seemed a little ill-conceived, if not to say idealist - you don't think that sometimes (other) human/civil rights protesters can be misguided mobs, too? Also, I might just observe that reliance on ad hominem implies lazy thinking; I have noticed something of a tendency on your part to suggest that those who do not subscribe to your view of the world are clearly inadequately informed, plain wrong and/or muddled thinkers.

Good day to you, sir.

Anonymous said...

I went to the first few, and I got bored with the monthly protests. Instead, I now do flash raids, leave flyers and cards in random places and am currently conversing with my MP and several local religious types including a priest and a rabbi that are concerned about the cult. I also put aside some time every week for commenting on sites like I am now.

I know a lot of other people like me, that stopped attending monthly protests for various reasons, but still put in effort to bring down the most dangerous cult in the world. Monthly protest numbers do not display our efforts, and by looking at recent events, they are certainly having an effect on the cult.

Bernie said...

Thanks for commenting, folks. I am only going to address here a few key points, because I want to avoid as much as possible the thread going off topic..

"'The original Anonymous' is not a single organisation and therefore it is nonsensical to speak of what 'it feels'. Some individuals feel as you indicated. Others feel that the goals of the project were reached and that further action is simply unnecessary. Others continue."

I got the idea of the "original Anonymous" vs. "Anonymous 2.0", as I refer to it, from comments by anons themselves, and also from the fact that the DDOS attacks against enturbulation.org and WWP itself (again very recently) have been blamed on the original anonymous because they disagree with the "moralfags" who, they claim, have derailed the movement.

Now this maybe a first assessment, but then I cannot help but notice that this reason also clearly came as the second reason in the StumbleUpon comments.

Though of course Anonymous is a collection of individuals who each do their own thing, there still is an overall trend or consensus, and this of course is what creates the various factions and movements within the movement.

In response to my comment: "more informed onlookers do not share the belief of anti-Scientologists that Scientology is that bad":

"I don't think that judgments of the value of Scientology as a belief structure are particularly relevant."

I do not refer here to the belief system itself. Just the perception of Scientology as a whole.

"Yet Anonymous, above, is quite right that digging more deeply into Scientology as an organisation makes it look worse."

My opinion on this is that digging more deeply into Scientology as an organization makes it look worst indeed but only because the digging is superficial. As you digg deeper, you realize that much of this impression does not hold and was based on mis-conceptions. The example of the RPF is a good one.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying Scientology is not bad and that critics should not protest it. What I am saying is that it is not as bad as some make it out to be.

When you give people the impression that it really is awful and they later find out (either through researches or cognitive dissonance) that in fact it is not that bad, they may get disillusioned with the subject, and this may be part of the reason they would lose interest. Giving them the right and measured impression first may be much more effective in the long run.

I personally consider Scientology a cult, and many members victim of what I refer to as the cultic mindset. It is good when critics undermine this mindset, but it is bad when they demonize Scientology out of proportion and create a monster which in fact it is not.

"I'd gently caution you against the belief that Anonymous are necessarily young, naive and incapable of critical thinking."

This is part of several comments along that line which I won't answer here because I want to keep that thread on topic (but may address them on a separate entry). Let's just say for the record that I don't dispute that and that I agree with Mark Bunker, who said in a recent interview:

"The initial impression is Anonymous must be a lot of kids. But I've met hundreds and hundreds of these people at protests and, yeah, there are a lot of students, but there are doctors and police officers and military and teachers and strippers --a wide range of people."

Anonymous said...

I protest scientology, I started in june, I protest because of stuff that has happened to me, i've seen my friend get assaulted, been fallowed back to my car multiple times, and have had scientologist try to get me to start a fight with them.

They say they want to talk, but every time i talk to them they just repeat phrases, even after an argument has been made.

Our numbers my be down, but public awareness is way up.

Bernie said...

From the related WWP thread:

"Harpooned and its up, surprising as my previous comments to "bernie" have never passed moderation. "

I never block comments unless they are spam, clearly off-topic, or an invasion of privacy.

The only other reason I can think of if a comment is not published is that the author's address has been swallowed by automatic spam filters on which I have no control.

In this case I suggest writing me with another address so I can fetch up the comment from the spam folder.

Anonymous said...

I think it's quite a mixture of reasons. For me, I intend to be in it for the long-haul, so I've chosen to pace myself as far as direct involvement.
I also feel that pretty much everybody I come across IRL, knows that "it's just a ridiculous alien cult - who would take it seriously anyway?" There ARE still a large majority of the public that may not know a whole lot of the specifics, but they do associate the cult with "bad." In that sense, the goal of informing the public has been met mostly on a psychological level.
Plus, the press is no longer afraid of the cult. A year ago a comment in a fashion magazine about a suit Nicole Kidman was wearing which called it her "scientologist repelling suit" got them a stern letter threatening possible legal action from the cult. Due to the overwhelming criticism we have provided for the cult to deal with, people are free to say whatever they wish and that cat is out of the bag. I can't help but feel the fact that what happened to TIME magazine won't be happening again, is a major accomplished goal.
The initial surge of anonymous was not meant to go beyond the second protest but that cult just keeps instigating. That just keeps things interesting enough to keep me coming back.
At this point, I think it is more about just keeping an eye on them to make sure they stay in line. They have suffered a major hit in their reputation and over-all credibility, so their actions are becoming even more desperate and devious. For example: the recent Second Chances incident.
If they REALLY step out of line again (or harm someone), I'm sure "the sleepers will awaken" and will make the response to the leaked crazy Cruise video censorship look like the good old days to the cult.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I think I have replied to a comment of yours which has since been removed. Can you fix please? :^)

Anonymous said...

I doubt that people stopped opposing Scientology because they considered it not as bad as they had first thought; I always try to maintain an objective view on everything, and I would consider Scientology on par, if not worse, than most other kinds of religious extremism. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that the organisation does anything at all positive, and a lot to suggest that it is particularly negative and detrimental both to its followers and critics, as well as anyone else decreed by the organisation as "suppressive".
The most likely reason behind falling protester numbers is the same as that behind any following that begins on the internet; people get bored and decide to do something else when it fails to amuse them, leaving only the more hardened behind. Frankly, I find it difficult to see how any other reason could be considered as likely as this, most obvious, consideration, though it is possible that a few other factors had a minor effect, such as previous protesters moving from unversities to employment, and similar.

Bernie said...

Hi - I cannot edit comments but I can stop them from being published and I can delete them after.

That's what I did with my own post indeed because I thought it wasn't that important and may bring the thread off-topic.

On the other end you ask in the same comment which, at your request, I won't publish:

"Out of curiosity, do you write this out of disappointment at the perceived "loss of interest" and hope to use this as a way of instigating people back into action?"

Well - let me think about that for a moment and when I finished posting a blog entry on another unrelated subject I'll get back to that question :-)

Anonymous said...

Why complicated analysis? Many people just get tired of doing something over the course of a year. Some locations have fun groups of people that still enjoy getting together, so they are more active.

Bernie said...

"Out of curiosity, do you write this out of disappointment at the perceived "loss of interest""

In part. When onlookers fall for what I consider a hyped portrayal of Scientology, then lose interest because they see that it just does not hold water, they also miss out on the valid part of that criticism. So, to me, it's all negative. First they over-react, then do nothing at all.

"and hope to use this as a way of instigating people back into action?"

Depends what action.

I don't find it particularly interesting to instigate people back into action when it involves carrying accusatory picket signs based on OG myths, having lulz at the detriment of others, and encouraging government discrimination towards a minority.

OTOH, if the protests would avoid accusatory signs based on OG myths, would make it lulzy for everybody, including CoS members (which to me is the real spirit of lulz), and if they would protest government discrimination towards CoS members in the same manner as they protest the CoS, I would not mind seeing them multiply.

But, hey - this is just my views. I am mostly just commenting on the news. I am not really involved one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, can you VERIFY or provide evidence that these OG allegations are indeed nothing more than "myth?"

Bernie said...

I have a whole Myths section on my web page.

A particularly good page that bundles many of what I consider myths is to be found on a page I wrote about The Three Types of Myths.

Another good approach, and a fairly popular page is a live example on how critics introduce Scientology to newbies, spinning many of these myths.

Bernie said...

If you want to comment on the myth topic, kindly do so in the comments section of a blog entry I created just for that purpose, and aptly entitled "Myths".


Anonymous said...

I can appreciate the point of view, but I cannot say I agree with the assessments in the links you provided. I'm afraid I still see a lot of "he said, she said" and opinion on allegations but no satisfactory evidence to refute the claims of the alleged victims in those links.
Were you there to witness every incident? Do you believe that if it did not happen to you or you did not see it for yourself, it did not happen at all? Why would SO MANY people leaving the cult feel compelled to make these allegations of abuse? What do you believe their motive would be to make this stuff up?
I hate to bring up such an extreme example, but many allegations of abuse were made against the People's Temple were dismissed in a similar manner as you are doing to these alleged victims. The Jonestown tragedy may have been avoided had the allegations been more aggressively investigated based on those reports before things got so out of control. I wouldn't want to think we didn't learn anything from that mistake.
I would venture to guess that it's probably one of those "better safe than sorry," "where there's smoke, there's fire," kind of things for some of the protesters that focus on those things.
I'm kind of a "dox or GTFO" type myself, so I'm not one to get into the allegations or rumors aspect of this whole thing. The "pay to pray"/tax and freedom of speech things tend to be my "hot button" issues - but I can't speak for others.
However, the number and nature of the allegations are terribly alarming - so until there is hard evidence to refute them, suspicions will remain. The more the cult refuses to address the issue and act in a defensive manner toward those who attempt to investigate, the more suspicious it appears.
Now, I can definitely agree with you that unproven allegations should never be the focus of the protests, but as far as the approach of using attention grabbing, controversial signs or whatever is no different than an attention grabbing headline for an article. For example: "Tom in fear for his life!" might pique more curiosity than "Tom reports alleged 'death threats' to FBI." Once you have someone's attention (which obviously happens to be the point of a protest), one can give a disclaimer, clarify, elaborate and/or encourage people to investigate for themselves.
But coming back around to the subject matter, do you really believe THAT is the reason for what you perceive as a drop in numbers?

Bernie said...

You bring up three subjects here

1) myths
2) protests signs
3) reasons for drop in numbers

1-It's an extensive subject. If you wish to discuss this, I invite you to put your comments on the post I created to this effect and which I provided the link. But even if you do, you will have to first quote what I wrote so I'll know exactly what you are referring to.

2-Yes, I think you have a point there. You can't make a discourse on a protest sign. Still, I think this could be improved.

3-Well, I was mostly reporting the comments I read, but it did more or less join with what I suspected before. As for them being the real reasons, I can only guess. I think some of the reasons other anons enumerated may play too, like getting bored, etc. There is obviously a mix of different reasons.

Anyway, after the Feb. protest, Anonymous announced that protesters will be there in increasing numbers, and the Mar.protest seemed to make him right. However, this is really not what happened in all subsequent protests, very very far from it. So I think there's a fail element there. This does not necessarily mean the existing protests in low number are not effective, but it's kind of two different issues.

Part of my reasons to believe at least some anons arrived at the conclusion the CoS was not as worthy of protest as they thought is based on what I observed. For example in discussions led by Louanne on his blog (sorry am not sure I would be able to retrace it but anyway I am relating my subjective experience here, not trying to convince you). (For the site URL search Louanne on my blog). Another reason is based on my own views as expressed on my myth pages, and I believe some people may come to the same conclusions I did. A third reason is that I have seen the cognitive dissonance phenomenon on people too, in comments, debates and through emails I receive because of my web site - based on a ten year experiences that long precedes anons. For example people will ask if all the allegations of illegal activities were true why isn't the CoS been banned already? Recently even Germany decided that they don't have enough evidence to do that, so how about other countries who are not that set against Scientology?

That's why I am not surprised to see the kind of comments posted on StumbleUpon.

Now I am not a augur and cannot tell that these are definitely the reasons, but it seems to converge.

whoever see a "Scientology Kills" sign then look around for bodies, will not find much even after half a century and millions having gone through Scientology's hand. Even that whyaretheydead web site of my Dutch friend Mike would so easily be debunked just by listing who's on it and why they died. A guy once counted the number of suicide it contains and came up with 26... in the course of 50 years... world-wide... now compare this to the average of even a small country.. even if you were to multiply this number by ten (making 260). And still there would be no clear link between this and Scientology. Even the case of Megan Meier MySpace suicide is more convincing than anything I've read on that site.

So it is my believe indeed that people who see such signs and then dig a bit deeper in whatever information is available on the net outside from critical web sites, and just look around them and just think for a minute, will not find the claim very credible and would indeed arrive at the conclusion that Scientology is not that bad and is not worth protesting. So that's an example of sign that is not very productive, to say the least.

How many people there are who think along that line, I don't know but, as I said, the proportions of comments to that effect from the StumbleUpon site leads me to think that there may be more than we may think.

Sorry for the long rant...

Anonymous said...

Making easy assumptions regarding the source of a DDOS is tempting, but fraught with hazard. DDOS, like other forms of trolling, is a complex game, and coming to an obvious conclusion is ... obvious. Looking before leaping to conclusions is advisable. That said, from the 'moralfag' perspective, it is advantageous for you to come to that viewpoint. So in fact, please do believe that anon #1, the hate machine and hackers on steroids, are now in full disagreement with the 'moralfags' on wwp, that the two groups are in no sense the same people, and disconnected entirely from the black-fax/prank-call types? That would be convenient PR for wwp.

"My opinion on this is that digging more deeply into Scientology as an organization makes it look worst indeed but only because the digging is superficial. As you digg deeper, you realize that much of this impression does not hold and was based on mis-conceptions."

Sorry, I may not have been clear enough. Digging into Scientology - from the point of view of one with an interest in freedom of speech - makes it look worse than it did before. I, personally, am specifically not speaking of things like the RPF here - whilst I accept ex-Scientologists' descriptions and figure that, should they wish to publish it, others should be given the opportunity to read it, people are free to reach their own conclusions based on that information. Some guy writes a book talking positively about his experiences in the RPF, that would be information. Some guy speaks negatively about it, that's information too. Why shouldn't both sets of information be made available? Critical thinkers will be able to come to informed conclusions based on the evidence.

(I see your 'cognitive dissonance' diagnosis; I read your RPF apologia; I raise 'Stockholm Syndrome' and the process of empathising with and justifying an abuser. I do this primarily to demonstrate that plausible, scientific-sounding diagnoses are easy to come by and hard to prove.)

I understand your theory that Scientology as an organisation is not as bad as portrayed, but respectfully suggest that this is a matter of perspective and the yardstick that you use for the measurement. You appear to be suggesting that certain types of human rights abuses are rarer in Scientology than some suggest. The data suggests otherwise to me, but putting these issues to one side, I still see censorship of all sorts of information related to Scientology. Discussing Scientology is hazardous. DMCA notices, C&Ds, censorship of online forums, content, search results, endless legal threats, 'handling', bullbaiting, black PR - these things have over the last year been very publicly demonstrated as a significant part of the organisation's modus operandi, so in that sense the organisation is quite as dangerous as was suggested. Whether Scientologists are kind to their mothers or live in prison camps or whatever is an interesting diversion from the important point and the issue which started all this, which is the ability to discuss these and other Scientology-related questions openly, publicly and without fear. So if you or anybody else want to discuss conflicting interpretations of the data with OG or anybody else, you are free to do so. Myself, I am interested in the question of whether these discussions are able to take place without undue risk of retaliation or reprisal, which has not historically been the case. Is that clearer?

As an aside, Scientology's attempts to suppress free speech and fair use have been infamous for a long time now, but I never took them seriously until I saw it happening. Perhaps they really are hiding terrible things, which Occam's Razor suggests is the case (would anybody spend so much time and money on lawyers, black PR, etc. just to keep a sense of mystique?), or perhaps they are ridiculously oversensitive about criticism (!), but the second hypothesis is unlikely to be taken seriously until and unless the organisation learn to play nice within society.

Bernie said...

"So in fact, please do believe that anon #1, the hate machine and hackers on steroids, are now in full disagreement with the 'moralfags' on wwp"

You are right, I do not believe such a thing, but I note that there are conflicting factions, and that the DDOS attacks have mostly been blamed on anons #1 rather that the CoS. Not my assessment, just the ones I commonly read in various fora.

"Digging into Scientology - from the point of view of one with an interest in freedom of speech - makes it look worse than it did before."

[big snip]

I understand that the issue of freedom of speech is the focus of your interest, more than other allegations. You are basically saying that, from this point of view, the badness of the CoS cannot be denied, and that it reveals itself worst than it appears as one digs further down.

Well, as you say, this is a matter of perspective. Not necessarily one I would agree with, actually I don't, or more exactly, not entirely, but discussing this would take us way too far in the context of this post.

Whether other people agree or not with your perspective, to the point that would motivate them into action, is the subject of this post.

I would also be hesitant to completely dissociate this question with other accusations being made towards the CoS. Usually, they come as a bundle.

It also is possible that, as people dig further into the issue, and maybe come to the conclusion that these other accusations are not as warranted as they initially thought, come to question the free speech question as well.

But we are speculating. You may be right, I may be right, more likely we both may be right in our own right...



By all means, thanks for taking the time to express your view in quite some details and style.

Anonymous said...

I know for many Anon, they simple grew bored. I, however, found CoS to be a bit too big and scary. I'm just being honest, I was scared out of doing the protests. I think you should also consider this a reason as to the low numbers at the protests.