MediaFilter on Wed, 14 Oct 1998 12:33:25 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Surprise Attack: Re-Routing Nettime

Re-Routing Nettime:
An Exercise in Electronic Disturbance

Surprise "Columbus Day Outing"

By Paul Garrin

Personal note:

            My sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended
            or inconvenienced by this exercise.  It was not
            intended in any way to be malicious or aimed at any
            specific persons or groups in any way other than
            in comedic parody.

Blasphemy in the face of Orthodoxy

As in when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope on live
television.  Bad PR for Sinead because she was unclear, or misunderstood.

I won't allow that to happen here, although it may because some people
will pre-judge and tune this out.  That's their choice.  Perhaps some of
them already understand what this is about, although not what it appears
to be on the surface.

Things are not always as they seem.  It's all a matter of perception, and
how that perception can be "managed".

Nettime was "re-routed" temporarily.  It was a terribly rude intrusion
that disregarded every tenent of "nettiquette". It could have been done
silently, by simply opening up another channel, without the rude intrusion
into the order--or what has become the "Orthodoxy of Nettime", but that
would have served only to turn a blind eye and a mute tongue some of the
events unfolding outside this list that have an adverse impact on all of
your future access, privacy, security and autonomy online.

It was an act of "Disturbance" using counterintelligence tactics to sow
discord amongst a group and display its poles of affiliations and
sympathies.  It's to show how easy it is to do this, but no indication of
how subtle something of this nature can be, so the rudeness was intended.

It was a loud intrusion in many people's minds, not only because of what
was sent over the open channel, but that the channel was opened in the
first place without their permission.

The flame-bait was a convenient element to make it as rude as possible
although it wasn't directed at any one individual alone, but at the
attitudes being parodied by the Nettime.Free message.

Any interpretation of that information is totally up to the reader.
The message was _meant_ to provoke.

And what it got was the expected chain reaction of pettiness and insults
in return.  A very funny assortment of stuff, I must say. Another attempt
to deconstruct this event may contain some of those responses, perhaps
even as rendered by antiorp ;-) so he can print it out and hang it all
over some wall that he's trying to climb to get noticed in the "artworld".
(I forgive the kid--he's young and everybody wants to be famous).

This call to action is a wake up call, in the spirit of Electronic
Disturbance. A "weekend outing", a "Columbus Day Raid" The insulting tone
of the list was the "agent provocateur" whose mission it was to sow
discord even if it meant drawing fire. (I didn't try very hard to cover my
tracks. In fact, I didn't.) I just switched on the server and left it
alone, while inadvertently leaving the subciribe commands disabled...and
the server ran away! Sorry about that.  Hope the few extra messages in
your mailbox didn't ruin your day. If it did, then please, log out and go
out and take a walk, you've been online too long.

Rerouting Nettime was a staged "exercise" as an "operation" using an
emotional trigger...otherwise known as a "Psychological Operation" or
PsyOps.  In this case, it was insulting implications about members of the
Nettime Moderation Team, and the users having information "forced" upon
them without their choice.

Some people call it "dirty tricks".  That's what it was.  You have to
experience dirty tricks so you can begin to understand them.  One of the
purposes of this exercise was to personalize an experience within a fairly
large and somewhat diverse group and exploit the differences.

The scenario involved several elements:

Identify a target group:            Nettime

Identify discordant issues:         Moderation, Moderators, Ideologies

Identify sympathetic affiliations:  pro moderation/con moderation

Identify exploitable conditions:    subscribers complain about moderation

Provoke confrontation:   Clone the list and run it on another server that
                         is not managed by the moderators thereby removing
                         their control over content flow although the list
                         itself has not changed.

                         Use a provocative message to polarize the group.

                         This resulted in opposing elements aligning in
                         blocks defining further affiliations and sympathies.

Unforseen elements       subscription requests proc inadvertently disabled
introduce added          resulted in loss of subscriber control and
chaos                    added to the outrage when users could not

                         This leads to speculation and rumors about the
                         list operator and his intentions, and insults
                         and insinuations are spread.

Intended result:  it calls into question many issues concerning current
                  events that effect our access, privacy, and autonomy on
                  the internet and many are turning a blind eye just when
                  issues are being decided behind closed doors which
                  will affect thier future access, privacy, security, and
                  autonomy on the net and probably off the net as well.
                  It's time to focus on strategies that will educate and
                  empower each other to protect our future of free choice
                  and free will, and not a time to sink into complacency
                  and inaction.

                  The beginning of discussion and action.

For more dirty tricks, please see:

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