January 18th, 2012 is the earliest commit date for the Bibliotheca Anonoma on Github, and is our inaugural anniversary. Of course, this has roots in even older efforts going back to 2011.
Looking back, The Bibliotheca Anonoma itself had a long, storied history over the past 3-4 years.
- 1 Early History: Operation Payback
- 2 Archival
- 3 Disillusionment and Collapse
- 4 The Bibliotheca Anonoma (2012-2014)
- 5 The Yotsuba Society (2012-2014)
- 6 Other Contributors
Early History: Operation Payback
The Bibliotheca Anonoma has it's origins (if not direct descent) from a small, loosely-knit, revolving-door Information Gathering task force that was active during Anonymous's Operation Payback (2011 Wikileaks edition). This special interest group was tasked with collecting, archiving, and documenting historical strategies of Anonymous across it's long 6 year history, and reimplement them for modern campaigns. It also had a role in the research and development of better software tools.
This group produced a number of useful technologies and documentation designed to coordinate the punitive expeditions of Anonymous, such as Cherimoya GNU/Linux, and "The Newfag's Guide to Anonymous" (related to OpGreenHorn).
In addition, the group as a collective had a strong role (not the sole role) in providing free information, encryption and traffic obfuscation systems, and punitive assault systems to OpTunisia and OpEgypt, where internet-connected revolution truly toppled murderous dictatorships, and lives really were at stake if deanonymization occured.
Project Mayhem - Proposed Decentralized Wiki Engine
The most lasting product of this group was an idea of a decentralized and git-based wiki engine known as Project Mayhem (named after the eponymous operation in Fight Club).
Project Mayhem was built on an innovative program known as Git. The Git Distributed Version Control System was designed by Linus Torvalds for the development of the source code of the Linux kernel. The difference between Git and other version control systems, such as CVS or SVN, was that it was no longer bound to central servers. The entire repository can be forked and hosted elsewhere, and then merged into any derivative repository on their consent.
The amount of decentralization provided by Git makes forks easy to manage independently and changes easy to share without a central point of failure. It was a revolutionary innovation that drove the growth of open source software, as it facilitated programming across distance, across time, which could be passed down to the next maintainer if the original developer stopped working.
The only thing Git didn't have was a peer-to-peer decentralized method of distributing the repository itself. In the case of Linux, the community had a large array of dependable central HTTP servers that could keep themselves in sync. For our purposes however, Anonymous websites were ephemeral and unreliable as members lost interest, servers got spammed, (or people got V&). There had to be a way to reduce load on low-cost servers, and make it possible for successors to grab the entire repository intact.
This is where a proposed program, Gittorrent, provided the answer. Advogato described an extension to Git that would provide p2p distribution of the key component, the repository itself.
Finally, a Git-based wiki such as Ikiwiki or Github's Gollum would be given to the user to actually display and edit the wiki on their own computer. These engines used a recently popularized markup language that was quickly becoming the Lingua Franca of the Internet: Markdown.
Unfortunately, Gittorrent did not actually exist in a usable form at the time.
However, a proof of concept implementation was produced that did use a Git-based wiki engine (first Ikiwiki, then Github's Gollum). I produced this system under the names Iruel and Tenshi Hinanawi. Drawing from Egypt's Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which had been involved in Egypt's Arab Spring revolution: I decided to name the wiki The Bibliotheca Anonoma. I drew up an Arabic square kufic design to use as a logo.
Data from backups of the Insurgency Wiki and the Lurkmoar Wiki were used as the seed files (they can still be found under the Encyclopedia in a total mess). We originally used the Insurgency Wiki for recording our guides and history. That was about to change.
The two events that changed this group's role forever was the collapse of the Insurgency Wiki (insurgen.cc/Partyvan.info), and the first shutdown of Encyclopedia Dramatica. These two wikis were fundamental to information gathering in Anonymous's many raids, and the group itself used them to store information. Now, it was all gone.
Well, it would have been. But we had archived the entire wiki just months before it disappeared, using the Mediawiki export tools recently invented by Wikiteam (a division of the Archive Team).
These traumatic events, and their miraculous rescue by renegade archivists made it clear that the Internet really did forget, and it was not by the
Anonymous's history is closely tied to the website that bore it, 4chan.
Recovery and Inheritance of the Encyclopedia Dramatica
Out of pure serendipity, an internet research group was investigating Anonymous by data mining a dump of the Encyclopedia Dramatica.
Disillusionment and Collapse
AnonOps, the central channel holding the keys to the primary LOIC-IRC channel, eventually collapsed under the weight of disillusionment from the public, a split within the team, and serious overreach from an Anonymous splinter cell that ran half of it: LulzSec.
At this point, this continuous movement of Anonymous began to wind down and splinter as people stopped believing in the ideals of those who controlled the LOIC-IRC keys. AnonOps was truly a weak link in the chain being a centralized base. There was no clear succession plan either: without a central node telling everyone what to DDoS and when, there would be no DDoS of any kind.
In addition, the Arab Spring itself began to unravel. While Tunisia won the bet that revolution would create a better system, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood stirred up issues, and was replaced by force with yet another military dictatorship. In Libya, the armed revolution spun out of control with the revolutionary government in Benghazi with only nominal legitimacy among the armed groups that delivered the revolution on a bloody silver plate, (much like China's Warlord Era in the 1900s) and even assaulted a US Consulate that backed the movement.
In Syria, Bashar al-Assad hung on to power, and a much bloodier civil war began to brew, which drew the interest of jihadist groups, and eventually ISI, a terrible scourge that used the conflict to develop into ISIS, which used Syria as a base to overrun Iraq.
Thus, this incarnation of Anonymous, of those who followed Operation Payback, began to abandon the main collective and went dormant around 2012-2013, though the idea would be passed on to others.
In particular, in 2014-2015, one descendant of Anonymous, buoyed by the democratic revolutionaries that made the Arab Spring possible in the first place, took charge of an operation to crush the Islamic State's (ISIS) online recruitment and coordination social networks, in an attempt to cut off the flow of information, prevent growth in it's membership, and slow down it's operations.
The Occupy Movement
The Occupy Wall Street movement was a response to growing economic pain in the US, rising student loans and unemployment, and disillusionment with a deadlocked political process. It was strongly tied to Anonymous as an IRL protest, which provided coordination assistance and strategy consulting, but was otherwise a separate movement.
The Occupy Movement unraveled from the failure to produce a voting, idealized political movement that motivated the Democratic Party. It also failed to agree on solutions that politicians could actually fight for, instead setting up a vague list of demands that brushed over many of the real issues behind them.
This contrasts to what the Tea Party did for the Republicans, by hijacking the GOP and forcing in Congressmen through votes and mass funding campaigns that would force in the exact changes they believed in (defunding abortion clinics, increasing illegal immigration restrictions, starving the beast to destroy big government through sequesters).
In part because of the Tea Party, the Occupy Movement was disillusioned with the political process, the entire premise of lobbying, and pandering from poltiicians. Thus it spurned the ballot box and any profiteering politician for continuous grassroots protest.
Unfortunately, if you don't play the game, you don't win. And people with jobs, school, lives, and actual influence can't sit in Zucotti Park all month. Eventually, the only people left were the people who actually could sit around and do nothing, who didn't represent the people and discredited their ideals.
A lack of solid ideology that the public could rally around, actual solutions that the government could implement, and an inability to excite politicians to join their cause (since youth didn't vote that much), led to the downfall of the Occupy movement, and it became a laughingstock.
Ryan Cleary was a admin of AnonOps, who apparently had a spat with the team and launched a DDoS with his own botnet against AnonOps itself.
Ryan Cleary also owned the domains Anonops.com and encyclopediadramatica.se, which is why those domains were taken down (it was replaced with .es).
Eventually, Ryan Cleary would get V& himself. In this case: nothing of value was lost.
LulzSec was notorious even among many supporters of Anonymous for their intervention in morally grey areas, and leakage of personal data, which actually damaged the public rather than a government.
They were likely to have been involved in the leak of credit card data from the PlayStation Network, which brought mass public opinion against Anonymous for the first time.
Edgeworth E. Euler went MIA during these proceedings, and it may be possible that he lost access to the Internet during this time.
The Bibliotheca Anonoma (2012-2014)
After the conclusion of Operation Payback and the fiasco of OpSony and Ryan's split from AnonOps, the special interest group went it's separate ways. One group was in charge of running the revived Encyclopedia Dramatica and a revived Chanarchive, under Edgeworth E. Euler.
Another group ended up in the ArchiveTeam (such as joepie91).
Finally, one small group returned to it's home community, 4chan, and shifted it's focus to archive it's the long history and cultural output, as the website began to reach a ripe old age of 8 years. This group, built around the proof-of-concept wiki now left alone on Github, named itself the Bibliotheca Anonoma.
For the most part, I, Antonizoon was the sole active member of this organization.
A major influence on the work of the Bibliotheca Anonoma was Shii's Wiki. This personal wiki, written by a historically important WIkipedia sysop, English anonymous textboard pioneer, and 4chan admin, archived some rare stories from around the Internet.
Eventually, a major growth in page views for the Bibliotheca Anonoma occurred when Shii shut down his wiki and began redirecting any links to stories straight to us.
The Yotsuba Society (2012-2014)
I began to become involved with a predecessor organization, the Yotsuba Society, which had been an important team of archivists from 2009-2013.
Eventually, we came to a deal that would merge the two organizations under the name of the Bibliotheca Anonoma, whereby we replaced the existing Drupal site of the Yotsuba Society, and received access to the 1TB Yotsuba Society Dreamhost VPS.
We eventually helped them move to a github website, as described here. Yotsuba Society/Github Site
- m8 PVC Bomber - This anon was involved in the archival of The Liliad at the Bibliotheca Anonoma, one of our most recent shining examples of great stories. He also has an interesting tale to tell about himself (he was most likely the guy that made that dumb PVC pipe bomb threat on 4chan's /b/ that wouldn't even function). Without this guy, our organization could not have adopted this story at our doorstep.