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Creativity & Mayhem: Anonymous Communities At Work

Communities like Anonymous and 4chan's /b/ create Internet culture, change politics and make news. But how do they build trust, share work and intervene in the world? How can new groups and movements use anonymity and pseudonymity? While Facebook and Google push for an Internet of real names and persistent identities, we will present an alternate universe of thriving, chaotic, bizarre and effective cultures created by nobody in particular - and their implications for activism, politics and creativity online.

Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University, is the go-to authority on Anonymous for TEDGlobal, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Fast Company and NPR. Quinn Norton is Wired's Anonymous correspondent, and has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Maximum PC. Moderating is Finn Brunton, Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan's School of Information and author of Spam: A Flood, A Theory, A History.

Questions Answered

  1. How specifically does a group like Anonymous coordinate, organize, and get things done?
  2. Are there applications for anonymity online that have not yet been explored?
  3. What are the advantages and limitations of anonymous and pseudonymous communities?
  4. How do we reconcile lulz and ACTA -- anonymous groups having a good time, but also making real political change?
  5. What are the failure modes of anonymous communities (lowest-common-denominator, bullying, trolling, flamewars, spam, noisy bots), and can they be avoided?

Speakers

Organizer

Finn Brunton School of Information, University of Michigan


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