Techdirt Reading List: Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

from the read-it-today dept

We're back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also help support Techdirt.


This week we've got a book we've talked about in the past: Gabriella Coleman's wonderful Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Gabriella was a guest on our podcast, joining us for two episodes earlier this spring, where we talked about this book quite a bit (including having her read some excerpts). The first was the "many faces of Anonymous," which looked at how difficult it is for some to understand Anonymous, because it doesn't fit neatly into any sort of standard classification. Gabriella, of course, spent a ton of time getting to know many people within Anonymous, and that's why her book gives such a nuanced and detailed picture of what Anonymous is about and how it's changed over time.

The second podcast focused on one of those key changes, how Anonymous went from doing stuff just for the "lulz" to actual activism and what that shift has meant for Anonymous. The entire book is a worthwhile read, if you want to get beyond the standard mainstream media narratives of Anonymous, and to understand how Anonymous not only functions but how it's had a real impact (and not necessarily in the way that most people think). I'd argue that if you're at all interested in online culture, this is a must-read, or you'll be missing some key elements in your understanding.

Filed Under: anonymous, gabriella coleman


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2015 @ 4:05pm

    Crickets. They're not readers, Mike.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Oct 2015 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      Crickets. They're not readers, Mike.


      The number of people buying the book suggests you're laughably wrong. Maybe don't jump to conclusions you know nothing about. I guess that's not your style, huh?

      Number of comments is not an indicator of anything other than... the number of comments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2015 @ 7:23pm

        Re: Re: So tell us how many copies were sold! Inquiring minds want to know.

        Just for a lark, I read all the reviews. Those fall into three obvious categories: 1) lyrical academic praise, 2) short terse praise, and 3) highly critical and skeptical. The latter kind seem to get the most ratings whether "helpful", about 70% saying was halpful.

        Here's a perhaps typical type 1:
        Her writing and her story are as engrossing as they are thorough. While Parmy Olson's equally engrossing We Are Anonymous mistakes a part of the phenomenon for the whole, Coleman restores the balance; she considers, at once, the particulars and the almost impossible-to-measure breadth of Anonymous, from the masked protesters to the elite hackers.

        So it's almost impossible to measure, but this person is somehow able to evaluate the book as through? Hmm. When one finds blatant contradictions, it's likely wholly crap. The very similar others also practically state that they're ultra-informed on this shadaowy group and can weigh Coleman's expertise. One #1 type praises it and works in advertisement for own books. That #1 type is probably Mutual Admiration Society promoters.

        Mainly, if the book doesn't heavily mention that at least a fourth of "hackers" are being paid by the government, then perhaps the author is. The shilling goes WAY deeper than you believe. The book re-inforces an apparent cultural phenomena that the government is known to fund to sow confusion and dis-information. I don't believe a word of it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2015 @ 7:24pm

        Re: Re: So tell us how many copies were sold! Inquiring minds want to know.

        Just for a lark, I read all the reviews. Those fall into three obvious categories: 1) lyrical academic praise, 2) short terse praise, and 3) highly critical and skeptical. The latter kind seem to get the most ratings whether "helpful", about 70% saying was halpful.

        Here's a perhaps typical type 1:
        Her writing and her story are as engrossing as they are thorough. While Parmy Olson's equally engrossing We Are Anonymous mistakes a part of the phenomenon for the whole, Coleman restores the balance; she considers, at once, the particulars and the almost impossible-to-measure breadth of Anonymous, from the masked protesters to the elite hackers.

        So it's almost impossible to measure, but this person is somehow able to evaluate the book as through? Hmm. When one finds blatant contradictions, it's likely wholly crap. The very similar others also practically state that they're ultra-informed on this shadaowy group and can weigh Coleman's expertise. One #1 type praises it and works in advertisement for own books. That #1 type is probably Mutual Admiration Society promoters.

        Mainly, if the book doesn't heavily mention that at least a fourth of "hackers" are being paid by the government, then perhaps the author is. The shilling goes WAY deeper than you believe. The book re-inforces an apparent cultural phenomena that the government is known to fund to sow confusion and dis-information. I don't believe a word of it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2015 @ 7:14pm

    Anywhere I can anonymously buy a DRM free digital version?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:18am

    I think these movements are incredibly interesting and a mark of our age. Sadly the e-book is overpriced as it has been the norm lately. Won't you get in touch with the author and offer some DRM free, cheaper version via the insider shop or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      "Sadly the e-book is overpriced as it has been the norm lately. Won't you get in touch with the author and offer some DRM free, cheaper version"

      If Amazon's Kindle version has indeed been DRM'd, it's worth noting that this book is open-source and available as a free download in a wide variety of DRM-free formats.

      Two complaints here:

      1. It seems kind of dumb to price the digital version at the same level as the hardcover book -- especially when it's also available as a free download.

      2. Authors who open-source their books should set up a tip jar of some kind, so people can show their appreciation. Much of (perhaps all of) Gabriella Coleman's work is licensed under Creative Commons, yet gabriellacoleman.org does not seem to have any kind of user donation system set up, whether Flattr, Patreon, or whatever else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re:

        it's worth noting that this book is open-source and available as a free download in a wide variety of DRM-free formats

        Thanks for the tip. Still, I'd like to give a bit to the author and to TD for the deal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re:

        Aaand.. I found it for download. Ranked almost at the top if you search for the title on Google. I still wait the insider copy!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gabriella Coleman, 19 Oct 2015 @ 12:56am

      DRM Free

      Hello from the author.

      I made sure the book was published with a CC license and there are many DRM free copies all over the net. Here is one place to find it

      https://archive.org/details/HackerHoaxerWhistleblowerSpy_201411

      All best,
      Biella

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2015 @ 4:30pm

    The free download is here along with a few other books she's written:
    https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Gabriella+Coleman%22

    Her personal site with other interesting info:
    http://gabriellacoleman.org

    Her top 5 recommended books on hacking culture:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/five-books-gabriella-colemans-best-reads-hacking/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2015 @ 2:25pm

    Richard Stallman boycotts Amazon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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