Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anonymous Operations Guide


This guide will help you to determine whether a certain course of action is the best option for the operation you are working on, or whether it may not be as effective as you thought it would be. It is important that you take the time to read this guide prior to deciding whether to pursue an operation - don’t rush it - in many situations, there’s no hurry at all in organising an operation. It is better to be thoroughly prepared than to jump into a mess headfirst and regret it later.

1. Tips for setting up an operation

You will likely have started an operation because you disagree with something. Rather than trying to fight the people that caused this, try to focus on what the thing is that you disagree with, and preventing that from happening (or, if that is your goal, spreading awareness). Revenge seldom has the intended result. Clearly think of what the issue is, and how it can be resolved.

Even if you think you’ve read carefully, read everything on this form twice, and think about it a second time. The human brain has a habit of ‘caching’ answers to questions, and that may not always give you the best answer to a question. By thinking about it again, you force your brain to give a ‘real’ answer.

Have clear communication channels. Even though Anonymous as a whole is a decentralised entity, it’s typically a good idea to centralise the main organisational aspects of an operation, even if there is no set hierarchy. This makes it easier for people that are unfamiliar with how Anonymous works, to participate and learn more about both your operation, and Anonymous as a whole. An IRC channel is usually a good start, as is a Twitter feed. Try to stay away from websites that offer you free blogs, web hosting, or forums, unless you really know what you’re doing - these websites tend to freeze your account at the first hint of controversy.

Take the time to set up an operation. Most causes do not require you to respond in one or two days, so it’s perfectly fine to spend a few days on organisation and planning, before you actually do anything.

Don’t just mentally answer these questions! You should actually write down or type out the answers, to make sure you’re not overlooking something.

2. Defining the main goals of your operation

Important: When defining the goal or goals of your operation, you should not take into account the ideas you have to carry out the operation! Doing so anyway will result in the common human habit of putting the cart before the horse (also known as ‘reversed reasoning’), which will cause your operation to be less efficient than it could have been. In short: start from a blank canvas.

2.1 The cause of your operation

What ‘undesired circumstance’ caused you to set up this operation? Examples: the extradition of someone, the closing down of a website, arrests of activists, etc.

Who is responsible for this undesired circumstance? This can be a person or an organisation.
If an organisation was responsible, were there any specific employees or members of that organisation that coordinated the decision? If yes, are they responsible for it or were they in a situation where they had no real choice?

Are there any further consequences of this undesired circumstance that will not go away, even if the undesired circumstance itself is gone?

2.2 The solution for your cause

What has to happen for the undesired circumstance to go away? Examples: the dismissal of a court case, the denying of an extradition request, etc.
If there were any further consequences that would not go away, even if the undesired circumstance itself would be gone, what would have to happen for these consequences to go away?

3. Defining possible solutions and courses of action

Take some time to think of ways to achieve what you mentioned in question 2.2.1. You should answer the following questions for each of the possible solutions you came up with. Try to avoid all solutions that have been attempted before by other operations, and only use those solutions as a last resort. Ideally, your solution should be original and tailor-made for this operation.

3.1 Basic details for the solution

What does the solution consist of?
Who can take part in the activities for this solution?
How long does it take to carry out this solution? A rough estimate is good enough.
What organisational structure is needed to carry out this solution? Examples: no hierarchy, a central leader, democratic voting, etc.
What communication channels do you need for this solution? Examples: a forum, a Twitter feed, an IRC channel, etc.

3.2 Consequences of the solution

What will happen if you carry out this solution successfully?
What will happen if the solution is attempted, but fails in some way?
What are the risks for participants? Be honest here, don’t try to romanticise your solution.
Compare the answer to 3.2.1 with the answer you gave to 2.2.1. Do the answers match?
If the answers do not match, this solution will not be optimal and it is likely you’ve put the cart before the horse, which is likely to make your operation fail. Try again with a different solution.

4. Summary of your operation

You can fill in this part to make it clear to participants what they are getting involved in, what the goals are, how they can help, and what they should watch out for.

What will participants be doing?
What are the risks of participating?
What is the intended goal?
How does your solution reach the goal?
Is there a backup plan?
Where can participants go to communicate? Examples: the IRC channel, Twitter feed, forum, etc.
How will you spread the word about your operation? What resources do you have at your disposal?

Good luck with your operation!

Guide courtesy of our friends at the Cryto Coding Collective

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