Tactics FAQ: Some strange tactics used on ARS
This is a very incomplete list of the various oddball techniques, ideas and systems used by members of the Church and their enemies on ars.
It's meant to make the alt.religion.scientology learning curve easier, by giving you a better idea at the start of what's going on.
The bias of this document is probably rather easy to figure out. :-) It's tough to be impartial on ars.
OutingThis highly controversial technique is used exclusively by Scientologists. It consists of finding personal information - name, address, etc - of a formerly anonymous anti-Scientologist poster and putting it in messages on the net.
This is a particulary scary tactic when you realize that the Church of Scientology has gone to extreme ends - including lawsuits, defamation campaigns, etc - to hound their critics to the ends of the earth.
It's basically a show of their power over critics, and that's why it is so detested by virtually everyone outside of Scientology.
The "Inferno Threads"Threads (subject lines) beginning with "*" are for responses to the Church of Scientology robo-posters. You should read them if you want a laugh; ignore them if you want to read substantive information. The hope is that the "inferno threads" will make it easier to find the useful information on the group.
Mysterious ConversationsThe latest Scientology tactic seems to be the creation of "conversations" between the various "clambot" posters. For example, "Woody" will say "As it has become clear over the fullness of time, ARS is an Inquisition of religious freedom and religious beliefs."
Then James Parker [email@example.com] will chime in: "Woody, this is indeed what it is. Someone is very desperate to dominate all throught about what is religion and what are religious beliefs. They of course will not succeed, no matter what draconian measures they try to enact to suppress religion, religious freedom and religious beliefs. Jim"
The only problem with this is that I have the sneaking suspicion that these two "people" are the same!
A more recent version of this has "Tony Parker" responding incoherently and incomprehensively to Woody's posts. Someone said that this was just to get Woody indirectly out of people's killfiles, and I have to agree.
Dead AgentingDead Agenting is a way of discrediting people's ideas by referring to defects in their character. It's most often used by Scientologists when they have no way of rebutting claims made by anti-Scientologists.
For example, Dennis Erlich will say something Scientologists cannot refute; they then will refer to him as a slime who defaulted on his child support payments. Whatever the truth of those allegations, it can be said that Dennis' behaviour has nothing to do with the truth (or lack of same) of Dennis' allegations against the Church.
Some anti-Scientologists use similar arguments when confronted with dead-agenting. That is, Vera will dead-agent, and people will answer her in kind. However, you'll find that most anti-Scientology posters don't need to stoop to this level.
Note that I believe Dennis' side of the story on the child support issue; I use it here because it's the most odious example of dead agenting I've seen so far.
As a general rule, you should be suspicious of anyone (Scientologist or no) who uses this type of argument.
EncheferationThis is a sophisticated form of encoding documents, which so far has escaped notice by Church officials. It involves taking an original document and rewriting it in the "Swedish Chef" style. The resulting documents are often hilarious but virtually unreadable for those not accustomed to the format.
The Lazarus Early Warning AlertsBecause the Church of Scientology won many enemies by cancelling messages that it felt were copyrighted trade secret materials, Homer of the Free Zone created the Lazarus program to find and post cancels in order to provide evidence of Cancelpoodle-like activities.
The idea was to find out which messages were cancelled by Church members.
Earthlink, an Internet providerSome people say, quite fairly, that I should not mention the "Clamlink" people at all. Sky Dayton, principal of the company, speaks very well for himself on the newsgroup when asked why he has let Vera get away with the "outing" of TarlaStar, an anti-CoS poster.
Sky Dayton, however, is a Scientologist, and many of his principal employees are Scientologists as well. He claims a sensitive but strict policy about people like Vera who violate netiquette: Three strikes and you're out. The only problem is that he claims to have given Vera her first warning, and many reasonable observers think she should have gotten several already, thus endangering her account under EarthLink policy.
She's still around and she seems unrepentant, so this is very much an open issue. Pretty soon, Mr Dayton will have to decide what to do about her. I don't envy him the decision; my prediction is that he will do nothing about Vera no matter what she does. People on the net may not like that a frightful lot, but I hear the wrath of the Church of Scientology is truly merciless - especially on former friends who turn against them, as Sky would have to.
Earthlink is a Los Angeles, CA-based Internet provider that was one of the earliest to offer SLIP account service. By all accounts, it's a generally well-run and well-regarded operation.
Except for one thing: It's operated by Scientologists. There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with this, as long as customers are satisfied and the business doesn't try and force religious beliefs on others. However, it has been taken to task for not disciplining one of its users, a Scientologist, for littering the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup with threats, some severe.