We are but a crude mob

Pleasant as it is to be acknowledged for our poll-smashing abilities, we really are a brutish, blunt instrument. The true masters of the poll hack are the denizens of 4chan (a name I mention with hesitation; it’s like invoking Hassan-i Sabbah, and you really don’t want to encourage these people to even look at you), who are able to shift even the biggest online polls at will. It shows how meaningless these polls really are when your position in them may be dictated by the happenstance of the first letter of your first name.


  1. the Procrastinatrix says

    There’s something so satisfying about crashing polls from your site. Every day I check in, I hope for another stupid poll to help crash. It’s the little things in life that add up to happiness… :)

  2. Holbach says

    Always happy and willing to bolster polls that denigrate religion and cause it’s humiliation, if not it’s demise.

  3. Stacy says

    I hate to shamefully plug my own blog but since it is soooo on topic – you’ve left me no other choice.

    Which poll crasher is more efficient – PZ or Colbert?

  4. LiLo says

    I, also, get great pleasure at the power of the atheist, scientist intervention in silly religious polls. Sometimes I have to look around a bit to find the place to vote, but I love it when I find it. I imagine that the folks who run the polls always spend lots of time trying to figure out “What went wrong?” Now, unfortunately, they will imagine that some clever, computer program was unleashed on them rather than honest unbelievers.

  5. Mu says

    I’d be worried that /b will be showing it’s true power by making every PZ crashed poll go for “we need to burn any unbelievers at the stake” 99%

  6. Rorschach says

    Its not all of 4chan,its the /b mob….
    I was recently convinced of their might,even on here.

  7. LtStorm says

    I’m always stunned at how much time some people have to kill…

    Well, it does hone their skills as hackers. This is pretty much a small-scale example of how DRM systems work. When there’s little DRM, hackers don’t care too much and let it drift by. As soon as some “powerful” form of DRM that’s intended to remain unbreakable for ten years is implemented…it gets cracked in a few months. Same case here; as soon as they tried to stop the hackers, the hackers organized and mobilized just for the ‘lulz’ of breaking the protection.

  8. Ian A. A. Watson says

    #2: I should have known they’d find a way to get creepy-chan top billing.

  9. Orson Zedd says

    Carpworld #6. Rules 1 and 2 only apply during raids, as I understand it.

    You just have to avoid Anonymous. Just don’t think about them, don’t invoke them, don’t acknowledge them. They are perfectly amoral. Except for Kittens, of which they are unusually protective.

  10. shamar says

    I would think that /b/ would be cool with something like pharyngula….most of them seem to be pretty much non-religous.

    Now I’m gonna have to take a look at /b/, and see if this gets mentioned…….

  11. Tybo says

    National security teams would be well to stay on the good side of /b/, as their collective power likely surpasses by an order of magnitude that of any network security experts.

    Or they could just get dog curtains.

  12. Sili says

    I cannot for the life of me remember where I got the link yesterday, but apparently I was taken in by a hack on Amazon, too.

    Someone with a chip on their shoulder managed to get lots of stuff on homosexuality delisted and everyone – including me – got their knickers in a knot and blamed Amazon.

    I feel stupid.

  13. Jadehawk says

    and if it weren’t bad enough that Anonymous rules the internet, they’re starting to leech out into the real world. There are LOLcat T-Shirts at Hot Topic now…

  14. OctoberMermaid says

    Well, I lost the game, but I don’t mind since it happened in the midst of such win.

  15. Richard C. Mongler, MD says

    You invoked us?

    Perhaps you could cast a banishing spell by saying our name three times like BeetleJuice, Candyman or Candlja

  16. BobbyEarle says

    I don’t think you have much to worry about, PZ. It is pretty well known that “/b/ is not your personal army” (well, pretty well known among Anonymous, anyway). They (we?) are like the sewer dwellers in “Escape from New York”…don’t mess with them, and they won’t mess with you. But if you DO mess with them…

    We are legion.

  17. Boran says

    This just goes to show that crashing polls, while entertaining, falls a distant third to masturbating, which falls a cosmically distant second to having someone (anyone) join you in the act.

  18. Snowbird says

    I was a /b/tard for a while. I wouldn’t worry too much because you aren’t a scientologist. ;)

  19. Jeff S says

    Posted by: Richard C. Mongler, MD | April 16, 2009 7:07 PM

    You invoked us?

    Posted by: BobbyEarle | April 16, 2009 8:05 PM

    I don’t think you have much to worry about, PZ. It is pretty well known that “/b/ is not your personal army” (well, pretty well known among Anonymous, anyway). They (we?) are like the sewer dwellers in “Escape from New York”…don’t mess with them, and they won’t mess with you. But if you DO mess with them…

    We are legion.

    Anonymous you say?

  20. Fred the Hun says


    Makes you wonder what these guys could do if they turned their attention hacking genes?

    A computer program (PINCERS) is described for use in the design of synthetic genes and mixed-probe DNA sequences. A protein sequence is reverse translated with generation of synonymous codons at each position producing a degenerate sequence. In order to locate potential restriction enzyme sites, the degenerate sequence is searched with a library of restriction enzymes for sites that utilize any combination of synonymous codons. These sites are indicated in a map so that they may be incorporated into the synthetic gene sequence. The program allows the user to select the appropriate codon usage table for the organism of interest and then to set a threshold usage frequency below which codons are not generated. PINCERS may also be used to assist in planning the synthesis of mixed-probe DNA sequences for cross-hybridization experiments. It can identify regions of specified length with the protein sequence that have the least overall degeneracy, thereby minimizing the number of probes to be synthesized and, therefore, maximizing the concentration of a given probe sequence.

    Cephalopod neurology needs just a wee bit of enhancing…

  21. Paul says


    Richard C. Mongler? I sure hope you don’t think that’s his real name. I bet he has a big, stupid grin on his face right now as well.