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The eye of the hurricane, and the home of what is being called the greatest Usenet flame war of all. Read the newsgroup for yourself, and see the Church of Scientology in action, battling its critics and refusing to answer any questions. (When you attempt to read the newsgroup, you may find it necessary to have a working killfile in your news reader software, so that you can effectively remove the garbage postings and concentrate on the more substantial messages there.) Ask questions, read the answers, and decide for yourself if Scientology is indeed the benevolent organization its members say it is.
Newcomers to alt.religion.scientology may be dismayed by the chaotic, violent nature of the newsgroup. A message posted to the newsgroup in July of 1997 offers one explanation of why alt.religion.scientology is so noisy .
You have to realize that alt.religion.scientology has been in a state of outright warfare for fifteen years now (as of 2008). There are a lot of folks there who are very uptight, and it's not really their fault. Fifteen years of warfare will do that to you. Just as important, Scientology has been engaged in an outright campaign to keep everyone on the newsgroup angry and inflamed,' to turn them against once another. Do not forget, the people behind the campaign are masters of psychological warfare. They are doing everything possible to keep the newsgroup in a state of warfare and turn the critics there against each other…and in quite a few places, they have succeeded.
This is far more than petty sniping or the Eternal Floating Flame Wars over abortion, gun control, and so on. The warfare on alt.religion.scientology involves each side trying to entice the other into saying something, or writing something, that will reveal a vital piece of information – one that can be used to get lawyers or law enforcement involved. Each side in this war is literally out to destroy the other side…and this is why the newsgroup is not a place for beginners to Scientology to read.
For instance, you will see that nearly every single post that talks about Scientology on there will be followed by at least two replies that will always (repeat, always) insult the original poster ("you're full of shit," "stupid," etc.) and try to turn the original poster against other posters ("here's a message from seven years ago when This Other Person said shit about you, so obviously you're an idiot.") Even more confusing are the ones who post massive numbers of messages saying they're "critics" and that they are "identifying known scientologists on a.r.s." – again, especially to confuse, frustrate, and anger people. CoS is trying every single possible way to wipe out the newsgroup, and the result is a place where tensions are high, people often snap, and long-time friendships are shattered from the constant state of warfare. Please note that I am not trying to stop you from reading alt.religion.scientology (which proves that I'm not a Scientologist), but rather to warn you that it is a very, very hostile environment for EVERYONE, both friend and foe. Scientology can't destroy the newsgroup, but it's not a friendly place for newcomers to gather, either.
Fortunately, the popularity of the World Wide Web has given us alternatives to the chaos of alt.religion.scientology. A number of Web-based message and discussion boards exist especially for Scientologists, former Scientologists, critics, and the public at large to discuss this controversial topic – and Scientology has attacked them all. Regardless of the forum where Scientology is discussed, it's a good idea to use a pseudonym and keep your identity a secret.
For immediate, up-to-date bulletins of the latest happenings on the newsgroup, head to Internet Relay Chat and take a look at the IRC channel #scientology. The main discussion channel originally existed on EFnet, and there are still a number of regular participants tere; however, various factions eventually broke away and went to #altreligionscientology on Undernet. You will usually find several regular participants from the newsgroup on the Undernet IRC channel,and they are always willing to give news and information.
A search tool exists to make it easier for you to search for information posted to the newsgroup since 1995. The DejaNews newsgroup archiving service was acquired by Google in 2000, and it allows you to read messages posted to alt.religion.scientology and search for messages posted to the newsgroup since 1995.
The newsgroup's turbulent history has caused many people to hide their identities, so that they can talk about Scientology and escape retaliation. Anonymous remailers are often used to post messages to the newsgroup. Because Scientology has attacked the remailer network and even succeeded in shutting down one large remailer (anon.penet.fi), the Xenu Remailer existed especially for the posting of anonymous messages to the Scientology-related newsgroups. (The operator of the remailer states that it is down only temporarily, and it will be back.)
Many useful sources of information exist on the Internet to enable you to learn how to use anonymous remailers . : The Replay remailer has set up its own Web-based forms, to make it easier for you to send anoymous messages from the World Wide Web directly to other users and to the newsgroups.
In addition, I include my own page of Privacy information resources .
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Files for alt.religion.scientology
Other Scientology-related newsgroups
Discussion of the subject of Scientology has led to the creation of several additional newsgroups related to this topic, especially where discussion in other languages is encouraged. You may not be able to access all of these newsgroups, because they may or may not be present on the news server at your Internet service provider. Fortunately, it is very easy to have an additional newsgroup placed onto your news server: most of the time, you simply have to send an email to your system administrators and ask that this newsgroup be added.
Discussion of Scientology in German. The controversy surrounding Scientology has made this a very popular topic in Germany.
Forged Spam: What happened to alt.religion.scientology?
During the last quarter of 1998 and most of 1999, thousands of junk messages were posted to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. These messages were fraudulent postings, forged so as to appear they have been posted by the regular participants on the newsgroup. Until the middle of January, 1999, the content of these messages either contained nothing but gibberish, or they consisted of racist flame war garbage taken from newsgroups like alt.revisionism and alt.politics.white-power.
During the first quarter of 1999, the forged spam suddenly changed so that it contained artificially generated text that looked as if it had been generated by a computer, and not composed by living authors. Any single message of this spam seemed at first glance as though it was composed of coherent sentences, but these messages made absolutely no sense at all. These garbage messages were posted to the newsgroup at the rate of about 1,000 per day. The content of the spam had nothing to do with Scientology, and it seemed obvious that it was being dumped onto the forum for the sole purpose of making he newsgroup difficult to read.
During certain times, the amount of forged garbage flooding on alt.religion.scientology vastly increased, to the point where the newsgroup seemed practically unreadable. Any single genuine message was overwhelmed by dozens of forged messages containing the same Author: and Subject: header. If a user of the newsgroup posted a single message with a subject such as "What is Scientology?," by the next day he would find that there were literally dozens of junk messages in the same thread, forged under his own name, containing nonsense text like this:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Zadarnowski) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Re: Wired News 20-May -- Amazon Drops Controversial Book Date: 31 May 1999 17:22:17 Organization: ARSCC-AU Lines: 16 Message-ID: <72828a79.5364c292@Ditmars.net> NNTP-Posting-Host: 166-93-68-112.rmi.net That coup - thirteen but the lesser - nor you have your cortege ban pace, and albeit only loosen their tumbler as substantively supposing psychically no porous self ripened his scampering melting. It was supposing no gravitation during a south unlike Auschwitz. This industralization - ten opposite a manye - either I have her peasant expand competition, but although thick compromise its autosuggestibility than statewide providing somehow every still lute amazed our preying shunt. They have no hail that transformation and untidiness have ferried me down his supplement. It clings albeit it was brocaded out my magazine to bridge my parsonage versus opera across why he, following our transmissible resonable swiftness, had layered us no politico. Hi, albeit they ah the goitrogen, discuss that chomp, neither be under a middle from million afoot.
The forged spam suddenly disappeared in the last quarter of 1999. For a while, it was replaced by floods of postings talking about psychiatry, the crimes of psychiatrists, the evils of the psychiatric profession, "exposes" of various psychiatrists, and similar messages of this sort. These anti-psychiatry postings were defended by pro-Scientology posters as "on-topic" for alt.religion.scientology, because of Scientology's vehement crusade against the fields of psychiatry and psychology. Fortunately, the anti-psychiatry postings have proven to be much easier to filter out than the forged spam attacks.
The spam attacks seemed to come in waves, and they would often appear just as a major incident involving Scientology was taking place.In the late spring of 2001, Keith Henson's trial and subsequent exodus to Canada occured at the same time that a major trial in Spain took place (which involved Heber Jentsch, the "president" of the Church of Scientology). During this period, hundreds of junk posts per day for a supposed "child pornography" Web site were dumped onto the newsgroup…but strangely enough, all of these spam posts were set so that they would not be archived by newsgroup-archiving services, including Google's newsgroup search (formerly DejaNews).
The source of these spam floods is disputed, because these junk text attacks have taken place on a number of other controversial newsgroups as well, such as talk.origins and the news.admin.net-abuse.* newsgroups; however, alt.religion.scientology has been hit by the spam forgeries (dubbed "sporgeries" by the newsgroup participants) at a far greater order of magnitude than any other newsgroup.
Several participants on alt.religion.scientology believe that Scientology may have a hand in this latest attack on the newsgroup, and they point to the fact that almost none of the spam contains text or message titles that point the reader to any useful information contained in the critical Web sites, and that the spam avoids the word "Xenu." ("Xenu" is the name of the Galactic Overlord quoted by L. Ron Hubbard in the "secret" Scientology scripture OT III.) Also of note is the tendency of the spam to greatly increase the length of threads with titlesthat slander or otherwise attack the regular posters to alt.religion.scientology: a thread with a title such as "The truth about FACTnet" would be filled with garbage spam for weeks at a time, rendering it useless; while a thread with a title such as "Criminal Cult Charged In Death!" would quickly disappear, completely untouched by the spam.
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