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Cicada 3301 (wikipedia.org)
61 points by imb on Nov 28, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments

Please submit Wikipedia articles, if at all, with their original article titles. It's bad enough to have submissions of most articles from the Encyclopedia That Anyone Can Make Stuff Up In (can you tell I was just editing Wikipedia this evening, trying to fix problems), but worse when Hacker News guidelines are ignored to submit a Wikipedia article with a linkbait title. There are a few sources for this article (which is good) but there isn't much information about the article topic even from those.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, by the way. Thanks for the kind submission, and don't mind my objection to the title not being the original article title.

AFTER EDIT: After all, I read the other comments here before I posted my comment, and it's not even clear that a "secret think tank" is really what the source of the cryptic messages is. That's reason enough to change the title of the submission here.

Personally, I'd rather see a useful title on Wikipedia submissions (I'm not saying the particular title chosen in this case was useful).

For submissions of magazine or blog articles, the original title policy makes sense usually, because magazine and blog authors or editors choose titles designed to catch the reader's interest.

Wikipedia titles are more names than titles. They are meant to allow people who are already looking for information on the thing in the title. When a Wikipedia article is submitted with the Wikipedia title, there is usually nothing that tells me why I might find it interesting.

I'd like to see HN allow submitters to include a one line statement saying what is interesting about the submission.

Stories are community property; the first person to submit a story doesn't "own" it, and shouldn't have a special right to editorialize the submission.

Can't there be a sensible middle ground between slavishly copying the title from the source and editorializing?

Consider this video of Alan Kay's Turing Award lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymF94cFfzUQ&list=PLn0nrSd4xjj...

The title is "Turing Award Lecture". Is it really editorializing if it were to be submitted as "Alan Kay Delivers His Turing Award Lecture"?

No, it's not. But that's not how the feature would actually end up getting used, is it? If you could design a simple feature that would resist abuses, 'pg would probably consider it.

How about allowing the submitter to optionally add a one line explanation if he thinks the title is not clear?

Its not so much about editorializing, but rather putting into context.

If e.g. amazon.com is down, that may be news. But a link with the title "Amazon" doesn't convey any information. People will wonder why the OP posted that link.

If the focus is on something on the page, not the page itself, you have to reflect it in the title. Maybe the OP doesn't want to post a trivial tech article, but wants to share that the article has a offensive image next to it.

Maybe the point the OP wants to make is opposite, or tangential to the point of the article. There was a wierd rant from one of the Gnome developers some time ago. I would never have upvoted the page by itself, as it was badly written, and I disagree with its contents. But the given title, which was basically "look, Gnome dev lost his marbles", lifted the post to a meta level, on which I gladly upvoted and shared it.

The current way to do the above is to post a stub on your blog, and link to that, although it is also offically discouraged. I personally think, when it is possible to do something while jumping through hoops, it should just be allowed to do the same thing without the hoops - no one should have to waste time to write a redirection article.

Maybe the OP should post a short comment

    Title: *the title I chose*
and people would upvote it customarily so that it floats to the top.

Because Cicada 3301 is so much clearer a description.

I don't begrudge the rules here about titles, but I'm glad it was broken here, since that I clicked and read. Interesting stuff.

Makes me miss Perplex City.

This is neat, but from the second paragraph of the article:

  According to a document posted anonymously, 
  the puzzles are a recruiting for a "think tank." 
  Thus far, this is unverified.[citation needed]
Calling it a "secret think tank" seems disingenuous here.

agreed, these misleading titles really bug me. hackernews turning into buzzfeed?


Have fun. Also, no way to verify if it's an ARG or an actual group to my knowledge.

Seems more likely that this is a group of 4channers looking to have some fun rather than a "secret think tank".

Seconded. How fruitful can recruiting on /b/ be anyway?

You'd be surprised. It's not all just NEET neckbeard virgins.

That physical clues were distributed worldwide indicates there might be a little more to the story. Wikipedia lists the locations as

Annapolis, Maryland / Chino, California / Columbus, Georgia / Erskineville, Australia / Fayetteville, Arkansas / Granada, Spain / Greenville, Texas / Haleiwa, Hawaii / Little Rock, Arkansas / Miami, Florida / Moscow, Russia / New Orleans, Louisiana / Okinawa, Japan / Paris, France / Portland, Oregon / Seattle, Washington / Seoul, South Korea / Warsaw, Poland

I hadn't heard about this, does anybody have links to some of the original forum threads/puzzles?

How would that disprove anything? Can people from Poland not use 4chan?

I would have thought that makes it more likely to be from 4chan folks - no intelligence agency or think tank would recruit that broadly.

3301 called themselves "think tank" twice First in so called leaked email

"You are undoubtedly wondering what it is that we do we are much like a think tank in that our primary focus is on researching and developing techniques to aid the ideas we advocate liberty privacy security you have undoubtedly heard of a few of our past projects..."

http://uncovering-cicada.wikia.com/wiki/The_Leaked_Email http://pastebin.com/RmqxWcnB

This leaked email is legit. Only punctuation is removed to conceal leaker's ID and first line, FUUU and last two lines are added. People whose servers have been visited in 2013 said htat message leaft on servers was similar/same as that leaked email from 2012.

Second time 3301 refereed to themselves as "think tank" was in "warning pastebin" ""much like a think tank in that [their] primary focus is on researching and developing techniques to aid the ideas [they] advocate: liberty, privacy, and security.""

http://pastebin.com/RmqxWcnB http://uncovering-cicada.wikia.com/wiki/The_Leaked_Email

Legitimacy of this text is harder to prove. But it is too long not to be prepared in advance before posted on 4chan. And some 2012 "winners" confirmed hat they have seen references to Nietzsche, Jung and Jesuits in texts provided by their mentors on their secret onion git (which is offline now).

Proving anything about 3301 is impossible since those who know dont tell and those who tell dont know. If 3301 exists no real "member" will risk being expelled by revealing their secrets.

About name they are most often called just 3301 or Cicada 3301. If there are other "cells" of same organization they certainly use different names to conceal any connection between them. But in general: "You have all wondered who we are and so we shall now tell you we are an international group we have no name we have no symbol we have no membership rosters we do not have a public website and we do not advertise ourselves we are a group of individuals who have proven ourselves much like you have by completing this recruitment contest and we are drawn together by common beliefs a careful reading of the texts used in the contest would have revealed some of these beliefs that tyranny and oppression of any kind must end that censorship is wrong and that privacy is an inalienable right."

If you want to know a bit more about actual project 3301 "winners" from 2012 were working on check logs in this post http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1015448#1...

But dont post this anywhere else since it is supposed to insider info and if it became too public project might be endangered. It is bad enough that this escaped into the wild.

Although when 3301 was asked what is their opinion on documenting every step of puzzle and wiki pages, supposedly their answer was that this kind of organization of players is expected.

Dont forget: 3301 will never claim anything as they "dont exist"

So I just read through the Cicada 3301 wiki and on the last page (link below), in the questions sent to the last puzzle's "solvers," there are a couple references to Douglas Hofstadter.

One of the response options is "Strange Loop," and one of the questions is:

'I am the voice* inside my head (You undoubtedly just thought "I don't have a voice inside my head." That is the voice the question is referring to).'

(If you aren't familiar, these are both references "I Am a Strange Loop", a book by Hofstadter.)

Anyway, the reference to Hofstadter and the mysterious, elaborate, international nature of this Cicada operation reminded me of a previous thing. A book called “Being or Nothingness” by “Joe K” was mysteriously mailed to academics all over the world a few years ago, and I'm not sure anyone ever figured out why. In it, there were references to Hofstadter and other thinkers. Much like Cicada 3301, the whole thing was kind of intriguing and a little creepy.

In "The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson, Ronson asks Hofstadter if he had anything to do with the book and Hofstadter said no. And why would he, right, but both the book and this Cicada 3301 thing seem very Hofstadter-esque to me. Just thought that might be worth pointing out.


I submitted the same wikipedia page a few months ago and it only got around half the up votes. I guess titles and timing are everything :)


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/10468112/The-... A detailed analysis on Cicada 3301 by Telegraph.

I have decided, arbitrarily, that Cicada/3301 is Satoshi. That was their first project (Bitcoin).

Seems like a game, or art project or something of that kind. It doesn't have to be overtly commercial to still be an elaborate ruse, and it's probably more fun if it's not particularly commercial.

Let's not give technical recruiters any more ideas ;)

Anonymous has a great HR team

NEMO 33 Zwartebeek Brussels

Seems like an elaborate ruse.

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