Ming the Mechanic:
Inexplicable Mobs

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 NYC: Inexplicable Mobs2003-06-16 23:27
by Flemming Funch

Via SmartMobs, hear about "Inexplicable Mobs" happenings in New York. Somehow I really like that kind of thing, even though it is a little hard to explain why. Large groups of people show up at the same time in unexpected places, doing inexplicable things in a coordinated way, and then they leave. I love it.
(4) Leave the bar and walk to the MOB site as quickly as possible. It will take you longer to get there than you think. If you arrive near the final MOB destination before 7:27, stall nearby. NO ONE SHOULD ARRIVE AT THE FINAL MOB DESTINATION UNTIL 7:26.

(5) Find the item and stand around it. Unlike in MOB #1, where the participants were not to acknowledge one another, here you should greet even those you do not know. Talk among yourselves about the item and its relative merits and demerits. Only if you are blocked from seeing the item should you stray to examine other merchandise at the site.

(6) If you are approached by a salesperson, explain that everyone present lives together, in a huge converted warehouse in Long Island City, and that you are there looking for a "[secret phrase]." Explain that you make all purchases as a group.

(7) At 7:37 you should disperse. Thank the salespeople for their help, but explain that the item has been "voted down." NO ONE SHOULD REMAIN AT THE MOB SITE AFTER 7:39.

(8) Return to what you would otherwise have been doing. Await instructions for MOB #3.
It reminds me of ... hm, I forgot what they called themselves, but there was this group of people I ran into 8 or so years ago who did a similar kind of thing online with Usenet Newsgroups. They would show up en masse in a fairly randomly picked newsgroup, and would utterly confuse the regulars for a few days. They would have an invented cover story for why they were there, and had studied with great skill for their roles, but it wasn't obvious at first that it was a coordinated activity. It happened to a group I was participating in, and when we finally figured out what was going on, everybody had a good laugh.

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17 Jun 2003 @ 00:32 by George Dafermos @ : smart indeed
sounds cool,but I dunno whether I'd find the idea of having my mailing list/newsgroup invaded by people I don't know amusing, especially if ordinary residents were confused or felt that their time was wasted because of funcrackers and online pranksters.

The physical world thing sounds much more fun and acceptable to me.  

17 Jun 2003 @ 01:14 by ming : Invasions
Yeah, I'm not sure I'd always enjoy that, or that it was always good-natured. In that particular case we enjoyed the detective work of figuring those guys out. But if I was running a very on-topic mailing list, and 100 people suddenly invaded it and insisted the subject was something totally different, I might well be a little annoyed.  

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