As you most likely know, I’ve been a member of Ars Technica since 1999. While the community is fairly large, there are a core set of folks that stick out as the Ars “celebrities.” One such person is “ratm,” who recently changed his name to The GAT.
Anyway, that’s not the interesting part.
The GAT and his recently married wife put up a site to commemorate their wedding. A lady signed their online guestbook and asked what fonts were used on the site. The GAT replied, and were married in September of last year.
The GAT’s wife was googling her name and found the wedding site of the anonymous woman who signed their guest book. The woman and her husband copied the site almost completely, and even forgot to remove The GAT’s wife’s name from the ALT text tags in the HTML. The GAT was pissed off, posted this thread about it on Ars, and the hounds were released. Several members posted in the rip-off artist’s guestbook, and somehow the affair got posted to Something Awful. Next thing you know there are pictures from goatse all over the guestbook (meaning, really vulgar dag nasty pictures of dag nasty private parts), flames, and a good old fashioned World Wide Web beatdown.
As of this writing, the offending couple’s site has been pulled completely. They are most likely trying to weather the storm of being beaten down by the angry horde from Ars and SA.
Hacktivism like this seems a bit extreme, but I have to say this just warms my heart. People do stupid shit because they think they can get away with it. Given the ginormous number of sites out there, the plagiarist probably thought they could get away with a nearly pixel-by-pixel rip-off. I think this epitomizes default human behavior, on both sides of the issue. If there’s even a hint of anonymity, people will behave like asshats.