The Blogosphere Offensive was an early military campaign conducted under the authority of Zach Weiner, later alternately styled <<Zach the Magnificent>> or Zecharias Pontifex I, in the second half of 2011.Zach Weiner, in a recruiting advertisement for the Saturday Militia, wrote:For Free Speech! For your Fellows! For the Forum! Zach Weiner seeks brave volunteers for a worthy cause."
In the year preceeding the Offensive, traffic on the Inter-Net Web Site on which the SMBC forum was hosted had been increasing at an unprecedented rate, and analysts predicted that this growth would not abate before overrunning the servers. From February to May of 2011, Weiner attempted to negotiate with agents of the Corporate Barony IWeb for additional server rights, but was unable to come to an agreement.
Left with few options, Weiner placed an announcement in the Forum calling for able volunteers to undertake an unspecified mission to ensure the continued survival of the Community. By the end of August, he had recruited well over a thousand soldiers to his newly-formed military wing, which he named the <<Saturday Militia>>. In addition, using venture capital diverted from his newly started side venture, <<Emily Chickenson Restaurants>>, he was able to purchase a similar number of AK-47s with which to arm them. On 5 September, 2011, after putting his troops through a very brief training regimen, Weiner revealed his plan. The objective: Take over the Inter-Net.
The Blogosphere Offensive was conducted on two fronts. The first was a digital attack on several strategic Domain Name Servers. Edminster, one of Weiner's prominent vassals at the time, had captured and collected those Spam-bots robust enough to withstand the security measures put in place following the Annihilation of Outlandia three years prior, and had transformed them from intrusive advertisements into fearsome weapons. Weiner subsequently acquired these altered Spam-bots from Edminster, and over the following four months, he sent small waves of them to overwhelm and take control of the target servers. During the same period, he dispatched the Saturday Militia, under the command of one Gen. Winter E. Malaise, with orders to seize the offices and server hardware of IWeb and other hosting providers. Over the course of the campaign, they made a total of nine guerrilla raids on targets in four cities.
The results of the Campaign were universally unfavorable for the forum. The Spam-bots, despite their sweeping alterations, were still easily identified and disabled by server defenses. By the time the operation was over, fully 700 of the Militia had been arrested by local authorities. Twenty-five were killed, including Gen. Malaise. Weiner, now under intense scrutiny for his connection with the attacks, was forced to relinquish control of the servers he had seized, and ultimately, to shut down the Forum altogether until March of 2012.
The Blogosphere Offensive takes its name from a postmillenial term referring to the portion of the Inter-Net of that era devoted to publishing personal digital journals. The servers that hosted these journals, termed "blogs," accounted for the vast majority of the primary targets of the Offensive. The term "Blogosphere" has long since been abandoned.
Although the Blogosphere Offensive was not a proud moment in our shared history, it bears remembering for several reasons: It was the first military action undertaken by the Community outside of the Inter-Net, and resulted in the creation of the Militia, which endured long past the campaign's end. Perhaps more significantly, Weiner's failure to acquire additional server capacity would provide much of the impetus for his subsequent campaign to construct a physical realization of the forum. And finally, the fact that the Forum survived this defeat stands as proof that His Magnificence deserves veneration not only for his genius, but for his tenacity.
Finally, I am indebted to our friend and colleague, Moderator Edminster, for his assistance in preparing this article. I refer the interested reader to his remarks, archived below, which provide a unique insight into the nature and origins of the Spam-bots used in this campaign.