Since I could not recap Anonymous v. WBC any more accurately than the Huffington Post, I'll forego the exercise and get to the heart of the matter: the conflation of anonymity and open-posting can only result in a train wreck.
Photo by exfordy
Hacktivist or Troll?
Whether the activities of those who post are hacktivism or trolling is immaterial.
Whether the hacktivism protects freedoms of speech and civil rights is orthogonal.
What is material and on point is that the claim that members are Legion, Love, Family or Friend is unprovable and cannot be corroborated given their methods of political engagement.
Many of the social, political, and ethical calls to action posted to Anon.org strike emotional chords. Many of the organizations and political regimes the open letters challenge rightly need a harsh light focused upon them.
Ultimately, there's no way to distinguish trolls from activists, and no way to discern whether the actions are activism, malicious, or self-aggrandizing.
Talented, earnest and ethical activists can and should separate themselves from trolls. If you truly aspire to improve the global social condition through Internet activism, there are better ways to effect change.
For example, consider working in cooperation with law enforcement and OpSec to take down illegal pharma, child pornography, and human trafficking.
Seriously, folks, at the end of the day, wouldn't you feel better about yourself having done something that may have saved a life than having embarrassed a corporation or having amplified the signal of a hate organization?
Anonymous vs. Westboro Baptist Church: Nobody's right when everybody's wrong
Anonymous claims WBC planted Open Letter