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A bit of advice to any corporate powermongers, evil geniuses, or corrupt governmental bosses who may be listening:

As i am sure you are well aware, the internet is an extremely powerful force in terms of rapid information distribution and creation of solidarity among activist elements in society.

HOWEVER, there is a tradition among the larger internet information hubs of constructing extremely elaborate but poorly thought out April Fool's Day jokes-- to the point where the internet becomes virtually useless as an information source for as long as April Fool's Day is in effect.

And you can use this to your advantage.

If you have an action of dubious legality or morality which you wish to take, but you are afraid that if said action provokes some sort of widespread community outrage, you will be forced to back down-- for example, bullying small news websites with threats of legal action, or hacking everything2-- consider postponing your action until April 1. Do it right, and do it within that 48-hour April Fools window, and nobody will believe that the things you have done actually happened. Consider.

Scenario: The date is April 1, 2002. Over the past five months, the Wine project has made such great strides in reversing Microsoft's APIs that by the time Windows XP is released, Linux will be able to run any .net application faster than Windows. Moreover, during the reverse engineering process, they discovered a Back Orifice-like trojan Microsoft has insiduously inserted into all .net software. They are within a week of going public with all of this. Microsoft decides to take drastic action, and calls up its bribed contacts within the Bush-appointed Justice Department. The following reaction occurs within the press:

Jamie McCarthy: At 2 AM this morning, all crucial members of the Wine project were arrested by armed government officials without warrants claiming unspecified DMCA violations, and none of them have been heard from since. The Justice Department declined to give any information as to their whereabouts, and all computers used in any way in the Wine project appear to have had their hard drives wiped.

Linux users everywhere: Man, these Slashdot april fool's jokes just get worse every year.

Of course, while in the long term you're more likely to pull this off with small-scale "they can't REALLY get away with that, can they?" events
(True event: April 1, 2000, the websites User Friendly, Segfault, and Dave's Classics (an emulation site) all went down claiming pending legal action. These were all assumed to be jokes. Segfault and User Friendly returned the next day. Dave's Classics didn't. But by the time it because widely known Dave's Classics really had been shut down, everyone had lost interest, so there was no community outcry.)
, in the short term the more extreme and outlandish your schemes, the more likely they are to work. In particular, you will meet with GREAT success if you can somehow incorporate into your plans either slightly implausible technolgy or some kind of supernatural element.
Steve McQueen (pulling luminous leech-like blobs off of his neck as he bursts through the door): OH MY GOD! THE ZOMBIES! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

CNN receptionist: Riiiiight.

After all, who is more likely to fight personal rights violations than the skeptics? If you're going to be evil, then the people you have the most to fear from are the Internet crowd-- and these people are so devoted to knowing cynicism that they'll bitterly insist it's just a hoax to the very end, even after your corporate security forces have disintegrated their houses.

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