網路墨者變身社運推手

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2010 / 1月

文‧林欣靜


2006年的香港賣座電影《墨攻》,敘述戰國時代趙國的十萬大軍,即將攻打燕趙之間的小國梁城。寡不敵眾的梁城,於是請來墨家志士革離,協助梁城人民力抗強敵。隨著故事娓娓道來,「墨者」樸實堅毅卻又足智多謀的形象,也深入人心。


在網路世界中,其實也有一群扮演「墨者」角色的部落客,只要他們發現有社運團體需要幫忙,就會「路見不平、拔刀相助」,而他們憑藉的就是高人一等的網路技術,足以為該場社運開創新變局。

提及這幾年在網路社運著力甚深的部落客,經營人氣部落格「廢業夫妻成長日記」多年(前身為「廢業青年成長日記」)的網友wenli,當屬各界公認最具「網路墨者」特質的人選之一。

今年30歲、東海大學建築所肄業的wenli,部落格屬性原本是偏向電玩、漫畫的介紹討論,具有濃厚的「宅男」色彩。不過因為他也養貓,從關心流浪動物的處境出發,視野逐漸擴及形形色色的社會議題,部落格也從單純的kuso、搞笑取向,轉型為文化、人權、環保、民生消費等公共議題。

樂生募款一戰成名

2007年聲援「樂生保留運動」一役,是wenli建立「網路墨者」形象的成名之作。

當時「青年樂生聯盟」已成立多年,卻始終難以破解樂生議題在主流媒體邊緣化、無法引起社會大眾共鳴的困境,沒想到wenli的偶然加入,竟意外為樂生抗爭運動帶來新變數。

他首先與「豬小草」、「Portnoy」等有志一同的部落客聯手,整理了「樂生懶人包」的相關連結,讓其他有興趣的網友能在最短時間內瞭解該項爭議的來龍去脈;之後他發揮自己的建築專業,在短短一個下午的時間,利用建築圖面的「套繪」技巧,配合一般人易於接受的漫畫手法,繪出樂生院區「保留90%」及「保留41%」的3D示意圖,讓過去各方吵嚷不休的爭議,突然有了一目了然的討論焦點,也成功讓樂生議題在網路發燒。

wenli和豬小草等部落客更乘勝追擊,在書籤網站「HEMiDEMi」上發起「搶救樂生」募款,以一次點擊「認購」100元的方式,在短短兩天就募得新台幣20萬元,得以在蘋果日報刊登半版廣告,詳述保留運動的行動訴求。

在這群部落客「反守為攻」並與「樂青」緊密結合下,一個月後的「捍衛樂生大遊行」,也成功串連起上百個民間團體、數千名民眾共同參與,對政府形成了強大壓力,終於暫緩樂生療養院被拆除的命運;而當時運動現場「宅」字大旗迎風飄揚,也象徵這群「網軍」的出師告捷。

為野草莓闢建直播現場

2008年的野草莓學運,則是wenli另一次發揮「墨者」長才的展現。當時擔任公視《有話好說》節目執行企畫的他,11月6日當天,不斷從電視上看到「行政院門口有學生集結」的跑馬燈,卻因大批記者均守候在發生流血衝突的圓山飯店周邊,始終等不到相關報導的後續畫面。在好奇心驅使下,下班後他就帶著筆電來到了學生的靜坐會場。

一到行政院門口才發現,原來這群學生主要是抗議警方在大陸海協會長陳雲林來台期間執法過當。為了讓許多還來不及參與、或尚搞不清楚狀況的網友也能同步關心,他開始利用手上的筆電小鏡頭、Yahoo「Y! Live」直播平台,以及有限的傳輸設備,將現場狀況連線至網路。

沒想到隔天天亮時,卻發現這麼克難的轉播,竟吸引了四百多名網友同時在線觀看,但時間已到、必須趕回公視上班的wenli,只好臨時召集現場學生特訓,並且出借自己的Yahoo!帳號,直接讓運動者接手這個已凝聚人氣的直播平台。

「他們也沒讓我失望,後來還發展『主播組』,不但有24小時的直播,還分時段製作各種與人權相關的節目,」wenli說。

野草莓學運後,wenli聲名大譟,也成為眾多NGO的求助對象,希望能借助他的創意和網路技術加持來拓展聲勢。「不過我覺得部落客畢竟不是名嘴,並不是任何運動都適合插手,何況我使用的技術並不難,一般人其實也可以做到。」wenli認為,社運團體若想利用網路宣傳,最後還是得靠自己,而非倚靠他們這群因緣際會介入的「外來者」。

雖然如此,不過從樂生到野草莓,wenli等「網路墨者」有心介入或無心插柳的助攻,卻也為抗爭現場和虛擬時空的合作,激盪出更多元的可能性,未來前景可期。

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近期文章

EN

White Knights of the Internet

Lin Hsin-ching /tr. by Phil Newell

The 2006 Hong Kong blockbuster A Battle of Wits tells the story of the attack by an enormous army from the kingdom of Zhao on the small city-state of Liang during the Warring States Period of Chinese history. Unable to resist such numbers, Liang invited strategist Ge Li to help oppose the invaders. As the story unfolds, this "white knight" wins everyone's hearts with his simplicity, perseverance, and cleverness.


In the cyberworld, there are bloggers who play the role of white knight. Whenever they discover that some social activist group needs help, they draw their "swords" and rush to lend a hand. But their weapons are in fact Internet skills above the norm, allowing them to create new possibilities for the social movement in question.

When the subject arises of which blogger has had the greatest impact in terms of social activism in recent years, "wenli," who has been running the "Diary of a Dropout Couple" blog for many years (it was formerly called "Diary of a Dropout Youth"), is generally considered one of those most fitting the description of an "Internet white knight."

wenli, 30 this year, is a "dropout" of the Graduate Institute of Architecture at Tunghai University. Originally his blog was oriented toward introducing and discussing video games and comic books, very much in the "homebody nerd" mode. But because he had a cat, starting from concern about the problems of stray animals, he began to broaden his perspective to touch on all manner of social issues, and the blog moved from simple parody and humor to culture, human rights, environmental protection, the economic problems of ordinary people, and other public issues.

Doing well by doing good

wenli really came to fame as an Internet white knight during his service supporting the campaign to preserve the Lo Sheng Sanatorium in 2007.

At that time an organization of young people in support of the sanatorium had existed for several years, but they never succeeded in breaking through the marginalization of the Lo Sheng issue in the mainstream media, and they couldn't get much reaction from society at large. Unexpectedly, when wenli happened to join in, a new variable was brought into their resistance movement.

First he joined forces with likeminded bloggers like Zhu Xiao Cao and Portnoy, and they organized related links under the heading "Lo Sheng information package for the lazy," so that other interested cyberfriends could get up to speed on the issue in a short time. After that he brought into play his expertise in architecture, and in the brief space of an afternoon, using architectural drawings along with an accessible comic book style approach, came up with 3D images of "90% conservation" and "41% conservation" of Lo Sheng. Thus he transformed this complicated and long-simmering issue into something everyone could understand at a glance, successfully enabling it to spread like wildfire on the Internet.

Following up headlong on their initial success, wenli, Zhu Xiao Cao, and other bloggers launched a fundraising activity to save Lo Sheng on the bookmark website HEMiDEMi. Giving visitors the option of donating NT$100 with a simple click, in a brief two days they raised NT$200,000, resulting in a half-page ad in the Apple Daily detailing the actions and demands of the movement to save the sanatorium.

With these bloggers going on the offensive, and with tight links built with the Youth Alliance for Lo Sheng, one month later a demonstration calling for defense of the sanatorium, with more than 100 cooperating non-governmental groups and several thousand citizens, was successfully organized. This put the government under so much pressure that the tearing down of Lo Sheng was postponed. And at the scene of the event you could see banners displaying the words "homebody nerd," symbolizing the important role of this "Internet army."

Broadcasting Wild Strawberries

The 2008 Wild Strawberries movement was another occasion for wenli to demonstrate his white-knightly prowess. By then an executive planner for a Public Television chat program, on November 11 he saw some TV sidebar text reporting on students gathering in front of the Executive Yuan. But because the vast majority of reporters were posted outside the Grand Hotel covering a confrontation where blood was shed, there were never any follow-up images of related stories. Driven by curiosity, after work, notebook computer in hand, he headed off to where the students were holding their sit-in.

Once he got to the gates of the Executive Yuan he discovered that the main complaint of the student protestors was about police misconduct in handling the protests that met the visit to Taiwan of Chen Yunlin, the director of mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. For the benefit of people who were unable to attend the sit-in or who wanted to better understand the situation, wenli used the small camera on his notebook computer, the Y! Live platform, and some limited broadcasting equipment, to put the situation on the Internet.

Unexpectedly, by dawn the next day, he discovered that his rough-around-the-edges broadcast had attracted more than 400 online viewers. But by then wenli had to hurry off to work, so he gave some of the students a few quick lessons and lent out his own Yahoo! account so that the activists could take over this direct broadcast platform that was drawing more and more attention.

Says wenli: "They didn't disappoint me, and later there evolved an 'anchor team,' not only keeping up broadcasts 24 hours a day, but also producing programs related to human rights that were broadcast in different time slots."

wenli's reputation spread quickly in the wake of the Wild Strawberries movement, and many NGOs began coming to him for help. "But I thought that a blogger should not become a partisan commentator, and not every movement is suitable for me to get involved in, not to mention the fact that the technology I use is not difficult, and in fact anybody could do it." wenli feels that if social activists and groups want to use the Internet to spread information, they should ultimately rely on their own efforts, and not depend too much on "outsiders" who just fortuitously get involved.

Despite this, from Lo Sheng to the Wild Strawberries, wenli and other Internet white knights, whether deliberately or serendipitously lending their aid, have opened up new possibilities for linking protest events, organizations, and cybercitizens, and we can expect the future will bring even more.

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