In my previous post I wrote about IRC and the use of Botnets by the hacker community in relation to only one of the three aspects described by Baxandall in the Barnard chapter, “Interpretation and the Individual”. In this post I will use the other two aspects to further discuss the relation between the three aspects and using IRC to control Botnets by the  hacker community.

Back to my previous post, I wrote only about the second aspect, so now I will go back to the first aspect and explain how I interpret the use of IRC and Botnets in relation to Baxandall’s three aspects “in which the horizons of individuals are likely to differ” (43).

The first aspect is,

“First, understanding a painting, picture or diagram requires that the interpreter understand the convention that marks, lines and shapes on a two-dimensional ground represent something in the world. An interpreter has to know that an image has ‘been made with the purpose of representing something’ (ibid.: 30)” (43).

Continuing on the next page,

“This is not a very complex requirement, but it is a requirement: it is something that a person must know, it is something that must be within their life-world” (44).

From this first aspect, I think that a normal IRC user would not understand the “convention” that represents a bot or Botnet. Hackers will use IRC as the medium to interact with the machines they control. You would need to know what a Botnet is and that it is different than a normal IRC bot. Unless you know how a Botnet works or the commands (specific to each individual Botnet) you are able to send, than you would not understand the conventions  needed to interact with a Botnet. You might be a user of IRC, but not in the context of controlling a Botnet.

The third aspect is,

“Thirdly, according to Baxandall, ‘one brings to the picture a mass of information and assumptions drawn from general experience’ (ibid.: 35)” (44).

The way I understand this aspect in relation to the interaction between the hacker community, IRC, and Botnets, is the fact that as a hacker you will have “general experience” coming from hacking elsewhere as well as an enormous amount of time concentrated on using and understanding computers. There are “presuppositions” (45) for hackers who already have horizons within their life-world that they can bring to the experience and use of interacting with Botnets through IRC. Even using IRC in a non-hacking way, can have an effect in the hackers’ use of the Botnet via IRC. For example, they might choose to use IRC as the medium to interact with the Botnet because they have used IRC before in other ways.

I feel like this stuff makes sense in my head, but when I put it on paper it feels alien…

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