Tilman Hausherr

Last updated
Tilman Hausherr
Occupation software developer
Nationality German
Genre computer programming, Scientology criticism
Subject Scientology, Relational database management system

Tilman Hausherr is a German citizen living in Berlin, Germany. Hausherr is well known among critics of Scientology for his frequent Usenet posts and for maintaining a website critical of Scientology. Hausherr is also the author of a software utility, Xenu's Link Sleuth, which was praised in a 2002 PC Magazine article covering 70 web builder utilities. [1]


Coined "Sporgery"

Hausherr is credited with coining the term "Sporgery" in the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology , to which he is a regular contributor. [2] [3] "Sporgery" refers to internet attacks that not only spam a forum with offensive posts but also misrepresent regular users by forging their names to the spam posts. The term is a blending of the words "spam" and "forgery". [3] [4]


Hausherr's website contains a large section critical of Scientology, including the "Scientology celebrities FAQ", as well as the "FAQ: Scientology in Germany" (2001). [5] [6] He has also contributed updates on the activities of the Church of Scientology to the magazine Berliner Dialog, published until 2005 by the non-profit organization Dialog Zentrum Berlin e.V. [7] Hausherr was quoted in Religion Online as stating on his Web site: "Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially." [8]

In 1998, attorneys representing the Church of Scientology sent a letter to Hausherr, telling him to remove altered Scientology images from his Web site. [9] Hausherr had parodied copyright-protected images belonging to the Church including changing the Scientology "S" to a dollar sign, as well as elongating the nose of the president of the organization, an image intended to evoke comparison to Pinocchio. [9] In the course of the dispute Compuserve, which was hosting the pages and altered images, blocked his website for terms of service violations. [10] Hausherr defended his site, saying "It's just a page making fun of Scientology--it's a form of art. Parodies are allowed under German and U.S. law." [9]

Related Research Articles

James Parry American Usenetter

James Parry, commonly known by his nickname and username Kibo, is a Usenetter known for his sense of humor, various surrealist net pranks, an absurdly long signature, and a machine-assisted knack for "kibozing": joining any thread in which "kibo" was mentioned. His exploits have earned him a multitude of enthusiasts, who celebrate him as the head deity of the parody religion "Kibology", centered on the humor newsgroup alt.religion.kibology.

Spamming Unsolicited electronic messages, especially advertisements

Spamming is the use of messaging systems to send multiple unsolicited messages (spam) to large numbers of recipients for the purpose of commercial advertising, for the purpose of non-commercial proselytizing, for any prohibited purpose, or simply sending the same message over and over to the same user. While the most widely recognized form of spam is email spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social spam, spam mobile apps, television advertising and file sharing spam. It is named after Spam, a luncheon meat, by way of a Monty Python sketch about a restaurant that has Spam in almost every dish in which vikings annoyingly sing "Spam" repeatedly.

Scientology and the Internet

There are a number of disputes concerning the Church of Scientology's attempts to suppress material critical of Scientology on the Internet, utilizing various methods – primarily lawsuits and legal threats, as well as front organizations. In late 1994, the Church of Scientology began using various legal tactics to stop distribution of unpublished documents written by L. Ron Hubbard. The Church of Scientology is often accused of barratry through the filing of SLAPP suits. The official church response is that its litigious nature is solely to protect its copyrighted works and the unpublished status of certain documents.

The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology is a Usenet newsgroup started in 1991 to discuss the controversial beliefs of Scientology, as well as the activities of the Church of Scientology, which claims exclusive intellectual property rights thereto and is viewed by many as a dangerous cult. The newsgroup has become the focal point of an aggressive battle known as Scientology versus the Internet, which has taken place both online and in the courts.

alt.binaries.slack is a Usenet newsgroup created for the purpose of posting pictures, sounds, and utilities related to the Church of the SubGenius, making them available for everyone to see and hear. Because the Church of the SubGenius is well known for encouraging sick and twisted humor, the newsgroup is also home to artists who post humorous artwork of all sorts. A fair amount of the pictures on alt.binaries.slack are adult-oriented, and may be considered offensive by some viewers. The denizens of the newsgroup state that they enjoy deliberately offending those who are too easily offended.

Sporgery is the disruptive act of posting a flood of articles to a Usenet newsgroup, with the article headers falsified so that they appear to have been posted by others. The word is a portmanteau of spam and forgery, coined by German software developer, and critic of Scientology, Tilman Hausherr.

Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel 1994 originators of commercial spam; married American lawyers

Laurence A. Canter and Martha S. Siegel were partners in a husband-and-wife firm of lawyers who posted the first massive commercial Usenet spam on April 12, 1994. This event came shortly after the National Science Foundation lifted its unofficial ban on commercial speech on the Internet, and it marks the end of the Net's early period in some views, when the original netiquette could still be enforced.

Newsgroup spam is a type of spam where the targets are Usenet newsgroups.

A joe job is a spamming technique that sends out unsolicited e-mails using spoofed sender data. Early joe jobs aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the apparent sender or inducing the recipients to take action against them, but they are now typically used by commercial spammers to conceal the true origin of their messages and to trick recipients into opening emails apparently coming from a trusted source.

Xenus Link Sleuth

Xenu, or Xenu's Link Sleuth, is a computer program that checks websites for broken hyperlinks. It is written by Tilman Hausherr and is proprietary software available at no charge. The program is named after Xenu, the Galactic Ruler from Scientology scripture.

Control messages are a special kind of Usenet post that are used to control news servers. They differ from ordinary posts by a header field named Control. The body of the field contains control name and arguments.

Scieno Sitter is content-control software that, when installed on a computer, blocks certain websites critical of Scientology from being viewed. The software was released by the Church of Scientology in 1998 for Church members using Windows 95. The term "Scieno Sitter" was coined by critics of Scientology who assert that the program is a form of Internet censorship.

A Usenet personality was a particular kind of Internet celebrity, being an individual who gained a certain level of notoriety from posting on Usenet, a global network of computer users with a vast array of topics for discussion. Since its inception, Usenet newsgroups have attracted a wide variety of people posting all manner of fact, fiction, theories, opinions, and beliefs. Some Usenet posters achieved a certain amount of fame and celebrity within Usenet circles because of their unusual, non-mainstream ideas, or because their writings and responses are considered especially humorous or bizarre.

Scientology is a set of beliefs and practices invented by American author L. Ron Hubbard, and an associated movement. It has been variously defined as a cult, a business or a new religious movement. The most recent published census data indicate that in the United States there were about 25,000 followers, around 2,300 followers in England (2011), and about 1,700 each in both Canada (2011) and Australia (2016). Hubbard initially developed a set of ideas that he called Dianetics, which he represented as a form of therapy. This he promoted through various publications, as well as through the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation that he established in 1950. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his book Dianetics in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, and the practice of "auditing". Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.

The Leipzig Human Rights Award is an honor given by the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA, which recognizes "efforts towards human rights and freedom of expression in the USA" and actions against what the organization refers to as "human rights violations by the totalitarian Scientology." Prior to 2001, the honor was known as the Alternative Charlemagne Award.

Project Chanology Protest movement against the practices of the Church of Scientology

Project Chanology was a protest movement against the practices of the Church of Scientology by members of Anonymous, a leaderless Internet-based group. The project was started in response to the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove material from a highly publicized interview with Scientologist Tom Cruise from the Internet in January 2008.

Make Money Fast Electronic chain letter

Make Money Fast is a title of an electronically forwarded chain letter created in 1988 which became so infamous that the term is often used to describe all sorts of chain letters forwarded over the Internet, by e-mail spam, or in Usenet newsgroups. In anti-spammer slang, the name is often abbreviated "MMF".

Usenet Worldwide distributed Internet discussion system

Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects and is the precursor to Internet forums that became widely used. Discussions are threaded, as with web forums and BBSs, though posts are stored on the server sequentially.

Operation Clambake Website and organization critical of Scientology

Operation Clambake, also referred to by its domain name, xenu.net, is a website and Norway-based non-profit organization, launched in 1996, founded by Andreas Heldal-Lund, that publishes criticism of the Church of Scientology. It is owned and maintained by Andreas Heldal-Lund, who has stated that he supports the rights of all people to practice Scientology or any religion. Operation Clambake has referred to the Church of Scientology as "a vicious and dangerous cult that masquerades as a religion". The website includes texts of petitions, news articles, exposés, and primary source documents. The site has been ranked as high as the second spot in Google searches for the term "Scientology".

The "New Cult Awareness Network" is an organization that provides information about cults, and is owned and operated by associates of the Church of Scientology, itself categorized in many countries as a cult. It was formed in 1996, with the name purchased from the now defunct Cult Awareness Network, an organization that provided information on groups it considered to be cults, and that strongly opposed Scientology.


  1. "70 assists for a winning site.(WEB BUILDER'S TOOLKIT)", PC Magazine , April 23, 2002.
  2. Attack of the Robotic Poets, ZDNet , by Kevin Poulsen, May 06, 1999.
  3. 1 2 Højsgaard, Morten T.; Margit Warburg (2005). Religion and Cyberspace. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN   0-415-35767-5.
  4. Rutter, Daniel (1999-09-16). "Gibbering clones the future of Usenet?" (Reprint with annotation). Australian IT. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  5. Kent, Stephen A. (September 2003). "Scientology and the European Human Rights Debate: A Reply to Leisa Goodman, J. Gordon Melton, and the European Rehabilitation Project Force Study". Marburg Journal of Religion. 8 (1).
  6. Hexham, Irving; Karla Poewe (April 1999). ""Verfassungsfeindlich": Church, State, And New Religions In Germany". Nova Religio. 2 (2): 208–227. doi:10.1525/nr.1999.2.2.208.
    Hudson, David., Scientology's "Holocaust" : Is Hollywood on the wrong side in Germany's "Church" vs. state furor?, Salon.com , February 25, 1997
  7. Berliner Dialog Article by Tilman Hausherr, "Helnwein und Scientology"
  8. Dawson, Lorne L.; Douglas E. Cowan (2004). Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet. Routledge. p. 261. ISBN   0-415-97022-9.
  9. 1 2 3 Macavinta, Courtney (January 29, 1998). "Scientologists in trademark disputes". CNET News. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013.
  10. Zehnder, Matthias W. (1998). "Extremismus im Internet" (in German). Birkhäuser Verlag. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.