PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
Warning: This page contains material that may be considered not safe for work.
Noelisme is a controversial social movement within the French-speaking web responsible for a range of activities ranging from vigilante justice to cyber-bullying; it is sometimes seen as a French internet “gang”. Its members, the “Noelistes”, use a common vernacular with peculiar meanings having roots in many inside jokes between users.
Noelistes can be viewed as a French juvenile equivalent of Anonymous or even the Chinese renrou sousuo yinqing or “human flesh search engine” in the sense that they have raided websites and blogs, targeting juvenile users that they called “kikoolol”, “kikoo” or “pyj”.
The Noeliste movement began on a well-known French video game site called jeuxvideo.com in 2006. The site has a unique, yet old-fashioned forum system that has been reused by some other French gaming websites. There are forums and sub-forums classified by themes and by age; specifically those between ages of 15-35.
On the Bla-Bla 15-18 ans forum (teenagers from 15 to 18 years old), a user named Triplepatte (translated) started using one of the site’s many smilies. => ; a face with a Christmas hat in each of his posts.
As with any community, inside jokes and wordplay were common, and soon the use of this specific smiley grew popular among some users.
It had a precise use. Placed at the end of a sentence, the Santa-hat smiley transforms the sentences’ meaning into irony, due to what many perceived as an ironic pairing of a malicious grin with a festive hat.
Soon afterward a French variant of Leetspeak was developed based upon the use of the Santa-hat Smiley.
Many users attracted by this new concept created a movement moving around the timeless use of the smiley. The group soon became known as the Noelisme because of the name for the code used for the smiley => :noel: from Noël, another term for Christmas.
The main features of that brand new group was (and still is) to worship Chuck Norris as a God and to have forums war between them and the ones who used the “Happy” smiley: which were called Hapistes (translated)
For roughly two years, use of the :noel: tag remained an inside joke between users.
Going Out of the Dark
In February of 2008, an underground French rapper called Moha Morsay posted a video of one of his songs to Dailymotion:
The lyrics contain a lot of profanity and bravado, with a title that roughly says “We don’t give a fuck”.
The Noelistes decided to raid this video, commenting on the doubtful “quality” of the video and song. They left strange messages, all signed with the :noel: code.
There were so many :noel: replies that Morsay made a video in response, called Message à “Internet” (Message to the Internet):
In the video, Morsay makes the mistake of calling out his haters, essentially “feeding the trolls.” As a result, the comment section quickly filled with replies from Noelistes who also created video responses on both Dailymotion and Youtube.
The most notable response created came from a user called “Doctor Léon” who became something of spearhead for Noelistes.
This “Internet war” between the “Noelistes” (especially “Doctor Leon” who left his anonymous status by posting his video response) and so-called gangsta Morsay was parodied in many videos:
Cisla ft. 15-18 ft. Edith Piaf – Allez venay Morsay (special remix)
Following this virtual “war”, French internet media portrayed Noelistes in a negative light, accusing them of racism and cyberbullying. Because the Noelistes were quickly gaining attention from a mainstream media that did not fully understand them, many articles (translated) began to appear that raised questions about whether Noelisme was a sect, a religion, or a fascist group.
A Noeliste “political party” blog was created, which serves as a satire contributing to the inside jokes:
Noelification of the French Web
Jumping on the increasing popularity, some Noelistes created “Noël” parodies of famous websites, such as:
- Noelshack version of Imageshack
- Noelfic a fanfiction site.
- Noelbook parody of Facebook
- Noelpedia parody of Wikipedia
- Noelswf a parody of Pown it
Not restricted to the French Web
The Drawball incident
On June 5th 2010, the noelistes raided the drawball website in an attempt to draw a giant santa hat-faced smiley on it, while some anonymous were trying to draw a pedobear. Their “victory” was taken on screenshot, and granted them to have it covered by Encyclopedia Dramatica :
Soon after that, bucked up by their successful takover, and according to ED :
they started flooding /b/, making dumb topics, attempting to troll and insulting 4chan with pictures.
It inevitably provoked 4chan’s retaliation.
First on Drawball, the 8th of June, when they tried to draw the 4chan’s 4-leafed clover, which eventually got overcome, a second time, by a drawing of the French flag :
Anonymous then proceeded to organize a flood raid against jeuxvideo.com forums, starting around the 6th of June, as a result.
That event, as well as jeuxvideo.com mods’ reaction to it, was parodied in the following youtube video. (embedding deactivated)
It remains unclear if 4chan was the real instigator on that raid, as jeuxvideo.com mods assert it came from within their website.
Here is a screenshot from that incident, dating from the 9th of June :
The Drawball war lasted until the 13th of June with 3 other drawing attempts :
- A pokeball drawing to cover an anonymous’ slowpoke drawing
- A successful “happy face” drawing, representing the hapistes
- An Eiffel tower drawing
All of the things concerning that Drawball war itself can be read on the ED’s article dealing with those events.
- Detailed lexicon