When we're discussing a secret society, this means they're no longer secret. How we define what is a secret society then?

Proposal: Secret Societies


We can define it as :

A society who works in secret, with an hidden agenda or resources.

That would cover (for example) the [insert country]'s Secret Services, Illuminati, Masonry, Hashashun, and your wife's misterious 5 hour-long bookclub meetings where she doesn't read any books

couldn't have said it better myself..nice one :P – Mythic Cocoa Jun 28 '16 at 11:16
"Hidden agenda or resources" seems a bit sinister. I'd wager the great majority of secret societies are rather mundane — the Knights of Columbus, the Order of the Arrow, some university final clubs, most collegiate fraternities and sororities. – choster Jun 28 '16 at 16:29
But those aren't necessarly secret, which in turn wouldn't be on scope, I think. – Oak Jun 28 '16 at 20:18

You might want to consider using the definition given by Wikipedia:

"A secret society is a club or an organization whose activities, events, and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence."

That makes Skull & Bones a good example of a genuine secret society:

"During my senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can't say anything more."

— Former US president George W. Bush, in his autobiography


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