I had a post about Michael Young yesterday. I will reproduce below his response and my response to the response (from the comments' section):
"Asaad, Always a delight to read your blog, and to be given a starring role. Zozunds!
I noticed how you threw in the bit about my alleged misuse of the word "offshoot" to cover for the fact that you avoided defining it adequately to better leverage your post, and ended up saying pretty much what I did. Good technique, if easy to see through.
I'll stick to my Merriam Webster, definition, which defines "offshoot" as "a collateral or derived branch..." a neutral term which pretty much is applicable here.
The Ismailis are indeed "offshoots" of the Twelvers, because they followed Ismail, the son of the 6th imam, Jaafar al-Sadiq, rather than Musa al-Qazim, who is recognized by Twelvers as the 7th imam. Yes, they're called the Seveners, good boy, but what's your point? Perhaps you might like to suggest a better term than "offshoot." Schismatics? Fine by me, but not necessarily more accurate if I apply your rather confused parameters.
Secondly, since you must show off about the Assassins being Nizari Ismailis, I don't recall saying they were not. You make an irrelevant point to show that you’re a bright one. That said, as you probably know, the Nizari split occurred in 1094, by which time Sabbah was an Ismaili da'i in Persia, so his embrace of Nizarism came four years after his move to Alamut and a good two decades after he embraced Ismailism.
Finally, the Alawites, or Nusairis, are indeed an "offshoot" of the Twelvers, at least according to Merriam Webster, and you admit that yourself by saying that Ibn Nusayr considered himself the bab of the 10th imam, Ali al-Hadi (though I would be interested in hearing from you why the Alawite Kitab al-Majmu has him as the bab of the 11th imam Hassan al-Askari). You say that "Alawites were never considered part of Twelver Shiism." Did I say they were? (though the Alawites do say they are Twelvers). The whole point is that they broke with the original line, becoming a collateral branch that, however, would not have existed had the Twelvers not existed.
The 700 Club? Isn't that in your neck of the woods?
To Michael Young: No, I don't care what definition of offshoot you use (and I never knew that there was an international controversy over the real (esoteric?) meaning of the word "offshoot" until I read your comment), and even if you define the word peculiarly and oddly, the Isma`ilis and `Alawaites still are NOT offshoots. They are separate and different movements, and they regard themselves as such. How can they be offshoots when they formed before the Shi`ite Twelvers (or the Imamiyyah) was fully formed? This is like saying that the Khawarij are an offshoot of the Ba`th Party. Your attempt to redefine the world will not--can not--work. Also, I had to enlighten you on Sabbah because you (or your new hero, the feudal/sectarian warlord/war criminal--who does read the New York Review of Books, to be fair) were trying to make a point about the alleged remark by Jumblat about him. Finally, I can see that, after reading my post, you had to rush and do some McReading on the movement. I am glad that I was of help. Do you want me now to tell you about the Five Pillars, or is that too advanced?