Go to bed, Tao Lin. Cole Styker, author of Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4Chan's Army Conquered the Web interviews and considers Tao Lin and 'trollgaze'. [more inside]
"/b/ has given rise to more ﬂuid practices to signal identity and status in spite of, or perhaps because of, the lack of technological support."
4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community is a paper by researchers from MIT and the University of Southampton. The paper itself [PDF].
Founded in 2004 as a place to catalog LiveJournal drama rejected from Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica rapidly became the premier site on the web for all manner of lulz. Intended "in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary," ED grew into a sprawling crowdsourced compendium of memes, subcultures, communities, personalities, and the endless feuds and controversies spawned by 4chan and other anonymous imageboards. While comprehensive, the site developed a reputation for nastiness -- full of "ironic" (?) racism, gratuitous porn, organized attacks on other sites, and disturbingly thorough dossiers on perceived enemies, all dripping with vicious snark (just check out their entry on MetaFilter). But now, after more than six years, it appears the troll has become the trolled. Founder Sherrod "Girlvinyl" DeGrippo, allegedly disillusioned by the site's legal woes and nihilistic trajectory, has permanently shuttered the site and replaced it with OhInternet, a slicker, cleaner, Web 2.0 effort modeled after more respectable internet guides like Know Your Meme (which recently sold to Cheezburger Networks for a cool $N million, discussed here). Backups and mirrors abound, but as for the source? Pool's closed... forever.