Bizarro Mathowie
February 17, 2009 7:35 AM   Subscribe

"He is responsible for the online lives of 5 million monthly ... visitors -- the hackers, slackers and potty-mouthed geeks. They come ... when they should be doing calc homework. Now -- in debt, out of work, another example of the Internet's intangibility -- [he] just needs to figure out how to make that matter." The Washington Post profiles Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan. (Previously, minus the current economic realities)
posted by mkultra (64 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:41 AM on February 17, 2009


I've never heard "potty mouth" used as a euphemism for "pimply teenagers whacking off to little-girl hentai"
posted by plexi at 7:46 AM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I find it astonishing he can't make money off of 4chan. The article goes into some detail about the problem: the site's too filthy for respectable advertisers and the scumbag advertisers bombard his site with noisy, flashy ads. But still, somehow all that traffic has to be advertisable. I feel certain after this article he'll be getting a bunch of guys in cheat suits calling him.
posted by Nelson at 7:51 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now he's just "skinny-fat," he says. Slim but soft.

post trap pics plz
posted by Greg Nog at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?

Boxxy?
posted by delmoi at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Christopher Poole" ?

The mainstream media is trolled yet again.
posted by godisdad at 8:03 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?

As far as I'm concerned, that's a moot point.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:03 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


You are one of an estimated 18 million victims of "Rickrolling,

That's it?
posted by P.o.B. at 8:08 AM on February 17, 2009


He has it harder than, say, Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg. Poole's followers are not smiley joiners, posting endless self-portraits and 25 random things about themselves. They are an unruly, anonymous bunch, and they can come across like the pimply dweeb who sat behind you in English and made lewd gestures when you passed him handouts. So Poole has managed to wrangle 5 million of them together in one place. So what? Maybe advertisers don't want to monetize them.
posted by jouke at 8:09 AM on February 17, 2009


You know, I understand all the vitriol against 4chan. I get that the /b/ board is the only thing most people know about the site.

However, most of the work-safe boards are full of knowledgable people in their topics. Need to know something obscure about X computer? Ask /g/. Want to know how to make a water cannon in Dwarf Fortress? Probably someone in /v/ will know.

Of course, at certain hours of the day the boards are near useless because of the many school kids out of class trying to fit with the 4chan mythos, increasing the trolling threads to almost unmanageable quantities. But at night or early morning, 4chan's a fun site to browse.
posted by Memo at 8:10 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


bizarro jessamyn is snacks, bizarro cortex is pedobear

sorry cortex
posted by Greg Nog at 8:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


interesting... as I was reading the FPP for some reason I thought this would be about Facebook's new terms of service
posted by infini at 8:12 AM on February 17, 2009


4channers are posting as Poole saying CLICK THE BANNER ADS. Ah, the lulz.

On preview, poor cortex. At least he has a fun stamp of approval.
posted by spec80 at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2009


cheat suits

best typo evar
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 AM on February 17, 2009


or was it a typo? whatevs, I like.
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 AM on February 17, 2009


He is responsible for the online lives of 5 million monthly ... visitors...

With great responsibility comes great power.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on February 17, 2009


One thing you have to say for Pedobear: he does look like he's got a pretty good attitude.

Of course, at certain hours of the day the boards are near useless because of the many school kids out of class trying to fit with the 4chan mythos, increasing the trolling threads to almost unmanageable quantities. But at night or early morning, 4chan's a fun site to browse.

"If you visit only select fractions of the site at very specific windows in time, it is not as shriekingly horrible as you might otherwise gather by not constraining yourself thus" is a hard sales pitch to put into action, is the problem. We've had lengthy debates in metatalk because e.g. the word "Asshole" appeared in the sidebar—4chan has a very steep uphill battle to fight if it wants to make itself palatable to non-channers, terrible weird wonderful cesspit that it is.
posted by cortex at 8:21 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nthing Memo's sentiments. 4chan is a nascent Wild West community capable of extreme good and extreme bad. That was illustrated over the past 72 hours when 4chan contributors (and reddit posters) tracked down the identities of two teens who'd posted a YouTube video in which they violently abused a cat, and notified the press and law enforcement.

From a reddit poster:
"I was on 4chan pretty much all day yesterday watching this happen.
What happened is the kid uploaded the video on youtube where it was promptly seen by a chantard. We are everywhere...
But it got saved by several sources and uploaded to mirrors to keep it for evidence. They googled his youtube user name and found his city name.
They searched facebook for his name, in his town. They found a kid that was similar in appearance and they compared the clips in the video to the scenary in his room. They found it to be strickingly similar so they launched at trying to find his personal information.
They got the wrong address but they eventually got his phone number where they were able to call his mother and verify his name and the name of the cat. Since then they got the real information and contacted the government, PETA, and local police and schools.
4chan submitted the link to digg and they more than likely submitted it everywhere else. It first appeared on 4chan very shortly after the video was upped..."


The teens were arrested. The cat is in a veterinarian's care.
This is what internet community can do.
posted by terranova at 8:24 AM on February 17, 2009 [35 favorites]


The problem isn't just advertisements, they can't/won't accept donations or process payments for merchandise, (if they were ever inclined to sell things). From the 4chan faq:

Unfortunately, at this time, users are unable to donate funds to 4chan. The site's content is considered too risque by most online payment processors, causing them to deny or suspend their services to us. Payment by check, cash, or money order is also not being accepted at this time.

Who knows, perhaps that's changed since the last time they updated it.
posted by CheshireCat at 8:24 AM on February 17, 2009


I like how they point out how awkward moot is around his fans, but don't understand why.

It's because, for your average celebrity, most don't have to worry too hard that a non-negligible fraction of their fans would urinate on them upon meeting, ask said celebrity to autograph kiddie porn, or try to briefly jam his head into a mold for a RealDoll they could pimp out for ten bucks a pop at the next anime conference: COME RIDE MOOT, ONLY A SAWBUCK!
posted by adipocere at 8:32 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine many people using 4chan on a regular basis without equipping Firefox with AdBlock, for starters, so the very crowd that keeps 4chan thriving is the crowd that's hardest to make money off of.
posted by ardgedee at 8:38 AM on February 17, 2009


From the 4chan faq fap:

FTFY
posted by kldickson at 8:44 AM on February 17, 2009


@P.o.B: They probably just took the number of views on youtube of the original. Considering there are a bunch of copies and some people specifically create a rickroll with an added lead-in based on what they promised, the number could be much, much higher.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:50 AM on February 17, 2009


I like how they point out how awkward moot is around his fans, but don't understand why.

I think they understand, but they dodge around it because bringing up that aspect of the site wouldn't be something that the average reader of the Washington Post would be able to
wrap their head around.

I mean- cute lolcats coming from the same place as Shitting Dick Nipples?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2009


sauce
posted by gcbv at 8:52 AM on February 17, 2009


The teens were arrested. The cat is in a veterinarian's care.
This is what internet community can do.
posted by terranova at 10:24 AM on February 17


I saw the names first on reddit. There's even a time-stamped post.

Where's the timestamped post on 4chan? They con themselves into believing they are some effective, magical force, rife with corny platitudes and movie one-liners when the reality is they home alone posting webcam screengrabs of their sisters.

It seems to me that it is just a refuge for the dispossessed, living out anime or change-the-world fantasies. A lot like religion, really.
posted by plexi at 8:53 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's pretty frightening how quickly they can obtain "dox" of their targets. They really didn't have many facts to run on with the cat abuse (I don't think they even had the kid's full name), and they ended up getting a whole mess of information about the guy, including his home phone number, their parents work phone numbers and personal email addresses.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2009


plexi: 4chan deletes threads if they haven't been bumped recently, but there was a huge thread where they did their investigation work. Most of it involves calling people/companies using Skype (and recording it for giggles, of course)
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite quote from this article: "The second irony in Poole's life is that he can't get a job."

He can't get a job because he spends too much time on the Internet. (And dropped out of college and clearly has no idea what to do with 4chan so he can make money.)
posted by LightMayo at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2009


Take it a step further - what if someone from another community actually culled the correct names? 4chan will never believe it was someone else that affected change, however slight. (see terranova, above) They are consumed with their fantasies. Their beliefs have overwhelmed them. /b/ must be The Internet and Anon must be a real agent of change. Otherwise whatever it is they are doing is just masturbating over and over and over.

FDAU. Pic related. Go.
posted by plexi at 9:00 AM on February 17, 2009


For as completely fucked up as 4chan can be, I still stand by the idea that Anonymous vs. Scientology is a concept right out of a cyberpunk story, and I have to love them for giving me that.
posted by quin at 9:00 AM on February 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


It's probably safe to treat every word in this article as suspicious if not outright hilariously false, especially if it came out of moot's mouth.

Encyclopedia Dramatica is profoundly NSFW: moot.
posted by Skorgu at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2009


Well, maybe somebody who can monetize the shit- or is willing to put up some cash to fund it, like the $35 Million someone recently gave to Twitter so it can continue to not have a business plan- will see it and get in touch now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2009


Which is more likely:
4chan tirelessly seeking out someone's personal information and harassing them (with good evidence of prior practice)
or
reddit users stop going ga-ga over git long enough to do something (with good evidence that's all they do)

We can hate on 4chan for being a bunch of hentai-loving pedophiles living in their mother's basement, but if it's one thing they're good at, is investigation. They have a history of finding people's physical addresses and harassing the heck out of them, it's pretty disturbing how quickly they can do so. I'm not saying they're master investigators, I suspect that it might be because there are just enough /b/ tards that they can either shotgun the work, do questionably legal investigation tactics, or just have enough members to have one of them personally know the targets.
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:06 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now -- in debt, out of work

MONETIZE MOAR.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:26 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?"

Ann Coulter.
posted by WCityMike at 9:31 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm half-considering paypaling him a few bucks, because as far as I'm concerned he's doing me a huge favor. Every comment posted to 4chan is one not posted somewhere I actually visit.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


@George_Spiggott

So 4chan is an internet protection rackett? Seems about right...
posted by The Power Nap at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2009


bump
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:06 AM on February 17, 2009


For as completely fucked up as 4chan can be, I still stand by the idea that Anonymous vs. Scientology is a concept right out of a cyberpunk story, and I have to love them for giving me that.

I appreciate 4chan's efforts to make the 21st Century a faster, stranger place.
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 AM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


I meant "monetize the site" but honestly either works.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 AM on February 17, 2009


sage
posted by Samizdata at 11:07 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


moot was on a panel with mathowie at ROFLcon and I was surprised at how much of a garden variety nerd he was, meant in a good way. He was sort of nonplussed at the fanfare the 4chan stuff seems to have gotten and was really open and decent about explaining some of the weirder 4chan stuff that goes on there. There was also Drew from Fark (what you would expect) and mathowie who was a freaking (nerdy) genius by comparison since he manages to have both MetaFilter and a life.

What amazes me is how often 4chan gets major media attention and... nothing happens. A few blogs mention it, moot still can't get a job. That sort of thing always reminds me what a weird inwardly-focused wrold the net.culture thing can be is, even as blogs go mainstream [and hey, we were in Time this week] there's still a real outpost queality to them from a "mainstream" perspective. I heard people on SNL talk about that dorky "25 things about me" meme and I was like "hey, it's an internet reference!"
posted by jessamyn at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moderators are like artists. Their value is so hard to define, but to anybody that's tried fostering community before, they know how difficulty, fuzzy, and valuable such a skill is.

"Christopher Poole" should follow the artist model. Either figure out how to monetize his own stuff, or find a patron who believes in him. No $60/hr BS. Find someone who needs a community grown, have him be the moderator and give him equity. Or, put ads on 4chan.

He says he tried ads on 4chan, but it seems like he just gave up on creative monetization. There's so many ways of monetizing your "pride-and-joy" while balancing the integrity of the experience.

QQ
posted by philosophistry at 11:15 AM on February 17, 2009


Anonymous vs. Scientology is a concept right out of a cyberpunk story

Or a bunch of cowardly and lazy cosplayers with political-sociological pretensions.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bizzaro jessamyn.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:28 AM on February 17, 2009


Or a bunch of cowardly and lazy cosplayers with political-sociological pretensions.

The fuck is your problem?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:30 AM on February 17, 2009


Metafilter: [Click.]

[Click.]

[Click.]

[Click.]

[Post on Facebook and Flickr and everywhere else. Brag about meeting the infamous mathowie.]

posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2009


My Thetans are out of wack and my chakra's all messed up. Fuck is your problem?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:34 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's stuck at step 3, ????
posted by cairnish at 11:41 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm really not too surprised moot can't find a job. Can you imagine the interview?

HR: So, tell me Mr. Poole, what experience can you bring to our company?
Poole: I created the website, 4chan.org and maintained it for six years.
HR: [begins to hide anything sharper than a washcloth] Ah, very interesting. He'll let you know what we've decided. [calls security]

Seriously, 4chan is the raging, frothing id of the internet. Giving a home to the infection isn't much of a job skill.
posted by lekvar at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do I know? 4chan is blocked in Kuwait.
posted by ambient2 at 12:12 PM on February 17, 2009


$60/hr
...
Poole: I created the website, 4chan.org and maintained it for six years

THATS OVER 9000
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:33 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, oldfags can't monetize.
  $  
 $ $
posted by lekvar at 1:05 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


The article-author's writing style is nails-on-chalkboard to me. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech.
posted by batmonkey at 1:59 PM on February 17, 2009


It's probably safe to treat every word in this article as suspicious if not outright hilariously false, especially if it came out of moot's mouth.

Speaking as an ex-moderator, most of it is true. He was 15 when he started the website, he's soft-spoken on the phone, he is really just an anime nerd with no interest in the trolling that made the website famous (forum invasion was originally banned on 4chan), and he lacks the business smarts to make money from his site.

Nobody could have started 4chan but him, because nobody else has such a lovable combination of insanity and naivete.
posted by shii at 2:30 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?

Boxxy?


JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
JESSAMYN IS QUEEN
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:55 PM on February 17, 2009


4chan has a very steep uphill battle to fight if it wants to make itself palatable to non-channers, terrible weird wonderful cesspit that it is.

Making itself palatable would kill 4chan.DESU!
posted by MikeMc at 2:59 PM on February 17, 2009


So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?

Trs Nlsn Hdn, bvsly.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


That poor kid.

Got himself $20,000 in debt to host a party for all of the Internet's trolls and degenerates and what does he have to show for it?
posted by jason's_planet at 5:08 PM on February 17, 2009


He should just sell the users out to Russian spammers and peddle ad-space to spyware authors.
posted by cellphone at 5:37 PM on February 17, 2009


I do believe this is the only time 4chan.org would be filed under Arts and Leisure.
posted by cgomez at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2009


So who would bizzaro jessamyn be?

Trs Nlsn Hdn, bvsly.


Completely fucking right.
posted by The Monkey at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2009


Back from my first visit to 4chan. I think I'll stick with MetaFilter.
posted by deborah at 9:19 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


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