4chan Founder Christopher Poole’s SXSW Speech [Video]
At South by Southwest this year, 4chan founder Christopher Poole delivered an interesting speech in which he (to no one’s surprise) supported Internet anonymity, as well as called the imageboard, as well as its infamous subforum, /b/, misunderstood.
“4Chan is misunderstood – people like to think that /b/ is the dark heart of the internet. It isn’t just that.
People want to think everyone on 4Chan is a young rambunctious male. That’s not accurate – it’s a wide range of people using it. One of the things that 4Chan does that’s really special is the way people come together to collaborate en masse. It’s the process at which you arrive at the product that is fascinating.”
Poole also discussed Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg, declaring Zuckerberg’s views on anonymity incorrect.
“Zuckerberg’s totally wrong on anonymity being total cowardice. Anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, raw way.
The cost of failure is really high when you’re contributing as yourself.”
He also discussed a mistake he feels he made with 4chan, which is believing the community can police itself, given the right tools.
“One of the mistakes I’ve made is believing in an invisible guiding hand as far as moderation goes. And that if you give the community the right structure they could police themselves.
“I’ve underestimated the value of having a real staff presence, and encouraging them to police the boards behind the scenes. When it’s not clear that we’re leading things it’s like we’re not there and that we don’t care – it’s extremely detrimental to community.”
Head on past the break to watch the other two parts from Poole’s speech, which features some behind-the-scenes information, including popular memes like CAPTCHArt.