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Christopher Poole

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Christopher Poole
Christopher Poole at XOXO Festival September 2012.jpg
Poole in 2012
Born c. 1988 (age 26–27)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Other names moot
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Founder and former administrator of 4chan

Christopher Poole (born c. 1988)[1] is an American entrepreneur. He is best known for founding two web sites, 4chan and Canvas. He originally started 4chan pseudonymously, under the screen name moot (written entirely in lower case).

Impact and activity

In 2008, Leopoldo Godoy of Brazilian TV Globo called Poole's 4chan "the ground zero of Western web culture."[2]

In April 2009, Poole was voted the world's most influential person of 2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time magazine.[3] The results were questioned even before the poll completed, however, as automated voting programs and manual ballot stuffing were used to influence the vote.[4][5][6] 4chan's interference with the vote seemed increasingly likely, when it was found that reading the first letter of the first 21 candidates in the poll spelled out a phrase containing two 4chan memes: "mARBLECAKE. ALSO, THE GAME."[7]

On September 12, 2009, Poole gave a talk on why 4chan has a reputation as a "Meme Factory" at the Paraflows Symposium in Vienna, Austria, which was part of the Paraflows 09 festival, themed Urban Hacking. In this talk, Poole mainly attributed this to the anonymous system, and to the lack of data retention on the site ("The site has no memory").[8][9]

On February 10, 2010, Poole spoke at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California.[10][11] He spoke about the increasing prevalence of persistent user identities and the sharing of personal information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter and he also spoke about the value of anonymous posting on sites such as 4chan.[12] Fred Leal of the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo said his inclusion in the conference "indicates that something extraordinary is happening... [4chan] challenges every Internet convention: it is, alone, the antithesis of Google, social networking sites, and blogs."[13]

In 2010, Poole was reported to have raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas.[14][15] The web site opened on January 31, 2011, and features digitally modified images uploaded by users who are required to self-identify using Facebook Connect.[16]

In April 2010, Poole gave evidence in the trial, United States of America v. David Kernell, as a government witness.[17] As a witness, Poole explained the terminology used on 4chan to the prosecutor, ranging from "OP" to "lurker." He also explained to the court the nature of the data given to the FBI as part of the search warrant, including how users may be identified uniquely from site audit logs.[18]

In a 2010 interview, Poole discussed his belief in the value of multiple identities, including anonymity, in contrast to the merger of online and real-world identities occurring on Facebook and many other social networking sites.[15]

In November 2012, Poole sent a cease and desist letter to Moot.It, an internet startup.[19][20]

In January 2014, Poole announced that Canvas, and its DrawQuest feature, would be going out of business.[21][22][23]

In January 2015, Poole announced that he would be stepping down as the 4chan administrator.[24] On January 23, moot hosted a final Q&A with site users using the /qa/ board and YouTube to livestream. This marked the beginning of his "retirement" from being an administrator and owner of the web site after eleven-and-a-half years.[25] He began a process of turning control of the site over to three anonymous 4chan moderators while searching for a buyer for the website.[26] On September 21, 2015, it was announced that Hiroyuki Nishimura, founder of the Japanese BBS 2channel, would take over as the site's owner.[27][28]


Previously known only as moot, Poole's name was revealed on July 9, 2008, in The Wall Street Journal.[29] The same day, Lev Grossman of Time published an interview describing the influence of Poole as a non-visible administrator, as "one of the most [significant]" on the evolution of content collaboration. Although Grossman's article began with the confession that "I don't even know his real name," he claimed to identify moot as Christopher Poole.[30] Later, on July 10, Grossman admitted that there was an outside chance that Christopher Poole was not the real name of moot, rather an obscure reference to a 4chan inside joke.[31] The Washington Post concurred that "Christopher Poole" could be "a big hoax, a 'gotcha.' It would be just what you'd expect from the creator of 4chan."[32] In March 2009, Time backpedaled somewhat on the identity issue by placing the moot persona on the 2009 Time 100 finalists list.[33] Prior to the Wall Street Journal and Time interviews, moot deliberately kept his real identity separate from 4chan. He told Grossman, "my personal private life is very separate from my Internet life ... There's a firewall in between."[30] As moot, he has spoken at conferences at Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[30] A 2008 article in The Observer had him down as "the most influential web entrepreneur you've never heard of," although he has been described since that time in more limited terms such as a "benefactor."[34][35]

In February 2009, The Washington Post reported that Poole had attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a few semesters before dropping out. It reported that Poole was living with his mother while looking for a way to make money from owning 4chan.[32]


  1. ^ Chris Poole part 1/3- ROFLCON 2012 – Solo Panel, Christopher Poole - "I'm 24 years old" YouTube site, May 10, 2012
  2. ^ Godoy, Leopoldo (December 21, 2008). "Conheça as dez modinhas que mais bombaram na internet em 2008" (in Portuguese). G1. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  3. ^ "The World's Most Influential Person Is...". TIME. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  4. ^ Heater, Brian (April 27, 2009). "4Chan Followers Hack Time's 'Influential' Poll". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  5. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (April 21, 2009). "4Chan Takes Over The Time 100". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  6. ^ "moot wins, Time Inc. loses " Music Machinery". 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  7. ^ Reddit Top Links. "Marble Cake Also the Game [PIC]". Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Paraflows 09". September 12, 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  9. ^ Herwig, Jana. Partial transcript: Moot on 4chan and why it works as a meme factory, Digiom blog, April 6, 2010. accessed 2010-04-07
  10. ^ "TED2010 program of speakers". Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  11. ^ Fisher, Ken. 4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010, Ars Technica, February 11, 2010. accessed 2010-02-12
  12. ^ "4chan founder: Anonymous speech is 'endangered'". SciTechBlog ( Blogs). February 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  13. ^ Leal, Fred (April 19, 2010). "Feio, sujo e surreal". O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). p. L1. Archived from the original on 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  14. ^ Cha, Ariana Eunjung (August 10, 2010). "4chan users seize Internet's power for mass disruptions". Washington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Dibbell, Julian (2010-09-10). "Radical Opacity". Technology Review. 
  16. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 31, 2011). "From the Creator of 4chan Comes the More Mature Canvas". The New York Observer. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  17. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (August 11, 2010). "Sarah Palin hacker trial provides 'lolz' courtesy of 4chan founder". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  18. ^ Transcript of testimony
  19. ^ Roy, Jessica (November 19, 2012). "4Chan Founder Moot Sends Cease & Desist Letter to Startup Moot.It". Betabeat. 
  20. ^ Westphall, Travis (November 28, 2012). "Moot Launches $10M Lawsuit Against Startup". Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. 
  21. ^ "A very important note from Team Canvas". Canvas Blog. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  22. ^ D'Onfro, Jillian (January 21, 2014). "A Classy Way to Admit Your Startup is Dead". Business Insider. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  23. ^ Welch, Chris (January 21, 2014). "4chan founder Chris Poole is shutting down Canvas and DrawQuest for iOS". The Verge. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ "THE NEXT CHAPTER by moot – 1/21/15 @ 11:00AM EST". 4chan Blog. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  25. ^ "moot's final 4chan Q&A by 4chan – 1/23/15 @ 2:00PM EST". 4chan. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  26. ^ Kushner, David (March 13, 2015). "4chan's Overlord Christopher Poole Reveals Why He Walked Away". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 20, 2015. 
  27. ^ moot. "Full Circle". 4chan. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  28. ^ Issac, Mike (September 21, 2015). "4chan Message Board Sold to Founder of 2Channel, a Japanese Web Culture Pioneer". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  29. ^ Brophy-Warren, Jamin (2008-07-09). "Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  30. ^ a b c Grossman, Lev (2008-07-09). "The Master of Memes". Time 172 (3) (United States). pp. 50–51. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  31. ^ Grossman, Lev (July 10, 2008). "Now in Paper-Vision: The 4chan Guy". Time. Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  32. ^ a b Hesse, Monica (February 17, 2009). "A Virtual Unknown; Meet 'Moot,' the Secretive Internet Celeb Who Still Lives With Mom". The Washington Post. pp. 23–24. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  33. ^ "moot – The 2009 TIME 100 Finalists". Time. March 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  34. ^ Smith, David (July 20, 2008). "The 20-year-old at heart of web's most anarchic and influential site". London: Observer. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  35. ^ Cohen, Stefanie (February 22, 2009). "Grosses and ’Nets". New York Post. p. 25. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 

External links