Okay. Maybe I should have said princess.
Any internet savvy geek that says he/she has never visited 4chan is like any 16 year old boy saying he’s never masturbated. You’re just not fooling anyone. I’ve never been shy about admitting that I am (was?) an active 4chan lurker for many, many moons (by memory, since about 2004/5). I mean, /wg/ is still my first stop when ever I get tired of my desktop wallpaper. I get a lot of my comic news and opinions on /co/, find new anime and manga to check out on /a/, check out what the latest gaming buzz is on /v/ & /vg/, got opinions and help making stuff on /diy/, and yes, spent an inordinate amount of time giggling at stuff on the infamous /b/. I suppose by admitting it, I am not what you’d refer to as “anon”. Today is an interesting day in the legend of the beloved(?) “Armpit of the Internet”. Moot (the moniker used by 4chan founder Christopher Poole) has announced his retirement.
— moot (@moot) January 21, 2015
“Who cares?!” some might say, “Good riddance!” may say others, especially as of late since all the changes that have been made to the site have pushed many long time users away (most running to 8chan). What changes? Well, mostly a lot of moderation to the previously seemingly unmoderated random board, /b/. Well, honestly, it is a big deal in the history of the web. Say what you will about 4chan, it’s footprint on internet culture, even modern culture as we know it, is possibly larger than any other site on the web. If you really look into it, that fact is inarguable.
If you look at every major “meme” that has hit the internet in the past 10 years, like “Lolcats” and “Rickrolling”, I’d venture to say that no less than 75% of them got their start as some stupid joke or weird post on 4chan. Granted, mostly on /b/. And moot is the one that started the whole thing. He is the creator of the badlands, the evil overlord (underlord?) of the largest area of truly free speech on the internet. He built the hive and we populated it with the chaos that “free speech” brings to a legion of repressed weirdos given anonymity.
Was /b/ or “Random” was the wretched hive of scum and villainy everyone claims? Yes. Is it still? That remains to be seen. The repercussions of certain incidents of “social injustice” (it hurts me to even type that), have caused some changes in the moderation of the boards. The “free speech” has been wrangled in and moderated, proving it no longer so free. The way things have been going in the past year, it almost seemed like even the anonymity might be taken away. “Well good, those jerks on there need to take account for their actions!!” you might say. You may very well be right in that thought, but think further. Punishing a select few (it may seem like a lot, but when you consider the whole, it’s not really that many) may affect many, many more. Censoring opinions, wrong as they may seem, is bad. Because what happens down the line when a larger group disagrees with you? See what I’m saying? It’s a much larger conversation to be had than I’m going to get into in this article. The point is, the open forum that moot started has begun to be censored. And now moot is leaving. So what is to become of things moving forward?
Just as 4chan was built as a sort of “copy” of a site moot was a fan of, most other “chans” and open forums are copies of it. Trying to “cash in”, if you will, on the popularity. So when the biggest beast goes down, or if the changes made become monetarily fruitful, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of them follow suit. And the internet as we know it changes forever.
So yes, does it mean anything that moot is leaving 4chan? I’d say so. It’s an important note in an early chapter of the history of the world wide web. What changes are his leaving going to make? Have the SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) won and are taking over? Who’s going to be running the show? Will the reigns be given slack? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Moot did an 8-hour Q&A which, if you wish to, you can listen to in its entirety here: