Few communities have shaken the Internet the way anything-goes imageboard 4chan has. Now, founder Christopher “moot” Poole has announced his departure from the site.
“I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on,” Poole wrote on Wednesday.
An English-language forum open to a variety of topics, 4chan’s subject matter spans the legal and illegal and everything from cartoons to shock porn. 4chan is credited as the birthplace of anarchic hacker coalition Anonymous and the origin of LOL cats and bronies, among countless other Internet memes and phenomena. It’s a place for cyber bullies such as the attackers who released stolen nude celebrity photos, but also the place where internet vigilantes tracked down an animal abuser and had her brought to justice. For better or for worse, the website Poole created as a teenager is a major influence on and hub for Internet culture.
In a news post on 4chan, Poole said he’s leaving in order to remove the site’s largest “point of failure”—an all powerful administrator. Poole said he’s giving up his influence in order to make 4chan more democratic. It can easily be hinted that a secondary reason for his retirement is relief from the pressure that comes with being the public face of such a volatile group of anonymous users.
“The journey has been marked by highs and lows, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately immense satisfaction. I’m humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web,” said Poole.
Poole said the site will remain stable and active and the only difference will be that he no longer will administer it.
“From a user’s perspective, nothing should change. A few senior volunteers—including 4chan’s lead developer, managing moderator, and server administrator—have stepped up to ensure a smooth transition over the coming weeks,” he said.
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