Christopher Poole

Christopher Poole
Christopher Poole
Other names moot
Known for Creating 4chan and Canvas.
4chan, Canvas

Christopher Poole is an American internet entrepreneur from New York City, noted for founding the websites 4chan and Canvas. He originally started 4chan anonymously, under the pseudonym moot (always written with lower case).

Impact and activity

In 2008, Leopoldo Godoy of Brazilian TV Globo called Poole's 4chan "the ground zero of Western web culture."[1] In April 2009, moot was voted the world's most influential person of 2008 by an open Internet poll conducted by Time magazine.[2] The results were questioned even before the poll completed, as automated voting programs and manual ballot stuffing were used to influence the vote.[3][4][5] 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."[6]

On September 12, 2009, moot 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, moot mainly attributed this to the anonymous system, and to the lack of data retention on the site ("The site has no memory.").[7][8]

On February 10, 2010, moot spoke at the TED2010 conference in Long Beach, California.[9][10] He spoke about the increasing prevalence of persistent user identities and the sharing of personal information on sites like Facebook and Twitter and he also spoke about the value of anonymous posting on sites like 4chan.[11] 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."[12]

In 2010, Poole was reported to have raised $625,000 to create a new online enterprise, Canvas.[13][14] The website opened on January 31, 2011, and features digitally modified images uploaded by users who are required to self-identify using Facebook Connect.[15]

In April 2010, Poole gave evidence in the trial United States of America v. David Kernell as a government witness.[16] As a witness, moot explained the terminology used on 4chan to the prosecutor, ranging from "OP" to "lurker." moot also explained to the court the nature of the data given to the FBI as part of the search warrant, including how users can be uniquely identified from site audit logs.[17]

In a 2010 interview, Poole discussed his belief in the value of multiple identities, including anonymity, in contrast to the merge of online and real-world identities occurring on Facebook and many other social networking sites.[14]


Moot's real-world identity — Christopher Poole — was revealed on July 9, 2008, in The Wall Street Journal.[18] The same day, Lev Grossman of Time published an interview describing moot's influence 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.[19] Later, on July 10, Grossman admitted that there was an outside chance that Christopher Poole was not moot's real name, rather an obscure reference to a 4chan inside joke.[20] The Washington Post concurred that "Christopher Poole" could be "all a big hoax, a 'gotcha.' It would be just what you'd expect from the creator of 4chan."[21] In March 2009, Time backpedaled somewhat on the issue by placing the moot persona on the 2009 Time 100 finalists list.[22] 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."[19] As moot, he has spoken at conferences at Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[19] A 2008 article in The Observer had him down as "the most influential web entrepreneur you've never heard of," though he has since been described in more limited terms such as "benefactor."[23][24]

In February 2009, The Washington Post reported that Poole had attended Virginia Commonwealth University for a few semesters before dropping out. It reported that moot was living with his mother while looking for a way to make money from owning 4chan.[21]


  1. ^ Godoy, Leopoldo (21 December 2008). "Conheça as dez modinhas que mais bombaram na internet em 2008" (in Portuguese). G1.,,MUL930089-16307,00-CONHECA+AS+DEZ+MODINHAS+QUE+MAIS+BOMBARAM+NA+INTERNET+EM.html. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  2. ^ "The World's Most Influential Person Is...". TIME. 2009-04-27.,8599,1894028,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ Heater, Brian (27 April 2009). "4Chan Followers Hack Time's 'Influential' Poll". PC Magazine.,2817,2345987,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  4. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (21 April 2009). "4Chan Takes Over The Time 100". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  5. ^ "moot wins, Time Inc. loses " Music Machinery". 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  6. ^ Reddit Top Links. "Marble Cake Also the Game [PIC]". Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Paraflows 09". 12 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  8. ^ Herwig, Jana. Partial transcript: Moot on 4chan and why it works as a meme factory, Digiom blog, 6 April 2010. accessed 2010-04-07
  9. ^ "TED2010 program of speakers". Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  10. ^ Fisher, Ken. 4chan's moot takes pro-anonymity to TED 2010, Ars Technica, 11 February 2010. accessed 2010-02-12
  11. ^ "4chan founder: Anonymous speech is 'endangered'". SciTechBlog ( Blogs). 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  12. ^ Leal, Fred (19 April 2010). "Feio, sujo e surreal" (in Portuguese). O Estado de S. Paulo: p. L1. Archived from the original on 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  13. ^ Cha, Ariana Eunjung (August 10, 2010). "4chan users seize Internet's power for mass disruptions". Washington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Dibbell, Julian (2010-09/10). "Radical Opacity". Technology Review. 
  15. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne (January 31, 2011). "From the Creator of 4chan Comes the More Mature Canvas". The New York Observer. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (11 August 2010). "Sarah Palin hacker trial provides 'lolz' courtesy of 4chan founder". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  17. ^ Transcript of testimony
  18. ^ Brophy-Warren, Jamin (2008-07-09). "Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  19. ^ a b c Grossman, Lev (2008-07-09). "The Master of Memes". Time (United States) 172 (3): pp. 50–51.,8599,1821435,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-24 
  20. ^ Grossman, Lev (10 July 2008). "Now in Paper-Vision: The 4chan Guy". Time. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  21. ^ a b Hesse, Monica (17 February 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. 
  22. ^ "moot - The 2009 TIME 100 Finalists". Time. 19 March 2009.,28804,1883644_1883653_1885481,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  23. ^ Smith, David (20 July 2008). "The 20-year-old at heart of web's most anarchic and influential site". London: Observer. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  24. ^ Cohen, Stefanie (22 February 2009). "Grosses and ’Nets". New York Post: p. 25. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 

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