Christopher “Moot” Poole is the founder of one of the most well-known online communities; 4chan. Effective immediately, he is stepping down from his position and leaving the site in the capable hands of three volunteers. Although it comes as a surprise to many, Poole seems very hopeful about his decision to step down from the online message board.
4chan has impacted massive portions of the internet as well as real life events. It is known for the creation and gathering of many things such as Anonymous, Lolcats and The Fappening, but it is also a community. The appeal of the site is that at any point anyone can be heard on a plethora of topics without revealing who they are. Yes, the site has played host to people who performed pranks and in some cases more serious offenses, but for many it is a place to let off some steam.
Poole references 4chan as a third place for some people. At its very least, the site is a virtual location people can go to let off steam, whether that be through internet jokes, music discussion, or more adult topics. There exists boards with tons of information and discussion for more niche topics such as Pokemon, Origami, and Comics.
Three people will be filling Poole’s role as the sites runners: a sys admin, a managing moderator and a lead developer. Even though he is leaving, he wants the site to run as it normally does.
What comes next for the young founder is unknown. He says he currently has no future plans but is excited to invest himself in something, whatever that may be. The past 11 years have held a lot of growth for the founder. Years ago he was “the loneliest webmaster in the world,” which might surprise some. Even though he created the site on his own, he had no co-founder or partner to lean on. The biggest help has been the volunteers, who are also the ones that will keep the site going from now on.
What has always set 4chan apart from other online communities is how committed the users are. Usually social sites that get heavy traffic and peak, and then lose most of their users, but 4chan has maintained its massive community for years. The site has maintained its user presence over the years without dwindling.
Poole founded a venture-backed company called Canvas Networks and with it he created a drawing community that had 400,000 monthly users. DrawQuest was the name, but it failed about a year ago. With the closing came issues with users possibly losing content and other such issues. Leaving 4chan on a positive note is likely something that means a lot to Poole.
When Poole was just 15 years old he created 4chan. In the 11 years he ran 4chan the site saw 1.8 billion posts, 42 billion page views and 1.2 million users daily. Poole noted that the site only started using Google Analytics in 2008, so the true numbers are much larger, although unknown.
Poole does have a personal blog where he writes about what it was like for him running 4chan, as well as other topics (link below). He does mention that maybe he will return in the future as Admin Emeritus or possibly one of the many Anonymous. In the end, Poole feels confident about his decision to leave 4chan. He mentions staying on longer would likely leave him jaded about the project and he would rather make a clean break. 4chan will have to go on without him.