They See Me Trollin'
When Lawyers Send Letters
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is having the best week ever. After being nominated by The Onion as 2012’s sexiest man alive–and having the announcement subsequently spread across papers in China as if The Onion is a legitimate news source–the meme-friendly leader now has 4chan gunning for him. Like it did for the site’s founder Moot back in 2009, The Daily Dot reports that 4chan’s /b/ board is assembling to affect the outcome of Time‘s Person of the Year award.
4Chan founder Chris Poole, who has gone by the username Moot since 2003, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Oregon-based startup Moot.It, a yet-to-launch company that promises to reimagine forums and commenting. We initially suspected the letter might be a prank from /b/, but confirmed with Mr. Poole’s lawyer, Martin Schwimmer, that it is indeed real.
Mr. Schwimmer, a partner at White Plains law firm Leason Ellis, writes that because Mr. Poole is so closely aligned with the username Moot, any attempt by Moot.It to use the name could result in confusion from users who may wrongfully believe Mr. Poole is associated with the company.
The Internet Makes You Mean
It’s not often that we feel the desire to head over to Patriot Voices, the website of former Presidential candidate and uber-conservative Rick Santorum that serves up partisan vitriol with every click. But a post on Reddit about Mr. Santorum caught our eye and the claim checks out.
Friends In High Places
4Chan, the image board created by New York’s Chris “Moot” Poole when he was just 15, has gone on to generate some of the funniest memes and most destructive communities on the internet. Last year he launched a new startup, Canvas, which tried to recreate the viral language of creating and sharing images without the filth of 4chan. The startup, which has raised more than $3.6 million so far from top flight VCs and angels, opened up to the public today.
Canvas insisted during its private beta that users log in with Facebook Connect and posted a simple set of rules: “Keep it safe for work | Don’t be mean | Stay on topic.” It banned sexually provocative content, hate speech and insults. The rules seems to be working … sort of.
Can I See Your ID
Rocker, motivational speaker and Twitter personality Andrew W.K. is a longtime friend of 4chan ever since the remixologists of /b/ meme-ified his song “Party Hard.” The rocker has appeared in live chats with 4channers and hit up the Williamsburg night life with 4chan founder Chris “Moot” Poole. Brand boosting all around! Now Mr. W.K. is venturing into Moot’s new site, the image editor-based forum Canv.as.
Can I See Your ID
Is New York’s start-up community more inclined to appreciate pseudoanonymity on the web than Silicon Valley? Besides Anil Dash and Caterina Fake, Scott Beale of Laughing Squid and Fred Wilson, New York is home to two prominent champions of the pseudonymous social web: David Karp of Tumblr and Chris Poole of 4chan, who has been fashioned by his media advisors into the philosophical foil for Mark Zuckerberg (and apparently, his sister Randi Zuckerberg) who recently said anonymous posting show “a lack of integrity.”
“Zuckerberg’s totally wrong on anonymity being total cowardice. Anonymity is authenticity. It allows you to share in a completely unvarnished, raw way,” Mr. Poole said during his SXSW keynote.
Words of Wisdom
Google+ and Facebook are pushing users to use their real names everywhere on the web for their convenience and the convenience of the owners of the sites they’re browsing. The trend has clearly been a boon for sites like the Huffington Post, which can get 11,000 comments rife with inanity and raciscm on a single politics story. But we’re starting to get real pushback from–more than just 4chan’s Chris Poole–as more sites force users to comment using their real identities. After Google+ pissed a bunch of people off by deleting profiles that didn’t use real names, Google’s vp of product, Bradley Horowitz, announced today that users can now list “other names” on their Google+ profile and be found by search that way.
Moot (né Christopher Poole) was the latest tech luminary to impart his wisdom and experience, accumulated over the past 20-something years, to hackNY’s 2011 class.
Akarshan Kumar, one of hackNY’s new fellows, chronicled the experience on his blog New York Summer. In the two-hour talk Mr. Poole covered everything from his personal temperament (“I’m not easily offended. I run 4chan”) to not being friends with your board members.
But Mr. Poole’s most trenchant advice seemed to be about picking the right co-founder and the benefits of imperfection. When picking a partner to run your start-up, over-eagerness should be a turn-off. Instead, he told them, go for a hard-to-get founder you’re going to have to fight to work with. Mr. Kumar’s take away? “If your prospective co-founder wants to sleep with you, don’t sleep with him.”
Chris Poole-founded, Lerer-backed start-up Canv.as is still in private beta but nudging toward the spotlight with new features and public threads–still, the image editor/meme generator can’t shake its connection to its founder’s widely-loathed and misunderstood first start-up, 4chan. “Canvas isn’t a ‘4chan-related’ site. 4chan is 4chan. Canvas is Canvas,” the company tweeted last week at a user who complained that it was “heavily censored” and “we have to behave like school kids.”
Wonder if the Canvas investors at Lerer are eating their own dogfood? The new image-based forum from the maker of 4chan, Canvas, is still in closed beta–you have to request an invite and sign in with Facebook Connect to participate in the remixology. But users can now share the URLs of specific image threads like this one!