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4chan Founder Chris ‘Moot’ Poole Retires at 26

After a decade.

by Carl Franzen
Jan 21 2015, 5:20pm

Image: Sage Ross/Wikimedia Commons

Today is a milestone in weird internet history: Christopher Poole, the 26-year-old founder of the infamously anarchical website 4chan, is retiring as 4chan's lead administrator.

Poole, an internet prodigy better known by his username "Moot," announced the decision just over an hour ago on 4chan's ne​ws blog: "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 says he'll remain involved as "Admin Emeritus" and is planning on hosting a live Q&A with 4chan users this Friday, January 23rd. He's also taking questions via email at moot@4chan.org.

4chan is an anonymous online image and text forum that's perhaps best known as the birthplace of the Anonymous hacktivism movement back in 2003 and the lolcats meme, as well as countless other popular memes and web slang. The site has also lent itself to ​cyber​bullying.

Although it never quite appealed to a mainstream audience—likely due to the preponderance of disturbing and explicit content that users freely and frequently published—4chan had over 20 million unique monthly visitors as of last count.

It's also been the spawning grounds of several crowdsourced web pranks and hacks that caught the attention of the mainstream media, including recurringly trying to manipulate Time's Person of T​he Year online poll and another contest ​on Op​rah Winfrey's website.

While Poole doesn't go into details about what lead him to the decision to step down at this time, it comes on the heels of his decision to sh​ut down his newer startup company, Canvas Networks, which was behind the social drawing apps DrawQuest and Canvas.

Poole says that 4chan is financially stable and will continue to operate as usual under the direction of "a few senior volunteers." 4chan makes money by selling advertising, accepting donations, and selling a pass that offers users streamlined logins sans-CAPTCHAs.

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