The Id of the internet

August 25th, 2010

Julian Dibbell has produced a readable, insightful profile of 4chan's founder:

Christopher Poole is 22 years old, and as is often true for men his age, his mental life has been punctuated by a series of passing enthusiasms: video games, online chat rooms, Japanese animation. Currently he seems to be going through a Robert Moses phase. On the nightstand in his New York City apartment is a copy of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, a 1,300-page biography of the mid-20th-century urban planner who, in pursuing his vision of a modernized New York, destroyed one neighborhood after another. [...] On a recent Thursday afternoon, as he walked to work past Washington Square Park and observed the sweeping renovations under way there – a controversial relandscaping imposed by current city planners in the face of heavy local opposition – he saw parallels with the old autocrat's imperious approach to such projects. "Robert Moses is probably smiling," he said. "Like, 'Fuck the people – what do they know!'?"

Like many people, Poole thinks there are better ways than Moses's to manage the tangled social, cultural, and infrastructural needs of a community of millions. But unlike most people – let alone most 22-year-olds – he actually has some experience doing just that. Seven years ago, Poole created the website 4chan [...]

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