The case for anonymity online: Christopher "moot" Poole on TED.com

Posted by: Matthew Trost

The founder of 4chan, a controversial, uncensored online imageboard, describes its subculture, some of the Internet “memes” it has launched, and the incident in which its users managed a very public, precision hack of a mainstream media website. The talk raises questions about the power — and price — of anonymity. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 11:24)

Watch Christopher “moot” Poole’s talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 700+ TEDTalks.

Comments (5)

  • Pingback: Catch Me If You Can: The Quest for Anonymity in Online Communities | Communities & Social Networks

  • Anne Weber commented on Sep 26 2012

    While anonymity may allow people to express themselves without consequences, it also creates a false sense of security. Anonymity allows people to express themselves without reproach. For more http://trufflepigsearch.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/is-there-anonymity-left-on-the-internet/

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  • Alexander Lüthje commented on Jun 16 2010

    One of the greatest flaws of the concept of peer review is reputation. If you have a reputation for doing something well enough, some might be tempted to ignore flaws or accept things based purely on that.

    Anonymity allows you to posit anything and only be judged on the content of your statement. Science isn’t for personal gain, there are other businesses more suited for that.

    Of course, currently 4chan is mainly used for porn and other things relating to the lowest common denominators available – but imagine an anonymous scientific community?

    Sure a undergrad student might not know as much as a seasoned researcher, but if two such individuals were allowed to communicate, without knowing each others backgrounds other than they both have a shared interest for a certain field of science – thats where the magic happens. As a grad student I see my professors bounce ideas back and forth with their students all the time. Some really good ideas and theories can come from that.

  • Mike Baird commented on Jun 2 2010

    Mixed feelings about anonymity. But we do need more people like Christopher Poole. An internet success who doesn’t care about making money? That’s amazing. I’m just worried who’s going to feed him!