The thought, "Chris Anderson reads 4chan?! Maybe even /b/?" crossed my mind only for a moment -- instead, it dawned on me just how obvious a speaker for a session on "provocation" he would be. I was impressed he'd be on the TED radar, frankly, which goes to show how ignorant I am.
The theme of the 2010 TED is "What the World Needs Now" -- for all of the garbage on 4chan, it represents the 'cost' of the free and open exchange of ideas that is the Internet.
I'm expecting a thoughtful talk from Chris. But even if he trolls TED, it'll still make for a great talk. And in a way, further underscore the importance of provocation (at least for some) in what the world needs now.
It's clear that he's relevant to the HN community, given that 4chan is a startup begun from his mom's basement when he was just 15 years old. Despite misinformation about 4chan being run for a loss, he does make money and can afford to run the site without ads from time to time.
He took some available code (2chan's), which was initially very simple, and grew it into a profitable site that is ranked in the Top 1000 on Alexa and that has an outsized influence on internet culture. That's an extremely rare phenomenon, and one that most people here would ostensibly like to repeat.
I'm sure that even if his TED talk features inside jokes it has the potential to be really interesting, and certainly doesn't warrant the prima facie dismissiveness from the other commenters here.
This is why his site has a hard time gaining revenue even though being in the top 1000 on Alexa, no reputable business is going to advertise where porn and violence are the norm.
If you are going to gain anything from what moot has done it is that the idea of anonymity is a very powerful thing.
Any community that gets its laughs by pretending to be idiots will eventually be flooded by actual idiots who mistakenly believe that they're in good company.
Actual /b/tards didn't like all the unsocialized newcomers arriving and parroting memes that they didn't understand ad nauseam. They also didn't like the moral crusading aspect of the newcomers. Neither of these behaviors is a negative change in the community from an outsider's perspective, but it was from an insider's perspective.
The Scientology campaign didn't change the (sometimes satirical) celebration of racism, porn, fascism, child porn, misogyny, and so on--all that pre-existed the influx of new people interested in fighting Scientology. If anything, the new people watered down the sociopathic culture of /b/.
(I, probably along with other people, suggested moot to TED.)
In brief, I think people who participate in shaping 4chan are bad and they should feel bad.
- The Times, the UK's largest and most well known conservative newspaper, now has a regular column on 'lolpets'
- Oprah dedicated an entire show to the 'rainbow parties' hoax
- 4Chan have raised awareness of Scientology beliefs with protests that have been memorable, interesting and fun enough to be covered wherever Tom Cruise goes.
No, I'm not, I shouldn't and I don't. I see and encourage many excellent things at 4chan. I also see a lot of BS and pathetic nonsense....as I'd expect from adolescents. Your argument amounts to 'I hate people because some of them are bad', which is to say not very much at all.
By "antisocial" I meant that most users don't seem to have much respect for other people in a general sense, and that the majority of content seems aimed to entertain peers instead of being independently interesting outside of the 4chan bubble. "Teenagers" (and college students) is pretty much a fact, but I figure it helps explain the rest; I cared a lot more about being cool and popular when I was a teenager, too.
Also, I'm not trying to characterize, for example, the 4chan photography board; I'm mainly talking about /b/ and other more chatty parts. For all I know 4chan has fine topical boards, but that's not why people are interested in talking about it.
To me, the main metric of acceptability at 4can is whether something gets a lot of positive feedback, which will only happen if it's funny in the temporary context in which it exists (and everything is potentially funny in the right context; yes, everything).
The second point of failure is not recognizing the significance of anonymous posting. In one sense it allows vandals and the irresponsible to shelter behind the 4chan Guy Fawkes mask, but in another it means that there is no particular gain for posting - whether it's outrageous, intelligent, or funny.
A post there succeeds or fails on its own merits, such as they are and such as the audience is at any given time. Sure, you can post cliche or offensive stuff of the form 'niggers CP niggers', but the only response you'll get is from other people who think along those lines, and you'll quickly fall off the end of page 10 (or 15 or whatever it now). Post something outrageous like a naughty comic nobody has seen before, and you'll get some feedback...but that won't help you tomorrow. Or indeed, 10 minutes later. Your critiques of people posting outrageous material to be cool and popular would make sense if there were persistent identities on 4chan, but the vast majority of participants choose to embrace the disposable nature of 'anonymous'.
I'm not arguing that it's particularly deep, although it can be. Rather, I am arguing that your criticisms of its shallowness are meaningless in a context where identity is not commoditized. People talk a lot of shit there, as we all know, but they also discuss things that they wouldn't if it weren't so easy do so anonymously.
I'm pretty sure he won't be trolling TED or throwing around in-joke references: He actually seemed pretty sick of all the mindless repetition of memes (and how could he not be?).
He's a smart and thoughtful guy, was very humble, self-deprecating and sarcastic, and had a bunch of interesting anecdotes to tell -- although it did appear that he fairly randomly stumbled into the situation and doesn't have many deep, original insights on online communities/social software/the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
Then again, I believe he same may be said of Jimmy Wales, for example...
Don't ask him how to make money though
Forgive me if I presume too much, but it sounds to me like you've never had a wildly successful project of your own.
I never realized that these were attempts to drive people away. I always saw them as hilarious. I would just mute the page if it was too annoying.
Also, CP stands for Christopher Poole. It is quite likely that Christopher Poole is a fake name, chosen becase of the CP meme.