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In 2008, I wrote the site’s teenage founder, Poole, whose contact was at the top of the site, asking for an interview. Then I saw 4chan was meeting, not in Baltimore, but a few blocks from my apartment in New York, in fact, in many cities around the world.
Perhaps the most appealing part for users was that you didn’t have to make an account. Now 4chan is often explained as being responsible for some early popular memes like “rickrolling”. The white Impact font with the black outlines, that was them (via S. Terms like “win” and “epic” and “fail” were all created or popularized on 4chan, used there for years before they became a ubiquitous part of the culture.
The software displayed a default name for posters who didn’t sign up — which was everyone. The very method of how gifs and images are interspersed with dialogue in Slack or now i Message or wherever is deeply 4chanian.
In the beginning I didn’t pay all that much attention 4chan.
I knew they were a group of teen anime fans who met to party awkwardly like so many other teens at nerd-themed conventions.