Episode #29

with special guest Chris Poole

The Stack Exchange Podcast
66 minutes, 30.2mb, recorded 2011-11-29

Jeff and Joel are joined today by Chris "Moot" Poole, founder of 4chan and Canv.as.  It's a wide ranging discussion from internet memes and tropes to the danger of the SOPA bill that is currently making it's way through the house.

  • We need a number display like they have in delis. If anyone out there can get us one on the cheap, Joel would appreciate it so he can always know what podcast number we're on.
  • Canvas is re-imagining a message board, because the aesthetic of forums hasn't changed in a very long time. It's got a focus on remixing and collaborating images.
  • It's similar to 4chan but interestingly, Canvas requires users to authenticate their login using Facebook to deter trolls, but still allows pseudonymous and anonymous posting.
  • 4chan is weird. Stuff doesn't last very long there - there's no archive. Moot gives us a brief history of 4chan and how and why he started it.
  • Its a fast way to get a message out to thousands of people because every post starts out as position zero on page zero. That's why 4chan has a reputation for "porniness" when that actually represents a small percentage of the content that ends up there. (See the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.)
  • Most of the internet's memes originate on 4chan. They make the internet! The memes migrate to Reddit, where they move to the greater internet as a whole.
  • 4chan and Reddit (and Tumblr and Twitter) reflect a recent trend away from text and toward images, short-form text, short videos, etc.
  • So! Canvas! It's a real venture-backed company. It's not going to serve display ads (unlike 4chan which has only been monetized by banner ads).
  • Shifting gears to talk about SOPA/PROTECT-IP. Hollywood wants it, and they spend way more money on campaign financing than the tech industry, so legislators are going to pass it. Hollywood wants the ability to go after ISPs who are resolving DNS entries to overseas sites, which is stupid because the workaround for that policy is simple. It wreaks havoc on the existing DMCA provisions for protecting copyrighted content online.
  • A long, long time ago... people tried to sue telephone companies for allowing calls in which illegal things were discussed. That was ridiculous, and the phone companies were ruled to have no liability for how their channel is used. That's the precedent that the internet operates on today.
  • Joel describes the current provisions outlined in the DMCA that give copyright holders and websites ways to enforce copyright in a fair way that punishes only the infringer, not the website.
  • It's demonstrative of the fact that Congress is run by corporations currently; the only things that gets passed are things that companies want passed. Example: pizza is a vegetable.
  • Go to americancensorship.org to learn all about SOPA/PROTECT-IP, and what you should do to get involved. (Hint: in the U.S., it involves contacting your representatives.) It's likely to come to a full floor vote soon, and we need to stop it. Add your name to the list Senator Ron Wyden will read during his filibuster of the bill.
  • We come back to 4chan, where we learn about moderators, janitors, and on-topic-ness rules on the various boards. People apply to be moderators on 4chan, so it's self-selecting.
  • Chris is on Twitter, as are 4chan and Canvas. Also be sure to check out canv.as and 4chan... but don't do that last one at work.

Join us next week, at the regular time, when our guest is Robert Cartaino, head of the community team here @ Stack Exchange

This free podcast is from our Stack Exchange series.

For The Conversations Network:

  • Post-production audio engineer: Alex Miller
  • Website editor: Alex Miller
  • Series producer: Alex Miller