Chris Poole, the founder of the controversial forum 4chan, is leaving the company he founded more than 11 years ago at age 15.
“As 4chan’s sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I’ve come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure,” he writes.
He’ll be retiring from his role and passing his duties on to a few senior volunteers.
Since Poole started 4chan as a high schooler, the site became known for its often seedy or hateful content — notorious for spawning online abuse, high-level pranks, and the infamous hack of Sarah Palin’s email.
“The journey has been marked by highs and lows, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately immense satisfaction,” Poole writes of 4chan. “I’m humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web.”
Interestingly, Poole announced the failure of his drawing-based art community DrawQuest exactly a year ago today.
Here’s Poole’s full letter:
I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on.
4chan has faced numerous challenges over the years, including how to continuously satisfy a community of millions, and ensure the site has the human, technical, and financial resources to continue operating. But the biggest hurdle it’s had to overcome is myself. As 4chan’s sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I’ve come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure.
I’ve spent the past two years working behind the scenes to address these challenges, and to provide 4chan with the foundation it needs to survive me by bolstering its finances, strengthening its infrastructure, and expanding and empowering its team of volunteers. And for the most part, I’ve succeeded. The site isn’t in danger of going under financially any time soon, and it’s as fast and stable as ever thanks to continued development and recent server upgrades. Team 4chan is also at its largest, and while I’ve still been calling the shots, I’ve delegated many of my responsibilities to a handful of trusted volunteers, most of whom have served the site for years.
That foundation will now be put to the ultimate test, as today I’m retiring as 4chan’s administrator. From a user’s perspective, nothing should change. A few senior volunteers — including 4chan’s lead developer, managing moderator, and server administrator — have stepped up to ensure a smooth transition over the coming weeks.
I’ll need time away to decompress and reflect, but I look forward to one day returning to 4chan as its Admin Emeritus or just another Anonymous, and also writing more about my experience running 4chan on my personal blog. The journey has been marked by highs and lows, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately immense satisfaction. I’m humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web. It was truly an honour to serve as 4chan’s founding administrator, and I look forward to seeing what the next decade holds for the site.
On to the next chapter,