Even though Chris Poole, the founder of controversial online forum 4chan is joining Google Plus, the social network won’t become a “den of infamy.”
That’s the promise of one of Google’s lead engineers, responding to the announcement on Monday that Poole would be join its social team.
Yonatan Zunger, a long-time Google engineer who currently acts as the chief architect for social, posted about Poole’s hiring on Google Plus.
4Chan is one of the web’s most popular forums for online discussions, but the site has gained a reputation as a repository of seedy or hateful content, notorious for spawning abuse and high-level pranks (for example, users infamously posted the password to Sarah Palin’s email and spread thousands of nude celebrity photos).
Zunger says that despite 4chan’s penchant for trolls, “Poole is by no means a troll or a troll-curator.”
Here’s his full post:
Since several people have been asking me about this, I just want to mention: At Bradley’s instigation, I spent a few hours chatting with Chris Poole a few years ago. What I discovered was a man who was quite thoughtful about issues of social dynamics and interactions.
The things that 4chan became (in)famous for grew rather organically out of the system, out of the people who ended up congregating there and the ways they used the tools. Poole is by no means a troll or a troll-curator, and I actually think that with the rather different crowd of people who hang out here on G+, he’s going to make something really exciting.
(When you ignore the people who came and went quickly, there’s actually a pretty awesome culture here on the Plus. I’ve had more good conversations on this site than I’ve had, cumulatively, on the entire rest of the Internet. This is a good place to build from.)
So I’m looking forward to seeing what he does. And fear not: we aren’t about to become a den of infamy. This isn’t that kind of place, and we don’t intend for it to be.