Q&A With Cole Stryker, Author Of The 4chan Book Epic Win For Anonymous
ole Stryker is the author of Epic Win for Anonymous, a book detailing a typical day of life on the world's largest anonymous imageboard site 4chan, its closely affiliated group Anonymous, as well as its background history. Prior to writing the book, Stryker has written several articles on the subject of Anonymous and internet culture as a former staff writer at the internet culture blog Urlesque.
Q: For our readers who aren't familiar with your work on the Internets, why don't you introduce yourself?
Q: What was the first thing that you stumbled onto on 4chan that made you go back again?
Q: 4chan launched back in 2003, why do you think that this type of book hadn't been written yet?
Q: In describing a typical day on 4chan, you tell the story from the perspective of a person sitting in front of a computer on a 12-hour nonstop marathon of monitoring the site. We've all spent our share of time on the site, but 12 hours sounds like it would give you a different vantage point. Tell us more about this experience.
Q: Can you tell us more about the /b/tards' reaction after you posted the teaser thread about your book?
Q: How does m00t exactly feel about the book?
Q: In the book, your description of Anonymous goes through an interesting change where in the beginning you use the word "pseudo-politics" as one of the characteristics they're best know for. Now in 2011, after Operation BART and arguably multiple hacktivist campaigns targeting governments and other targets, do you think we're seeing a significant transition from "pseudo politics" to something more influential and actionable?
Q: Things get pretty colorful in description of certain 4chan threads. Was there any thread you saw while you were on the watch on 4chan and really wanted to explore in the book, but didn't make it to print?
Q: In the book, you talk about how anonymity and impermanence have been lauded as the primary cause of 4chan's creativity, and later you mention that Reddit is catching up to 4chan in terms of meme creation. Will Reddit eventually hit a wall due to account creation and archived threads?
Q: Chanarchive.org has been increasingly archiving more and more 4chan threads. Do you think that is stifling the creativity by removing the impermanence factor of the community?
Q: Right, and you describe this persona as a game that everyone plays.
Q: Like the bronies, right?
Q: You also talk about the future of 4chan, whether it has jumped the shark or not and what's going to happen to it in the future. You also mention that if anything, it is going to go back to the way it was before. Why would that happen?
Q: What is your all-time favorite meme or viral video?
Q: Which advice animal character do you feel like you empathize with the most?
Q: Thanks for coming!
Cole Stryker is a freelance blogger, author and media consultant. His book Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web is available in both print and digital format. This interview was conducted in person by Amanda Brennan, Don Caldwell and Brad Kim on September 9th, 2011.