4chan founder Christopher Poole, also known as Moot on his rogue image board, said he wants to keep his latest image board project Canv.as separate from 4chan and will not compel the users to port over. He made the comments at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York today.
Poole said he wanted to re-imagine the image board with his new venture-backed company Canv.as. He also said he expects many members of 4chan to move over to Canv.as once the site comes out of public beta, which should happen sometime in the next several months. But he does not want to force 4chan users to migrate over and doesn’t plan on technically duct taping the two sites together at any point.
4chan came out eight years ago and has since become a font of memes and new content that typically spreads across the Internet like wildfire. A lot of sites have tried to replicate the community energy that 4chan seems to have — Reddit included — but the 4chan magic just doesn’t seem to pop up anywhere else. Still, the Reddit community is able to get pretty close and does have a very tight-knit community — hence 4chan’s attempt to pull in users from Reddit.
4chan’s major drawing point is that any user can post anything anonymously, which leads to an enormous amount of content creation, but also to some issues regarding illegal content. The content isn’t curated and there are basically no rules, which is part of the appeal. That chaos, while off-putting to conventional publishers and advertisers, ends up breeding some of the most creative memes the Internet has to offer.
But the site is plagued with racist remarks and other distasteful content — sometimes even questionably legal content — as a result of the lack of curation. It takes a pretty brave soul to venture over to the main website, much less the site’s random board /b/ — where some of the best content on the Internet takes shape.
After browsing both Canv.as and 4chan for several months, I can see that there are lots of similarities between the two sites’ users. Most 4chan users are tech-savvy and know their way around image-editing programs like Photoshop. But Canv.as is trying to remove that technical barrier to entry by making it simple to edit images. It’s a natural evolution of the original purpose of 4chan — a place to remix content and promote free discussion. Anyone can then vote on the images with “stickers” — signaling a positive or a negative vote. And — most importantly — users can post the content anonymously, though they still have to log in to post content in the first place.
Poole said 4chan has reached 18 million monthly unique users, according to numbers from Google. 4 million monthly visitors in the U.S. and 8 million globally according to analytics measuring company Quantcast. The number of users registered by Google shot up because of a change in a tag, he said.