As someone mildly fascinated by the internet’s smelly butthole and its denizens, I’ve been looking forward to reading Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker since I heard it was a work coming down the pipeline. With the book coming out on September 1, Stryker — whose name should open some doors into porn if his efforts as a scribe don’t pan out — has been doing publicity for it, and I read an interview he did with the New York Observer over the weekend that was all kinds of interesting.
In the interview, Stryker — who says that he came to be obsessed with 4chan’s /b/ board after he and a friend would often try to gross each other out with images they found there — details how he fears retribution from some users of the site who have managed to find out where he lives after learning he was working on a book about them.
“They found out where I live. He tweeted me my apartment number!”
Are you serious?
I’m like freeeeeeeaking out. [laughs]
It was just some random guy. What happened was he initially tweeted, ‘What makes you a 4chan expert?’ My publicist insisted on positioning me as a 4chan expert on the Amazon page, even though I knew it would invite ridicule. I tweeted back jokingly, ‘Oh 4chan and I ordered Chinese and watched Chocolat on the couch last night.’ And he responded, “Oh at [apartment number redacted] or over at their place?” I was just like what the fuuuuuuuu*k.
Is this the first response that Anonymous or 4chan has had to the book?
No, I posted about it while I was writing it. I would start like a thread and say, ‘Hey, I’m working on this book, what do you think about that?’ People were generally like, ‘Well, we’re gonna find out where you live.’ I knew there was a little bit of danger in that. I did not know they’d be able to find my information before the book came out. [Ed. note: Shortly after Betabeat got off the phone with Mr. Strkyer, who was headed to the Tumblr office to talk about his book, he emailed us, “My sis just im'd me...she keeps getting fb invites from anons. They're trying to dox me!”]
Are you freaked out?
A little bit. I feel like Anonymous right now is so politically-motivated in a way that it wasn’t even a year ago. They’re going after huge corporations and governments rather than individuals the way that they used to before. But they do occasionally go after people. I’m sure you heard about the Parry Aftab thing. She’s a cyberbullying expert that’s often sought out for shows like Good Morning America to talk about how kids shouldn’t be on the internet because it’s too dangerous. They sent a SWAT team to her home. They used a phone re-routing software, I think, to make it look like a man was calling from inside her house and saying, ‘Hey I’ve killed four people and I’m holding two others hostage.’ That’s the kind of stuff that worries me because someone could get killed in a prank like that.
Fear the chan, you guys. Fear the chan.
Also, fear any politician who opens a speech/sermon with a call for a show of hands by asking, “Who likes white people?”