Why I Quit 8chan: Former Lead Developer Tells All
Two days ago I quit my job and boarded a flight to New York City. For the last two years I have been lead developer for the website 8chan. For the last three months I have been living and working in the Philippines with the site owner Frederick “Hotwheels” Brennan. Now I’m telling my story.
In October 2013, Frederick told me he was developing a new image board and wanted my help. I’d known him since our days on wizardchan; we’d been friends for years, so I agreed. Since then, so much has changed. The site exploded in popularity (which none of us expected), we moved to a new country, and we began working on another project as well: infinity next.
So why did I quit? Well, it’s complicated. Let me start by saying that I appreciate everything Frederick has done for me, and I still consider him a friend. A lot of this is not his fault, but ever since moving to the Philippines both my job and my relationship with Frederick have gone south. 8chan has become a monster.
For starters, Frederick no longer really cares about the site. He made me quit developing 8chan to focus on infinity next, and as you all know this has led to the site becoming a mess. It is slow, buggy, and upgrading from Ubuntu (yes, it was run on Ubuntu…) to freeBSD did not help as neither of us really knew how to use it. But it’s not just issues on the technical side, the actual running of the site has been left to a group of influential board owners and global moderators.
The current “head” gmod — Desu — is an incompetent fool who only obtained his position through donations (he is very wealthy). Mark (/v/ owner) and impkafy (/pol/ owner) use their positions to stalk and abuse users, doxxing troublesome users with information obtained using their mod powers. The Germans do nothing aside from complain in our irc all day. Honestly, it’s a mess — and none of them work together. The only thing they have in common are large egos and a sense of paranoia. I never became a moderator (although I could have made myself one) because it seems to turn people into complete arseholes.
Meanwhile, infinity next is going nowhere. What money we still get in donations is used for personal expenses, and Jim’s demands have become unbearable. Speaking of Jim, he has been a terrible influence on Frederick. They party almost every night, have sex with dirty whores (seriously the guy has no standards, it’s disgusting), and abuse drugs and alcohol. Frederick was not like this before, and seeing him turn into an addict has been very sad. That being said, let me clear up some misconceptions:
1. Frederick has a tranny gf: No, this is not true. He did engage in “relations” with a ftm hooker but it was by mistake. He get’s really sensitive when this is brought up (it’s why he added signature verification in January, because a user was spreading rumors) so please stop saying it.
2. 8chan is selling your user data: Again, not true, but only because there is nothing to sell. This will change with infinity next, and there are legitimate data protection issues with 8chan which I’ll address below.
3. Jim owns 8chan: No, he owns the server 8chan runs on. You guys need to stop falling for every trick /ints/ plays. Now theoretically he could seize the domain as he did with 2chan but he already calls the shots anyways so I don’t see why he would.
Now that everything is cleared up, let me tell you what finally forced me to quit. I could handle the incompetence, I could even handle the lifestyle, but I could not — I repeat, I could not — program malware into infinity next while lying to the userbase. I was asked to do it, and I had to say no. As you all know the FBI already has access to IP addresses on 8chan (yes, the FBI actually does have global moderator status funnily enough…), but infinity next is going to go further.
When Google blacklisted 8chan, Jim went apoplectic — literally throwing things around the office in rage. He assumed the costs of running 8chan on the expectation that captcha and ad-sense could be integrated into its successor, infinity next, in order to run a profit. Now that dream was dead, and ever since then both Jim and Frederick have been on a PR “offensive” to get 8chan off the shit list, so to say. Finally an opportunity came up that would allow them to alleviate Google’s concerns about illicit content: a backdoor.
A company known as “Red Hat” — famous for developing the Fedora linux distro — contacted Frederick (presumably at the behest of some alphabet agency) offering to sell what amounts to a keylogger program that could be inserted into infinity next’s code. It would store every single post made by every single user on a database run by Red Hat for the use of law enforcement agencies should they require. After a bit of research I learned that Red Hat is itself an NSA subsidiary, and that the same program has been used by 4chan since 2010. This was presented as an opportunity to “legitimize” 8chan, and thus remove it from the Google blacklist (and perhaps regain access to funding sites that have shut out 8chan).
I was asked to insert this code by Jim personally. I was afraid to say no, so I said I’d get to it, but went straight home and booked a flight. 8chan had become a shadow of what it once was, and I wasn’t about to betray the userbase and become a lackey for the US government. To be honest, I don’t think Frederick wants this either — but what choice does he have? He is heavily disabled, alone in a foreign third world country, and completely dependent on Jim. He’s trapped.
Anyways, that’s my story. I wish it didn’t end this way, I really do. I had to move back in with my mother, who I don’t get along with, and now I have to find an actual job…but I felt obliged to tell you all the truth, and to apologize for the way things turned out. I won’t tell you to quit 8chan like I did, but you should at least know what’s really happening.