Over the weekend, a interesting demographic survey of over 6000 4Chan users made the rounds of 4Chan, Reddit and Hacker News. While if anyone is going to skew a survey it’s 4Chan users, the Google document with the responses given a lot of Internet ink, lauded for being “bracingly honest.“
I emailed 4Chan founder moot a.k.a Christopher Poole to get his take on what one commenter called “One of the best representations of the youth in the 21st century.” “It’s total garbage,” Poole responded.
When asked if this was yet another example of media trolling (remember TIME’s “Person Of The Year 2009″?), Poole clarified “It’s ‘real’ in the sense that a random user conducted it and I imagine he collected responses on 4chan. But the questions, answers, sample, method used, etc aren’t exactly scientific. It should be taken with a massive grain of salt.”
4Chan user genkouhande, who set up the ongoing poll as a project on December 24th, tells TechCrunch that while all surveys do have error, he’s confident with the results, having included test responses like “Age: Over 59,” “Started masturbating: Over 18,” and “Time spent on 4Chan: 24+” to help trap the trolls. “As more people answered the survey the results seemed to be less chaotic and have now been pretty typical,” he said.
Poole tells us that 4Chan itself does not collect any sort of demographic data and that there are no plans to conduct any sort of official OKCupid-type survey, “Kind of defeats the point of an anonymous message board, doesn’t it?” Heh.
4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. Different boards are dedicated to different topics, from Japanese anime to videogames, music, and photography. Users do not need to register a username before participating in the community.