“Moot” is now the most influential man in the world according to Time magazine’s annual online poll, edging out the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Oprah Winfrey. Wait, who? Lesser known as Christopher Poole, he founded the website 4chan, home of Internet group Anonymous and one of the largest bulletin board sites on the net.
The end results of the poll are hilariously skewed, not only did “moot” win, but his followers spelled out “mARBLECAKE ALSO THE GAME” with the starting letter of the names of the first 21 people on the list. “Marblecake” is a reference to an IRC channel #marblecake where Operation Chanology, Anonymous’s offensive on Scientology began. As for “the game,” Time and its millions of viewers just lost it.
So how was it done? Pretty easily, most 4chan users agree. A program called “mooter” was released by an anonymous user soon after moot was discovered to be among Time’s chosen candidates. It systematically upvoted moot while downvoting everyone else. Anyone who ran mooter was sending thousands of votes every hour to Time’s poll, which was ill-equipped to fight back against it. A few autonomous scripts after that and all of the candidates’ rankings were in Anonymous’ hands, thus allowing them to spell out their message.
Despite obvious foul-play, Time owned up to “moot’s” victory, writing “to put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it’s worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job.” It’s also worth noting these are only the Internet poll results, which won’t reflect the actual top 100 their editors choose for the print magazine.
So why all the combined effort, elaborate programs, and ruthless exploits of loopholes? One user put it as most would, “for the lulz” (a meme that is a corruption of ‘lol’.)