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Prosecutor to 4Chan Founder: Please Explain the Meaning of "Rickroll"

By Joseph Calamia
Aug 11, 2010 11:48 PMNov 19, 2019 9:32 PM


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When a Tennessee man hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail account and wrote of his exploits on the forum 4chan, federal investigators asked the site's founder Christopher "Moot" Poole for server logs. Court testimony from April and published yesterday shows that federal prosecutors had other pressing questions for Poole: for example, the meaning of "peeps" and "rickroll." Assistant to the U.S. Attorney Mark Krotoski questions Poole:

Q. Certain terms, have a meaning unique to 4chan? A. Yes. Q. Like "OP," what is "OP"? A. OP means original poster. Q. Are you familiar these terms, having been the founder and administrator of the 4chan site? A. Yes. Q. What would "lurker" mean? A. Somebody who browses but does not post, does not contribute. Q. What do the words "caps" mean? A. Screenshots. Q. And is there any significance to "new fags"? A. That is the term used to describe new users to the site. Q. What about "b tard"? A. It's a term that users of the /b/- Random board use for themselves. Q. What about "troll"? A. Troublemaker. Q. "404"? A. 404 is the status code for not found. It means essentially gone or not found. Q. Not found on where, the 4chan site? A. 404 is the http status code for not found, a page not found by the Web server. Q. In what about "peeps"? A. People. Q. "Rickroll"? A. Rickroll is a mean [sic] or Internet kind of trend that started on 4chan where users -- it basically a bait and switch. Users link you to a video of Rick Astley performing Never Gonna Give You Up.

Bonus humor points for the fact that the court reporter had apparently never heard the word "meme" before. The story went viral yesterday; we found it on Gawker's Valleywag and the complete testimony on The Smoking Gun. Apologies to those hoping to find a reference to LOLcats: relevancy?

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Related content: Bad Astronomy: Sucked into a black LOL Discoblog: Your Plants Have More Twitter Followers Than You—Literally Discoblog: ZOMG! Get These iPhone Apps Right Meow! Discoblog: Should the Internet Win the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

Image: flickr /Andrew Dupont

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