“Anonymous kind of was like the strong, buff kid who had low self esteem and then all of a sudden punched somebody in the face and was like, ‘Holy Shit, I’m really strong!'”

This was just one great quote from We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, which premiered last night at Austin’s South By South West festival in a jammed Vimeo Theater.

Brian Knappenberger’s documentary is a revealing look at the culture of 4Chan and Anonymous, showing the world just how much power this loose but large group really has. In addition to Knappenberger, Internet activist and sometime Anon Gregg Housh led a fascinating Q&A session following the movie, demonstrating how the filmmakers have been able to gain the trust of, and therefore access to, many of the individuals who “are” Anonymous. This movie is going to be huge and I’m hoping to see it released generally soon. Until then, here’s the trailer:

Google and Facebook would have you believe that you’re a mirror, that there is one reflection that you have, this one idea of self. But in fact we’re more like diamonds, you can look at people from any angle and see something totally different.

4chan founder Chris Poole discusses the problem with personal identity as conceived by Facebook and Google. Basically, that they expect us to maintain a single, consistent persona throughout life, which is not how we actually exist:

The New York Times sat down for an interview with “Moot,” real name Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan. Poole discusses the (lack of) sales offers for the site (the biggest bid he’s received was for $45,000), his efforts to keep 4chan secret from his family, and his own fear of and lack and control over the site’s users.

You go by the name “Moot.” Why?

As a teenager, I used to use the nickname “Moo” as a moniker online, and then I turned into “Moot” for fun, which I didn’t even realize was a real word at the time, and it just stuck with me.

How old were you when you started 4chan? I was 15. I’m 22 now.

From TechCrunch:

On Thursday 8 January 2009, then 18-year old Mahoud Samed Almahadin (aka Matt Connor aka Agent Pubeit) took off his shirt, proceeded to rub vaseline all over his upper body and subsequently used it to hold toenail clippings and pubic hair. He then ran into the New York Scientology building, tossed some books around and smeared the mixture on objects.

After his greasy raid, Mahoud Samed Almahadin was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and aggravated harassment as hate crimes. Weeks later, 21 year-old film student and Anonymous member Jacob Speregen was charged with the same crimes, bar burglary, because he had filmed Almahadin carrying out his prank (video below).

Fast Company’s Cliff Kuang reports:

Welcome to Chat Roulette. It’s simple: The site pairs you with a random videochat partner. You can click “next” any time, or stay with your current pairing.

Then things start tripping into psychedelic performance-art territory. As a friend says, “It’s the Internet. UNFILTERED.” The big lure is basically seeing something strange–or doing something so strange that you blow your partner’s mind.

You might see people in horrifying masks dancing around. Chinese users seem to love virtual high fives. One person’s shtick is a puppet who makes like a caring psychotherapist and will sit with you for hours. A friend reports a man holding up a sign that said, “Assroll?”–and promptly rolling over backwards, naked. (Nudity is hard to avoid.)

Also, challenges are big–successively crazier things. You might start by eating a page of your favorite book. You might end by calling your mother and screaming that you’re being murdered. Think of YouTube, with even more exhibitionism because everything is live and nothing is being recorded.

This appears to be the place where all the freaks trawling 4chan–a bulletin board better known for inventing LOL Cats and Rick Rolling–have migrated their insanity. And it’s insanely addictive–basically like a slot machine where instead of cherries, you’re hoping for the strangest that humanity has to offer…