Ars Technica's failed interview of Fredrick "Hotwheels" Brennan

On the importance of taking interview subjects to task.


  1. Fredrick "Hotwheels" Brennan is the founder, owner, and operator of 8chan, an anonymous image board.
  2. 8chan is best known for hosting pedophiles and boards for organizing harassment. It is also one of the main hubs for GamerGate, a sprawling campaign of harassing game developers and critics - mostly women and people of color - over nebulous, perceived ethical concerns.
  3. I'm loathe to link Ars Technica's interview because it both rewards Ars for screwing up and promotes Brennan, but it's only fair. Here's how it appears on their front page.
  4. "We wanted to understand what made him build—and subsequently defend—a site like 8chan, and what drives his passion for anonymous online speech." From the introduction. Machkovech's words.
  5. The tagline, presumably written by the editor of the piece.
  6. "By the end of 2014, though, [Brennan's] name was in headlines again because of his site's association with the GamerGate hashtag—specifically, with its most mean-spirited followers—and because a small subset of 8chan users openly doxed and harassed people." From the introduction.
  7. The Daily Dot article focused on pedophiles. My own article on BoingBoing focused on /baphomet/, an 8chan sub-board devoted to doxxing (posting the personal info of someone to people who will use it to harass them) and subsequent harassment. The Washington Post covered both.
  8. I made an inappropriate comment casting baseless aspersions on why Brennan moved to Manila. It was not only baseless but unnecessary; his outspoken defense of hosting child porn speaks for itself.
  9. "How old were you when you were doxed?" Machkovech's words.