I agree that Poole paints a picture that could lead my mother to think that 4chan was a place worth checking out. There are some very damaged people there.
I have been told that some great discussions occur there, and I believe it. However, there can be no doubt that some use the combination of anonymity and audience for terrible things.
Poole is right that there is value in anonymity. However, there are also some things that people will only do when they have that kind of cover.
I don’t see 4chan as a fine example of the gifts of anonymity.
I do find it interesting the difference between a community with pseudonyms and a completely anonymous one. IMO the difference is as striking as that between one using real-name and pseudonyms.
The ephemerality part is interesting. I wonder what 4chan would look like if posts were permanent. IRL our conversations are real-ID but ephemeral. That’s the medium we use most. I can’t think of a large online platform equivalent.