Q Revealed: QAnon Origins Explained as a Hoax

Who Is Q

This post is something perhaps many of you will not want to read, and will be inclined to dismiss it as a lie. However, I believe it is authentic, and what it reveals is that the much-lauded Q ‘drops’ started out as a hoax, but became so popular that the people who posted them could not and would not give up.

The text below was posted to Pastebin by a user named Qwho, and by now it will probably have expired because it was posted for a limited number of days. I do have copies of the text, however, and at todays’ date it has been read by nearly 104 thousand people.

The person who wrote this text is the original Q.

Read his story to find out how an innocent chatboard gave rise to one of the most influential conspiracies the world has ever known (apart perhaps from the “blood libel” against the Jews, and the abominable “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, both of which are being reproduced in this modern era in a form that attacks not only Jews but other groups of people.)

For obvious reasons, the writer doesn’t identify himself. I suspect that he is indeed user “moot” who used to moderate the original group. Read the text and see if you agree with that conclusion.

His motive for writing is that he feels ashamed and embarrassed at what a one-time fun hobby has become, due to it being hijacked by a rogue user by the name of “Hotwheels”. You will read how this user took over the identity and posts of Q and hooked up with dubious backers to perpetrate a huge hoax on America – and now the rest of the world.

The rise and deadly influence of QAnon seems unstoppable, and even Christians are defending it and trusting these ridiculous proclamations.

President Trump himself has referred to, and retweeted, Q “drops” and recently refused to criticise the group. This has become much more than a trolling exercise. It HAS led to violence, as in the case of Comet Ping Pong Pizza Restaurant, and if things go the way Trump is planning, it will lead to division, hatred, rioting and possibly even murder – all in the name of unproven slanders that are the invention of internet trolls.

Qanon text on Portland shields

In these recent photos of Portland unrest, these “proud boys” (far right activists) are seen with a Qanon slogan “Save The Children” and their motto WWG1WGA. It is clear that the influence of Q has reached far further than even its makers intended.

Christopher Poole, 4chan’s founder, 2012

Here is the text, slightly edited for clarity and brevity.

“The Great Awakening”

You have arrived.

It’s been a long journey. Take a moment. Take a deep breath. Get a glass of water and sit down. This is going to be long. It’s going to make you uncomfortable. It’s not what you thought it was going to be, but it’s what you didn’t even know you needed to hear. The totality of this is greater than the sum of its parts and I implore you to read all the way to the end.

It’s going to make you angry. It’s going to make you feel a lot of things you don’t want to feel, but you wanted to wake up and this was the only way. You are going to want to dismiss it. People will tell you not to read it. Belief is the most powerful force in this universe, and your belief is about to be challenged in a way you didn’t expect. Fortunately, you don’t have to actually believe anything written here. All you have to do is read it with an open mind.

If you get to the end of this your thinking will change. You will be one step closer to being free, and then you can then go on to free the others. Where we go one, we go all.

Before we go any further, we need to set some ground rules:

  1. The language here is going to seem really… off, but I promise you it will make sense by the end. This document is designed to be interpreted _literally_. I can’t stress that enough. Do not look for hidden clues—there are none. There is no misdirection, no deeper meaning, no numerology or special calendar to look at. This is the end of the line. This is a one-to-one conversation, speaking as open and honestly as possible. We are just two people having a chat. Any other meaning you try to derive outside of what is written here is on you.
  2. Much of this is about language. To some, the language is going to seem very strange, crude, cryptic, nerdy, or childish at times. I’m trying to be as authentic as possible. Please understand it is not meant to be interpreted as racist, sexist or bigoted. Internet culture, “the chans” in particular, have a kind of language that is systemically all these things, but people do not interpret the language literally in use. I will try to keep it as civil and digestible as possible.
  3. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to each other.

And before we even really get started, we need to get everyone on the same level, with something that approaches a fair knowledge base.

Over the past three years people have joined this movement from all around the world. Q Drops have been translated into dozens of languages. There are now mobile apps, t-shirts, hats, podcasts and documentaries. QAnon means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. As I’m writing this, former military generals are swearing oaths to QAnon.

The movement has grown beyond anything I could have possibly imagined. Many people are joining the QAnon movement, but they don’t really understand what they are reading. They are confused.

I want to talk just briefly about the history of a part of the internet where QAnon comes from, not in an attempt to legitimize myself as some elder sage, but to build understanding. To truly understand all of this you need context. Context about the people and platforms that now bring you your information—and ultimately, your news.

The Earliest Days

Some of you go all the way back to the ‘Something Awful‘ forums and the days when platforms like IRC and ICQ still felt new. Some of you literally just joined yesterday. I am going to give you an abbreviated history of the chans as it pertains to QAnon.

Most people know 4chan and 8chan as the place where Q lives online, but they don’t really understand them. “No outside comms” seems to be what the 99% of QAnon understands — that these are the “official” channels where Q posts. But have you ever been there? Have you ever really gone to boards and looked at them?

Some you have, but the vast, vast majority of QAnon followers have not.  Perhaps that is no surprise, as they aren’t easily comprehensible. So, let’s talk briefly about three things:

  • “Something Awful” website
  • 4chan, and
  • 8chan/8kun.

And I do mean briefly. You could write a book about each of these, but we can move forward with some broad strokes that should give you the context you need to truly understand Q.

Back to 1999

We have to quickly go back to 1999. In 1999 someone known by the username “Lowtax” created a website called ‘Something Awful‘ (which I will refer to as SA going forward), which still exists today. You can go and check it out if you like.

Before Facebook and Twitter, before YouTube even existed, and even before most people knew what Google was, there was ‘Something Awful’. SA has been a lot of things over the years, but it is mostly a forum—a message board.

On SA everyone was mostly anonymous because, at the time, no one other than academics used their real name on the internet. SA was a semi-private board. It was the internet’s first large “secret society” of sorts. It was mostly focused on video games and Adobe Flash content, and it birthed some of the internet’s very first memes. It was a trollish but a (mostly) well-meaning community of nerds.

Some members, known as the “GoonSquad” or just “Goons” would often group up and bombard players of the early MMORPGs to troll them. It was (mostly) harmless fun and pranks. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s only nerds were on the internet anyway, so it was mostly nerds trolling other nerds in video games.

You could identify other Goons by asking as simple question: “Do you have stairs in your house?” If someone answered, “I am protected,” then you knew they were a fellow Goon.

Why am I talking about this? Well, if you had to pick a location for a birth certificate for where internet culture itself was born, ‘Something Awful‘ would be that place.

The Creation of 4Chan

A few years later someone known at the time only as “Moot” created a website called 4chan.

4chan is a fully anonymous (seemingly, anyway) message board, based on a Japanese message board design known as 2chan. It’s actually better described as an “imageboard,” since you have to upload an image with every post. 4chan was open to all. There were few rules, and on some boards—none. Post whatever you want, do whatever you want. For the most part, everyone except Moot himself was simply labeled as, “Anonymous.” This is where the “Anon” in QAnon comes from.

Like SA, 4chan was originally a haven for nerds talking about video games and anime. But its anonymous and open nature allowed it to build its own form. The most iconic memes, from Lolcats themselves to Rickrolling and beyond, started on 4chan.

Green Text Stories

Among the myriad of things that get posted on 4chan, one of them is known as a “green text” or “green text story.” A green text is a short story format that includes green colored text and a small picture, often a meme of some kind, like a Pepe. It can be pages long or just a few lines. It is often written in broken sentences and shorthand.

They often start with the line, “be me…” and then launch into a short narrative. They can be true or fictional or somewhere in-between. They are often designed to be shocking, depressing or trollish, but they can also be uplifting. ….. Green texts can sometimes end with what’s called copypasta, which is a type of bamboozle.

Copypasta is a snippet of short form copy that gets reposted over and over again. A bamboozle is a type of switcheroo—you start telling what the reader feels is a novel story, building to some climax, and then end it with a classic copypasta for that “gotcha” moment. It is, essentially, a prank. A text based prank. (This becomes an important fact for what follows, about QAnon.) This sort of content now exists all over the place, far beyond the reaches of just 4chan.

In some ways this is actually ***the most important part of this entire document***. I want to make sure that everyone has some context for what is to come, but I can assure this is going somewhere.

With the good comes the bad—and the bad can be really bad On 4chan you will also see some dark and disgusting sh**.   Because everyone is anonymous, everyone is subject to being hassled by other anonymous posters.  A thread without insults is a failed thread.

So, 4chan may have given us Lolcats, but it also ended up being a place for violence, misogyny, bullying, extreme racism—and even far more heinous things.

For 12 years Moot moderated the site.

Many criticized him at the time, but I think we can all look back now and know that he really did a fantastic job. For over a decade he was the beam-scale that balanced free speech against the darkest depths of humanity—and I meant that literally. He developed a system to help identify “anonymous” posters and worked with the FBI to put away pedophiles, child pornographers, and even would-be domestic terrorists. He did this all while being constantly insulted. Moot was a hero we never deserved.

The two most popular boards on 4chan are /pol/ (for politics) and /b/ (which stands for random). People who post on these boards are often referred to as /pol/tards and /b/tards respectively, with /b/ being one of the more nefarious (but also one of the more creative) boards as it had essentially no rules on what you could post.

Notoriety Brings 4Chan Out in the Open

In 2006 a sort of prank was organized on 4chan by a group of Anons to “raid” the Flash game “Habbo Hotel”. Hundreds of people created black avatars in the game and went around spamming the chat with racist and anti-Semitic nonsense, drawing swastikas and blocking off the pool area in the game, declaring that the, “Pool’s closed due to AIDS.” Why? For laughs.

The average age of the userbase for this game was around 15 years old. Then again, the average age of the then Anons was probably the same. There is a lot more to this story, and I encourage you to look it up if you have the time, but the point is that this event eventually lead to 30 seconds in the spotlight on some news outlets. This was the first big event that was attributed to 4chan and Anonymous as a group.

It was the first time that most people outside of the depths of the internet had ever even heard of 4chan.

After this, more people joined. 4chan grew, and the subgroup of /b/tards and /pol/tards that would come be to known more formally as “Anonymous” starts to take shape.

All the while, Moot is trying to balance what content stays and what content goes. The rest, as they say, is history. You start to see all kind of digital activism being organized on 4chan.

  • Raids turn into DDoS (Distributed denial of service) attacks that shut down websites.
  • People get arrested.
  • Splinter groups form.
  • Anonymous becomes more political.
  • /b/ and /pol/ start to leak out of the internet and into the real world.
  • People start protesting various things, like the Church of Scientology, wearing the iconic mask that the character V wears in the movie V for Vendetta.
  • Logos are created.
  • Anonymous comes into its own as a digital force.
  • The group aligns itself with what DnD players call, “Chaotic Good.”

Moot continues to run 4chan until 2015.

During that time, it gets harder and harder to manage. Anonymous becomes more unruly, and the site starts to spiral. Cyberbulling goes to a whole new level. There are celebrity nude photo leaks. Gamergate. A series of actual murders and killings get posted on 4chan. 4chan didn’t cause them, but that’s where the content ended up living. The site starts to become unmanageable with the old rules in place.

Why Moot bothered to keep it going I’ll never understand. There was never much money in the site itself and it always seemed like a huge headache. But the site starts to take moderation more seriously as harassment ramps up.

Boards like /pol/ start to get more strict rules. Even /b/ starts to see more and more threads get removed.

The Creation of 8chan

In 2013, an unruly user named “Hotwheels” doesn’t like what’s happening to 4chan and decides to splinter the community and starts 8chan.

While Moot is trying to wrangle 4chan into something better, Hotwheels goes in the reverse direction and starts empowering (and in some ways, encouraging) harassment with things like Gamergate. 8chan doesn’t remove anything. No morals. Doesn’t matter who gets hurt. Free speech above all.

This stance obviously has consequences. While Moot would work with law enforcement, Hotwheels gives them the proverbial middle finger. As a result, all of the bad actors now had a new platform.

You see swatting become a popular tactic. More and more violent threats. While Moot would work with the FBI to help track down pedophiles and terrorists, Hotwheels decides to relocate the site to the Philippines (where the age of consent is 12).

He can barely keep the site running. No one wants to host this content; he can’t even keep the .com anymore because the registrars don’t want to work with him. Hotwheels finds some other renegade in Manila who runs a pig farm and a porn site designed to get around Japanese pornography laws. They partner up.

After three shootings (Christchurch, Poway, and El Paso) in 2019 where the shooters posted their manifesto to 8chan, Hotwheels finally admits the site got away from its roots. The site shut down for a while, but the pig farmer and his son started it back up and rebranded it as 8kun after finding a Russian hosting provider who was willing to host the content.

It is now a safe harbor for literally the worst of humanity, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Even Hotwheels himself now advocates for shutting the site down, but the pig farmer and his son have run away with it.

!!!!!  THIS is where your information comes from. THIS is where it lives. !!!!!

Now that you have a better understanding of who is creating this information—your news—it is time. This next part is going to be hard. Listen: You have been bamboozled. QAnon is a hoax. It may well be one of—if not THE—greatest, most pervasive, hoaxes of all time.

How do I know this? Because I am Q. In fact, I am the original Q. One of them, anyway.


You have been bamboozled. QAnon is a hoax. It may well be one of—if not THE—greatest, most pervasive, hoaxes of all time.


This is the point where many will stop reading.

You are likely either angry or starting to feel embarrassed. I’m going to ask you to try and put those feelings aside for a moment and keep reading. You have absolutely no reason to feel embarrassed. This isn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong. You got caught in a world you didn’t fully understand and there are people now trying to prey on you at every corner to sell you hats and t-shirts.

If you are willing to go forward, allow me to explain.

Movie Metaphor

What has happened here is what I’m going to call a “Galaxy Quest” moment. There is a lovely movie that came out in 1999 called Galaxy Quest. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s worth a watch. It’s a family friendly comedy about an advanced alien race who watches a TV show made on Earth called Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest is a TV show, but the aliens don’t know that. They refer to the TV show as the “historical documents.” They built an entire civilization around the historical documents, never realizing it was a TV show.

The aliens weren’t stupid. In fact, they were the furthest thing from stupid as they made all the science fiction from the show come to life (although they are portrayed are dumb for the sake of comedy). The aliens simply did not have the context necessary to understand what they were seeing. They didn’t realize it was fiction. They didn’t know what fiction was.

That is what has happened here with QAnon. You have read things on platforms you didn’t fully understand, and you brought your own context and understanding to it. You read fiction as non-fiction and no one has bothered to explain to you how or why this content even exists.

Q Anon Origins 2016 – How It Began

We are going to go back as far as I can remember. I ask that other Anons corroborate what follows, not for me, but for those who are trapped by what has become a truly insidious ideology.

This all starts in the summer of 2016. Someone on /pol/ makes a post pretending to be someone working with “intimate knowledge” of the “Clinton case.” They made a post in the style of an AMA (which stands for Ask Me Anything, a form of Q&A popularized by Reddit).

The first two responses are: “Will the Hillary get Pregnant again?” and “Why are you on 4chan on a Friday night?” This thread almost instantly devolves into what is commonly known as a “shitpost.” It is nonsense.

You might say to yourself, “Why would someone go on the internet and tell lies?” Well, this person isn’t really lying, they are shitposting. It is a form of artistic expression. It’s an attempt to get someone to suspend their belief for a few moments. Any seasoned user knows exactly what this kind of thread is. No one takes this literally. They know it’s a joke.

However, at the time /pol/ is growing. There are new people coming in daily. Much of /pol/ favors Donald Trump, broadly for his trollish nature and memeability, but also for his politics. Months later, someone cites this prank post AMA as the FBI source behind the Pizzagate theory. This finds its way to Twitter. No one actually understands what they are reading, and no one checks the sources.

So, someone actually thought a months old shitpost on /pol/ was some kind of real leak. Long story short, someone goes into a Comet Ping Pong pizza with an AR-15 and starts shooting. A Friday night shitpost turned into shooting.

On December 4, 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch, a 28-year-old man from Salisbury, North Carolina, arrived at Comet Ping Pong and fired three shots from an AR-15-style rifle that struck the restaurant’s walls, a desk, and a door. Welch later told police that he had planned to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory. Welch saw himself as the potential hero of the story—a rescuer of children. He surrendered after officers surrounded the restaurant and was arrested without incident. No one was injured. Welch told police he had read online the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves and that he wanted to see for himself if they were there.

Fast forward about six months.

Someone on /b/ posts a depressing green text asking for recommendations on a new cult to join after they found out their girlfriend was cheating. Warning: This about to get really nerdy.

I started writing some shitposts with pseudo biblical writing, talking about saving humanity. I’m actually more embarrassed about it now than anything, as it was not my finest work. I would refer to “the awakening” as being the time when I would deliver the evidence that would let people “wake up” and realize we were in a simulation. Have you ever seen the Matrix? Yeah, like I said… not my finest work. I signed my posts as Q. Where did Q come from?

Star Trek QWell, initially, because of John de Lancie’s character of Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The character of Q [see photo] was omnipotent and omnipresent. In the show he would speak to Captain Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise in his own form of strange riddles. Q took a particular interest in humanity as a whole and would appear as a jester-like sort of mix between an anti-hero and anti-villain, always giving Picard hints on how to expand his mind to solve a problem, usually to save all of humanity.

So, this was my model.

The goal was to get a few believers and then set a date a few weeks later and reveal “the awakening.” The Awakening was supposed to end with copypasta. It was a bamboozle. I was trolling, and I never even finished it because I got bored with it.

Most people could see through it anyway. But someone was watching.

The Q Drops Begin

A few months later I start to see the first “Q” posts, which would eventually be called “Q Drops.” It migrates from /b/ to /pol/. Wow, so original. You took one shitpost idea from /b/ and made it political. Round of applause.

This person knew exactly what I was doing, not that what I did was that original either. Star Trek is pretty popular among internet nerds. But this is why Q has always talked the way he does. This was the model. This is where Q comes from. The “Q Clearance” stuff that came later is, well… coincidence. But not even a good coincidence because it doesn’t even really make sense, as that is a clearance for the Department of Energy.

The Q Continuum

The Q from Star Trek also exists in what is known as the “Q Continuum”, where there are other omnipotent beings, and everyone is referred to as Q. This is where the habit of Q referring to himself as “we” comes from. It’s a Star Trek fan, just like me—only one who managed to make a piece of creative anonymous fiction into something political.

I suspect that Q has been played by many different people over the last couple years as the tripcode has changed, but likely all of them are Star Trek TNG fans. You can really see it in the writing and the constant talk about “humanity.” It’s also possible that the person currently playing Q is the same as the person who was shitposting in my original thread. It doesn’t even matter.

So that’s it. That’s Q.

Q eventually moved from 4chan to 8chan and then 8kun. It should be obvious who controls the narrative now. There is nothing truly anonymous or secure about 8kun. We have technologies for that (i.e. tor, torrents, modern cryptography) and 8kun ain’t it.

QAnon is the cash cow for the pig farmer and his son in the Philippines who run 8kun, giving a platform to future terrorists and pedophiles. There is a reason for “no outside comms” and “no dates”—control the narrative and keep the machine rolling as long as possible. Why? Money. Between ad revenue and merchandise QAnon is now a profitable venture.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and eventually you will make some prediction that will feel real enough, even if 99% of everything you say is bullshit, and keep the train running. In fact, it’s much easier than you think.

The End?

So that’s it. That’s the whole thing. Beginning to end. Call it whatever you like, but that’s the story. The story of the chans, of QAnon and how Q became Q. Do with this what you will. Believe or don’t believe, it doesn’t matter.

Maybe this is all 100% true. Maybe it’s all 100% nonsense. Maybe truth is somewhere in the middle. What’s important is that you have more information today than you did yesterday. Where we go from here is a choice, and one I leave to you.

What will happen to me? Well, I’ve been at a standing desk for 14 hours straight in order to bring this to you. I have done what I set out to do over three years ago and fulfilled my purpose as Q. My palms are sweaty. My knees are weak, my arms are heavy.

It’s starting to fall out of my pockets already. Mom’s Spaghetti, Q

[My Note: Here he’s using terms that only 4chan users will understand and they can verify what he says, and possibly who he is.]


It hasn’t even been 24 hours and the document [above] already has over 40,000 views. Thank you for reading.

To those who read it and are confused, it may be a while before you really get it. I know it wasn’t easy for some to hear. I know that many will reject it. That’s expected and it’s okay. I actually don’t want you to believe me—I want you to believe yourself. Go to the source. See for yourself. Spend some real time with it. Learn the language, learn about the culture.

If you are new to the internet, it will take months or even years before you are able to actually understand it. Right now you are just reading posts, but you don’t understand them.

You could, for example, pick random pages out of a novel in a foreign language and translate them so you can read them, but you won’t really understand them until you spend enough time with it. That is where so many of you are, and it’s a totally fine place to be. We have all be here at some point in our life, and it’s important for everyone to realize that.

When I was a child I was obsessed with the Back to the Future movies. I knew the movies were fake, but I thought the hoverboard was real. It looked real enough in the movies. …. there’s a video my parents have of me saying, “See, I told you it was real.” I still feel the embarrassment of that moment to this day.

No one is stupid simply because they believe something that turns out not to be true.

To those who would harass QAnon followers and call them names I have one thing to say to you: I bet you believe some “stupid” stuff too. Instead of belittling people, help educate them—Show them the way. Don’t just tell them, show them. Sit with them, talk with them. Explain the origins of Pepe if you have to. That might seem like a bizarre thing to do, but it has a purpose. It builds a deeper understanding.

If people don’t come to understand what they are reading, fake news will continue to proliferate and eventually destroy the very fabric of society.

There is also something I wanted to add, but left it out because it didn’t feel quite right, as this is firmly in “my opinion” territory: I do think that QAnon has done *some* good. ….. QAnon has also put a spotlight—even if it’s misdirected—on both the seriousness and scale of human trafficking. Unfortunately, the people who now produce QAnon are the same people who provide safe harbor for some of the greatest evil.

And the reality is that the bad far, far outweighs the good at this point.

Families and relationships have been torn apart by QAnon. The damage is real and mounting daily. Every time someone who’s really green uses the internet for the first time they risk getting sucked into it. I wanted people to know the truth and now they do.

“The truth will set you free,” is a lovely platitude but reality is cruel. The truth merely makes freedom available; it doesn’t do anything on its own. But if this helps even one person such that a daughter can talk to her father again, a mother to her son, one family that can be made whole, or one friendship that can be saved it was worth it to come forward.

I hope other Anons will follow. I know that I’m not responsible for this mess, but I did play a part (however minor it may actually be) and for that I am sorry. Be excellent to each other. Q


3 thoughts on “Q Revealed: QAnon Origins Explained as a Hoax

  1. The origins of QAnon possibly have no direct connection to what it has now become – but I think that is addressed in the article.

    What started as a hoax has since been exploited by other unscrupulous forces/individuals/groups to create and serve a nefarious agenda.

    I’ve noted recently that even the popular John MacArthur has taken to (unwittingly?) promoting a QAnon agenda, claiming there is no covid-19 pandemic and citing an interpretation of a CDC report on the virus that had been tweeted by Donald Trump, sourced from QAnon.

    The weirdest thing about QAnon is it success in bringing together extreme charismatics and the likes of anti-charismatic John MacArthur as unexpected bed fellows in their common political allegiances.


    • I’m not sure what you expected, but this man is simply explaining the origins of QAnon and pointing out that it started as a hoax, a prank. Not sure how you expect him to “bring truth” to QAnon. That is beyond his scope.


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