Question about QAnon
June 19, 2020 11:02 AM   Subscribe

How does "Q" sign their messages so that readers know it is the real Q talking?

I have a basic logistical question about the Q phenomenon. Does Q have a way of signing their posts to let readers know that the post is a genuine Q post? I am not asking whether Q is one person or several -- regardless of whether Q is a person or a group of people, how do he/she/they prove to readers that their post is a genuine one? I would think one way to do this would be a PGP-type public key system, but I haven't seen anything like that discussed.

Part of the reason I ask this question is because I thought that on -chan type discussion sites, everyone was pretty much anonymous and there was no way to tell if any post was really from a particular author. People can just claim to be the "OP" when they are not, for example. Is the same true for Q posts?

Note, I'm not asking about whether Q's post are true/valid/etc. - just whether there is some system for signing them to prove that they come from the genuine author, whoever/whatever that might be.
posted by Mid to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Tripcodes, although I vaguely remember something about Q’s tripcode changing at some point.
posted by zamboni at 11:11 AM on June 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: According to Adrienne LaFrance in The Prophecies of Q (Atlantic, June 2020)
By now, nearly three years since Q’s original messages appeared, there have been thousands of what his followers call “Q drops”—messages posted to image boards by Q. He uses a password-protected “tripcode,” a series of letters and numbers visible to other image-board users to signal the continuity of his identity over time. (Q’s tripcode has changed on occasion, prompting flurries of speculation.)
Also: Trump has repeatedly amplified QAnon Twitter accounts. (Media Matters, updated May 11, 2020)
As of May 11, 2020, President Donald Trump has amplified tweets from supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory at least 131 times via at least 80 individual accounts, some of them more than once. (Since the novel coronavirus pandemic began in the United States, he has amplified QAnon Twitter accounts at least 36 times via 15 individual accounts.) Additionally, members of Trump's family, his personal attorney, current and former campaign staffers, and even some current and former Trump administration officials have also repeatedly amplified QAnon supporters and their content.
posted by katra at 11:34 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, very interesting regarding tripcodes - I did not know about those. (I have a hard time parsing the chans!) Interesting that the codes have changed, too.
posted by Mid at 12:50 PM on June 19, 2020

Well, keep in mind that nothing prevents Q from sharing their password with Agents R, S and T. Just like Trump shares his Twitter account with his aides, Q might very well do the same.
posted by SPrintF at 3:57 PM on June 19, 2020

Best answer: Tripcodes are based on crypt(3), which is susceptible to brute force cracking by anyone with a botnet, a pile of NVidia cards, or a bunch of custom hardware.

That describes quite a few people and pretending to be Q is an incredibly juicy target, so I wouldn’t rely on anything actually being from the original Q. The true believers hold on though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

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