In my previous articles I examined the similarities between the failed MegaAnon conspiracy theory and the wildly successful QAnon theory, and highlighted the influence the MegaAnon theory had in shaping the QAnon conspiracy. However, given that both theories arose on the message board 4Chan around the same time, it is valuable to explore the ways in which proponents of both theories interacted, and even clashed.
To date, no QAnon post has ever mentioned Mega, whose influence has never been acknowledged. Nevertheless, the “bakers” (followers of the QAnon theory who obsessively pour over posts for meaning) indirectly acknowledge such influence: instead of seeing similarities and pointing them out, the bakers see individuals dropping clues, and revelations of the crimes of their enemies.
In her book “Qanon, an Invitation to the Great Awakening” the baker Linda Paris discusses the Anons before Q:
As time wore on FBI Anon continued to drop valuable clues, and when the clues were researched, they shed more light on these revolting activities.Qanon, an Invitation to the Great Awakening, 2019,p. 177
FBI Anon would point people in the right direction, and researchers would dig and find more information. FBI Anon disappeared for a while, and another anonymous poster appeared on the boards in his place. This time it was a female, and she called herself “Mega Anon.”
More information was shared. More clues were dropped. More research was done, and more horrors were exposed.
All of the information shared by FBI Anon and Mega Anon was followed up on by regular Anons who, not only verified the authenticity of what was being posted but took it further, discovering new facts and information along the way, opening up rabbit holes for other posters to pursue.
MegaAnon had her own narrative, complete with villains, a saviour, a way for salvation to happen – her own conspiracy theory. However, Linda Paris took all of that narrative and reframed it as clues to the evil organisation as revealed by Q, in order to strengthen the credibility of the QAnon theory. This was typical of the maximum contact QAnon followers had with Mega: bakers using her existence as a way to complement and improve their own QAnon “mythology.”
QAnon and its followers completely eclipsed MegaAnon, taking over her narrative and space. Q’s appearance in 4Chan monopolised all discussions on this type of topic, to the point where MegaAnon became just another footnote. Therefore, one must ask: what was their interaction, and how did MegaAnon try to relate to Q’s posts?
Rather than returning Q’s indifference, MegaAnon actively engaged with Q. Her first messages about Q were congratulatory: someone was managing to pass the information to the people, admittedly in a strange and unusual way, but nevertheless it was the truth being spread:
I’ve sat back and watched all these “QAnon” posts because frankly, brah is on point. I haven’t personally felt compelled to post at all. He’s doing a fantastic job. If anything, I’ve realized what’s kills me in here, is my wall boards of detailed paragraphs but alas, I’m not a writer. QAnon is breaking down a ton of detail in a more /pol/-friendly format.MegaAnon, 4 Nov 2017
So, enjoy the breadcrumbs y’all. You’re not being larped, you’re being leaked to. Great job cracking the /pol/ post formatting, Q. You’re super effective and 100% accurate.
Although MegaAnon could have legitimately claimed that the QAnon was a descendent of her own narrative, she decided instead to embrace the term ‘breadcrumbs’, which she had previously only used once. After this post, she started to use the term more often, but always in reference to her own claims.
For the following days, MegaAnon’s relation to Q was that of supporter or cheerleader: she championed Q’s claims, and wrote that he was doing an important job helping the other ‘anons’ piece together the narratives. Even when there were problems, Mega appeared to defend Q:
Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT implying your brah Q is misleading or misdirecting y’all. I’m implying YOU’RE misinterpreting, therefore misleading and misdirecting YOURSELVESMegaAnon, 11 Nov 2017
She defended Q, and tried to explain what exactly he’d said. In some ways, MegaAnon became just another baker, trying to connect Q’s posts to the rest of the truth posted on the boards – much of which was connected to her own theories. Nevertheless, she was not a fully dedicated supported QAnon: she sought to push her own narrative, which she could see was being increasingly used by Q.
The big break between the two posters came when Q posted a photo to supposedly confirm his identity: a photo of an island on the route Air Force One would take, with the claim that whoever posted it must have been on the presidential plane with Trump. As I’ve written previously, this was QAnon’s attempt to create legitimacy.
Mega’s response on the day the photo was posted, November 18, 2017, was to ask questions about the plane. Those were Mega’s first attacks on Q. The reasoning was simple: the new posts were not on the same tripcode (an identifier on the site) as before, meaning that this user was not the same person or group as the authors of the previous posts. In other words, MegaAnon claimed, someone was posing as QAnon, having hijacked the real account to drop fake information and intel.
From here, MegaAnon becan to fully attack Q, while at the same time appearing to support Q: she claimed she was not against what the original Q had said, but that this latest poster was an impostor. Indeed, some of what this impostor said was completely wrong, according to her:
Please understand, I’m not denying that the fake Q’s posed a few solid sets of rational, good questions. They did. I’m not trying to discredit or take away from the exhaustive work, time and efforts many of you have put in to research, archive, discuss, “connect dots”, etc. because if you’ve learned things you didn’t know before, gained new interests or insights into other related things, if you’ve presented your findings with sources, facts, numbers, citing, etc. and created healthy discussions over it, either on here, on social media and more importantly, with your families, friends, neighbors, etc. that’s all FANTASTIC!!! That’s what you SHOULD be doing all the time! We should all be able to openly engage, discuss and consider, well-sourced and educated issues and topics. Remember, silence is far scarier than difficult conversations.MegaAnon, 21 November 2017
That said, there are MANY THINGS… TOO MANY THINGS that are COMPLETELY WRONG about what the fake Q from 11/1 until today, has said. In fact, it’s purposefully and intentionally misleading. It’s disifo and you’re being led to believe it’s YOUR JOB TO SPREAD IT TO THE MASSES.
This “fake Q” would post information that Mega agreed with, so she could not go against the content of the posts.
MegaAnon’s attacks focused on the author’s legitimacy, claiming it was not the ‘real’ QAnon, and that the imposter was deliberately spreading misinformation. She clearly had realised that the content of her messages were so similar to Q’s that that attacking QAnon for their content alone would also undermine her own narrative, so discrediting the author was her only option.
This was when Q started to become more popular than MegaAnon: the photos of the plane gave QAnon more credence in the conspiracy circles, and Q began to dwarf all other conspiracy theories on 4Chan. MegaAnon could have chosen to admit defeat and become just another baker, but instead she chose to fight. She escalated her rhetoric in November 2017, claiming that ‘Fake Q’ was jeopardising the gutting of the evil of the agencies of FBI, CIA, and the Federal Reserve. This culminated in a full attack on Q on November 25:
Q isn’t real. Q is what y’all call a LARP, comprised of 4 different people who have low-level, indirect access to internal comms verifications for social media accounts of the admin. They used that access to validate themselves as “insiders” on here, but they’re not.MegaAnon 25 Nov 2017
I’m not going to say much more, but in reality, they created their questioning format, to craft and weave together a lot of shit y’all already knew, or had been focusing on, then mixed it in with a bunch of fake shit like claims of 10 days of darkness, imminent happenings, flying at 40k ft. as if THEY were actually there, with POTUS when in reality, they were just seeing the comms social media correspondence going back and forth and using it to “predict” tweets and posts before they happened, upon confirmation.
I tried to quell the hysteria they were causing, when they started bullshitting everyone about fucking “happenings” during the Asia trip because I was actively watching but couldn’t directly say anything, at that time. I did try, but then I backed off because I’m not good at playing vague games on here and didn’t want to inadvertently “out” myself.
They are independent of me, though. As I’ve said several times, I don’t work as a direct employee of the admin, any agency or department. I work for myself only.
But now it doesn’t matter anymore. They know who they are and thanks to their undeniable fuck up today, they will be handled internally, accordingly.
More attacks came, but as QAnon never answered them, MegaAnon simply stopped. From December to January 13, MegaAnon did not make any significant posts. She ignored Q for the most part, and decided to focus on her own narratives until her last day on 4Chan.
Until now her trajectory with Q was simple: she was initially a supporter, but when QAnon became more popular than her, she started to resent the popularity and began to attack the theory. Once it was clear that would not work, she decided to ignore Q and return to what she was doing. Then, on January 13th 2018, MegaAnon broke.
MegaAnon had apparently started to believe her narrative, and that in some way every QAnon action she disliked had been purposefully designed to target her. In her final posts, she shows signs of believing everything she had written, but also in Q:
I cannot believe me just honestly posting for fun about a few things I knew on a few things I knew and just truly enjoying the conversation, led to this. Thank you for letting me come to it all on my own, before it was too late. I almost didn’t go on reddit at all yesterday and when I did and saw that post. You knew that was all I’d need and it couldn’t have come from Q because I thought Q was a complete fucking larp. You needed me to think that. So you proved it the way you knew I’d see it. Fake pics, bullshit meanings being tied to bullshit short codes for “ops instructions” knowing I’d know those codes meant nothing. You knew how I’d know for a fact the AF1 wasn’t real and you knew your disinfo necessary statement would piss me off enough to stay in the right direction and keep me interested in taking actions to prove you were a larp because you knew how far I’d go for the truth. You knew I was credible and just enjoyed posting so much that you wouldn’t let me go down in the rubble. You mixed it in the way I’d be right about everything I called you out on. Everything I hated Q for, in terms of disinfo WAS FAKE. I was right. You didn’t attack me or out me because you know I’m right and have a track record similar to your own. You know I need the truth and bullshit doesn’t sit well with me… hence I get “TRIGGERED” and call others out when they say things they can’t confirm. I don’t mean to seem mean, but yeah, I get pissed. I’m a person. I post what I do to not deceive, but hopefully further talks. You let me be right and tell the truth, by making my accusations on you, based on the fake facts you meant to give me.MegaAnon January 13 2018
It’s why you used “Breadcrumbs”, “connect the dots” and “house of cards” references AFTER I DID!!! YOU KNEW THAT BOTHETED THE ABSOLUTE FUCK OUT OF ME!!!!
Thanks for letting me do the right thing, the way you knew I’d need to do it. Sorry you had to leave the board… but I guess you knew you’d have to at some point. Haha ;o)
In the end MegaAnon became a QAnon follower. She had tried to ally it, then to attack it, but in the end, she was consumed by it. Like others, she embraced hyperreality, and she started believing her own narrative. She built an entire conspiracy theory to justify her initial dislike for Q; it was all part of a plan, just for her. As Jesse Walker wrote, in 2013’s United States of Paranoia:
But when building a narrative you can fall into a trap, one where a combination of confirmation bias and serendipity blinds you to the ways your enticing story might fail to describe the world.Jesse Walker P 278. 2013 United States of Paranoia
A conspiracy story is especially enticing because it imagines an intelligence behind the pattern. It doesn’t just see a shape in the smoke; it sees a face in the smoke
In the end, Mega succumbed to this new religion like Saul on the road to Damascus; she was reborn in the end.
It is a fitting end for an obscured figure on the internet that she gave up her supposed power to the one that would become well known. The fantasy world MegaAnon had built and fought for was taken by an outsider that she had considered as a lesser. Since QAnon’s arrival, it has managed to silence the arrival of new conspiracy Anons and other “big” leakers – any which emerge simply fuel and serve Q.
In conclusion, the answer to why QAnon succeeded where MegaAnon failed is quite simply that Q managed to be a better conspiracy theory: more adaptable, able to seamlessly absorb other figures and conspiracy narratives, and continue to enshroud itself with mystery. QAnon tried to be something more than a simple 4Chan leaker and succeeded; MegaAnon chose to stay fixed, to only talk to a small group, and she was ultimately left behind.