QAnon and Pro-Trump Online Forums Are Struggling and Fracturing in Aftermath of the U.S. Capitol Siege

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A huge chunk of Twitter’s QAnon community has vaporized, seemingly overnight. A pro-Trump message board has rebranded itself, jettisoning the former president’s name from its URL in its move toward a broader message. And other right-wing forums are grappling with internal rebellion and legal war.

Taken together, these developments since the Jan. 6 Capitol attack raise questions about the long-term viability of pro-Trump communities now that their inspirational leader has been impeached, lost his own Twitter account and left the White House.

Experts say the communities are likely to recover — a new website already has replaced, albeit with a somewhat broader focus — but it’s less clear whether online activists central to President Donald Trump’s rise and political power will remain a large, coherent force in the years ahead.

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A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon

I am a game designer with experience in a very small niche. I create and research games designed to be played in reality. I’ve worked in Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), LARPs, experience fiction, interactive theater, and “serious games”.

When I saw QAnon, I knew exactly what it was and what it was doing. I had seen it before. I had almost built it before. It was gaming’s evil twin. A game that plays people. (cue ominous music)

QAnon grows on the wild misinterpretation of random data, presented in a suggestive fashion in a milieu designed to help the users come to the intended misunderstanding. There is no reality here. No actual solution in the real world. Instead, this is a breadcrumb trail AWAY from reality. Away from actual solutions and towards a dangerous psychological rush. It works very well because when you “figure it out yourself” you own it. You experience the thrill of discovery, the excitement of the rabbit hole, the acceptance of a community that loves and respects you. Because you were convinced to “connect the dots yourself” you can see the absolute logic of it.

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