QAnon: An (Unofficial) FAQ for Beginners

By Chris Deliso

February 13, 2019

If you’re intrigued by world affairs, but have ignored the QAnon phenomenon- it’s time to get informed. Otherwise, you’re likely to be very confused, even alarmed by the pace of future events.

The era of Q may eventually be remembered as a major turning point in modern media (and political) history. If you’re a free thinker, and want to investigate the deeper causal and network relationships behind surface-level politics and popular culture, now is your time.

Below follows my brief QAnon introduction for beginners (if you’ve been following Q already, none of this will be new to you; suggestions for text improvement are however always welcome).

QAnon: How the Movement Began, and Why I Took Notice

The QAnon movement began after 28 October 2017, when a cryptic info drop was made by an anonymous internet poster. Now it’s a global phenomenon with millions of supporters- and opponents. As of 13 February 2019, over 1,000 articles about QAnon – most, hostile or dismissive in nature – had appeared in world media. The content volume on social media platforms has been even more massive.

I began following the QAnon story from December 2017 because it was journalistically intriguing. At that point, no one knew where it was going, but it was definitely more interesting reading than anything the regular news was reporting. As a writer then deeply engaged in a fictional project covering similar events and persons as Q, each new revelation was like a sort of companion as I wrote on. Beyond my personal work, of course, QAnon soon started to have a huge impact on American media and politics. Quite simply, it could not be ignored.

Since then, following Q has helped me expand my thinking about world affairs and, as mentioned, influenced my subsequent book (The Macedonia Deception)- which might just be the first novel of the Anon age.

Hopefully, QAnon ‘newbies’ (i.e., persons just beginning to learn about Q) will find the following introduction helpful. Of course, no one can claim to speak officially for a leaderless, anonymous movement. So to paraphrase The Dude, the following summary is just, like, my opinion, man.

And, to paraphrase Q: think and research for yourself before drawing any conclusions. Don’t just take my word for it. Facts matter!

What is QAnon?

Definition 1 (applicable to a causal actor):

“A team of high-ranking officials within the Trump Administration who post information to awaken the public to sensitive and important events or ‘happenings’ that the media may or may not report on, and provide insider context.”

This definition comes from a six-page summary, written by Anons on the 8chan /QResearch board, entitled ‘Q: The Basics.’ At time of writing, this text was available as an expandable image file on 8chan here. This summary also presents the basic history and goals of the QAnon movement to the time of compilation, in September 2018. It was written in response to a spike in aggressively false mainstream media articles about QAnon and its supporters.

Definition 2 (my own- applicable to an impersonal phenomenon or movement):

A decentralized, organic and leaderless system of research, communications and information warfare oriented around, but not limited to, specific information drops provided by Q to the public via the medium of 8chan.

Who is Q?

Q’s own information ‘drops’ indicate that Q is indeed several persons cooperating as a unified team.

Most supporters agree that QAnon is a military intelligence-led information operation led by President Trump himself, the core of which consists of less than 10 highly-trusted individuals, who execute specific coordinated tasks.

This common understanding derives from several drops. An early example is Q post Number 60, published on 2 November 2017. It states:

“You can count the people who have the full picture on two hands. Of those (less than 10 people) only three are non-military. Why is this relevant? Game theory. Outside of a potential operator who has been dialed-in w/ orders (specific to his/her mission) nobody else has this information.”

Although many other Q drops give more hints, no one outside of Q-Team can identify members with certainty: anyone who claims to do so, therefore is either just guessing or deliberately spreading disinformation.

Therefore, I will not speculate on Q-Team’s specific make-up.

Where can I read Q’s ‘drops’?

Q publishes posts directly on the 8chan image board. More on 8chan later.

Q’s drops are also re-posted to specific websites. My favorite is QAnon.pub. Although slower to load than some others, it’s easy to read, with a nice white background. The webpage also contains every QAnon drop, listed in reverse chronological order. It is one searchable webpage- not complicated.

So, how can anyone prove this Q-Team really exists as defined or not?

No one can prove that QAnon/Q-Team/Q exists as a causal actor except for those within Q-Team or with knowledge of it. Q has repeatedly highlighted the policy we know as ‘no comms off the board.’ The only information that can be assigned definitively to Q consists of the drops themselves. In drop number 513 (of 8 January 2018), Q makes this explicit:

“NO private comms past/present/future. NO comms made outside of this platform. Any claims that contradict the above should be considered FAKE NEWS and disregarded immediately.”

For this reason, no one can disprove Q’s existence, either. This inability to disprove a negative has been incredibly frustrating for media/political adversaries.

QAnon’s existence is also undeniable for a different reason at the level of the secondary definition; its existence as a popular movement is obvious from the mass of information generated about Q daily by millions of people who support (and indeed by others who oppose) it.

QAnon supporters are motivated by Q’s contention that these information revelations have been contributing to something called ‘the Great Awakening.’

What is the ‘Great Awakening,’ then?

I define the Great Awakening as: a phenomenon of decentralized learning through the continuous sharing of original research, news, memes and other secondary sources, all contributing to a gradual transformation of public awareness regarding the true (rather than perceived or popularly-understood) nature of public affairs.

The Great Awakening is defined in more detail by the above-cited six-page summary thus:

“The Great Awakening is not a conspiracy theory or a cult, as those who work to discredit it would like the public to think. It is a sophisticated and coordinated information operation from within the Trump Administration to enlighten the public about the true state of affairs of the nation and the world, providing vast amounts of information well beyond the scope of this introduction. So vast, in fact, that Q has stated ‘these, the crumbs, in time, will equate to the biggest drops ever disclosed in our history.’”

An informative 13-minute Youtube video entitled ‘Q- The Plan To Save the World’ documents the historical context in which many QAnon supporters (i.e., the ‘QArmy’) understand QAnon’s present-day relevance and crucial role in bringing about social change through the Great Awakening. At time of writing, the video had over 1.2 million views on Youtube. However, it has many millions more considering that it has appeared on other platforms, and has shorter versions as well.

Most QAnon supporters contend that President Trump and those of his predecessors who sought to achieve positive social change and world peace (most notably, JFK) are opposed by the ‘Deep State.’

What is the ‘Deep State’ then, anyway?

There are many different definitions, of which I have articulated two of my own here.

The first (and narrower) refers to the embedded bureaucracy within government institutions, the interests of which align with and depend upon the perpetuation of the existing system- one which frequently operates in a non-transparent and even criminal manner.

A second, more expansive definition, understands the Deep State to be not limited to government bureaucrats, but to also include all of those persons, entities and institutions that perpetuate the existence of a powerful and corrupt series of overlapping networks spanning the worlds of international government, finance, business and other organizations.

While the MSM and casual observers often dismiss the idea of a Deep State as mere conspiracy talk, real-world examples are not hard to discover. Just look into the revolving door between government and the corporate world, at international organizations, media and think-tanks that all reiterate the same messages and policies that sustain their own interests. Deep State elements pervade such organizations; the intertwined world of Hollywood, popular music and other entertainment industries provides another network access point.

If you consider the people and media who have been loudest in criticizing both President Trump and the QAnon movement, you will find Deep-State ties without much effort. This is basic, and eminently researchable.

Why is the media coverage of QAnon so negative?

When candidate (and later president) Trump bypassed the media and took his message straight to the people via Twitter, the media’s historic role as gatekeeper and go-between of official information was destroyed forever.

Now, the MSM has been relegated to serving as the public-relations arm of the Deep State. Its interests are tightly allied (financially, ideologically and personally) with Deep State actors, both inside and outside of government, who seek to block President Trump’s agenda for introducing transparency and accountability in government.

For an example of reactions to this agenda, note that President Trump’s Executive Order of 21 December 2017, blocking the property of persons involved with corruption and human-rights abuses, caused a rapid spike in corporate resignations, assets offloading and so on. At time of writing, there were over 70,000 sealed indictments in the US- some no doubt referring to this Order. Others probably target the FISAGate scandal, Uranium 1 scandal, Clinton emails scandal, human trafficking networks and so on. If you are unaware of such issues, Q has provided much information that will help your research and draw your own conclusions.

Q has repeatedly noted the media’s organized attacks against the movement. Indeed, the MSM (and some alleged ‘alternative media’ hostile to or jealous of QAnon’s increased prominence) has obliged, publishing over 1,000 articles denouncing an alleged ‘conspiracy theory.’ This has backfired, of course, as Q and supporters have noted that the media has given a tremendous amount of attention to a movement that it claims is not ‘real’ and has not harmed anyone.

In February 2019, Q confirmed that the Great Awakening has moved into a new and decisive phase, telling the public that “you are the news now” (Drop 2699). The meaning here is that the ‘Fake News Media’ (MSM) has become so discredited and mistrusted (partly through the president’s withering assault against it on Twitter) that regular people communicating online have become the most legitimate source of factual information. Q continues to highlight that ‘facts matter.’

If President Trump is involved in QAnon, why doesn’t he just say so?

This is the basic question that does more than any other to show the MSM’s tacit cognizance of the fact that QAnon is indeed ‘real.’ While they have claimed that QAnon supporters also back the president, they have never asked the president his opinion of the movement. Strange, no?

This is because they are aware it would bring more attention to QAnon than is already the case. They know that, whatever the president may reply, the issue itself will become a subject of mainstream public discourse.

Conversely, QAnon supporters do not ask the question because they do not need clarification, and wish the operation to be conducted according to whatever timeline and level of publicity the president may have. They respect what Q has repeatedly said: to ‘trust the plan.’

Given Trump’s strategic mindset, he clearly does not need to say a word about Q, because it keeps his ‘options open’ (a position he endorsed as early as The Art of the Deal in the 1980s), while leaving everyone in suspense. At the same time, the president uses Twitter (through deliberate misspellings, odd references, images, etc.), Anons believe, to corroborate or otherwise inform Q drops. This keeps them locked in and constantly interpreting what the president is ‘really’ saying within the context of Q’s general operation. It is, as Anons have noted, the greatest information warfare operation ever conducted.

Do QAnon people support violence?

Definitely not. In fact, Anons on the 8chan /QResearch board have a written rule that violent solutions to social and political issues are not tolerated. All QAnon supporters I have read on Twitter also call for complete non-violence and respect for rule of law.

This is an extremely important point going forward. The QAnon community has frequently predicted that, as the net closes on major public figures suspected of corruption or crimes against humanity, these people and their edia handlers will grow increasingly desperate and perhaps try to make the movement appear to be associated with violence.

But I read that QAnon supporters are racist/misogynist/homophobic/anti-Semitic/anti-Muslim/etc.

These are risible and false characterizations. Of course, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I know that I am none of the above. Individuals have all sorts of different opinions, but as a movement, QAnon supporters come from all backgrounds and nationalities, and tend to be, most essentially, humanitarian in mindset.

The shared goal is to make a better world for everyone, and this message is reiterated constantly by Q. Indeed, the movement’s most famous rallying cry is a call for unity: ‘where we go one, we go all!’ (#WWG1WGA as you will see on Twitter etc.). This motto originates from a line Jeff Bridges uttered in a 1996 film about team-building during a sailing adventure (White Squall).

As Q and supporters frequently point out, it is instead Deep State actors and politicians (primarily but not only Democrats) who are trying to keep the world divided, in order to preserve the existing system from which they alone benefit. They do this by recourse to sensationalistic identity politics and divisive movements. These people are simply misanthropes.

OK, I’m starting to get it. So does Q have some other general miessage?

Q has many, the most important of which include:

Think for yourself.

Research for yourself.

Trust yourself.

What is an ‘Anon’?

An Anon is simply an anonymous researcher, most often found working online in platforms like 8chan, on a voluntary basis, to provide information and analyses of both Q drops and general events and information that advance the Great Awakening.

So then, what kind of people read QAnon?

Everyone! Supporters of QAnon fundamentally support the rule of law, transparency, and hope to end crimes against humanity and political corruption to the greatest extent possible. Many, but not all, support President Trump. However, not all are Americans; there are Anon boards in French, German and other languages, and it is obvious from social media activity that Anons hail from all over the world.

On the opposing side, QAnon and online boards are also followed by political enemies, journalists, and every notable intelligence service in the world. Whether or not they like or dislike Q, these agencies by nature assess all information with a predictive capacity. And at the moment, there is no source with greater predictive capacity (even if sometimes opaque) than Q.

But I read something that Q predicted, and then it didn’t happen.

You have much to learn, young Jedi.

Never take any published data (whether Q or anything else) at face value. Q has repeated that we are in an existential media war, and that war involves deception. Someday, historians will no doubt assess the intent Q had in making a specific post at a specific time, and for what reason. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be given the inside story directly.

The point is that information warfare includes all kinds of data, information, misinformation and other. Timing is critical, too. Q does not release information to seek validation, and any good researcher keeps in mind that the full range of options are open for any given drop. It would be pointless to treat Q as a Delphic Oracle when it is actually much more  sophisticated than that.

What is 8chan?

Do you remember the ‘Alien Cantina’ scene from the first Star Wars movie? That’s the best comparison I can think of. For every wise Jedi knight and swashbuckling hero hanging out there, you’re bound to come across weird beings and bad creatures of various sorts, as well as robots… lots and lots of bots.

Also known as the ‘Infinity Chan,’ 8chan is an image board for anonymous users, that is dedicated to preserving free speech. Anyone can run a board for free, though failing to manage it after a certain time makes it available for anyone else to take over.

While much of the content on various boards ranges from junk to irrelevant, there are occasional jewels to be found in that mud- like the /QResearch board. The Wikipedia page about 8chan has some useful information, though the section on its relation with QAnon is not reliable and subject to change.

What is the /QResearch board on 8chan? Can anybody use it?

The /QResearch board is here. Anyone can use it, without logging in to anything, and either make new threads, contribute or reply to existing ones. However, I do not recommend you do so unless you first learn how to use the system. This is for your own protection from automated threats (like viruses and malware planted by hostile actors) and, also, to not get in the way of Anons. This is because the amount of data is so large and so frequently updated- not only by legitimate Anons but by adversaries, shills and bots.

8chan does not censor speech, though any content that violates US law will be removed. Be warned that there is a lot of cussing there and, for the gentle reader, it might not be the most relaxing of places on the internet.

On /QResearch specifically, Anons have their own inside jokes, abbreviations and linguistic usages which I (as a writer) find fascinating for the future of language in general. It is pointless for any critic to accuse any particular person of any prejudices because 1) all users are anonymous and 2) a great deal of content is not even generated by humans, but by artificial intelligence spread by hostile actors.

In short, /QResearch is a fascinating place to learn more about Q drops and anonymous analysis, though discernment and patience are required. Before visiting it, I highly recommend reading this article by NeonRevolt, a prominent Anon. In this ‘boot camp’ to 8chan, he goes through all you need to know about reading and potentially contributing to the boards. Since I am just a ‘lurker’ (i.e., a person who reads but does not post), I cannot advise the reader further- except to read Neon Revolt’s article carefully.

Is 8chan actually important, or is this QAnon stuff just some kind of fad?

For me, this is the most interesting question of all. If QAnon is indeed a military-led operation with precise goals and timelines, there will eventually come a point when it ends. However, considering that the Great Awakening is still gaining in strength (we’re talking about millions of people now), I doubt the movement will suddenly collapse anytime soon.

The reason why 8chan works in the case of QAnon (except for the privacy and thus safety it provides for its users) is because of its unique self-regulating mechanism. Ideas and conclusions are ferociously contested, debunked or approved in a constantly evolving atmosphere by all sorts of Anons from different backgrounds and with different skills. It is in this sense like the academic blind peer-review system- on steroids.

This self-policing methodology means that true conclusions are rewarded while false ones are exposed or dismissed- while no one cares about who gets the credit, since everyone is anonymous. Throughout history, all popular movements have been vulnerable to two things: human ego and financial profit. While many Anons definitely have rather robust egos, their very anonymity means that there are no public spectacles or dramas like you see in the outside world of known and named thinkers.

Secondly, since most Anons are offering their time freely, there are no great battles over money- in any case, profit is not the true motivator for participation.

Thus, in the case of QAnon, anonymity helps mitigate the two factors that have historically damaged any public movement.

For me, the big-picture is whether or not similar future anonymous research campaigns on 8chan (or similar platforms) can be executed without the motivation generated by the cause, and the exclusivity of the data provided by Q.

Without Q’s guiding presence (through regular amd coordinated flow of drops), Anons would be much less capable of mounting a united campaign. As a writer and journalist, the fundamental advantages make 8chan very promising for the future of media. It remains to be seen whether it will continue to be used as such after QAnon.

Another note: it is very telling that opponents of QAnon did not simply create their own boards to attack Q, President Trump and their supporters.

Had they done so, it would have confirmed by default the validity of the QAnon movement and the viability of 8chan as a platform for research and information warfare.

In other words, by ridiculing QAnon, they fell into a trap of their own making. Forced to rely on the now discredited mainstream media, anti-Q elements cut off any other options for fighting back. As such, they have only continued to dig themselves in deeper, 1while further discrediting their media and everyone associated with it.

This oft-overlooked aspect of the entire QAnon phenomenon shows, from a different vantage point, the fundamental genius of the operation itself.

Long before he became president, Donald Trump was deeply interested in the power and variety of media in general. As a businessman, he used media to advance his business and branding interests. QAnon is simply the logical political application of this lifelong fascination with media, and indeed Trump’s masterpiece. Well played, sir, well played.