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4chan is an extremely popular English-language imageboard community known for generating memes, "hacking" sites, its abrasive atmosphere, birthing the group Anonymous, and its influence on the internet and politics. It was based on the Japanese site 2chan.
4chan is made up of 63 imageboards organised into six categories. Each Board is given a short name consisting of one or more letters or numbers between slashes: Anime and Manga is "/a/", etc. The main groupings of boards on 4chan's homepage are Japanese Culture ("Anime & Manga," "Otaku Culture," etc), Video Games ("Pokémon," "Retro Games," etc), Interests ("Comics & Cartoons," etc), Creative, Other, Misc., and Adult ("Hentai," "Ecchi," "Yuri," "Yaoi," "Adult Cartoons," etc).
Reposting artwork without credit is common on some boards. Furry was once banned site-wide, but is now allowed in the /trash/ board. There is a sfw My Little Pony board and others dedicated to Anime, Manga, Cosplay, Western Animation and Comics, Video Games and other fannish interests.
Some fandoms got their start on 4chan due to the site's popularity and ability to make memes and pieces of media go viral. 4chan is the origin of the word "brony" and is credited with spreading the fandom. The site's scanlations also led to the English-speaking Watamote fandom- a fact which was positively recieved by the creator and used to advertise the manga in Japan- this would later be discussed in the debates over animanga piracy and fan-translations.
Communities and Culture
- Some boards, such as /pol/ and /b/, can be very anti-"SJW" [See: Social Justice] and will deliberately post triggering content. Fat-shaming, racism, sexism (particularly anti-feminism), antisemitism, and homophobic language is common on these boards. Some of the hate speech on 4chan is satire, some is shock humour, and some is just genuine hate.
- Graphic images are sometimes posted, including gore/guro.
- Provoking 4chan users tends to go quite poorly. Do not post personal information, links to your personal sites, or Facebook photos (your info is encoded in the image, and a reverse image search will identify you immediately).
On April 1, 2005, a furry board was created. Three days later, anyone who had posted in it was banned. This is known as April Furs Day. This would later cause caution when a My Little Pony board was created in February 2012. The ban would later be partially lifted, allowing furry art in a few select boards. Even when it was banned, it would sometimes be posted to annoy the mods and other users.
"Anonymous" is a very loosely organised "hacktivist" group (in a sense) born on 4chan and known for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS attacks), Guy Fawkes masks, and an embarrassing slogan. The "group" has notably protested the Church of Scientology.
- The iconic Guy Fawkes masks worn during protests have nothing to do with Guy Fawkes, Catholicism, or the UK government. They are a reference to the graphic novel/film "V for Vendetta."
- Anonymous has no official leader and no protocol for "joining."
Since its creation in 2003 4chan has been responsible for many fanworks varying in size to small pieces of fanart to author driven collaborative stories called quests, as created on the board /qst/. Due to the nature of 4chan's self deleting threads, many of these creations are currently hosted on off-site archives of in pdfs that are spread via word of mouth.
The /tv/ general known as /who/, or the Doctor Who General has produced a number of short to mid-length fics in collections titled "Shit Trips", these collections range in genre from comedy to smut and are connected by a framing device written by the trip called "GallifreyImmigrant", who has a AO3 account under the same name. Many anonymous users temporarily adopted pseuds for this collaboration.
/lit/ once self-published a short parody of the life of David Foster Wallace, a writer best known for the book Infinite Jest.
/co/ produces large amounts of fanart in daily drawthreads. These threads are primarily driven by anonymous requests.
4chan vs Tumblr feud
A number of Tumblr users did engage with users of 4chan on the 4th July, but ultimately failed in their aim of shutting down 4chan. Instead this culminated in an eventual 4chan raid on Tumblr, also on 4 July 2014 that involved many popular fandom tags and social justice-related tags being spammed, often with gore and hardcore pornopgraphy. In some cases, Tumblr users selfies were photoshoppped onto hardcore pornography that was then used to spam the tags.
On June 9th, 2014, Tumblr blog shutdown4chan posted a slide outlining a plan to carry out a raid on 4chan during the American Independence Day on the 4th of July. The post condemned the image board community as "racist, misogynistic and pure evil" and revealed that the goal of the mission was to shut down the site. It has been since rumored that the blog post might have been originally created by 4chan's /pol/ board to trigger the war in the first place.
Tumblr counter-acted by burying those posts with with their own posts of cute things, blocking the spammers, and advising other users to stay away from the tags until things clear up.
Efforts by Tumblr users to stop the raid were unsuccessful. A pro-Tumblr petition on change.org, Shut Down 4Chan: Open Attacks on Bloggers received only 117 signatures. Another change.org petition was created by 4chan supporters on the same day; calling for all users of Tumblr to be labelled as mentally handicapped landwhales. Within three days, it was reported on Reddit to have over 9000 signatures.
A fake pro-Tumblr account encouraged Tumblr users to take part in the attack on 4chan, by deleting System32 on their computers.
- https://twitter.com/_watsu/status/1157726986166525952 Watamote blew up on 4chan, skyrocketing the interest in the manga. The Japanese tankobon was marketed as "The smash hit in the overseas version of 2chan!" Tanigawa drew extra art for the English release with Tomoko eating spaghetti, LITERALLY REFERENCING SPAGHETTI IN POCKETS
- 2014 Tumblr-4chan Raids
- A petition(with 9,234 supporters) to label all tumblr users "Mentally handicapped landwhales" posted to r/funny on Reddit, 8 July 2014.
- An edited version of the original post has ended up on r/memes, in a thread called Rest in peace tumblr, you will not be missed