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Raerth479 karma

Here is a history of *chan / Anon culture given to us by a redditor a while back.

Copied here for the lazy:

4chan is the third largest board on the internet, Gaia Online the second. 2channel is the largest by far (not listed on Big-Boards because they can't track the membership). Isn't it interesting that all three are in some way related to Japanese culture?

If you order by postrate, it's the same order. 2channel gets about as many posts in a day as 4chan gets in a week.

2channel's largest board, news4vip, is about as fast as 4chan's /b/.

It's fun to follow the history. 4chan's culture developed out of the culture of Something Awful members, specifically members of the ADTRW sub-board (that's Anime Death Tentacle Rape Whorehouse, or Anime Done The Right Way, depending on who's asking), who themselves were trying to emulate the culture of Futaba Channel, in particular its Nijiura boards, which were the internet's first "/b/" boards (there are now seven of them, nsfw). Futaba Channel was built as a refuge for 2ch members in case 2ch died, and so its /b/ culture developed and mutated out of the already existing 2ch culture. Going back even further, the original members of 2ch came from Amezou, the first channel and the site on which 2ch was based, which collapsed due to server issues in 1999, only a year after it was created to replace Ayashii World (literally "Suspicious World" or "Strange World"), which had shut down for similar reasons [thus my link doesn't go to the original site, since it is dead, but to a sort of collection of memoirs]. Here, the lineage ends; Amezou apparently invented bumping and saging and the threading style that 2ch is now famous for, and Ayashii World set the precedent of anonymous posting that has continued to this day, making it not just the origin of the Japanese underground, but also the most ancient ancestor of Anonymous that no one has ever freaking heard of.

For redditors who don't like long posts: you can probably stop here in good conscience.

Even then, a familiar cultural structure existed. Just as 4chan can be said to be the hubsite of Anonymous, Ayashii World was the hubsite of Nanashi World ("Nameless" World), which consisted of many similar BBSs and extended well into and grew out of USENET. Also, within Ayashii World, you'd have recognized the gesu (scum) board, which was for people who wanted to make trouble and hack other forums; today a similar attitude is held by various /i/ (invasion) boards and, to a lesser extent, /b/.

This isn't the entire history, of course. For example, World2ch played a role in being the first English language channel (non-image discussion board), and the first place moot announced the creation of 4chan. It also has the poetic honor of the being the first...and last...place on the internet where English speaking Easterners interacted regularly with Westerners (the ADTRWers). It was later supplanted by world4ch, which became 4chan's text boards, and also by 4channel and other text boards. There is also the creation of and outflux to 7chan that occurred once upon a time, though its userbase is mainly composed of banned 4channers now (you can probably guess what it's like). Today there are hundreds of chans which are all conquerable by regular expressions. I could tell you more, but then they'd take your soul.

Oh well, you weren't using that soul anyway.

I'd like to make a special note here: 2channel culture is not the same as 4chan culture, or even Futaba culture. Though one in part developed the others, the original has survived and grown as well, and, in some cases, been transported to English sites intact.

/b/ has its /b/tards and news4vip has...vippers. You can find English vipper culture on the textboards (and one imageboard). A lot of them know Japanese well enough to actually browse Futaba and 2channel and understand it, hence their ability to adopt that culture. Some of the stuff they do travels down the memestream to 4chan, but Vipper is not as mighty as Anonymous on this side of the globe, and the stuff really never goes beyond the /jp/ board. There's nothing mysterious going on here (except maybe tanasinn): the channels are modified versions of 2channel culture just as the chans are modified versions of 2chan culture. It just so happens that in the East, the textboard is king, while in the West, only the imageboards truly rule. But both cultures still exist in both places.

Now to change gears a bit.

Once upon a time there was a site called Wikichan [link goes to an old article containing a once very comprehensive history of 4chan] where serious and up-to-date information about chans was stored. As punishment for actually being useful, it was repeatedly hacked and wiped and eventually the owner just gave up. We are left with Encyclopedia Dramatica, which just doesn't compare. However, Lurkmoar (an even older site than wikichan, but less organized and regularly updated in my experience) comes close enough in keeping ancient meme history from being forgotten.

Another way to take a peek into chan history is to look at the archive. There is the 4chan Archive of course, everyone knows that one. It stores particularly good or historical threads. Less famous are the Yotsuba Archivers. They continuously record activity on several of 4chan's boards in real time. It's almost like a mirror of those boards, except that instead of having 10 pages of material, it has 20,000.

For what it's worth, there is a textboard for studying imageboard culture, too.

It is worth noting that some of the sites today are not the sites they were. For example, the old ADTRW members aren't there anymore, and the new ones don't want to be associated with 4chan or even the old members. It's also a well-known fact that the legendary meme-forging /b/ is now but a buffer to keep idiots off the better boards (an oversimplification, perhaps; /b/ is still an entry point and a place for infusion of culture). So, where did all the old /b/tards actually go? Well, some say a few still camp out at 7chan, others say the only trace left is in WTFux, but I'll let you in on a little secret: they came to reddit.

Can't wait to see doug in Time Magazine.

Edit: Added a few paragraphs and historical details. I've uploaded The Complete History of 4chan to the new Wikichan, in case anyone is interested.

I'd also like to highly recommend Shii's site.

Edit: If you want to browse 2ch or 2chan in English, you'll need some translation. Luckily, people have created "English Portals" that both inform you about the cultures and provide translated versions of the frames.

2channel Portal with Human-Translated Navigation
Futaba Portal with Human-Translated Navigation

You can combine this with Google translation of posts for best effect. Google breaks the 2ch portal for some reason, but you can still translate the original 2ch and the Futaba Portal.

2channel with Google-Translated Posts
Futaba Portal with Human-Translated Navigation and Google Translated Posts

Happy browsing.

Raerth355 karma


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Raerth246 karma

I'd originally suspected this was a diplomat's 14yr old kid who'd borrowed the passport for the picture, but knowing this makes it more likely it's a family member.

Answers do not sound like any career diplomat. I know a few people in the (UK) civil service, this sounds like a fantasist.

Raerth133 karma

I wasn't keen on making it, worried it seems a bit patronizing. But had received a bunch of messages from concerned redditors asking that I say something.

Raerth121 karma

No diplomat would actually say this:

What is the most surprising country that has a cold relationship with America?

Hm, I could probably get in a lot of trouble if I answered this one honestly, but there is a certain country with a large lobby in the U.S. that makes our foreign policy in a certain region very difficult to manage. I'd probably pick that country.

This is either a troll, or some intern who's biggest responsibility is making coffee and zeroxing.