These boards do more than allow this hate to fester. They allow hate to grow as they become a recruiting ground that can radicalize people who never would have fallen into this mindset without these boards. 8chan might be compartmentalized in a way that allows it to become an echo chamber of hate, but it also is highly connect to boards about general topics like video games, TV, and movies. This normalizes the hate and it becomes just another thing to talk about.
I would bet a small minority of people who spew hateful things on 8chan sought the site out because of their own hate. Maybe they went there to talk about the new Call of Duty game. Before too long they are ingrained in the whole Gamergate mindset. Then they eventual start hanging out on /pol and before you know it they are a full fledged white nationalist. (A similar thing has been reported about Youtube's recommendation algorithm ) This wouldn't happen if the hateful sections of 8chan were sectioned off into their own site. No one accidentally stumbles upon The Daily Stormer and becomes a white nationalist. Just visiting that site genuinely requires a predilection towards hate and a sympathetic ear to white nationalism.
 - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/08/technology/yo...
This is a common narrative, but it depends on an empirical question of whether hate spreads online and whether this motivates action. Fortunately, studies suggest that online talk does not motivate action:
To summarize: the internet does not accelerate the process of radicalization, it does not provide opportunities to self-radicalize, and it does not allow radicalization without physical contact with other radicals. So the empirical evidence does not entirely agree with your characterization of 8chan's role in radicalization.
But that isn't the point you're replying to; the point you're replying to is about "these boards" (ie. these venues), and makes no mention of their internet-ness being a factor.
The report, crucially, does therefore not seem to contradict the post you're replying to, as that post is about radicalization in mixed-topic venues in general; this one just happens to be on the internet.
Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that the OP was specifically referring to online boards, and this forms the context of pretty much this entire thread and every discussion of this topic here and elsewhere about the spread of hate online.
> 8chan might be compartmentalized in a way that allows it to become an echo chamber of hate, but it also is highly connect to boards about general topics like video games, TV, and movies.
Nowhere in the OP is "the internet" specifically mentioned as a factor. It's all about the general concept of mixing it into other topics to make it palatable (which is precisely how radicalization usually works online and offline, see also eg. biker gangs), and an online message board just happens to be the context in this particular case.
And like you said, there is nothing internet specific about this distinction. The same thing applies if white nationalists are recruiting in the physical world. There is a lot more potential for recruiting new members at the local bar than their is at a KKK rally. I think some of us just want the bar owner to stop allowing those white supremacists to use the bar as a recruiting ground because they are turning violent.
>The concept of freedom of speech falls apart if universally reprehensible speech is allowed to be publicaly espoused without being firmly challenged. Forums like 8chan and 4chan effectively incubate hate speech by providing a safe space for anonymized, like-minded individuals to congregate, espouse their basest thoughts and feelings and receive gratification for it -all without challenge.
I think certain site structures encourage different kinds of discussion. Imagine the most extreme possibility: a site that automatically hides posts that the majority would agree with after reading, and gives points to and highlights bombastic posts. You're not going to get good discussion out of this, no matter how much you try to convince people that it would be good for society if they visited this site and tried to challenge people there.
I think imageboards like 4chan and 8chan accidentally approximate this. They bump threads to the top on every reply, so threads that trigger flame wars are incentivized. The lack of names means no one will call you out if you flip-flop opinions, so you're free to flip-flop to whatever opinion will trigger the most people, which users will do in order to make successful threads.
After a few cycles of this, normal people ("normies") either leave or adapt themselves to fit in, so the remaining users have to amp up their ridiculousness to make threads that are bombastic to the new crowd. Users get used to having to make their opinions more extreme to get noticed. I think this then causes them to flock to threads that they can tell are bombastic to normies as a way to self-reaffirm their own tendency toward making bombastic threads. If you ever try to argue for the normie opinion on a subject, it "outs" yourself as someone who isn't a true user, as someone who isn't purposefully ratcheting their opinions up into offensiveness as the site encourages.
Years ago, I helped run a once-popular imageboard dedicated to a fandom, and its level of dysfunction was legendary. A big part of that probably came from the userbase's overlap with 4chan, but the way problems regularly cropped up in common interactions even in topics and groups of users with little 4chan overlap made me skeptical of the structure itself. It helped a lot being able to see which anonymous users made which posts and see how common it was for people to sock-puppet or radically re-work their opinions in their next thread.
Regarding anonymity: perhaps anonymity has the opposite effect, allowing people to be more willing to have thoughtful discussions and change their minds, instead of having to stick to their guns for fear of losing face. Perhaps the freedom of anonymity allowed people to say what they always wanted to say but couldn't because they feared for their reputation.
All of which is not to say that 4chan and 8chan don't contain hate speech and other forms of expression deemed unacceptable in broader society. But perhaps the reason people say such things and talk in those ways isn't because of the forum itself, but because of the state that political discourse has devolved to these days. 4chan and 8chan are nothing more than fora at the end of the day; and if they're blocked, people will simply move to continue the conversation (just like they moved from 4chan to 8chan in the first place).
Maybe I'm wrong about how the specific details play into it exactly, but I think the differences between site structures is not considered nearly enough when trying to understand the differences between site cultures. I hope it's apparent to most that Reddit+HN, classic forums, Twitter, and imageboards each strongly influence discussions to work in different ways, and I don't think it's just because of their different communities. I think if you swap out the people or make multiple sites with the same structure, you see that each structure reinforces its own set of behaviors.
>perhaps anonymity has the opposite effect, allowing people to be more willing to have thoughtful discussions and change their minds, instead of having to stick to their guns for fear of losing face.
I can see the logic of that, but the "thoughtful" part has rarely been my experience on any anonymous places. I think people are more willing to change their minds, but in the direction of being more willing to change their mind to follow the "hivemind"/community or change their mind in a way that's more able to provoke others.
That's not true, the community actively tries to keep out "normies" by posting pictures of disfigured corpses or other disturbing imagery and sabotaging the posts that challenge their agenda through spam and trolling.
They even have a guide how to do that, the following page is linked from the homepage at 8chan: https://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm
Still possible to subvert, but harder to do so, and it made client-side blocking of particular ids fairly simple.
Tripcodes fail in this regard, as they are elective.
This is a classic, authoritarian tactic of misdirection.
Here's a report on some of the forces at play:
By the way, they're wrong—although not alone—in thinking that Silicon Valley is "left-wing". This is a convenient smoke-screen, as illuminated here:
I am not sure why we should put much stock in the explicit mythology of a troll army.
For one, the people on 8chan are absolutely a hated minority. That's largely why they're getting banned from the internet. Mainstream figures aren't coming out in favor of 8chan, they're calling for it's dissolution. Saying you visit or enjoy 8chan in polite company would likely be a faux pas if anyone even knew what you were talking about.
Of course, pretending to be a hated minority may be a rhetorical tactic - but that doesn't make it untrue. The Westborough Baptist Church may have experienced enhanced camaraderie from being almost universally reviled - but that doesn't mean they weren't, in fact, almost universally reviled.
"Authoritarian" also seems like a poor description. The boards are anti authoritarian in that they have lax moderation. There isn't a punishment for unwanted opinions - you can't be downvoted or shadowbanned. People can't even judge your future posts by the content of your previous posts because everyone is anonymous and without a post history. Banning is by ip only, and easily avoided, and there aren't even accounts to lose. 8chan is much more anarchic than authoritarian. I'm making that claim based on their structure rather than their political ideology.
The idea that Silicon Valley is not left wing also strikes me as highly suspect. For example, in the last Presidential election Clinton received 95% of Silicon Valley donations compared to 4% for Trump . There are other, similar reports, for specific companies and different elections, but everything I've seen slowed they skew heavily left.
I'm aware that there are conceptions of "left wing" where Clinton wouldn't really count as left wing, but so long as we are discussing American politics I don't think those alternate conceptions are relevant. Clinton is clearly further left than Trump.
1 - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/nearly-all-of-silicon-v...
They're almost ubiquitously unknown.
> they have lax moderation
I refer to the boards ideological content, not its own governance, although there are arguments to be made that informal, social governance employs Patriarchal tropes to keep users in line.
> so long as we are discussing American politics
We're not. We're discussing an international propagandist forum.
> I don't think those alternate conceptions are relevant. Clinton is clearly further left than Trump.
The USA has never had a "Leftist" administration in any meaningful sense.
Edit: your attitude strikes me as suspiciously apologetic on behalf of an atrocious, violent reactionary movement. If this is due to naivete, I hope the previous ly cited texts can alleviate it. If this is due to your own Patriarchal reactionary bent, we're done; I've no reason to spar with a dishonest partner.
You forget; they also murder indiscriminately. You're acting callous and self-righteous; it's not hard for me to imagine you "understand" Fascism's appeal, a la Matt Bors' reluctant Nazi.
And gee, wow, you posted a comic where the author's self-insert tries to talk to a totally crazy and unreasonable Drumpf Nazi, who is a blatant hypocrite and makes a fool of himself, confirming your political biases and allowing you to impute terrible motives to millions! How will we ever recover?
Calling 8chan authoritarian, when they have little to no authority and little to no rules feels like a bad judgment. Surely Nazis and authoritarians abound there, but they aren't organized in any way, they don't control the site, they are just there posting their positions because anyone can go there and post whatever they like.
You suggest that patriarchal tropes are used to keep users in line. I'd like to know more about that. To my knowledge, the users of 8chan are not kept in line - that's kind of the problem. Moderators there delete illegal content as they become aware of it, but beyond that don't do much - per my understanding.
Regarding your point about politics - it seems facile. In the US, which is where Silicon Valley is located, "The Left" refers to a superset which includes the Democrat party. Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly Left in this sense. While it is true you could use a different definition of "Left", doing so only confuses the issue and for little purpose. The people of 8chan who accuse Silicon Valley of being Left leaning are not making the accusation in the cosmopolitan sense which you are apparently interpreting it.