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Shiichan Anonymous BBS (2004) (c3.cx)
66 points by throwaway81523 48 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments



Throwaway. Was involved with 4chan in the 00s. Not ashamed of it, but not proud enough to associate it with my name.

People totally forget about 4chan's textboards, which ran on Shiichan. They're closed now, but even when they were around, nobody would visit them save a couple dozen absolutely insane posters. The militant commitment to stupidity there eclipsed that of its imageboard counterparts. True treasures. None of the even smaller offshoots ever recaptured that flame.

I was still in secondary school when I lied about my age and became a janitor. moot himself was still underage at the time too. I think everybody had access to the admin panel for the text boards, but the interface was so bad, nobody bothered moderating them, even for cool free ringtones spambots.

I haven't bothered with 4chan for a decade now, but it definitely tickles me to see something so purely moronic now so heavily politicised and even feared.


I'm around the same age as moot and lied about my age to sign up for the SA forums, where I first heard about 4chan. It always tickles me pink when people reminisce about the "old internet" because what I remember is way worse.


I suspect there's a tendency for anything with a public, fully anonymous (rather than pseudonymous) format to eventually become something some people use for the worst things imaginable.

For example, people used to write bomb threats and racial slurs on bathroom stall walls at my middle school. Anonymous imageboards are kind of the global version of a public bathroom stall wall. Sometimes there are funny or uplifting things on it, and sometimes the polar opposite.


This theory was described most succinctly here IMHO: https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19


I'd be interested in pointers to prior art of things which started asinine, and wound up literally deadly.

> I haven't bothered with 4chan for a decade now, but it definitely tickles me to see something so purely moronic now so heavily politicised and even feared.

"tickles"


> I'd be interested in pointers to prior art of things which started asinine, and wound up literally deadly.

I've had a running interest for years in deaths caused by bad software design. "Bad design" doesn't necessarily mean bugs (although in rare cases it can). More often, it means building a system without thinking through the real world consequences, or hewing to an unconfirmed, biased view of how it "should" act in the real world. The 737 Max software that tried to deduce an angle of attack with too few redundant measurements, and discarding unlikely results, is an obvious example of programmer hubris. Facebook's news feed is another example of the failure to consider how individual secondary effects from an interface can engender massively catastrophic events at scale.

Cryptocurrency also started asinine, and is becoming increasingly deadly, as it facilitates ransomware attacks on hospitals and infrastructure. Any car manufacturer claiming to be "FSD" right now also meets the definition.

Whenever stories warn us about the dangers of technology, from Daedalus to the Terminator, they're really warning us about hubris. When tinkerers make machines or programmers write code based on their idea of how things should go, or how they're expected to go, based on their personal prior experience or fondest wishes, that's usually when shit goes off the rails.


If you've collected any links or other resources on this topic I'd love to learn more. I'm interested in this and what we can do about it.


> I'd be interested in pointers to prior art of things which started asinine, and wound up literally deadly.

I first heard 4chan mentioned in conversation around 2005 or so. It was a remarkably different cultural phenomenon then, as everyone has noted. I had been a regular reader of TOTSE's BBS long before 4chan emerged. TOTSE fits your description of a forum with humble beginnings in the 80s BBS counterculture, which ended up appealing exclusively to antisocial pursuits.


>militant commitment to stupidity

Indeed, I would say that even now the extant textboard and irc users are still attempting to push the boundaries of sophisticated stupidity and they have become experts at it.


I've been wondering what's been going thru moots mind from 2015-now regarding it.


Perhaps related, on this page musing about Wikipedia (https://shii.bibanon.org/shii.org/knows/Wikipedia.html): "It is founded on the unfortunate belief that people will always do good things and be nice to each other, and after a few spectacular years that everyone involved will remember, it falls apart in a miserable, unhappy mess, which everyone will later insist they had no hand in."


That belief isn't unfortunate - technological optimism or what Wired once called "extropianism" is just the same as every other kind of utopian fantasy. And when you're young, and kind, and full of love, and think the world can be fixed if only everyone had the tools and the motivation to express their best selves, it's seductive. And it should be. Because if teenagers and twentysomethings were as cynical and resigned as the rest of us, we'd be doomed. Every generation architects some new utopian paradigm, and has to go through its own process of disillusionment as they watch the mob tear it limb from limb. Ultimately, the best you can hope for is that people learn from history and don't repeat the same mistakes.


But that is exactly what happens: Human civilization is a generational loop of genocide and treachery. All of these wonderful things we enjoy exist in spite of everything we are.


Yeah, but I see some incremental progress. Legal systems, institutions, human rights, technology that alleviates misery (as opposed to gadgetry, or worse, tech that enalaves people). It's definitely been two steps forward and one step back. Unfortunately, we seem to have entered the back step. Friend said to me the other day "we peaked so hard in the early 90s". Hard to argue with that.


I think 4chan managed to distance themselves quite a bit from the worst of it - that went to 8chan, Gab, etc.


That's true, and moot left right before things took their major turn (possibly precipitated by Gamergate, which moot soon banned all discussion of; he left about 6 months later), but 4chan /pol/ is still more extremist than even Stormfront, and nearly as uniform in terms of beliefs. It's not quite as bad as 8chan /pol/, but 8chan /pol/ is as bad as or perhaps even more extreme than Nazi Germany's actual "Der Stürmer", and is where a lot of the far-right mass shooters have posted.

Other boards have varying concentrations of /pol/ injected, with /mu/ ("Music") having a spread of far-left, left-leaning, right-leaning, and far-right posters, and /tv/ ("TV / Movies") and /biz/ ("Business / Finance", but mostly just cryptocurrency gambling/scams) being almost exclusively right-leaning, and mostly far-right.


Low-censorship forums tend to be 90% idiocy, 10% really interesting and accurate takes on reality that are suppressed elsewhere. Often they also have a lot of brilliant humor. So I would not say that they are purely idiotic, just largely idiotic. To me it is often worth it to dig through the idiocy in search of the awesome content.



> militant commitment to stupidity

hah


Memes have been weaponized in the modern political era. Anecdotal, of course, but I have read interviews with Qanon/hard core Trump folks and a lot of them started with pretty neutral or even liberal views that shifted over time. Many of them attributes the red pill and right wing memes as a contributing factor to their radicalization. Despite your labeling it stupid and moronic these forums do have the power to shift political narratives. I’m not passing judgement on these forums, but I no longer view them as harmless toys. Real people are shaping their world views on these forums and they are having a noticeable impact in the world.

Young people can be very bored and lazy and are very impressionable at the time in their lives when they may end up on these counter culture style forums.


Yeah nah. I think all that radicalisation is more easily explained by America being a terrible country full of miserable people. I thought (re)creating /pol/ was a bad move at the time, but it's very out of touch to blame some naughty anime website for the mess your country is in.


I think dismissing the negative effects so out of hand is silly. Ideas have power. You can’t hand wave things away that easily. I’m not blaming 4chan and sites like it either, it’s more of a trend across the entire Internet. The forums are just part of the story. I am amused, but not surprised, a former chan user would casually dismiss such a correlation. It is at least an idea worth exploring.


Implying that anonymous imageboards are all like 4chan is like implying that the reddit homepage is what you get out of reddit; even assuming that all of 4chan is bad is pretty inconsiderate, boards like /diy/ on 4chan are a gem for those who seek proper information.

There are some brilliant imageboards which moderate themselves, toxic users are weeded out by the community hivemind and only valuable information is kept. No ego-driven moderators to please, no "circle-handholding", no waste of time or energy; basically like good old pre-eternal September internet.


If you happen to have a few links, i'm interested!


An archive of shii's website "Everything Shii knows" still exists here: https://shii.bibanon.org/shii.org/knows/Everything_Shii_Know...

My favorite section is the Internet section, which contains some interesting internet history and philosophy.


I remember using MediaWiki as a personal wiki in 2004-6ish. At some point I stumbled across shii's website and thought their solution was a much better approach.

Wasn't there more to it than this archive captured?

I wasn't into chan culture, but this person struck me as pretty creative. What ever happened to them?


I started browsing 4Chan at around age 10-11 (until about age 17) and despite it being a toxic cesspool, I think it was a valuable (and probably formative) experience.

In other parts of the world where people have it much rougher, children aren't put inside of a bubble where they remain clueless about how the world works and the nature of human beings.

Not everyone is awful -- most people aren't, I assume (or perhaps, like to hope).

But 4chan put you face to face with some of the most vile, fucked-up shit you'd ever seen in your life on the daily. And this can give you a lot of perspective, especially early on in life.

Being a 10 year old from suburbia who had only lived this regular, sheltered America life and then getting on 4Chan and seeing + interacting with these types of people was eye opening and quickly sheds light on a lot of things you probably couldn't conceive of.

I guess it could make you callous or insensitive too, but fortunately I like to think that didn't happen to me.


I've been working on a terminal based BBS for a bit. There really isn't any function that makes a BBS inherently better or worse than the alternatives. You can effectively make a couple choices in BB design:

- who you let stay

- who you let moderate

Who you let stay

Influencing who you let stay can be hard, as it's affected by a number of things. Moderators have the biggest hammers in terms of squelching and banning but users can exercise their voice via ignores and on some boards reputation. The unfortunate part about reputation is that it is usually enforced post-to-post, so it usually represents whether a poster links content that the community is already in a position to accept. This sounds nice but also sounds like the long-form of an echo-chamber construction. If your board supports hot-linking then new people will show up at your forum seeking their place in your community. They'll be influenced by the tools moderators and other users use on them. r/The_Donald r/ChapoTraphouse, and r/politics are all great representations of how when this system all works together it creates an environment that allows one type of poster to thrive while all other posters and repliers are muted into oblivion.

Who you let moderate

Moderators set the pace and trajectory for a community. Places like Reddit attempt to distribute power based on a topic. BB style forums can be run as moderated centrally or they can allocate moderation to individual board moderators. The moderators, based on their scope, will guide posters over time. Some do it like dang while others rule a kingdom with an iron fist. I do think this choice sets a tempo for the community, but I have no data to prove that.

Vitality and sharing makes each of the small problems above much larger, mainly due to dealing with sudden change. HN users might be acutely aware of this when new people exhibit Twitter-style behavior in the threads. Normally this is okay, but on certain topics people leak over more than not. What I'm describing is a network effect of the norms and culture of one community leaking into the next. At a certain this is probably fine, but at peak rates it becomes untenable.


I remember Shii from the somethingawful forums, where he got permabanned for being a pedophile : https://forums.somethingawful.com/dictionary.php?act=3&topic...


Many sites were like this in 2004.

Kuro5hin Husi IWETHEY Etc.

Modern boards like Notabug suffer from it without a moderator.




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