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.
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.
> 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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My favorite section is the Internet section, which contains some interesting internet history and philosophy.
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?
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.
- 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.
Modern boards like Notabug suffer from it without a moderator.