4Chan.org has been described as the wasteground of the world wide web. A place where it’s not uncommon to find images of burned corpses, jokes about recently-dead celebrities, insults towards anyone, witch hunts and so forth. Think about the sickest thing you’ve seen, then multiply it by a factor of 100. That is 4chan to many
However, despite the grim sounding introduction, it’s not all bad. The creator known then only as ‘moot’, wanted to create a place where English-speaking fans of Japanese animes and mangas could come together and talk about their favorites, following the lead of the Japanese Futaba board 2chan.net. So ‘moot’ created 4chan.net, a place where people could post messages without having to register a username like most forums using the same software as 2chan. The site quickly became insanely popular, to the extent , ‘moot’ couldn’t afford the cost of the servers to run the website, and had to beg regular visitors for money to keep the site going. At this time, the site didn’t contain any advertising at all.
Very long story short, ‘moot’ lost the 4chan.net domain name, and so purchased 4chan.org, more boards were created to accommodate the needs of its ever-growing population and the culture that evolved around 4Chan invented many internet themes (‘memes’ prounounced ‘meems’), popular ones include:
- ‘The Party Van’: ‘moot’ was contacted by law enforcements regarding a few users who posted child pornography (which was usually deleted by mods) with an arrest or two of the offenders. ‘moot’ was distressed that law enforcements were monitoring 4chan, and posted messages on the board to warn users. The ‘party van’ became a reference to the FBI’s command center van following the belief that the van would park outside your house before you were arrested should you post any
- ‘Pedobear’, which when childporn was posted, some people would post a picture of a bear with the words “Too old”, or some other unsuitable message,
- Barrel-roll, Skippy the Bunny says this during the opening level of the game Star Fox 64, and the phrase was applied to anyone who finds themselves in a bad situation. A successor to this was eggrolling, duckrolling (from a time when ‘moot’ changed every instance of the word ‘egg’ to ‘duck’ on the forums, and then later someone decided to redirect all outgoing links on 4chan to a picture of a duck on wheels,) and one which hit the mainstream, ‘Rickrolling’, where people would post a link to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with unrelated descriptive text.
- ‘Trap’: referring to a male dressed as a hot female to ensnare men for sexual attention. The label “trap” itself is a geeky reference to Admiral Ackbar’s famous phrase from Star Wars VI Return of the Jedi which he says as the Empire attack the Rebel fleet. A slight variation which was also used around the internet was “tarp”.
- and many, many more.
For a longer introduction to 4Chan, read about it at wikipedia here.
Being an otaku, B.J. frequented 4chan and it was this wasteground that was crucial in catapulting her on her way to fame, which we’ll return to later.