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4chan The Dark Age

Antonizoon edited this page Jan 31, 2015 · 1 revision

Claimed to be the true Golden Age of 4chan, but this time the term "Golden Age" does not refer to a lost time of actually funny and original content or any sense of Victorian elegance, but to a time where 4chan became the center of the Internet, and even popular culture in the same manner as 2channel in Japan.

Project Chanology

(2008 – 2009)

On January 2008, a well-known video of Tom Cruise going crazy on a Scientology training video was censored on Youtube by the Church of Scientology. A raid thread was immediately posted on 4chan's /b/ detailing the other illegal and immoral acts that the group has pulled off. With near-unanimous support /b/tards began a massive operation to rid the world of the scourge of Scientology once and for all through DDoS and protest. The coming events came to be known as Project Chanology, resulting in major victories over Scientologists. On January 28, Mark Bunker made a video congratulating anonymous on its fight against Scientology but suggested them it would be more efficient to stage actual IRL protests. Later known as the Wise Beard Man, he would come to be the only man on the history of the Internet who actually managed to control the chaotic monster that was /b/. The use of large IRL protests and mass media coverage due to these protests brought forth another massive wave of new users to 4chan, even dwarfing the newfag summer. It is regarded by many to be the time 4chan hit rock bottom, the time where they began to lose control of the direction they were heading.

As time went on, the initial enthusiasm for the raid wore off, and participants of Project Chanology realized that 4chan was not the best place for organized assault. There was a moral conflict between the “new anonymous” – Whose introduction to imageboards began with Chanology, they used a different dressing method to raid, with IRL protests, donning Guy Fawkes masks and the old anonymous, more specifically the /i/nsurgents. The former put his cause of action at the possibility of using the Internet for doing good, protesting other’s intention to raid lolcows and people who didn't entirely deserve it whilst the latter still held the old values of doing it for the lulz and dubbed anyone who would try to get in their way a moralfag. These people temporarily left 4chan for separate sites, like 711chan, various IRC channels and Why We Protest. The split established Anonymous as a powerful force for "hacktivism" independent of 4chan. Though still regarded as the Internet Hate Machine, anonymous is seen showing better lights for the first time.

This period was probably the closest 4chan has ever been to being shut down permanently. The economic crisis made sure that moot couldn't pay the server bills and put him in debt. There were running rumors claiming that 4chan had a total of 20000 dollars in debt (Which was later confirmed in a newspost in 2012, to this day I have no idea how the hell he managed to pay all that). He also put forth actual pornographic ads, something he absolutely hates, in a desperate move to alleviate the costs of maintaining 4chan. He grew increasingly disconnected with the site and sometimes spouted some lines that implied that he hated 4chan, or at least /b/, during those times.

By the end of 2008, Project Chanology has long faded with only a few stalwart holdouts and the majority of Anonymous re-assimilates into 4chan within a few months.

It’s generally regarded by the majority of 4chan's population, regardless of year or board of origin, that 2008 was the worst year 4chan ever went through. The sheer size of /b/ made it collapse on its own weight various occasions. Most memes of the era failed to take off, all raids were uncoordinated at best and a complete failure at worst. Everyone on the board was either complaining about Chanology, demanding that /b/tards get their shit together and do something or blaming everyone else for being the cancer that was killing /b/. The state of the site even affected the moderation – The mods, mostly composed of the old guard from 2004 and 2005, where in a serious state of apathy, uncaring about trying to solve the problems of most boards, limiting themselves to deleting illegal content and actively rejecting any and all content created from /b/ and other boards. It’s been known that janitors could be fired for something as trivial as using a meme the mods didn't like on the janitor IRC. moot was in serious debt, something he didn't reveal until 2010. Such thing could explain the reason he stopped making newsposts and his presence on the site diminished greatly. Boards would be created and be completely forgotten by the mods, like /x/ and /sp/. At the same time /b/ took a nasty habit of interboard raiding and things only got worse with the constant crashes from /b/’s server. This began to affect other’s board quality, especially /v/, which would begin a downward spiral into off-topic posting and underage b& overpopulation.

The Boxxy Civil War


On January 7, 2009, a year-old video from a strangely tantalizing teenager named Boxxy came to the full attention of /b/, which in turn incited a major civil war between lovers and detractors. Normal users, tired of both sides, took down the entire site in a major DDoS and mods began to ban all Boxxy-related posts. Not long after a group of namefags calling themselves the "Center for Boxxy Control and Restriction" (CBCR) hacked into Boxxy's account and held her IRL information hostage. Their work was undermined by their radical tendencies, and support eventually broke down.

The year is characterized by the rise of Reddit, a major news and content aggregator that rose to power after the Digg Revolt, when a revamped hub led to an exodus from the site. Reddit's mainstream popularity and strong cultural influence from 4chan created a unique relationship between the two.

Culturally, 4chan was a shadow of its former self. Many things /b/tards proposed themselves to achieve ended up failing miserably. /b/’s content began to change towards inane threads, like porn dumps and camwhores. Many old users, complaining about the site’s idiotic tendencies, migrated towards the ascending Reddit, remaining there until the rise of SRS. A notable exception was Time’s Most Influential Person of the Year raid, where hackers and /b/tards not only made moot the most voted name, but also arranged the runner ups to spell “Marblecake also the game”, a shootout to the Youtube Porn day. moot attended to the event, spawning even more memes.

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