5 Evolution of a Channer
Stages of a Channer
Every channer has seven stages which he experiences once his discovers an imageboard or textboard site. Each one experiences these stages in their own way once discovering them. They may reach these stages slowly, or at a normal pace, or may remain at one stage for a long time, or move them quickly. Each person who goes through these stages goes through them uniquely and experiences them in a unique way. But either way they experience these changes will affect the in the way they communicate, and how they express themselves on the internet.
Many people go through these stages via 4chan’s /b/. But there are many other channers who bypass /b/ due to various reasons, or are introduced through the site via other boards the site offers. Or in some cases, don’t go through 4chan’s /b/ but to another different imageboard site. But in the end, they all go through the stages.
There are three types of channers: The first one is the 4channer, and there are two types of 4channers: The /b/tard and the mainstream channer. Then you have the original channer, which is similar to the 4channer but different because they were introduced to the imageboard culture via a different imageboard site other than 4chan (i.e. 1chan, 7chan, 420chan)
Discovery and Exposure
The first stage of being a channer is exposure. A person gets introduced to the imageboard culture through various ways. They get introduced to a popular imageboard site (like 4chan) most likely due to the mainstream media or word of mouth. Most likely the person will discover the site through the internet or via television, especially via Fox News. Fox News was the primary thing that got site hits because of its coverage of the site as a liberal site. But in reality, it wasn’t liberal (or conservative).
The major aspect that imageboards get popular is through word of mouth. This is accomplished on the internet by blogs, websites, instant messaging services, irc private messages, or by in real world interaction via word of mouth. The word of mouth is the fastest an imageboard gets known, because it’s instant and it involves regular human interaction. Once a person hears about the imageboard site, the person want to find out more about the imageboard site.
Other ways of exposure is linking an imageboard thread from an imageboard to a regular forum. Or linking the same thread to a IM, or via email. In some cases, linking the picture itself to a forum or via social networking sites such as twitter and facebook. In some cases, they may be exposed to the imageboard culture via anime, pop-culture, and geek conventions.
Once a person discovers an imageboard, the person will usually lurk before actually participating in the imageboard site. This is the most important thing to do when someone first enters a bulletin board or imageboard for the first time.
The purpose of lurking is to figure out what is the culture of the imageboard website: Basically what makes it tick. The person has to figure out what content is acceptable in the board he plans to participate in, what to post, what not to post. This phase is where the person sees and understands the culture, sees the in-jokes (memes), and the posting style of the users who come to the board. Likewise it is his duty to figure out the culture for his/herself. Unless the channer has to post (like for obvious stupidity of the OP in terms of knowledge), he does not reply.
If it’s a single imageboard site with just one board, it would be easy. But if an imageboard site has multiple boards, each one of the boards will have a different culture and way of posting. If it’s an imageboard site with high activity, these will effectively create the closest equivalent to an electronic hivemind.
The actual practice of lurking depends on the board, the imageboard site, and the activity the imageboard site has. In rare cases, a person can just jump in and post a thread or reply. But in many cases it takes a week for anyone to figure out how to post. In serious cases like in for /b/ 2003-2006 and the /b/ boards at 2chan, it takes six months to figure out the ways of the board.
Passive Phase (aka Hiveminding)
This phase is when the channer starts posting anonymously to fit into the imageboard culture. He does so anonymously, and does not adopt a username and/or tripcode yet. The person will start typing and interacting on the board normally. But slowly he changes his typing and communication to that of a regular channer, inserting catchphrases and idioms when it fits into the conversation. He will also begin or have already started collecting pictures he likes, in particular reaction images and image macros.
Now in the active phase of a channer this is where the channer becomes one with the electronic “hivemind” that imageboards facilitate. People who are in the Active phase are effectively part of the electronic hivemind. The active phase is when the person is more comfortable on how and where to post. He is able to fully participate on the boards without worrying about making a mistake.
The person is able to make a variety of threads on the site. Informative threads, interesting threads, call and response threads, picture threads, regular threads, etc. Since imageboards have a different culture than static boards, he has figured out the “code”. The world (or the board) is his oyster (or canvas).
This phase is also the part where they made a decision on how they will post on an imageboard in the future. They have three choices: Post anonymously, become a namefag, or become a tripfag. Each one has their benefits and disadvantages. But it’s not all in a circle or in forced one way or another, some people tripfag and post anonymously the rest of the site, some people tripfags all the time, some people tripfag, namefag, and post anonymously at the time. Each person has a style of posting depending on the board of the imageboard site, or specific board of the site.
The person is at this point should save a sizable amount of pictures to repost on the boards. Even better… he may have found away to modify the images, to create new ones out of the images he create. Finally, he would have a dedicated folder for all the images (and for some: threads) the person saved during his time, like a “/b/ folder” or a general 4chan folder.
Auxilization or the “Pulling away phase
This is the stage where for many, after they gotten used to the imageboard culture for a while, they found that imageboards are more simple and easy to use for several reasons. First, they do not need to log in with their username and passcode, and they don’t need a username to participate. Second, it’s easy to post what they want without going through a second screen or page. Three, it’s more message oriented instead of person oriented. Primarily, the first two reasons are how they find western forums toxic because they’re no longer comfortable having a name to what they say unless they want to. All of these are three reasons why many people who go to imageboards move from Western static forums to eastern anonymous forums. Once the channer switches over to primarily imageboards, it’s difficult if not impossible to switchback to static forums.
But it really depends on the channer as some channers want to abandon static forums for good. Some channers want to keep going to a forum for one specialized subject, and go to imageboards for the remaining subjects. Some want the best of both worlds by going to both static forums and imageboards.
Priority Shift or Deprioritizing
In serious cases, the channer may deprioritize actually doing the same activities as the same topics he does to the topic of the board. For example, if a channer is an anime otaku, he is more inclined to participate more in a anime imageboard than actually watching the anime itself. If the channer is a video game, he may be discussing video games more than playing them. The same thing goes for literature and books, photography, comics, manga, sports, television, film, traditional games, and so on. . It’s just that easy and in major imageboards, it’s just a goddamn timesink. And like World of Worldcraft (or any other MMORPG) you can spend entire days looking at threads and pictures.
A major exception to this trend is technology. Because people can access imageboards via cell phones and computers a channer can who is into technology. can easily watch a movie or code while reading. In short as long as they multitask while you use the boards, the full effects of this phase can be mitigated
Channer Persona Manifestation
Channer Persona Manifestation is the final stage of being a channer. This stage depends on person to person. This phase is where the channer manifests his channer personal outward in real life. Some channers keep it quiet by not revealing their persona unless with likeminded people. When they meet likeminded channers, they either talk about the imageboard happenings, or say various catchphrases during their conversation.
Some channers are subtle with their manifestation by wearing buttons other people do not get unless they’re into the culture. More progressive/outward manifestation include wearing hats, and clothing related to the culture. Some people do fan art regarding the culture. In some cases, this may mean wearing costumes related to the culture (read: cosplay).
Last, and not least, is showing someone the site and talking about it to a friend or two depending on the circumstances. Thus, the stages of the channer starts over in a different person.