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b5-ys9oiyaa2r6(Update 2/14/2016: This article had been written when we first launched the site, and were on AdSense at the time. The original version of this piece had the word “faggot” in it twice. We had gotten an email from AdSense two days after publication essentially saying “remove the piece or get taken off AdSense.” We decided at the time to change the mentions of “faggot” to “bundle of sticks.” I had kind of forgotten about this article since then. As we are now free from advertiser control, mentions of the word “faggot” have been restored.)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of the staff and/or any contributors to this site.)

Have you ever wanted to go to a website where only your ideas and opinions matter? Where there’s no voting system, or way to keep track of all the posts a user makes? A place where conversation is judged based on the merit of what you say and not who you are on the site? If you answered yes to any of these, then you might be a prime candidate for a *chan. Before you start posting pictures of Lanky Kong or start calling everybody and everything a bundle of sticks faggot, you have to understand the mindset of a channer—why we act they way we do and what it means to be part of the community.

It’s typical for people to fall into the “Lol so randumb” mindset that permeates the rest of the internet, and even more so when everybody is anonymous. There are memes, image macros, and all sorts of inside jokes. The site and its sub boards have their own unique personalities that rise up out of forced anonymity. It’s this concept of “Ideas > You” that exists at the very heart of a chan. Your ideas survive based on their merit, not based on who you are and how much “karma” one has. That’s really the core concept of the site, regardless of if it was intentional or not. By virtue of transforming everyone into a faceless poster with no unique identifying marks, you reduce somebody to their ideas alone. It’s this concept of removing the idea from the person that chan boards exemplifies and that modern society is making so hard.

With the recent push for more mass surveillance and monitoring, everybody now expects you to put your ego before your ideas. This is the easiest way to stifle a conversation. The very nature of a chan forces conversation to take place on an intellectual level. It’s the faceless nature of the website that encourages people to say what they really think. This brings us to one of the most important rules of a chan: There is no gender on the internet. This is not because we do not value gendered experiences, this is simply due to the fact that nobody cares about your gender.

Gender is usually not important to a conversation unless it’s a gendered issue. Even then, the very nature of a chan allows for people to remove themselves from that identifier and take a look at a topic from both viewpoints. It’s the idea that the conversation is bigger then who you are. Your gender is a detractor from what you believe and think; a desperate cry out for attention. You want people to focus on you and that’s not what the culture inside a chan is. It’s an exchange of ideas. Everybody is treated as equals. Your voice is just as valid as anyone else’s. Your ideas survive on their merit, and they are judged on that alone.

However, this does not mean that identity is not important. Chans allow for people to use a temporary form of ID if who you are is important to the conversation in the specified thread. This brings us to a definition and an important caveat about tripcodes; tripcodes are for bundles of sticks faggots. What I mean by this is not what it seems. You use a tripcode if you need to identify yourself, but it is not a username. Don’t run around with one on shitting the place up like your opinion is the best and that you must be associated with it. It’s attention whoring at it’s finest. It’s in direct conflict with the core values of the site. Anonymity and open communication is core to chan boards. An equal exchange of all view points. So remember: tripcodes aren’t log-ins—they aren’t usernames.

If you’ve managed to make it to this point in your chan experience and you have started to enjoy the site, then you’re going to have to learn how to lurk moar. Lurking is surfing the site without posting. It’s important to do this so you can understand where people come from and how they communicate. Boards have a personality and unique subtext to them. There are unwritten rules that are a part of the board’s identity. It’s important to understand it so that you can frame your ideas in a way that will create discussion. If you don’t present your idea in a way that is approachable, you’ll get no conversation.

Now… you’re still not ready to experience a chan. This small look into how one works and the ideals and core values of a chan would never prepare anybody for the things that happen on the site. It’s something that has to be seen to be believed. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll throw up and you WILL be offended. But that’s okay, because that’s the whole human experience wrapped up with a bow and covered in shit.

0e3As a last note, I want to reinforce a core idea of any *chan: We don’t hate you. We hate everything. There is always someone that dislikes your opinion and there will always be criticism. Some people will frame this as a well reasoned argument. Others will post something to mock, shock, or otherwise ridicule you for your idea. Anonymity encourages people to be at their worst and most honest. With a lack of censorship you have a true conversation. Nothing is sacred—everything can and will be attacked. Anything will be criticized for everything. This is a byproduct of the rainbow of viewpoints that comes with the draw of anonymity. People will be vile, cruel, and nasty. This is just a byproduct of the open communication that is achieved from an anonymous platform taken as a whole.

(Editors Note: Some language has been changed since the original posting.)

(Editors Note Two: Since we are off AdSense, launage has been restored to that of the original posting.) TofuOpinion(Update 2/14/2016: This article had been written when we first launched the site, and were on AdSense at the time. The original version of this piece had the word “faggot” in it twice. We had gotten an email from AdSense two days after publication essentially saying “remove the piece...
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Killer Tofu
Killer Tofu is the only acceptable form of tofu out there. When not writing about games and internet culture he enjoys long walks on the beach with your mom. But he won't call her afterwards.