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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.
Killer Tofu

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