4chan: Edgy Internet Site or Fantastic Collective Intelligence Network?

Casual internet goers may or may not be familiar with the site called 4Chan, the sites official description states that “4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images anonymously.” Sounds great right?

Well, 4chan has developed quite a bad reputation compared to some of  it’s counterparts in recent years, but why is that you may ask? a conversation between a reddit user called pinguino42 and an unknown original poster asking the same question gives a good understanding of the situation.

“4chan is an imageboard, originally meant for people to post and share images. You could compare it to reddit in a more forum-ish format. The key differences between reddit and 4chan:
– There’s no upvoting/downvoting, threads appear based on how recent they were active, and after a thread is inactive for a while it gets deleted (though there are sites that archive them).
-Everyone is anonymous, there are no user accounts.
The anonymity is what makes 4chan 4chan. People can post whatever and not have it associated with them, which is why you’ll see them throw around the n-word or “faggot” as insults. Of course posting something very illegal will still get you banned.
That said, when you just say “4chan” everyone probably thinks of the /b/ board, which is the random, NSFW, anything goes board. That board has a reputation for being chaotic. There are other boards that are actually fairly tame, like /v/ for video games or /mu/ for music.”  (pinguino42, 2016)

I wouldn’t advise exploring the depths of 4chan, some of the content is seriously disturbing and is definitely not for the faint of heart, but is that the only thing 4chans users are capable of? Not at all


The 4chan sub-forum /sg/ (Syria General) accomplished an amazing feat and managed to  administer an airstrike on an ISIS training camp.


It’s crazy to think that something like this was achievable by a few anonymous internet users on 4chan. If you told anyone who is a fan of legacy media about this story they simply wouldn’t believe it. With the internet constantly growing and our sources for information rapidly increasing, we could easily see more cases like /sg/ in the near future.

But 4chan users might want to consider increasing their rep if they even want a little bit of recognition for their occasional heroics.


Original image

Reference list:

Simkin, D 2017, /SG/, Prezi,  viewed April 3 2017, https://prezi.com/yxkne6pwriin/sg/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

7 thoughts on “4chan: Edgy Internet Site or Fantastic Collective Intelligence Network?

  1. Hey Alex! Awesome blog, such an easy read. You clearly understand the (undeniably unsettling) power of anon sites like 4Chan. If anything, I would have added a little more about the mechanics behind this stuff (think distributed networks etc) – It’s cool, fascinating and just the right amount of terrifying. It’s also interesting to consider why certain areas of politics (such as Syrian conflict right now) blow up on sites like 4Chan but were met with relative silence by legacy media (particularly mainstream, western channels) until recently… Overall, awesome blog post, and awesome angle of the topic to tackle – there’s seriously whole books on this kind of thing. See: Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker. For a shorter read check out this article: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/21/the-rise-of-4chan-politics/

    Keira 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Keira thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate your feedback and I always love learning new things and gathering further information on the topics I’m interested in so thank you for providing those additional sources 🙂
      – Alex


  2. Hi, Alex great post, really its hard to believe the sheer size of 4chan and its capabilities. Like with massive organisation of data to coordinate to find the terrorist base. It makes me laugh how much of a bad reputation 4chan has and yet they can produce things such as this, I do agree 4chan does deserve much more recognition and attention especially. Comparing this sort of information to what the legacy media produce is surprising how much they don’t want to show and the extent of manipulation they possess over society.

    Liked by 1 person

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