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An imageboard is a type of
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least tempora ...
that focuses on the posting of images, often alongside text and discussion. The first imageboards were created in Japan as an extension of the textboard concept. These sites later inspired the creation of a number of
English-language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the ...
imageboards.


Characteristics

Imageboards, similar to
bulletin board system A bulletin board system (BBS), also called computer bulletin board service (CBBS), is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such ...
s, are used for discussions of a variety of topics. The primary focus of imageboards, however, is directed away from text posts, and is instead placed on picture posts. The two share many of the same structures, including separate forums for separate topics, as well as similar audiences. Imageboards are much more transitory with content—on some boards (especially highly trafficked ones), the thread deletion time can be as little as 10 minutes. In Japan, where imageboards are more common, topics will vary widely, ranging from trains to current news. The most popular English language imageboard,
4chan 4chan is an anonymous English-language imageboard website. Launched by Christopher "moot" Poole in October 2003, the site hosts boards dedicated to a wide variety of topics, from anime and manga to video games, cooking, weapons, television, ...
, similarly has a large variety of topics. Imageboards are also different from online galleries in that most of the works posted are not made by the poster, but instead are taken from other online sources: galleries, other imageboards, and edited pictures.


Tripcodes

Most imageboards and
2channel , also known as 2ch, Channel 2, and sometimes retrospectively as 2ch.net, was an anonymous Japanese textboard founded in 1999 by Hiroyuki Nishimura. Described in 2007 as "Japan's most popular online community", the site had a level of infl ...
-style discussion boards allow (and encourage)
anonymous post An anonymous post, is an entry on a textboard, anonymous bulletin board system, or other discussion forums like Internet forum, without a screen name or more commonly by using a non-identifiable pseudonym. Some online forums such as Slashdot do no ...
ing and use a system of ''tripcodes'' instead of registration. A tripcode is the hashed result of a password that allows one's identity to be recognized without storing any data about users. Entering a particular password will let one "sign" one's posts with the tripcode generated from that password. Trying to take another user's tripcode and compute their password from it (for instance, to make posts that appear to come from a particular person) is somewhat computationally difficult. For those who want a custom tripcode, however, there are custom tripcode generators (which are technically tripcode crackers) available, such as Meriken's Tripcode Engine and MTY_CL. In general, anonymity is considered to be one of the advantages of an imageboard, and some boards have from time to time removed the ability to post with a name altogether (known as "forced anonymous/anonymity").


Secure tripcodes

Due to the fact tripcodes can be cracked given enough time, some imageboards, such as
4chan 4chan is an anonymous English-language imageboard website. Launched by Christopher "moot" Poole in October 2003, the site hosts boards dedicated to a wide variety of topics, from anime and manga to video games, cooking, weapons, television, ...
and 8chan, implement a "secure" tripcode. Such tripcodes are not reproducible across different imageboards; they work by prepending a secure salt to the tripcode, barring
intrusion In geology, an igneous intrusion (or intrusive body or simply intrusion) is a body of intrusive igneous rock that forms by crystallization of magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Intrusions have a wide variety of forms and com ...
, known only to the server owner. They therefore function closer to a username than to a cryptographic signature; this is why
QAnon QAnon ( , ) is an American political conspiracy theory and political movement. It originated in the American far-right political sphere in 2017. QAnon centers on fabricated claims made by an anonymous individual or individuals known as "Q". ...
could not verify themselves on another website when 8chan went down in late 2019.


Software

There are two primary types of imageboard software packages in widespread use: linearly directed imageboards modeled closely after Futaba Channel (in which content is posted through hierarchical subsections of topical interest, usually denoted by a forward slash such as "/f" for female), and nonlinear imageboards modeled after Danbooru (usually indicated by the usage of controlled folksonomic vocabulary for topical tagging and search).


Futaba Channel clones

There are currently several Futaba-inspired imageboard software packages in widespread usage today, including ''Vichan'', ''Kusaba/Kusaba X'', and ''TinyIB''.


Historical

''Futallaby'' is a PHP script based on the Futaba script from Futaba Channel. Although the Futallaby source is still freely available at 1chan, it is no longer in development, and the download page recommends using Wakaba instead, stating that "Wakaba can do everything Futallaby does and so much more." Futallaby started as a translation of Futaba, later retooled to support XHTML and customizable CSS styles. ''Wakaba'' is a Perl imageboard script with a SQL backend to store thread information. It is designed to be more efficient and cleanly written than other scripts that are available, while preserving the same kind of functionality. Because of its focus on bare-bones functionality, Wakaba lacks many of the modern amenities provided by 4chan's Yotsuba, and newer imageboard scripts. A few users have attempted to remedy this by forking the original project and adding in features they consider beneficial. Two
FOSS Fos or FOSS may refer to: Companies * Foss A/S, a Danish analytical instrument company * Foss Brewery, a former brewery in Oslo, Norway * Foss Maritime, a tugboat and shipping company Historic houses * Foss House (New Brighton, Minnesota), Unit ...
examples of this are frankusr's Wakaba fork, and the user experience focused ''Glaukaba''. ''Kusaba'' was a PHP-based modular imageboard software, which used
MySQL MySQL () is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). Its name is a combination of "My", the name of co-founder Michael Widenius's daughter My, and "SQL", the acronym for Structured Query Language. A relational database o ...
. The creator has discontinued the project, in favor of developing TinyIB instead. ''Kusaba X'' was a continuation of Kusaba by a separate developer. Like Kusaba, Kusaba X was written in PHP, and was designed with modularity in mind. It requires a
MySQL MySQL () is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). Its name is a combination of "My", the name of co-founder Michael Widenius's daughter My, and "SQL", the acronym for Structured Query Language. A relational database o ...
or SQLite database to run. Kusaba and its derivatives were at one time some of the most popular imageboard solutions. Kusaba X has been implicitly discontinued, as it has not been updated since 2013, and the website is unavailable. ''Tinyboard'' is a PHP based imageboard script with a MySQL backend. It was eventually discontinued and forked into ''vichan''. Tinyboard (and its forks) notably feature extensibility with JavaScript. ''Infinity'' is a fork of Vichan that allows user board creation. It is the basis for
8kun 8kun, previously called 8chan, Infinitechan or Infinitychan (stylized as ∞chan), is an imageboard website composed of user-created message boards. An owner moderates each board, with minimal interaction from site administration. The site h ...
. Infinity has been discontinued, however it has been forked into ''OpenIB'', which remains supported.


Active

''Taimaba'' is 420chan's proprietary continuation of Wakaba, overhauling it with many modern features and a public API. It is a hybrid Perl and PHP platform, as compared to Wakaba's static html output. This fork remains in use today, however the source has never been released. ''TinyIB'' is a PHP-based imageboard software from the original developer of Kusaba, intended to be "lightweight and efficient". It supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and the lack of a database completely ("Flatfile"). Started in 2009, it still sees major active development as of 2021. ''Vichan'' is a fork of Tinyboard "with more features and that receives security patches". It officially supports up to PHP 7.0, and though it has security support, the development team strongly urges users to "consider other imageboard packages" due to having "next to no active development". ''LainChan'' is a fork of Vichan, intending to "actively build on it and add a lot of features and other improvements". It supports up to PHP 7.3. ''Lynxchan'' is an imageboard based on
JavaScript JavaScript (), often abbreviated as JS, is a programming language that is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and CSS. As of 2022, 98% of websites use JavaScript on the client side for webpage behavior, often ...
and Node.js. It requires a
MongoDB MongoDB is a source-available cross-platform document-oriented database program. Classified as a NoSQL database program, MongoDB uses JSON-like documents with optional schemas. MongoDB is developed by MongoDB Inc. and licensed under the Se ...
database to run.


Danbooru-style boards

Usually referred to as a " booru" (plural "boorus"). Unlike Futaba-inspired imageboard software packages, Danbooru and derivatives aim for a non-hierarchical semantic structure in which users are able to post content and add tags, annotations, translations, artist commentary, and comments. There are a number of different Danbooru-style imageboards, both open-source and closed-source.


Imageboards


2ch

Dvach, is a Russian imageboard that replaced 2ch.ru imageboard (originally known as dvach) which was shut down earlier on January 17, 2009; it thoroughly copied original
layout Layout may refer to: * Page layout, the arrangement of visual elements on a page ** Comprehensive layout (comp), a proposed page layout presented by a designer to their client * Layout (computing), the process of calculating the position of o ...
and was heavily advertised over the internet and managed to succeed the original one in popularity. According to its owners number of posts left in the /b/ board exceeded 150 million. In September 2016 a pro-Russian government organisation, MAIL.RU, helped to organize "defense" against alleged DDOS attacks that took place during the same month; events raised concerns and speculations among users who grew suspicious over alleged takeover committed by the mail.ru and who criticized the owner's controversial decision to accept "help". As of October 2018 It was widely believed that imageboard was simply "sold" on undisclosed terms to pro-government organisation. The decision was met with high criticism of risks of disclosure of users' credentials in inherently anonymous-community to the government body that could potentially violate principles of anonymity, causing many to leave the board by the end of 2016. By 2019 it remains among the largest active Russian-speaking imageboards.


420chan

An English-language imageboard based on
cannabis ''Cannabis'' () is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: ''Cannabis sativa'', '' C. indica'', and '' C. ruderalis''. Alternativ ...
culture which was created on 20 April 2005 by Aubrey Cottle. The name is a reference to the larger 4chan and the code term '' 420'' of the cannabis subculture. Its boards include various drug-specific boards, as well as a board featuring a
chatbot A chatbot or chatterbot is a software application used to conduct an on-line chat conversation via text or text-to-speech, in lieu of providing direct contact with a live human agent. Designed to convincingly simulate the way a human would behav ...
named Netjester.


4chan

4chan is an English-language imageboard based on the Japanese imageboard Futaba Channel. This imageboard is based primarily upon the posting of pictures (generally related to a wide variety of topics, from anime and popular culture to politics and sports) and their discussion. '' The Guardian'' describes it as "at once brilliant, ridiculous and alarming." The site and its userbase have received attention from the media for a number of reasons, including attacks against Hal Turner on his Internet shows,
distributed denial-of-service attack In computing, a denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) is a cyber-attack in which the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connec ...
s against
eBaum's World eBaum's World is an entertainment website owned by Literally Media. The site was founded in 2001 and features comedy content such as memes, viral videos, images, and other forms of Internet culture. Content is primarily user submitted in excha ...
, taking part in Project Chanology, and multiple cases of anti-animal abuse reports. Many
Internet meme An Internet meme, commonly known simply as a meme ( ), is an idea, behavior, style, or image that is spread via the Internet, often through social media platforms. What is considered a meme may vary across different communities on the Internet ...
s have originated there, including lolcats, rickrolling, and
Pedobear Pedobear is an Internet meme that became popular through the imageboard 4chan. As the name suggests ("pedo" being short for "pedophile"), it is portrayed as a pedophilic cartoon bear. It is a concept used to mock child sex offenders or people ...
.


8chan

8chan (or Infinitechan) was a primarily English-language imageboard, although it has sub-boards dedicated to other languages. Just like 4chan, 8chan is based on posting pictures and discussion anonymously, but unlike 4chan, 8chan lets its users decide what they want to discuss by allowing any user to create their own board dedicated to any topic, a concept first made popular by news bulletin boards like
Reddit Reddit (; stylized in all lowercase as reddit) is an American social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website. Registered users (commonly referred to as "Redditors") submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images ...
. 8chan also claims to have a strong dedication to freedom of speech and allows all content—so long as the discussion and board creation abides by United States law. However, local moderators enforce the rules of their own boards and may delete posts as they see fit. It is currently partnered with the Japanese textboard
2channel , also known as 2ch, Channel 2, and sometimes retrospectively as 2ch.net, was an anonymous Japanese textboard founded in 1999 by Hiroyuki Nishimura. Described in 2007 as "Japan's most popular online community", the site had a level of infl ...
.


Futaba Channel

''Futaba Channel'' (ふたば☆ちゃんねる), or "Futaba" for short, is a popular, anonymous BBS and imageboard system based in Japan. Its boards usually do not distinguish between ''
not safe for work Not safe for work (NSFW) is Internet slang or shorthand used to mark links to content, videos, or website pages the viewer may not wish to be seen looking at in a public, formal or controlled environment. The marked content may contain nudity, p ...
'' and ''clean'' content, but there is a strict barrier between two-dimensional (drawn) and three-dimensional (
computer graphics Computer graphics deals with generating images with the aid of computers. Today, computer graphics is a core technology in digital photography, film, video games, cell phone and computer displays, and many specialized applications. A great deal ...
(CG) and photographic) pictures that is heavily enforced and debated.


Hispachan

Hispachan was launched in November 2012 as a global imageboard for all Spanish-speaking countries. '' Vice Magazine'' describes it as "a site for completely anonymous Spanish-language discussion that has proven popular among hackers since its launch in 2012". In January 2017, a shooting in a school in
Monterrey Monterrey ( , ) is the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León, Mexico, and the third largest city in Mexico behind Guadalajara and Mexico City. Located at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the city is anchor ...
(Mexico) was previously announced on Hispachan. In June 2019, ''Vice'' accused some Hispachan discussions of being "collaborative misogyny". In May 2022, Hispachan officially announced its closure on Twitter, it was temporarily available for a few days until all of its content was permanently deleted, it is currently known as lolnada.


Karachan

Karachan is the largest Polish imageboard at 20 million posts, founded in 2010. Karachan has received attention from the Polish media after many trolling actions targeting Polish politicians, journalists and the Pope
John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his ...
. As of July 2019 the site consists of a (Polish-language) faux page claiming the site is "blocked" due to "invalid content". However, a manual is known to exist, informing how to enter the actual forum and browse its contents. Its name comes from the Polish word ''karaczan'', which means a
cockroach Cockroaches (or roaches) are a paraphyletic group of insects belonging to Blattodea, containing all members of the group except termites. About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. Some species are well-known as ...
, an insect that is used as Karachan's logo.


Krautchan

A primarily German-language imageboard that was founded in 2007. The name is an allusion to the
ethnophaulism The following is a list of ethnic slurs or ethnophaulisms or ethnic epithets that are, or have been, used as insinuations or allegations about members of a given ethnicity or racial group or to refer to them in a derogatory, pejorative, or oth ...
''
Kraut ''Kraut'' is a German word recorded in English from 1918 onwards as an ethnic slur for a German, particularly a German soldier during World War I and World War II. Its earlier meaning in English was as a synonym for sauerkraut, a traditional C ...
'' for Germans. Unlike most imageboards, posters on Krautchan didn't publish their postings under the generic name "Anonymous". The German name " Bernd" was used instead, and the Krautchan community identified themselves as "Bernds" instead of "Anons". In 2009, after the
Winnenden school shooting The Winnenden school shooting occurred on the morning of 11 March 2009 at the Albertville-Realschule, a secondary school in Winnenden, southwestern Germany, followed by a shootout at a car dealership in nearby Wendlingen. The shooting spree res ...
, the interior minister of
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a German state () in Southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the southern part of Germany's western border with France. With more than 11.07 million inhabitants across ...
cited a post on the imageboard in a press conference that appeared to forewarn of the shooting, but was later found to be fake. The site also featured a popular
English-language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the ...
board, /int/, which was also the origin of the Polandball internet phenomenon and a number of other popular
memes A meme ( ) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural i ...
such as Wojak in August the same year. On March 21, 2018, the imageboard was shut down. Two days later the imageboard ''kohlchan'' was founded as a replacement.


Wizardchan

Wizardchan is an imageboard primarily dedicated to male virgin culture and topics including anime, hobbies, and depression. Users on the depression board often discuss suicide or self-harm, and a controversy emerged in the board's community about whether to refer users to suicide prevention hotlines.


See also

*
Anonymous (group) Anonymous is a decentralized international activist and hacktivist collective and movement primarily known for its various cyberattacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations and the C ...
* Textboard *
Reddit Reddit (; stylized in all lowercase as reddit) is an American social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website. Registered users (commonly referred to as "Redditors") submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images ...


Citations


External links


Overscript
a list of imageboard software
AllChans - OverChan V.3
a list of imageboards {{Internet slang * Internet forum terminology Internet culture Internet forums