How exactly is 4Chan

The so-called political establishment is under attack. The opponents are diverse. The strangest, but by no means the least dangerous, of them is Pepe the frog. It is on the poster of an action film in which someone has replaced the heads of a martial warrior formation with those of Trump's election campaign team with the image processing program Photoshop, directly behind the head of blond hair. Pepe stands out. Not just because he's a cartoon.

Compared to the rest of the troupe, he looks tidy: wide-mouthed smile, malicious bedroom look. It could also be dangerous for Europe, because it represents a digital group of thugs: the alt-right movement, which considers borders to be the greatest possible blessing, but does not stop at them.

She got on the platform 4chan.org formed, the, as some say, evil stepbrother of Facebook. Others call it "the asshole of the internet". There, for example, the alleged double murderer Marcel H. recently uploaded a photo of the corpse of one of his victims, in front of hooting comment columns. The proudly grinning Marcel H. with the blood-smeared hands was to be found next to anime porn, harmless discussions about computer hardware and just Pepe the frog. He's something like the unofficial mascot of the conspiratorial community that meets on 4chan.

"Feels good man."

But it first appeared in 2005, two years after the platform was launched, which began as a forum for animated films. There, in a cartoon, the frog pees standing up with bare bum and says "Feels good, man." The users of 4chan like to see themselves as computer nerds and geeks: half people, half frogs. "Weirdos" who defiantly joke that they all still live in their parents' basement.

They call themselves "/ b / tards" - that is a corruption of the English "retard", meaning "handicapped", and the infamous section / b / of 4chan, which is intended for "random", meaning "everything imaginable". Everything is allowed in it that no one in the parents' basement can see and that does not explicitly violate the laws of the United States. Communication takes place anonymously, unlike on the major social media platforms, which log the behavior of users and encourage them to condense it automatically in "profiles". Up to a million articles are published on 4chan per day, allegedly by more than 27 million users per month; but who they are can only be speculated about.

The protection of anonymity has not only led to a huge eruption of special pornography, but also of creative energies. 4chan is one of the origins of the "memes" that flood the Internet today, that is, Internet content that develops a life of its own through rapid and massive distribution. Only that which attracts as much attention as possible prevails there. The forum pushes discussions up the page as soon as someone reacts to them. If there are no answers, the post continues to slide down until it is deleted. An archive does not exist.

They hacked Obertroll into the White House

The platform behaves exactly like the Internet, but "harder, better, faster, stronger", wrote the author Cole Stryker enthusiastically in 2011. One could say: 4chan is turbo-capitalism in the realm of ideas. His currency is "lulz", malicious laughers. Here everyone can be as blatant as they want, everything is anonymous; on the other hand, he even has to if his mail is not to drown.

For a generation of computer nerds who greet each other with "Sup fags" ("What's up, fagots?"), 4chan became a training camp for the distribution of attention on the Internet. It rewards the greatest possible assault, in return it demands photo evidence. It celebrated the anonymous hero who stole a skull from the Paris catacombs and put his penis in it at home. Or the guy who chopped off part of his big toe because / b / asked.

Rules like in "Fight Club"

Something like that welds together. In 2007 a set of rules "for the Internet" was created, the first point of which is: "Don't talk about / b /." The second: "You are NOT talking about / b /." Until then, that was an adapted quote from Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Fight Club", so apparently a joke, but it followed the logic of / b / to form a secret club with terrorist intentions. Those users who do not sign their posts on 4chan by name, i.e. almost all, are called "Anonymous" by the system. Points three and four of the "Internet Rules" read: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion."

Under this name a hacker collective was formed that made headlines from 2008 when its members appeared in grinning Guy Fawkes masks and began to terrorize Scientology, for example, because the sect had deleted an embarrassing video of Tom Cruise. They had the masks from the film "V for Vendetta", their libertarian goals from what / b / stands for: radical freedom of information without moral or political considerations.

/ B / tards had already started to organize so-called "raids" in order to collectively "troll" on other sites, that is, to disturb and bully around - and of course not to reveal that / b / was behind it. One particular attack in particular revealed details about the social structure of this part of the network culture. We're talking about "Gamergate".

It started in 2014 as an actually silly controversy. The alienated lover of a computer game developer claimed that she was sleeping with a games journalist in exchange for favorable reviews. That could not be substantiated, but it was only the starting point anyway. Basically, it was about women who, according to the allegation, are "hostile to gamers" because they denounced the degrading portrayal of women. #Gamergate sensed a feminist conspiracy and struck back with all the harshness that women in particular, like the author Stefanie Sargnagel recently, often experience online. There were death threats.