The following is a guest post on chan culture, from @br00ke27 (Hi Arthur). Everything below this point, is written by her.

GamerGate has had some obvious consequences, but one that seems to go largely unnoticed is how it has contributed to dragging people from chans out of the deepest, darkest corners of the internet and bringing them into the mainstream. This (not surprisingly) has resulted in some less than welcoming attitudes from “normal people”, most of whom have never visited a chan in their entire lives.

View post on imgur.com

This divide has led to a rather interesting argument regarding “chan culture,” one that (ironically) has been more ad hominem riddled statements rather than actual arguments:

View post on imgur.com

Chans obviously don’t have a reputation for being friendly places. It can be hard to feel welcomed when you’re being called out on your bullshit (or called a faggot, depending on the thread).

View post on imgur.com

However, as everybody’s favorite cartoon representation of an infectious disease once told me, “If you get angry when you collect all of your most well thought out arguments into a post, only to be called a faggot, you are not ready for true anonymity.”

With all of the screenshot examples of people being “mean” on chans it’s not surprising that the “chan culture is toxic” statement is a common one. Some people have even gone as far as to try to take away the livelihood of 8chan’s creator, Hotwheels. For fucks sake, the man welcomeded in GamerGate and /b/tards, without him we would have had to invade the “regular” internet! They should be thanking him for serving as containment.

View post on imgur.com

In the case of GamerGate it seems that when a lot of people hear the word “chan”, they inevitably think of the infamous Brianna Wu/Zoe Quinn threads. “Chan culture” being what it is, these threads were comprised almost (I’m looking at you, namefags) entirely of Anonymous posters with no clear connection to GamerGate other than their presence on the board. Sometimes, even the people who are supposed to understand “chan culture” best can get butthurt when the spotlight is on them

View post on imgur.com

If the “chan argument” gets passed the salty stage it inevitably boils down to freedom of speech. With social media (think Google+) trying to “streamline” all aspects of communication into one seamless timeline of what you had for lunch, anonymous image-boards are quickly becoming some of the only places where people are able to speak their minds without worrying about their grandparents seeing it. It seems to me that the pro-GamerGate argument against “chan culture” is misguided, if not deeply hypocritical; in my mind the idea of journalistic ethics is inextricably tied to freedom of speech and freedom of expression issues.

While this topic is extremely complex my opinion is that it’s important to remember this axiom, “nothing is perfect”. In a setting with absolute freedom of speech there are bound to be unpopular opinions, or statements made which (to some) are offensive. However, if you really believe in the concept, it becomes necessary to accept this as an inherent part of free speech.

In fact, the biggest argument against chans (or anonymous culture) can also become its greatest strength. This sort of unfiltered setting is one of the reasons people go to chans, to have novel experiences, to hear ridiculous shit, to have largely irrelevant arguments and shitpost about it after. Most importantly, if you can have a sense of humor about it, it’s hilarious. In the words of 4chan (yes, I know moot sucks):

View post on imgur.com

Everybody is going to form their own opinions about chans, as they should, but I would just like to point out there is more than one side to this story. This is a concept that should not be surprising for anybody involved in GamerGate. While at any given time, /b/ may have thousands of examples of excellent shitposting.

View post on imgur.com

That doesn’t mean you can’t find the occasional “baw thread” as well.

View post on imgur.com

Ultimately, while it’s easy to judge chan culture for being “too offensive”, if you spend the time to try to understand it, sometimes it isn’t all that bad.

View post on imgur.com

  1. I’ve always thought that chan culture was misunderstood. Having never been there myself for very long, I couldn’t penetrate this supposed “core” of gamer gate. I’ll keep reading these to educate myself a little.

  2. chans are like enormous public toilet walls where anyone can write anything anonymously. Taking seriously what is written in a toilet wall would be silly. Therefore doing the same with chans is the same thing.

    It takes a bit of time to be able to ignore all the stupid shit in chan, filter it out and find the really good threads and posts in there. In 8chans /gamergate’s case, its more civil than one might think. For example the girl (who’s name now escapes me) who was a journalist in the esports scene made an AmA thread in there and the conversation was mostly very interesting. Around the time when Wu was crying in MSNBC and most denizens of /gamergate were cursing in a correlated thread, TotalBiscuit made a short AMA in one of the sidethreads. I was one of those who asked him questions and the discussion was pretty much civil all the time. MundaneMatt, Angry Joe and others who feel like 8chan is hostile to them, I invite them to do an AMA thread there, you’d be surprised of the level of quality discussion you might get there.

    It also depends on what board you visit. You can expect a very indepth conversation about video games, their development and history in /v once you just find a proper thread for it for instance.

  3. This is the culture that brought the world Katawa Shoujo.

    If you claim there’s nothing beautiful and awe-inspiring in it after that, then you have no soul.

    1. It’s also the culture that reported child pornography rings to the FBI and reported numerous cases of animal abuse to local authorities. IIRC, I think they even talked someone out of suicide.

  4. As someone who never really was familiar with it before gamergate i enjoy the people coming from it but thats also because i have a sense of humor…

    I think theres room for all kinds of people in this world why do people need to be as uptight on the internet as they are in the real world? Who should get to decide that? I would gladly ban half the words our opponents use simply because all meaning becomes lost the way they use it!

    This also means I wouldn’t trust myself to police speech on such a public space as twitter because you need to protect the concept of free speech itself! There is no molding it to your own idea of what should be allowed and what not. If or when someone crosses my personal boundaries of what i find acceptable my first instinct shouldn’t be to ban them for it unless its actually illegal!

    So let it spread and let those against free speech cry their salty tears…

  5. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire

    He knew the importance of Free Speech. He also knew what it was like to get beaten in the street at the behest of an old “gentleman” for acting like more than a lowborn “bourgeoisie”. I think a lot of people who advocate Free Speech and then decide to get their hands dirty forget their are plenty of people who will line up to punch you in the face for daring to, or to let other people, say what they will.

    1. Precisely. God knows I’m not totally fond of some of the crap that gets posted on either chan, but dammit… free speech means free speech, not just speech I approve of. So I grumble, shake my cane, and go play some Skyrim or something.

      1. The problem with these ENTITLED fucking children (and they’re entitled whether they come from money or whether they feel oppressed and think the world owes them something… because their first world woes are anywhere near the top of the “holy shit my life sucks” list) is that they have such a narrow view on what the world is ACTUALLY like.

        They live in a bubble that is reflective of their own narcissistic views. That little rich twat lipschitz or however you spell it – he doesn’t know what poverty is, so he views “white nerdy” people to all have it really good. The same is essentially the case for McIntosh.

        Why do I bring this up? They don’t appreciate why Free Speech is valuable, because they take it for granted (and in their case their comfortable lives embolden their self-righteousness). These need to put down their useless fucking sociology textbooks and pick up a goddamn history textbook. Free Speech is a YOUNG concept, and has allowed humanity to enter into an extremely young, fragile era that is only enjoyed full by a FRACTION of the world population.

        It, and anonymity, are the things that allow a democratic society to function and tyranny to be kept at bay. These fools honestly don’t understand that undermining these “sacred” Truths undermines freedom itself. Of course, they delude themselves into imagining a world where they would have the power, which is two funny because in a world of tyrants they would be crushed by the obscenely mega rich or the hyper violent. They are nothing more than whining ideologue parasites.

      1. ::Golfclap:: That’s a great factoid your founder there. Now, go fuck yourself. First of all you didn’t know Voltaire while he was alive, so I don’t think you’re qualified to comment on what he was like. Frankly I don’t care what some uppity pseudo-intellectual thinks regarding the works of one of the, if not THE greatest satirists of all time. Even if some biographer made up a quote and attributed it to him, she still attributed it to him based on what her understanding of his principles and philosophy were, so please go hang yourself.

        Additionally you’ve got some BALLS stepping up in THIS place and throwing around that disgusting historian’s bias, passing judgement on someone who lived and died a great deal of time before you were born. Don’t sit there an act like you can hold him to any kind of standards or judgment that apply to you today, because the standards he lived by in his place and time are fundamentally different. And your retarded ad hominems have ZERO to do with his importance as a Satirist or his mixing of the High and Low styles of theatre (comedy was for the peasants, tragedy was for the elite).

        Pick up a goddamn book and educate yourself before you out of hand dismiss someone whose MEMORY will accomplish more than your entire life will

  6. I never considered myself understanding chan culture. I peeked in at 4chan a few times before it became a place for dipshits. And I know enough that I shouldn’t take things at face value and/or take things too seriously or get riled up about it. I believe in researching things for yourself when you’re presented with something which is probably why I went there since I heard things about it and wanted to see what it was about (Curiosity.)

    After reading this article I understand it a lot better (thank you) Been looking for an introduction/101 to chan culture in order to understand it.

    edit: Btw I’m still drunk from new years eve, so if you can make sense out of this apparantly I wrote it ok 😀

  7. I’ve never had a problem with the channer presence in GG, I think that it’s always been an important part of the overall GG effort. I’ve never really been a channer despite posting a handful of times on now defunct chans I doubt anyone has ever heard of. Over the last several months though I’ve come to really appreciate their culture to an extent I never did before though to the point I’ve started immersing myself in quite a bit of it.

    It’s a rich culture and it’s a scene that’s worth protecting and preserving.

  8. Chan Culture is a continual meritocracy of communication. To anonymously post a correct assertion of any kind will not make one be considered to be right in his/her next post in a different thread. Any single person that posts anonymously is judged by the smartest to the dumbest person in the thread, as is everyone judged only by the contents of their posts.

    Post numbers facilitate a certain flexibility of, merit; quads, trips, dubs, and so on. Making the system never take itself too seriously.

    This system of forum has all the right flaws and all the right traits that make the up the source of originality on the internet. In the simple lines of text, and obscured identities, between the fools and the intellectuals, with distances cut only by timezones and language barriers;

    Chans facilitate the deepest form of communication known to man at this point of time.

  9. Chan culture is the modern day proving grounds for young men. Previously, we would get into fist fights, pick on people, and tag out the fat kid in dodgeball first. That was how you experienced social interaction and learned how to deal with a variety of people. Now, you can’t do any of that because of how feminist the public social arena has become.

    Chan culture is just the replacement for that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.