4chan is an English-language imageboard website. Its users have been responsible for the formation or popularization of several Internet memes such as lolcats, Rickrolling, ‘Chocolate Rain,’ Pedobear, and many others. The site’s ‘Random’ board is by far its most popular and notorious feature. Known as ‘/b/,’ there are very minimal rules on posted content. The site’s Anonymous community and culture have often provoked media attention. The Guardian once summarized the 4chan community as ‘lunatic, juvenile… brilliant, ridiculous and alarming.’

4chan was started in the bedroom of a 15-year old student from New York City who posts as ‘moot.’ He intended the site to be a place to discuss Japanese comics and anime, an American counterpart to the popular Japanese Futaba Channel (‘2chan’) imageboard. The site has had at least one employee, a programmer whom moot met via on-line Tetris. All other moderators are volunteers. 4chan is one of the Internet’s most trafficked free imageboards and financing has often been problematic.


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