When an online community migrates

From an Astral Codex Ten comment, details about online community migration:

The rise of 4chan is actually an interesting story of its own. A large chunk of the early user base came from another site called somethingawful.com. As you may expect from the name, somethingawful was a place where a mixture of ironic and maybe-not-ironic terrible things could be said for comedy sake. If you’re immature and like edgy humor, it was a great place to be. (The site probably exists still, but as a shadow of its former edgy hilarity, as internet culture caught up with its redeemable qualities and it became a cesspool).

Up until 2008, there was a strong mix of both left and right posters, and the site didn’t have much of an ideological slant. It was happy to make fun of the failings of both left and right culture. The Obama/McCain election ended up breaking that down, because a significant number of posters bet that they would accept permanent banning from the site if their candidate lost. Since Obama won, a big chunk of the conservative/right posters were banned. Many/most ended up on 4chan and set the seed for more right-leaning ironic humor, which is what the site became known for.


First published May 28, 2021