4chan is the notorious internet imageboard started by Christopher Poole in 2003 from which much internet culture is thought to derive, including internet memes as a whole, in particular LOLcats (from imageboard "Caturdays"). Unlike its "sister" reddit, 4chan is purely anonymous and retains no permanent archive of its contents, which makes it a place where people feel comfortable to post. At active periods, the front page of its most active bulletin board, /b/, is updated so quickly that articles can be wiped off in under 30 seconds. With its relation to social machines, 4chan remains one of the most poorly understood but raw, even enigmatic example of how people coming together using simple technological affordances can enact unprecedented chaos, social change, and creative generation. Perhaps the most primal, unbridled example of a social machine we have to study.


Short-textual and graphical posts


Filtered list of textual and graphical posts ordered by ‘interestingness’

Convergence of interest on topics - leading to the launching of coordinated efforts / attacks

Human Computation Elements: 

People contribute articles and moderate using ‘AGE/SAGE’ semantics

Mediative Elements: 

Maintains order of posts by“Bumping” through AGE/SAGE semantics
Guarantees posts are deleted after a certain period of time [?]

Unique feature: 

Pure, enforced anonymity
‘Trip Codes’ invented to allow anonymous posters to have an ‘identity’ (for allowing OPs to moderate responses, etc)

Category type: 
Social Networks