Update: After speaking with moot, changes have been made to this article reflecting 4Chan’s rules policy. The post on 9/19 was meant to reinforce rules already in place at 4Chan and highlight better moderation — not directly add new rules.
Did anyone else know that 4Chan had rules?
Apparently its creator, Christopher “moot” Poole, wants to ensure all of the website’s users do, too. Detailed in a blog post, the otaku thread-turned internet blender has updated its moderation tools to help keep those rules top-of-mind for users.
4Chan has become a dumping ground for all things internet, and is largely responsible for the “meme” culture that has overtaken social media. The birthplace of LOLcats, Rickrolling and the hacktivist group Anonymous, 4Chan has hit the front page of newspapers for good, like helping the police track down a vicious animal abuser, and bad, as users have been arrested for distributing child porn.
But now the chaotic website, known best for its random (and very NSFW) /b/ thread, is focusing on higher-quality moderation.
“If you look through the rules (as I’m sure you all have), I think you’ll find them to be well-intentioned and straightforward,” moot wrote. “The majority seek to clarify what constitutes ‘on-topic’ posting, and their purpose is not to stifle discussion, but to facilitate it.”
4chan’s extensive rules list includes the following:
- Any requests to lift personal information, attack a website, or incite intra-4Chan fights are prohibited.
- Any NSFW content posted to a safe for work board is grounds for a ban.
- Attempts to avoid bans could result in a perma-ban.
Of course, anyone who violates these rules will not only be banned, but publicly shamed for their activities. The website has a public ban wall, which details the reason for the ban as well as the offending post.
Moderators have access to new tools to help them block and deal with offending users. In addition, moot and his small team have also added a more sophisticated site-wide search engine and infinite scroll. It’s unlikely that all of 4Chan’s moderation efforts will be quietly accepted — one need only look at the hubbub surrounding the new mod rules at Reddit’s /r/atheism earlier this summer to know that anonymous networks can get very irate very quickly.
But 4Chan’s isolationist attitude and harassing culture has prevented the website from taking off in the way that Reddit has in the last year. The website will reach its 10th birthday in two weeks, which could come amidst of a period of unrest, but moot is confident that the changes will be for the better. “I feel the same way today as I did five years ago—excited for the future, and proud of how far we’ve come.”