A Guide to Anonymous Boards

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This text comes from thread on SAoVQ, it aims to be a serious resource to help people jump into English-speaking anonymous boards that aren't 4chan.

Original thread: [Improvement How to improve SAoVQ and populate it? [Summertime] @SAoVQ]

What is an anonymous board? The concept of the anonymous board was born on the Japanese site 2channel in 1999. The essential idea is that every poster is completely anonymous. The board may be strictly text only or image and text (commonly referred to as an imageboard).

What makes this better than any other bulletin board system or forum?

This means the site has no registration and no barriers, anyone can post at any time instantly; in addition to this, anyone may view any part of the site freely without attaching themselves to a specific name. Beyond the ease of user, users can no longer be judged by their name and instead can only be judged by their individual comments. Hiroyuki, the creator of 2channel, said this in regard to anonymous posting:

If there is a user ID attached to a user, a discussion tends to become a criticizing game. On the other hand, under the anonymous system, even though your opinion/information is criticized, you don't know with whom to be upset. Also with a user ID, those who participate in the site for a long time tend to have authority, and it becomes difficult for a user to disagree with them. Under a perfectly anonymous system, "it's boring", you can say, if it is actually boring. All information is treated equally; only an accurate argument will work.

Another reason to begin posting on anonymous boards is the unique community and sense of humor all boards seem to have. The ability to post anonymously allows for people to voice what they really feel or make comments/jokes about things that are normally taboo. They also develop numerous inside jokes (often called memes) which one will find often become more humorous than any normal joke could.

Common Misconceptions Not all anonymous boards are like 4chan, in fact 4chan originally wasn't even like it is now. The "anonymous" identity currently present in 4chan's /b/ is not at all what Anonymous is. Anonymous is simply a blank name used to represent a user on some boards (see Common Terms for other commonly used names); however, an influx of new users to 4chan's /b/ has left it completely confused and misguided. 4chan's "anonymous" identity that appears at Scientology protests and holds raids on other sites is the exact opposite to what real anonymous posters are like. Please do not look at 4chan's /b/ as an example of what anonymous boards are like!

How to be a succesful poster on an anonymous board:

Forget everything you learned posting on a regular forum/board This is something you MUST do. Anonymous boards are NOT like the rest of the internet. You must come onto an anonymous board with an open mind and a willingness to spend time reading posts BEFORE posting yourself. There is an expectation that you will conform to and learn the board's culture. A common example is emoticons; many users are used to making emoticons such as ^_^ or =) but these are generally frowned upon and are usually seen as a sign of immaturity. You can learn all of this and more by reading the air of the board. Also remember ANYTHING can be posted thus chances are you will be offended in some way. After visiting anonymous boards for a while you will begin to be less offended and see why it is silly to be offended by anything as you probably have thoughts you don't say aloud in person that are also offending to others.

Read the air / lurk Reading the air or "lurking" is the most important part of becoming a successful poster. Each and every board has it's own unique culture (generally rooted at 2channel one way or another). It is your job to learn it BEFORE making any posts. This process may seem daunting as boards do not have a set of defined parameters for posting. The only way to learn what sort of posts will be enjoyed is to spend time reading other posts. You will slowly learn all of the injokes, common posting style and sense of humor of the board as you read more and more posts. Do not make a post asking about the meaning behind an injoke or other questions about the board unless you absolutely have to as most users will be annoyed by this and simply tell you to lurk more. In addition to this, DO NOT make an introductory post or anything of the sort you should simply become a fellow poster overtime. Lurking can sometimes take only a week and other times take a few months. You'll know you're ready when you're understanding posts and finding the humor in them. Not all boards revolve around humor but there is always lurking to done just to make sure you aren't posting in a style that the others find annoying.

Add to the board with your posts After you understand the board and how to post let your creativity run wild! Make witty posts, insightful posts, and any other enjoyable posts you want to make! But, before you post ask yourself "Will other users enjoy my post?" if the answer is no you shouldn't post it. Also do not make posts just to make yourself look good. This is an ANONYMOUS board the point is to not be identifiable you can tell us a story about your girlfriend that's INTERESTING or HUMOROUS but don't just make a post saying Hi I have a girlfriend and we have sex all the time.

Tripcodes are not for being identified within a board Tripcodes are a function on almost all anonymous boards in which you add a #passwordofsomesort to create a string of characters that appears in the name field to identify yourself. The purpose of this function is to identify a poster within a thread IF NECESSARY. These are often misused and allow posters to use the same name on multiple threads and be identified on the board. This is NOT the purpose of a tripcode and effectively ruins the purpose of an anonymous board, to be anonymous!

Have fun! Most importantly, have fun and ENJOY your board. I think everyone will find that once you are a part of an anonymous board it will be very difficult to go back to the regular internet as there is not a community quite like this anywhere else. You won't regret it!