Yesterday I wrote a a post about the decline of the message board 4chan as a cultural force on the web. This sparked an unusually well-reasoned email from a 4chan browser explaining why 4chan's newfound obscurity is 'great news' for its users. Here it is, with a few annotations.
Dear Mr. Chen
As a 4chan browser, your article brings in great news for us. No, I'm not being ironic.
Any user that browses the site outside of /b/ [4chan's most famous, and most anarchic, section] can tell you how difficult and horrible these past 4 years have been since Anonymous came to the scene. The raids and hacking all culminated in exposure to the mass media, which led the site to being flooded with edgy hipsters that had absolutely no regard to the netiquette and culture (yes, 4chan has netiquette, particularly outside of /b/) that had been established on 4chan up to 2008. They just came to the site because they wanted to feel special by taking part in the hacktivist and meme creating activities. However, these users, as stated above, had no idea how 4chan worked and thus it lead to the death of /b/ and the downfall in quality of many other boards, such as the /v/, the video game board. It became so bad that /b/ has not produced anything of worth in the last 4 years: all the memes have come from other boards and sites.
These people have seeped into other boards and have, for the most part, caused rampant problems; one of which is offtopic posting, particularly because they had the /b/ mindset of: "anything goes since there are no mods".
If anything, the death of 4chan and Anonymous from the interest of the mass media and the internet overall will help the site immensely. 4chan is a site for discussion, not meme creating or hacktivism. Memes just evolved out of the everyday user discussion: a particular phrase or image catches on and then it spreads etc.
With the rise of reddit, 9gag and tumblr, these horrible users are being attracted there and not to 4chan. As you might know, summer time is the worst time for the site because it is flooded by these sort of posters. [i.e. immature high school students on summer break, known on 4chan as "Summer fags."] However, this summer has been pretty decent so far and the quality of many boards is actually improving: there's more ontopic and fun discussion.
I hope this email will, at the least, give you a new perspective on 4chan.
In short, users outside of /b/ do not care if 4chan is not the center of the internet anymore, nor do we care about Anonymous. We just want a fun place to discuss our hobbies with like minded people. Hopefully this trend will see that 4chan's quality is strengthened or at least preserved.
A 4chan user