The Western Imageboard Culture is the most underdocumented and misdocumented subculture in the early 21st century. Most of the misdocumentation and underdocumentation is a result of the mainstream media and the mainstream either focusing on the controversial or accentuating the controversial. Due to this misdocumentation and underdocumentation the imageboard culture as a end result has been less taken seriously as a meaningful subculture, with the exception of people who know much about the culture and take it seriously. The MIT paper while a bit lacking on the actual knowledge of the culture did coined the term: Chanthropology.
Chanthroplogy is a combination of two words. First is ‘anthropology’, is the study of human culture, history, and traditions. The second is ‘chan’ as in imageboard channels such as iichan, 4chan, 2chan, and to an extent textboards such as (2ch). When these two words are combined, Chanthropology is the study of culture, history, traditions of imageboards and textboards.
Only very recently that people are studying imageboards on a scholarly or a very serious level as a culture worth looking and examining. Most of the culture has been documented by various wiki’s and mostly internet blogs and websites. But the information is always incomplete for reasons I’ve already mentioned. Even when studied seriously, many scholars have little or prior knowledge or experience in the Imageboard Culture.
The only boards the mainstream actually cares about is 4chan’s /b/ itself. Many of their thoughts about 4chan are influenced by this mindset. As an end result, they do not know the true diverse culture of the chan’s. Imageboards are for all intents and purposes, the closest thing to an electronic hivemind we can monitor and study. When we mean electronic hivemind, we mean the mixture of anonymity and the high rate of pure content, pictures, information, and knowledge that is posted and reposted in various ways, that we can actually see the culture.
However, Chanthroplogy should be done primarily by or with channers. Because channers have the prior knowledge of the memes, culture and general history of the subculture. They know a lot about how their topics (like anime, politics, video games, television) are related to the imageboards. They know the common pictures that may seem ordinary to a normal person but to a channer they represent a piece of the culture. And every picture and catchphrase has a backstory behind it. But here at Yotsuba Society want to do something more with chanthropology. We want to do something that has been done in regular anthroplogy: Applied Chanthroplogy. We want to take the lessons and mistakes that we learned and observed in imageboards and apply it to the future to solve those problems. That’s why Yotsuba Society is not just a simple blog or front page, we want to create our own hivemend for people to participate in develop. That’s why we not only created our own chan (www.yschan.org) but a wiki as well (wiki.yotsubasociety.org). We want to develop the imageboard culture in our own way, something that will give people a real alternative to static forums, a place where all people of all walks of life will have a home to go to.
Our goal with Chanthropology is to use it help study, preserve, and develop the imageboard culture, for all people.