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Yotsuba Society

A website devoted to documenting and preserving the history of the imageboard/*chan culture/scene.

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Yotsuba Society's Guide to Imageboards

This FAQ is based on my use of imageboards, such as 4chan, iichan, and various other chans since 2008, and it is modeled after the Secondary GameFAQs FAQ and the SAoVQ(Secret Area of VIP Quality) Guide to Anonymous Boards and Guide to SAOVQ

The point of the FAQ is to introduce people to imageboards but are intimidated due to the infamous reputation of 4chan or imageboards in general. Acronyms commonly used: FAQ-Stands for Frequently Asked Questions.

Other acronyms used on imageboards such as 4chan.

  • BUMP-Bump Up My Post
  • GB2 – Go back to [insert imageboard inital]
  • ITT-In This Thread
  • OP-Original Poster
  • IIRC- If I Recall Correctly
  • BRB-Be Right Back
  • KTHXBAI- OK Thanks Bye
  • IMO-In My Opinion
  • LOL-Laughing Out Loud
  • lr2- Learn to…
  • IIRC-If I recall correctly
  • FTW –For the Win
  • IDK-I don’t know
  • IRL- In Real Life
  • inb4- In Before

Imageboard FAQ

1. What is a imageboard?

A imageboard is BBS (Bulletin Board System) system where users can post or share pictures open and anonymously without logging into the system with a username or password. The concept of anonymous boards is relatively new to North America if not the English-Speaking nation since the founding of 4chan in 2003. The actual concept of anonymous forums was born on Japanese site 2channel (or in short 2ch) in 1999. The central concept is that ever 2ch is completely anonymous. Anonymous forums can be strictly text only or image and text. Forums that are comprised of images and text can be considered as imageboards (such as Fubata Channel)

2. What kind of topics can I post here?

Depending on the imageboard, they are open to all sorts of stuff related to the topic as long as the user are willing to enjoy humor as well and understand their unique culture. Imageboards thrive on contribution and collaboration, rather than just general discourse whatever if it’s from pictures, information, or entertainment from various users. Imageboards also thrive on inside-jokes (aka memes).

You can post anything you wish, but in general users want posts to be something interesting or funny as one would expect, being lulzy is certainly a plus. Basically it’s this: “Post something that we like, and well reply with something you like. Post shit [ie things the people wont like] and we’ll give you shit”

4. Do I have to upload an image in order to post a thread?

Depending on the imageboard, yes.

3. How can I find an image to start a thread?

Anywhere on the internet, it can be from your camera or images you find online via an image search (Like google). Just find an image that is related to your topic as much as possible. If you are not able to, note that the image is not related (i.e. Picture unrelated)

4. Can I make a subject name for the thread?

Yes, you can! But many don’t put a subject name when creating a topic. They just post the image and type a something on the body. But if you wish, type the subject of the thread in the Subject Field.

5. So to make a thread you just upload a image, type in what you want on the subject if I wish, and press submit right?

Yes! It’s so simple, even a grandmother can do it.

6. What I want to make a reply but I do not have anything to contribute to the thread?

Use sage.

7. What is sage?

Sage is a form of user-moderation that causes the thread not to bump to the top of the page. It’s particularly useful if you have nothing to contribute to the thread like an off-topic reply. Threads that reach their reply limit can no longer be bumped. Causing them to sink to the back pages and be deleted or pruned more quickly. To sage a post, enter “sage” in the email field.

8. I want to stay on the topic I was creating or replied to, how can I do that?

By using “noko”. To do that, enter “noko” in the email field. This is useful if you’re in a thread that has active users or you want to upload images faster.

9. What if I screw up?

Just delete the post by clicking on the checkbox on post you made. While the index will update itself, you will be pushed back to the imageboard index. The best way of getting back to the thread is by using the firefox extention to save bookmark the thread, so when you are booted back to the imageboard’s index you go easily go back to the thread and retyped what you said.

10. What I do not want to post anonymously?

Use a username. But there is the possibility of someone taking over that username/using the username to impersonate or troll you. If you’re worried that situation from happening, consider using a tripcode. Although you are encouraged to post anonymously as much as possible unless it’s related to the discussion at hand or the topic at hand (in the board)

13. How can I use a tripcode?

To use a tripcode, simply use the # right after the handle you want to use (example Username#tripcode)

14. How to pick a good tripcode?

If you actually need to use a tripcode, you will first need to know a few things: First, test your tripcode, by making a sage experiment in a old thread. Second, tripcodes are not very safe, because they aren’t meant to be a strong identification mechanism. Therefore never use a word as a tripcode for something you already use as a password somewhere else! Weak tripcodes can be cracked in a matter of minutes by brute-force, words in the dictionary and short tripcodes are the most vulnerable.

Whatever you do, don’t use a password you use on a normal site as a tripcode. You also might want to make a secure tripcode if you are REALLY worried.

15. How can I make a strong tripcode then?

Strong tripcodes consists of codes at least 8 characters long, with a few random, meaningless letters, a few random, meaningless numbers, and some of the following symbols: $ - + / ; @ ^ Examples: #f6/a8@g9, #uh-1-m13, #vbv3$$44

16. When is the best way to use tripcodes?

Usernames and tripcodes are best used when identify is important to the thread or subject of the board. But in some cases people choose to adopt a username and tripcode like a regular western board user.

17. Why won’t my thread bump?

Depending on the imageboard all threads have a set bump limit, and when this limit is reached a thread will no longer bump to the top of the board. This ensures that new content is fresh, ongoing and encourages people to continue ongoing threads that may be deleted by creating a new thread and redirecting people to another thread.

19. What is the bump limit?

Depenends on the imageboard site.

20. What is work-safe content.

Work safe content is pictures that do not contain nudity of any kind, grossout content, graphic violence, or sexually explicit material. The work safe boards are made that boards can be viewed in restricted viewing situations such as workplaces and schools. However this reassurance is not guaranteed as users will deliberately post NSFW content on purpose, so anytime you use a imageboard you give up your right to a worksafe environment.

21. Where’s my thread?

Threads expire and are pruned by the imageboard’s software depending on the imageboard post rate or settings. While all boards are limited to as many pages a admin allows, depending on the board’s activity rate threads can last for as little as half hour to a few hours, sometimes days or in some cases WEEKS. Most times, the thread was probably flagged as old by the software and marked for deletion or the thread has not been bumped in a slow moving board. In some cases it may be removed by a moderator or janitor. If you believe it’s the case of the latter, don’t repost material that has been deleted by the staff.

22. What is a sticked thread?

Stickied threads are threads that are stuck to the top of a board’s index page. Threads can only be stucked by the moderator or the admin on the imageboard’s index page. Sticked threads are used for important or major topics such as a moderator discussion. important rule threads, a live thread of a really major event relevant to the imageboard

23. Can I retrieve an old thread/image?

Impossible. Content that expires is removed from the system entirely. 4chan does not have its own archive, but some third party sites (4chan archive, easymodo Yotsuba archiver, and green oval) actually do archive threads that are not part of 4chan website itself. As a matter of fact, you are encouraged to archive the threads or pictures that interest you yourself locally via your hard drive.

24. Can they help me contact a specific user?

Impossible. Unless a user elects to include an e-mail, a instant messaging username, skype user name, or a website address, there is no way to contact that user privately.

25. Why many imageboard sites are restricted to persons 18 years and over?

Blame 4chan for that. It’s mostly due to /b/’s mature humor and content. However it’s enforced more as an honor system, and anyone who posts on a imageboard is assumed to be 18 unless stated otherwise by the user. The instant the person declares himself under 18, depending on the imageboard the person can be banned on sight


1. Who is Anonymous?

A Channer who post anonymously. The name is what any user who posts without a name. This is a based on a translation of the word from “Toshiaki” from the Fubata channel’s “Nijiura” board where all users names are anonymous be default. It’s very common for Channers to refer to each other as anon on a imageboard.

a. He’s your closeted anime fan that will watch the latest anime on torrents b. He’s the geek who tore apart the iPad and considers it nothing more than a bigger iPod touch. c. He’s the video gamer who hates casuals and still a virgin d. He’s the photographer who trashes anyone who uses a point and shoot camera e. He’s your couch potato who watches tv and movies all day f. He’s a train fan and admires the FA40P. g. He’s been around the world, traveling about. h. He’s the chef that thinks cooking ramen is for college students i. He’s your traditional gamer saying HERESEY at anything that is not traditional games j. He’s your fitness buff k. He’s the one who hijacks your thread and changes the subject about the picture the OP uploaded l. He’s wonders why you’re a moron m. He’s does it for the lulz, always for the lulz n. He loves pets, especially cats. You better like cats.

2. What is a Meme?

Memes can be idioms, simple words, image marcos, simple pictures, catchphrases, in some cases personifications (Like OS-tans and the like). Some memes are site-wide and can be used in all boards/cases/specifications, others are specific to each board. In rare cases, a meme can be spread from 4chan to niche internet communites and into the mainstream internet.

4. What is Original Content? Original Content is content that is not general discussion of a theme or topic. This is essentially a product of the collaborative nature of imageboards. OC can consists of simply photoshops, small projects, and even large projects.

5. Are there other places where the imageboard culture manifests itself?

There are irc chat channels, Steam Groups, groups, websites, clans, and even wikis

6. What is the proper etiquette?

While it’s true that you can jump in and post or make a thread on a imageboard, it’s a lot more deeper and complicated. First forget everything you learned from a regular forum/board. Imageboards are not like the rest of the internet. You must come to a board with an open mind and willingness to spend time reading post before posting yourself. There is an expectation that you will learn and adapt to the board’s culture, because each imageboard site and each board has a different culture of its own in addition of the shared culture of all channers have. In essence, a ‘collective consciousness’, or in laymen’s terms: a hivemind.

7. Hivemind?

Yes, a hivemind, since most users on 4chan do not post with a handle, you’ are essentially talking with a hivemind. You speak to the hivemind, the hivemind speaks back, and you speak with the hivemind. (inb4 “Resistance is Futile”)

8. What about the previous question?

Again with lurking, sometimes it takes a few days, a few weeks, or even a month depending on the imageboard in question.

9. What next?

Let your creativity go wild. Make informative, creative, even funny replies and topics. The beauty of imageboards is that it’s what YOU make of it. Imageboards are communites where corrobation, contribution and nameless expression thrive.

10. Own language and culture?

Yes, consider each imageboard on 4chan has its own culture; some imageboards are more civil than others or more hostile/controtatiational than others, some use different terminology or memes.

11. So what is the first thing to do?

The first thing to do is to lurk and understand its culture. Because each imageboard has its own language and culture. It’s your duty to learn it before making any reply or thread. This process will be seemed daunting as board do not have a set of defined parameters for posting. The only way to learn what sort of posts are accepted and will be enjoyed is to spend time reading them.

14. Wait a minute, back up, what is a imageboard?

A imageboard is BBS (actually a electronic BBS or electronic Bulliten Board System) system where users can post or share pictures open and anonymously.

While 4chan was established in 2005, the concept of anonymous boards is relatively new to North America if not the English-Speaking nation. The actual concept of anonymous forums was born on Japanese site 2channel (or in short 2ch) in 1999. The central concept is that ever 2ch is completely anonymous. Anonymous forums can be strictly text only or image and text. Forums that are comprised of images and text can be considered as imageboards (such as Fubata Channel)

15. How is it different from a Western Style Message Forum?

Anonymous forums have no forced registration system, thus anyone can post at anytime instantly. In addition anyone can view any part of the site without being forced to register or log in. Beyond this, users can no longer be judged by their username and instead can only be judged by their content of their message.

17. Are imageboards like that from what I read on the news on 4chan?

Absolutely not as a whole. As a matter of fact not all imageboards on 4chan are like 4chan or /b/. The anonymous identity that holds raids on other sites and Scientology is actually more than a label and a standalone complex than a blank name. Most anonymous users including /b/tards do not do such things, it’s only a certain segment of /b/tards that do such a thing.

18. Does /b/ represent imageboards in general as a whole?

No, although the corporate media has this mentality otherwise, because lax investigative work is profitable.

19. Is the Anonymous group a meme by itself?


20. And the Guy Fawkes mask, that came from that?

Sort of. To be honest it’s mostly influenced by the 2005 movie “V for Vendetta.”

Contribution and Collaboration

1. What is contribution? It is the submission of substantial, helpful, friendly, and humorous threads, pictures, and replies to the imageboards, along with the uploading of qualitify images and files.

2. What is Collaboration?

(Collaboration) Collaboration can mean anything from photoshoping threads where they edit a picture, creating a information guide, even larger projects such as even a website or a zine (No, I’m not kidding). It’s similar to working in groups, but the focus is on the project itself, not the reputation.

3. How can I become a good user/contributor?

It’s so simple. In short if your thread is either funny substantial, informative, helpful, and interesting on any level? Then post. And if your reply offers anything that help contribute the conservation in any fashion? Then reply. If you know something about the topic, reply. If you have a good picture, upload it. Don’t just leech and lurk (Although lurking is not actually bad by itself, but lurking and leeching, that point you have to participate) If it’s not any of those cases, refrain from posting, otherwise it’s consider shitposting. And do not just post just to make yourself look good, especially if you decide to regularly use a tripcode and a handle.

4. Why contribution is so important?

Contribution is important to imageboards. If they do not have a dedicated pool of users who frequently contribute, a imageboard would be just a clone of any other forum. Last and not least: Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun and ENJOY imageboards. I think everyone will find that once you are a part of an imageboard community it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to go back to the regular static forums as there is not a community quite like this anywhere else in the Western Internet World