Online economies are split between high visibility, which relies on identity disclosure and prestige measures like followers, ratings, and consistent usernames; and what David Auerbach (2012) calls ‘A-culture’: the intentional disconnect between online and offline selves where participants use fluid usernames and resist all forms of identity disclosure.
New users unbalance 4chan’s anti-normative, anti-celebrity, and anti-leader ethic by posting self-photographs primarily featuring women.
These users are strategically targeted and trolled based on their exposed identity aspects.
While this practice is untenable offsite, viewing misogynistic discourse as a strategic, regenerative practice onsite is necessary as /b/ occupies an extreme point on the genealogical continuum bridging the transgressive cultures of bulletin-board systems, shock sites, and hacker culture.
On June 15, 2008, a 4channer identified as female using the colloquial portmanteau ‘femanon’, posted an erotic photograph of herself on the Random – /b/ board, and requested advice regarding a recent breakup, a marriage proposal, and whether she could easily commit marital infidelity.
Thus, the majority of trolling practices employ insults based on visible or stereotypically presumed attributes about participants: for example, ‘asspie’ or ‘ass-burgers’ [Asperger’s syndrome], ‘fat permavirgin’, ‘Narutard’ [ fan], or ‘underage b&’ [banned].
Similar to ‘the dozens’, the loser is the participant who takes the insults at face value, rather than being part of an exchange.Wordfilters specifically tailored to the June 15 post in question altered this seemingly benign request for advice into a paraphilic interest in excrement, animal anthropomorphism, and transsexuals, in addition to demeaning the OP’s potential husband and insurance concerns.Wordfilters are an automated form of moderation that replace a word or string of words with another word or string of words.This is in keeping with the long history of performative ‘insult dialectic’ that can be mapped through popular culture to the Afro-American practice of ‘the dozens’, which Dollard (1939: 8–10) argued was organised around gratification gained through the expression of forbidden themes (remarks about one’s family and mother in particular) and aggressive interactions that escalate as participants trade insults.In accordance with this insult dialectic, 4channers tailor abusive rhetoric to the revealed identity factors of the offending newfags in question, deterring self-oriented practices through personalized demoralization.Once secretive and exclusive, 4chan ascended to prominence in 2008 following Project Chanology and the emergence of the politicised activist group Anonymous.