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This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

My thread from August 2004, Something Awful Forums.


Hey, Shii! Why the hell are you linking to "big-boards.com"? Isn't this article about 2channel?

Big-boards.com is a compilation of all of the most popular bulletin boards. BBSes, like this one I am talking on, are a quirky invention of first-world nations, and especially geeks and nerds from first world nations. So, you would expect to see a lot of English, some European languages-- yes, those are all there-- and of course Japanese. Hmm, isn't that strange? Japan is missing from the list! They're a smaller country than the United States, but you probably know that Japan has an enormous, terrifying geek population. Where do they hang out on the Internet?

This brings us to the actual subject of my article,

http://2ch.net/ (click the link, it won't bite you)

2channel is huge. According to the New York Times article (mirror), it has 5.4 million active users every month.



Since you can post on 2channel anonymously and there's no fear to lurk, that implies about a million active users. Something Awful has 43,000 registered users, but I'm betting the active number is smaller than that. Let's call it 20,000. So, if you were to take SA, including SpokkerJones and GameQuoter and MrVacBob and all its posts and boards and Goldmined threads, and then next to it you would place an entirely new SA, with a whole new cast of characters-- those would be the legs, see-- and then stack another SA on top of those two, and stick two SAs on the left and right of the third one for arms, and then finally fit an SA onto the top of the whole thing for a head, that would be one convulted Voltron, but more importantly, it would be one-tenth of the size of 2channel.

By the way, Big-Boards does seem to have a submission page in case you know of large BBSes that aren't on their list.

If a news item is popular on SA, it gets about 7 pages of posts in one day. If a news item is popular on 2channel, it gets 10,000 posts in one day.

How does that even work?!

How does it stay afloat without donations? [We don't actually know the answer to this question, but probably advertising.]

Or maybe you mean, how does an anonymous message board work better than one you have to register for? Well, rather than taking the New York Times' quite silly and useless word for it, I'll quote Hiroyuki.

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.

I can think of some forums that would benefit from this system already. Like... all of them?

2channel, from what I've heard, is so big that people hardly ever browse the forums there. Instead, they bookmark their favorites, and people who post mainly in one forum don't know much about the people from the other forum. But as one big BBS, they are bound together with a unique culture.

Some 2channel Events

2channel drama is fifty times larger than your piddling American forum drama. The most famous example-- in Japan, that is, because the story never made it to the United States-- is the Neomugicha incident. At this point I am going to quote from a Wikipedia entry, but that's okay because I wrote that Wikipedia entry.

The Neomugicha incident put the Japanese bulletin board 2ch in the front of national news. An hour after posting a cryptic thread in a thread on 2ch with the name "Neomugicha" ("Neo-Barley Tea"), a 17-year-old boy hijacked a bus in Fukuoka, Japan, stabbing one passenger to death.
The hijacker was believed to be lying by other 2ch posters, so the incident came as a shock. In any case, it made 2ch more popular for the controversy.
Later, a poster named "Neouuroncha" ("Neo-Oolong Tea") attempted to imitate Neomugicha by plotting to blow up the Odakyu railway in Japan on 2ch, but after the Neomugicha incident, the Japanese police were keeping a close eye on 2ch, so he was identified and arrested before his plan could be carried out.

From syberpunk.com, which is the source of my Hiroyuki quote, here's some more famous 2ch incidents:

Additionally, 2ch was a major feature of the anime Nurse Witch Komugi-chan. [Of course, now there are a bunch of other mainstream anime and Densha Otoko too.]

Notable meta-events (2007)

Something Awful was having major server issues throughout 2001. In August 2001, 2channel experienced similar overflow problems due partially to the Neomugicha incident. The servers were in danger of crashing. Luckily, some expert programmers on the 2ch UNIX board reduced the server load of 2channel's Perl scripts by 90% and saved the servers. I know about this because they made a Flash movie about their heroism and spammed it on world2ch. Hiroyuki also hired a new administrator named FOX, who is still sysadmin today and is one of 2ch's notorious personalities.

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