From Jonathan's Reference Pages
4chan.org is the website that introduced the imageboard concept
to the English-speaking world.
4chan was founded in 2003 by a kid from an IRC channel I visited
at the time. It got popular purely by accident and when costs began
to spiral out of control we told him the site was doomed to
failure. If I had known it one day become a dominant source of
Internet culture with five hundred million pageviews per month
Alexa Traffic Rank
in the global top 1,000 websites, I might have written more of this
down at the time.
The origin of 4chan
4chan really goes back to a board called Something Awful, a
major source of Internet culture in the early '00s. Some time
between 18th April 2001 and 15th May 2001, SA added an anime
board called ADTRW to separate the anime chat from the other
boards. Members of ADTRW started Raspberry Heaven, a DC++
filesharing hub for anime, named for the ending theme to
a 2002 series called Azumanga Daioh. Raspberry Heaven was
itself a spinoff of SADCHUB, the Something Awful Direct
Connect Hub, created to separate the anime from the serious
The Raspberry Heaven anime hub had a linked IRC channel,
originally at the MircX network but later Pyoko IRC. Here,
moot and several ADTRW members were regulars. RH discovered
2chan.net, a Japanese image board, and for a while the channel
was full of 2chan image links. 2chan itself is named after
2channel (2ch.net), the unrelated text-based image board
featured in the film and TV series Densha Otoko.
At some point, 2chan blocked non-Japanese from posting.
At the time we thought this was to keep out us English-posting
gaijin devils, but I think it later turned out they were
blocking trolls from South Korea. moot, at this point just
an average hub member, registered the site's original
<moot> regging 4CHAN.net
<moot> FOUR CHAN
<moot> brace for faggotry
<Negi-Sensei> What is the difference between 4chan and 2chan?
<Lost_Technology> 4chan is twice as good.
<moot> its TWO TIMES THE CHAN MOTHERFUCK
<Lost_Technology> Did someone seriously register 4chan?
<n0> Time for 8chan.
Everything Shii Knows,
moot registered 4chan.net on 29th September 2003. The first
news post dates
the site as opening two days later on 1st October. RH went
from full of 2chan links to full of 4chan links. I remember
pasting links in other channels, too. The ease of which
a person could post content and share links like this was a
major factor in the success of 4chan, and other top websites
later replicated this model: Youtube (video), Imageshack
(long-term image storage), and Rapidshare (files).
4chan drew many of its initial users from Raspberry Heaven
and Something Awful's ADTRW board. Early 4chan thus inherited
a lot of the Something Awful humour and memes, like image
macros. The original 4chan staff and moderators were drawn from
ADTRW. The spinning head title image is an Australian ADTRW
member called Roobar. The "Dot net fo'shizzle!" title image
is by ADTRW poster Rick_Feynman, who coined the term "ZOMG!"
(we pronounce it "Zoh my god!") in an ICQ conversation with
fellow SA goon Hannibal (see also this
2003 USENET posting);
although they admit the term was used before then, it wasn't
widely used until popularized by Something Awful and 4chan.
moot later left Raspberry Heaven, as he was cool for us.
Raspberry Heaven DC hub would close some years later as BitTorrent
took over from filesharing hubs and Pyoko IRC closed its doors.
* Quits: moot (HELLO@ool-44c644df.dyn.optonline.net)
<cathead> moot has left us
<cathead> what do we have left to live for
<microwiz> let's go waste more of his bandwidth
I didn't keep track of the order in which 4chan boards were
launched. The following list is collected mainly from 4chan
news posts and web archives.
- 30th September, 2003: Moot announces 4chan.net in
Something Awful's ADTRW forum. Thread is titled "4chan.net -
- 2nd October 2003: 4chan's /b/ is already in place, according
to a news post on a complaint. It is named after 2chan's /b/ board,
and according to
Everything Shii Knows
was originally the only 4chan board. The rules page describes /b/ as
a test board which will later become an anime board. moot describes
/b/ in a news post as "a retard bin". 4chan's "/h/ - Hentai" board
- 6th October 2003: "/c/ - Anime/Cute" added as a place to
post "cute anime/hentai pictures". "/d/ - Hentai/Alternative"
added as a /h/ spinofff "to appease all those who thought the
restrictions on /h/ were too Nazi-ish." "/y/ - Yaoi" and 4chan
Oekaki BBS drawing board added.
- 8th October 2003: 4chan's /b/ board is currently named
"/b/ - Anime/Random", although I can't remember if it had an
earlier name. Archived thread reveals that the "/w/" board
(wallpapers) existed by this date.
- 9th October 2003: "/g/ - Guro" added to clean the most
nasty images out of /h/. "/s/ - Sexy Beautiful Women" added, and
is managed by Boco_T and PotatoSan. Boco_T also drew two of
4chan's title images: one of Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, and
one of Cardcaptor Sakura drawn in the style of Fist of the
- 8th November 2003: "/a/ - Anime" launched.
"/l/ - Lolikon" launched to clean up /c/.
- 22nd November 2003: Some time between 16th October
and 22nd November, /b/ has been re-named to "Random", perhaps
as there is now a dedicated anime board. A news announcement
reveals that a board named "/r/ - TRAINZ" was running, but
has been moved to 1chan (trains trains trains).
- 28th November 2003: News announces that "/l/"
has been removed.
- 8th January 2004: "/l/" returns. Newspost reveals
that "/r/" (Request) has been created to solve a problem
with "/t/" (Torrents), which evidently had already existed for
- 25th January 2004: "/t/" removed.
- 19th February 2004: "/f/ - Flash" added.
"/t/ - Torrents" returns.
- 21st February 2004: Two discussion boards added:
"/amh/ - Anime-Manga-Hentai", and "/bbs/ - 4chan
- 28th March 2004: An old saved-out thread reveals
that "/p/ - Photo" and "/u/" existed by this date.
Top of page boards list: a/b/c/d/f/h/l/p/r/s/t/u/w/y.
- 30th March 2004: Two discussion boards added:
"/dis/ - Discussion" and "/sug/ - Suggestion".
- 15th June 2004: 4chan's Paypal donations account is
reported by TheRowan, owner of HentaiKey and host of rival
imageboard 5chan. (Source: SA 4chan thread)
- 20th June 2004: 4chan closes its doors for the
fourth time. (Source: Something Awful original 4chan thread)
- 7th August 2004: 4chan returns.
- 16th August 2004: Saved thread reveals that
the following boards existed already: "/m/", "/n/" (Trains),
and "/cm/" (Cute Male) /cm/ was created to keep male
content out of /c/. The discussion boards "/anime"/,
"/ascii/" and "/game/" already existed. /r/ was named
"/r/ - Request". Top of page boards list:
- 8th September 2004: "/k/ - Weapons",
"/o/ - Auto" and "/sm/ - Shota/Male" added.
- 26th September 2004: "/n/" (Trains) mentioned
in a news post.
- 9th October 2004: "/ib/ - Oekaki Random",
"/ip/ - Oekaki Pro" and "/v/ - Video Games" image boards
added. Discussion board "/tech/ - Technology" added.
"/n/ - Trains" removed.
- 19th January 2005: "/e/ - Ecchi" added as a
mid-way between /c/ and /h/. "/3/ - 3DCG",
"/g/ - Technology" and "/n/ - Nature and Wildlife"
- 26th January 2005: "/ic/ - Art/Critique"
added. "/p/ - Photography" and "/x/ - General Photo"
added, and replace "/p/ - Photo".
- 26th February 2005: "/gif/ - Animated GIF",
"/hr/ - High Resolution", and "/wg/ - Wallpapers/General"
added. "/x/ - General Photo" removed.
- 9th January 2007: "/sp/ - Sports" removed
after a trial.
- 12th February 2008: News post reveals that
"/ck/" exists at this point.
- 29th February 2008: News post reveals nine
new boards added over several weeks:
"/fa/ - Fashion", "/fit/ - Health & Fitness",
"/hc/ - Hardcore", "/n/ - Transportation",
"/sp/ - Sports", "/toy/ - Toys", "/trv/ - Travel",
"/jp/ - Japan/General", and "/r9k/ - ROBOT9000".
- 26th June 2008: News post reveals a former
image board, "/q/ - Questions".
- 6th July 2008: News post reveals that
drawing board "/i/" exists by this date. "/i/" was
created to merge Oekaki Random with Oekaki Pro.
- 1st January 2010: The following boards
are listed on the rules page, and must have been
created before 2010: "/an/ - Animals & Nature",
"/cgl/ - Cosplay & EGL", "/co/ - Comics & Cartoons",
"/m/ - Mecha", "/po/ - Papercraft & Origami",
"/tg/ - Traditional Games, "/tv/ - Television & Film",
and "/x/ - Paranormal". There is an upload board,
"/rs/ - Rapidshares". Several discussion boards have
been created and shut down over the site's run.
- 28th January 2010: Six new image boards were
added some time in January 2010:
"/adv/ - Advice", "/lit/ - Literature", "/new/ - News",
"/int/ - International", "/sci/ - Science & Math",
and "/3/ - 3DCG". 3DCG previously existed and
I'm pretty sure News used to exist as /n/. There is
a Science & Math text board.
- 18th January 2011: /r9k/ and /new/ removed. The
current board list is: [a / b / c / d / e / f / g / gif / h / hr / k / m / o / p / r / s / t / u / v / w / wg] [i / ic] [cm / y] [3 / adv / an / cgl / ck / co / fa / fit / int / jp / lit / mu / n / po / sci / soc / sp / tg / toy / trv / tv / vp / x] [rs] [status / ? / @].
Boards sharing a letter
Several boards have used the same letter as another board
at a different point in time. Usually, this occurs when a
single-letter board is deleted and its letter is later re-used.
- /g/ - Guro, Technology
- /n/ - Trains, Nature & Wildlife, News, Transportation
- /p/ - Photo, Photography
- /x/ - General Photo, Paranormal
There were two secret boards I knew of. The first was
/5/, which was for posting pictures of 5. The second was
/z/, an exile board detailed at
Everything Shii Knows.
Everything Shii Knows
has an article on 4chan.
Errors and omissions
Please e-mail a comment to add information or corrections.
Page created: 4th February 2010.
Last updated: 19th January 2011.
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