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An imageboard (also chan, which itself is short for channel) is a type of Internet forum that revolves around the posting of images. The first imageboards were created in Japan, and many English-language imageboards today are centered around Japanese culture.


Characteristics of imageboards

Imageboards, similar to bulletin boards, are used for discussion of a variety of topics. The primary focus of imageboards, however, is directed away from text posts, and is instead placed on picture posts. The two share many of the same structures, including separate forums for separate topics, as well as similar audiences. Imageboards are much more transitory with content—on some boards (especially highly-trafficked ones), the thread deletion time can be as little as 10 minutes. The most popular English-language imageboards tend to revolve around Japanese culture such as CG artwork of anime. In Japan, where imageboards are more common, topics vary widely, ranging from trains to current news.

Imageboards are also different from online galleries in that most of the works posted are not made by the poster, but instead are taken from other online sources: galleries, other imageboards, and edited pictures.

Most imageboards and 2channel-style discussion boards allow (and encourage) anonymous posting and use a system of tripcodes instead of registration. Anonymity is considered to be one of the advantages of an imageboard. Some boards have from time to time removed the ability to post with a name altogether (known as 'forced anonymous/anonymity').

If a user wants to reply to a thread but not bump it, they can put the word sage (Japanese: 下げ) in the e-mail field. "Ageing" can refer to either bumping a post or putting the word age (Japanese: 上げ) into the e-mail field. It is considered polite to sage when replying to your own thread.

In Japan, the imageboard is a much larger cultural symbol, with one estimate putting the total number of posts for Futaba's seven Nijiura (Japanese: 二次元裏) boards[clarification needed] boards at over 56,000,000 and rising.[1]


There are two primary types of imageboard software packages in widespread use: linearly-directed imageboards modeled closely after Futaba Channel (in which content is posted through hierarchical subsections of topical interest, usually denoted by a forward slash such as "/f" for female), and nonlinear imageboards modeled after Danbooru (usually indicated by the usage of controlled folksonomic vocabulary for topical tagging and search).

Futaba Channel clones

There are currently three Futaba-based imageboard software packages in widespread use: Futallaby,[2] Kusaba,[3] Wakaba.[4]

Futallaby is a PHP script based on the Futaba script from Futaba Channel. Although Futallaby is still in use at 1chan,[5] and the Futallaby source is still freely available, it is no longer in development, and the download page recommends using Wakaba instead, stating that "Wakaba can do everything Futallaby does and so much more." Futallaby started as a translation of Futaba, later retooled to support XHTML and customizable CSS styles. It is mostly notable for being the first English imageboard script.

Wakaba is written from the ground up in Perl, and a SQL backend to store thread information. Wakaba is very strictly modelled after the Futaba and Futallaby scripts. Wakaba borrows some HTML codes and translated text from Futallaby. It is designed to be more efficient and cleanly written than other scripts that are available, while preserving the same kind of functionality. Wakaba scripts are in use at iichan. Wakaba is one of most popular western imageboard software scripts[citation needed], used most notably by fchan[6], and Wakachan.[7]

Kusaba is modular, written from scratch with PHP for server side scripting, JavaScript for some client side scripting, and with ADOdb Lite for database abstraction to a database, MySQL. The main focus of the development of Kusaba was to code faster and more efficient software for multi-imageboard sites. The center feature of the software is the centralization of the backend for all boards by having a single installation controlling all boards. The creator has discontinued the project in favor of separate imageboard projects, PyIB[8] and TinyIB[9]. In August 2008, the domain hosting kusaba expired. The last version of the software (1.0.4) was hosted on another imageboard site, Megachan, and development has been picked up by Kusaba X[10], OperatorChan, and Serissa[11].

Danbooru-style boards

Unlike Futaba-inspired imageboard software packages, Danbooru and derivatives aim for a non-hierarchical semantic structure in which users are able to post content and add tags, annotations, translations, and comments.

There exists a number of different Danbooru-style imageboards, both those who have shared source code and those who are not released for others to use.



  • Gelbooru
  • JV-Wall

Danbooru[12] is a Ruby on Rails-based imageboard software that is released under a FreeBSD license.

Shimmie[13] is an imageboard written from scratch in PHP using MySQL as a database and GB or ImageMagick for image manipulation (thumbnails).

Gelbooru uses its own code (0.2.x)[14] not released to the public. It has an older version (0.1.x) released for public use.

JV-Wall[15] is a Pylons-based imageboard using SQLAlchemy/PostgreSQL for database and PIL for image manipulation (get color, thumbnails and etc).


Futaba Channel

Futaba Channel (ふたば☆ちゃんねる), or "Futaba" for short, is a popular, anonymous BBS and imageboard system based in Japan. Imageboard software packages Futallaby, Wakaba, Yotsuba, Yotsubanome, Siokara, and Kusaba X which are used on many other imageboards, are all derived from Futaba's original PHP script. Its boards usually do not distinguish between pornographic (NSFW) and "clean" content, but there is a strict barrier between two-dimensional (drawn) and three-dimensional (CG and photographic) pictures that is heavily enforced and debated.[16]


4chan is an English language imageboard based on the Japanese imageboard Futaba Channel. This imageboard is based primarily around the posting of pictures (generally related to anime, manga, and popular culture) and their discussion. The Guardian describes it as "at once brilliant, ridiculous and alarming."[17]

The site and its userbase have received attention from the media for a number of reasons, including posts sporting terrorist threats against schools and sports stadiums,[18] attacks against Hal Turner on his Internet shows,[19] and distributed denial-of-service attacks against eBaum's World[20][21] and taking part in Project Chanology.[22]

Many Internet memes have originated there, including lolcats[23][24][25] and rickrolling.

420chan is an imageboard where people discuss recreational drug use, professional wrestling, politics, philosophy, Pokemon, and music among other topics.[26]

Rumors declared that on December 2006 and January 2007, users of English-language imageboards attacked Hal Turner's website through methods such as denial of service attacks; more advanced attacks were orchestrated through 420chan, and Turner's site remained offline or under fire for many months. However 420chan maintained that it was not responsible for said attacks as most users do not consider themselves to be members of "Anonymous" and like to remain separated from the other "chans." Hal Turner redirected the traffic at one point to, causing its bandwidth to take a hit, which was quickly fixed by the administration.[27][28]


7chan was created September 25th, 2005 by "Symbion" and "zeneslev". It is, in many ways, very similar to 4chan. It is known for being the birthplace of the 2008 Epilepsy Foundation raids, after which the website claimed no responsibility for the actions of its users.


711chan is an imageboard where people discuss many topics, ranging from hacking to pornography to recreational drug use.

711chan is most well known for being one of the birth places of Project Chanology and originally endorsed the attacks on Scientology, until their own site was hacked, at which point they voiced their concern about the way the attacks were being handled and committed 711chan to staying away from the attacks.[29][30]


Born of the 08/08/08 online attacks against Scientology, is another imageboard based around typical Anonymous features such as anime and /i/nvasion. 888chan has sprung to notoriety in recent times as the current *chan stronghold of Project Chanology. As a result other chan boards, less fond of Project Chanology, have taken it upon themselves to DDoS, attempt to hack and image-flood the board since the dawn of its existence. Events of note include appearing in LA Times Weekly[31], and its brush ins with the official website of the Australian Prime Minister[32][33] and the infamous God Hates Fags campaign of the Westboro Baptist Church. Recent attacks by Aurora Furries have caused r3x, the founder and Sysop of 888chan, to relocate the chan to a more secure server. The site returned on the 20th of January, but as a read only archive until the site can find a better host.


An imageboard focusing mainly on pornographic photography. 12chan is infamous for hosting child pornography on boards dedicated to "jailbait", "male jailbait", "boys", and "girls", even appearing on a local Fox News broadcast about the dangers of webcams. [2] The site has gone down many times, and is currently down as of February 2, 2010.

See also


  1. "The Society for the Study of Modern Image Board Culture Thread". 
  2. Futallaby image board script
  3. "kusaba". 
  8. PyIB Imageboard Script
  9. TinyIB Imageboard Script
  10. [1]
  11. Kusaba is Dead - Here are the Installation Files
  15. MJV-ART.ORG/JV-Wall
  16. Futaba Channel
  17. Taking the Rick | News | Music
  18. "Wisconsin Man Is Charged in Fake NFL Stadium Threats". Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  19. "Cyber foes find ways to silence hate-talk radio host". Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  20. "Lindsay Lohan causes massive DoS war". 2006-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  21. Bertiaux, Michaël (2006-01-09). "Ebaumsworld assiégé" (in French). Le Lézard. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  22. George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). "Online group declares war on Scientology". National Post (Canwest Publishing Inc.). Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  23. "Lolcats' demented captions create a new Web language", Tamara Ikenberg, The News Journal, 9 July 2007
  24. Richards, Paul (2007-11-14). "Iz not cats everywhere? Online trend spreads across campus". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  25. Steel, Sharon (2008-02-01). "The cuteness surge". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  26. High school gets the all clear, Security tightened at Upper Arlington; boy suspected in Web threat, Thursday, May 15, 2008 7:30 AM, By Martin Rozenman, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Retrieved May 15, 2008
  27. Winston, Ali (2007-01-08). "'Hate Host' is hacked". Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  28. "Hal Turner Retaliates For Attack On Radio Show". Hal Turner. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  29. "'The Regime' hacks in response to 'Anonymous' attack on Scientology; takes web site off line". wikinews. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  30. " administrators call for an end to attacks on Scientology". Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  31. "My Date With Anonymous: A Rare Interview With the Elusive Internet Troublemakers". LA Times Weekly. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  32. "‘Anonymous’ Declares War on Australia Over Internet Filtering". Wired News. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  33. "Interview With Anonymous". IT Networks. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 

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