And indeed it did try its mightiest to be nihilistic, to hate, to deny, to shrug, to laugh off everything as a joke like all teenage boys do (the board was mostly young men). The attempts to be “random”, like a Rorschach test, painted a portrait of exactly who they were, the voids filled in with their identity, their interests, their tastes.The result was that 4chan had a culture as complex as any other society of millions of people, anonymous or no.This past week, there were riots at Berkeley in the wake of the scheduled lecture by their most prominent supporter, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Like everything it did, these were constructed piecemeal from pop culture.

Rule #1 was taken from vibe to them, that is to say, they were very obviously created by a bullying and anarchic society of adolescent boys — or at least, men with the mindset of boys — particularly lonely, sex starved man-boys, who according to their own frequent jokes about the subject, lived in their parents’ basement.

They had planned to protest the church of Scientology.

Why this group of nerdy boys had pivoted from meeting at my local anime convention and goofing off to protesting Scientology is an interesting question.

The rules, like everything else, were always half in jest.

Everything had to be a done with at least a twinkle of winking irony.

As a nerdy teen growing up in Baltimore in the 90s, I had wandered into Otakon much like I had later wandered into 4chan, just when it was starting.

I also attended Otakon in the mid-aughts when 4chan met there, likewise to promote my webcomic.

Perhaps the most appealing part for users was that you didn’t have to make an account. Now 4chan is often explained as being responsible for some early popular memes like “rickrolling”. The white Impact font with the black outlines, that was them (via S. Terms like “win” and “epic” and “fail” were all created or popularized on 4chan, used there for years before they became a ubiquitous part of the culture.