It’s difficult to talk about 4chan without addressing the idea of Anonymous. Though the imageboard includes a name field for individual users, doing so is not required, and the feature is rarely used. This is a fundamental quality of the 4chan platform; you don’t have offer any form of identification whatsoever. Virtually every users posts … Continue reading Breaking Through 4chan’s Anonymity
Of course, researching and studying online communities can be incredibly difficult. Contrary to popular belief, once something is posted on the Internet, it isn't necessarily "there forever." When I was in elementary school, I was constantly told that once something was online, it was impossible for it to ever be removed. The reasoning behind this is sound—encouraging young people to be cognizant of what information they share is incredibly important. However, the truth is that there is plenty of online content that has simply disappeared. People stop paying their web hosting bills, links fail to get updated, or perhaps in the countless petabytes of data old content simply gets forgotten. And in the case of 4chan, threads are regularly pruned and "content is usually available for only a few hours or days before it is removed." This ephemerality, combined with the anonymity afforded by the website, challenge traditional conventions of research. It isn't necessarily possible for someone to visit the same URL and access the same content. Given these challenges, I decided to work on creating an automated system to scrape 4chan content and save a local copy.
For anyone who's ever had to call a large company about seemingly anything, you are almost certainly highly aware of automated phone tree systems. Rather than hiring a real person to answer and direct phone calls, a computerized system presents a menu of options to direct the caller to an appropriate department or individual that … Continue reading Everyone But You is a Robot
We're facing a serious problem with fake news. And no, I don't mean the issues of demonizing the free press, inaccurately reporting events, and an overall diminishing of the quality of journalism. Of course, these problems are real problems that are in need of addressing. And yes, most people generally refer to these kinds of … Continue reading The Problem with Fake News
Memes, and social media more generally, are incredibly powerful tools that contribute to the normalization of ideas, beliefs, and overall culture. The things that we are exposed to in our social media feeds have significant potential to reinforce certain ideas, and perhaps misrepresent how commonplace and accepted they really are. Despite this significant power to … Continue reading A Mechanism of Normalization
Introduction “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” Stephen Colbert, The Late Show. May 1, 2017.1 On May 1, 2017 the late-night comedian Stephen Colbert’s monologue for CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert included several jabs and jokes about President Donald Trump and his relation to Russian … Continue reading “Y’all Know Better” – FCC Regulation of LGBT Television Content
Wait just one goddamn minute… Is this loss? The format of the is astoundingly simple: Four panels. One figure. Then two. Then two once more. Then one figure upright, the second on its side. And that’s it. So long as the meme instance follows that basic format then it’s loss, a meme that has recently … Continue reading Is this Loss?