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Screenshot from the 4chan.org imageboard.

An imageboard or image board is a type of Internet forum which operates mostly via posting images. The first imageboards were created in Japan, and many English language imageboards today are centered on Japanese culture. They are based on the textboard concept.


Imageboards, similar to bulletin board systems, are used for discussions 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 imageboard 4chan tends to revolve around Japanese culture such as CG artwork or 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.


A diagram of a typical tripcode derivation process.

Most imageboards and 2channel-style discussion boards allow (and encourage) anonymous posting and use a system of tripcodes instead of registration. A tripcode is the hashed result of a password that allows one's identity to be recognized without storing any data about users. Entering a particular password will let one 'sign' one's posts with the tripcode generated from that password, while trying to take another user's tripcode and compute their password from it (for instance, to make posts that appear to come from a particular person) is computationally difficult. 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'). However, using a tripcode on some boards, such as 4chan, is generally discouraged by the community, who prefer to remain anonymous.[citation needed]


On many imageboards, if a user wants to reply to a thread but not bump it, they can put the word sage (correctly pronounced /sa-ɣe/ though often confused as IPA: [seɪdʒ], akin to the homographic English word; Japanese: 下げ, short for 下げる sageru, "to lower") in the e-mail field.[1] "Ageing" can refer to either bumping a post or putting the word age (Japanese: 上げ, from 上げる ageru, "to raise") into the e-mail field. Sage is used by some board users generally to signify a bad thread.[citation needed]


There are two primary types of imageboard software packages in widespread use:[citation needed] 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[edit]

There are currently several Futaba-based imageboard software packages in widespread use:[citation needed] Futallaby, Wakaba, Kusaba X.

Futallaby is a PHP script based on the Futaba script from Futaba Channel. Although the Futallaby source is still freely available at 1chan,[2] 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 open source English imageboard script.[citation needed]

Wakaba is a Perl imageboard script with a SQL backend to store thread information.[3] It is designed to be more efficient and cleanly written than other scripts that are available, while preserving the same kind of functionality. Wakaba is one of most popular western imageboard software scripts,[citation needed] used most notably by iichan (Wakachan).[4] Because of its focus on bare-bones functionality, Wakaba lacks many of the modern amenities provided by 4chan's Yotsuba,[5] and newer imageboard scripts. A few users have attempted to remedy this by forking the original project and adding in features they consider beneficial. Two FOSS examples of this are frankusr's Wakaba fork,[6] and the user experience focused Glaukaba.[7]

kusaba was a modular imageboard software written in PHP, which used MySQL.[8] The creator has discontinued the project, however, and recommends TinyIB instead.

Kusaba X is a continuation of kusaba. Like Kusaba, Kusaba X is written in PHP, and is designed with modularity in mind. It requires a MySQL or SQLite database to run. kusaba and its derivatives were at one time some of the most popular imageboard solutions.[citation needed] Kusaba X is still in development and the developers state that version 1.0.0 is to be released soon.[citation needed]

Danbooru-style boards[edit]

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.

Traits of Danbooru-style imageboards
Shared Software Programmed in License Notes
Yes Danbooru Ruby on Rails FreeBSD  ?
Yes CamelBoard PHP FreeBSD Does not use or require MySQL
Yes Tinyboard PHP MIT plus an anti-GPL clause author specifically forbids mixing GPL code[9]
Yes Shimmie PHP GPLv2  ?
Yes naranai 1.3.x PHP GPLv3 built to replace Danbooru because author considered Ruby unsuitable[10]
Yes MyImouto PHP and MySQL MIT  ?
No Gelbooru 0.2.x PHP Proprietary Gelbooru 0.1 was opensource but no longer so
No Metabooru Python Proprietary  ?


Futaba Channel[edit]

Main article: 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. Its boards usually do not distinguish between not safe for work and clean content, but there is a strict barrier between two-dimensional (drawn) and three-dimensional (computer graphics (CG) and photographic) pictures that is heavily enforced and debated.[11]


Main article: 4chan

4chan is an English language imageboard based on the Japanese imageboard Futaba Channel. This imageboard is based primarily upon 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."[12]

The site and its userbase have received attention from the media for a number of reasons, including attacks against Hal Turner on his Internet shows,[13] distributed denial-of-service attacks against eBaum's World,[14][15] taking part in Project Chanology,[16] and multiple cases of anti-animal abuse reports.[17]

Many Internet memes have originated there, including lolcats,[18][19][20] rickrolling, Ebolachan, Fappening, Gamergate, raids and Pedobear.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FAQ – What is "sage"?". 4chan. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Futallaby image board script". 1chan.net. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  3. ^ "wakaba.c3.cx". wakaba.c3.cx. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  4. ^ "wakachan.org". wakachan.org. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  5. ^ "4chan Inline Extension News Post". 
  6. ^ "frankusr's Wakaba Fork Repository". 
  7. ^ "Glaukaba Imageboard Script". 
  8. ^ tslocum. "kusaba Imageboard Script". Github.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  9. ^ According to LICENSE file in the source, it is MIT license plus "No portion of the Software shall be used to form a work licensed under any version of the GNU General Public License, as published by the Free Software Foundation."
  10. ^ From README of the source code.
  11. ^ http://www.2chan.net/ Futaba Channel
  12. ^ Sean Michaels (2008-03-19). "Taking the Rick | News | guardian.co.uk Music". London: Music.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  13. ^ "Cyber foes find ways to silence hate-talk radio host". freep.com. Retrieved 2007-02-28. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Lindsay Lohan causes massive DoS war". Vitalsecurity.org. 2006-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  15. ^ Bertiaux, Michaël (2006-01-09). "Ebaumsworld assiégé" (in French). Le Lézard. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  16. ^ George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). "Online group declares war on Scientology". National Post (Canwest Publishing Inc.). Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  17. ^ Popkin, Helen A.S. (August 31, 2010). "Web video: Woman throws puppies in river, 4chan tracks her down". MSNBC Technolog (MSNBC.com). Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  18. ^ "Lolcats' demented captions create a new Web language", Tamara Ikenberg, The News Journal, 9 July 2007
  19. ^ Richards, Paul (2007-11-14). "Iz not cats everywhere? Online trend spreads across campus". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  20. ^ Steel, Sharon (2008-02-01). "The cuteness surge". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imageboard — Please support Wikipedia.
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