4chan is an Image Board in the US. Created by a bunch of regulars from Something Awful's anime subforum and launched in 2003, it serves as an English-language version of Futaba Channel.4chan hosts boards dedicated to just about every generalized subject you can think of (and a few specialized subjects, as well), which are named /[a letter or letter string indicating what the board is about]/. 4chan is the starting point for about half the memes in the various subpages of the Memetic Mutation article.4chan is responsible for, among other things, the creation of the Rules of the Internet, and is the Trope Maker for Rickroll and supposedly for Rule 34.
Boards on 4chan
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/3/ through /fit/
/3/ (3dcg) is for 3d modeling, sculpting, and so on. By far the slowest board on the site, there are often threads that have been active for nearly a year. Doesn't like porn or people who ask how to make porn.
/a/ (Anime & Manga) is basically the same as /v/ (see below), but with anime, and "live action" television shows that are distinctly rooted in, or based off of an anime or manga series. Mostly discusses the more popular series, and upcoming shows they think will become popular. New anime gets released at a much faster rate than American cartoons, so there's usually plenty to discuss.
/adv/ (advice) is for advice, mostly relationship.
/an/ (animals and nature) is mainly full of topics about animals, both wild and domesticated. Topics like "What's your favorite dinosaur" or "How do I take care of my pet" are common.
/asp/ (alternative sports) is for discussion of sports that aren't major, professional ones. Mainly become the home for Wrestling after it was kicked off of /sp/.
/b/ (random) is for random topics. There are no real rules in /b/, so people are free to post whatever non-criminal material they want. In practice, that means a lot of porn, pictures, and discussions that can only be defined as, well, random. Notably, it can have, and undoubtedly has had, every single one of the other boards' topics discussed on it, with the main difference being more chanspeak. /b/ is also the source of what might be called chanspeak, which is a dialect of net slang that is best described as a mixture ofAcronym and Abbreviation Overload and Cluster F-Bomb.
/biz/ (business & finance) was created to offload the cryptocurrency threads that were clogging /g/ for some time. Here, /biz/raelis talk about stocks, the state of various businesses, wages, and other money making ventures.
/c/ (cute animeinvoked), and /cm/ (cute men) are work safe boards for cute animated things. /cm/ is for cute men (animated only), and /c/ is for everything else that's both animated and cute including girls, couples, and animals. It has quite a few chibis because of that.
/cgl/ (cosplay and egl) (one board, egl is part of the title) where people show off the cosplay they work on, talk about conventions they went to and what they cosplayed as, and general cosplay tips. They're the place to go if you need help on a cosplay of your own.
/ck/ (food and cooking) is usually filled with a mix of delicious recipes, people asking for delicious recipes, and general cooking tips. Speaking of tips, never, under any circumstances, browse /ck/ on an empty stomach.
/con/ A rare board that opens up whenever there is a large 4chan-related convention took place, which happens like ever six years or so.
/d/ (hentai alternative) is for hentai that's a little bit... different.
/diy/ (Do-It-Yourself) is for do-it-yourself projects, whether it's fixing something broken or creating something from scratch.
/e/ (Ecchi). is the softcore porn board, separating it from /h/, which is for hardcore images. Ecchi material is suggestive and often times cute, but it is still an adult board with adult material that does allow anatomically-correct nudity.
/fa/ (Fashion) is a board where posters talk about clothes, accessories, outfits, and other fashion trends. Has a nice, if hipster-oriented, thread detailing how to tidy yourself up and look presentable and at the same time comfortable.
/fit/ (Fitness) is a board dedicated to healthy living and exercise routines, although the main focus seems to be on strength training.
/g/ through /k/
/g/ (Technolo/g/y) is dedicated to mainstream tech discussion.
/gd/ (graphic design) is for discussion of graphic design software and computer-aided graphic design techniques (i.e, 'photoshopping').
/gif/, a board for posting looping animated images, or GIFs. Since the creation of /wsg/ below, however, it's only really ever used for porn.
/h/ (Hentai), a board that accepts anime pornography.
/hc/ (Hardcore) is dedicated to hardcore pornography.
/hm/ (Handsome Men) is for real-life pictures of men, be it safe or pornographic (all of which is of a homosexual nature).
/hr/ (high-resolution) is for very large images in general. Often a good place to look for wallpapers, though this board can and often does veer on the NSFW side of things.
/int/ (international) is where people from around the world are allowed to post in various languages. A person's country is indicated by a flag in the top right of the posts.
/k/ (weapons) is about weapons. While firearms tend to be the most talked about, swords and other melee weapons, armor, and all kinds of military hardware and equipment are also covered here. Topics about hunting and wilderness survival pop up occasionally as well, along with the more inflammatory gun control debate threads and hypothetical "survival" situations.
/lgbt/ through /pol/
/lgbt/ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) is for the respectful, work safe discussion of LGBT lifestyles and the LGBT community. Aside from /pol/ shitposts, it's usually quiet and usually drama-free.
/lit/ (literature) is for discussing professional stories. That means fanfics are not allowed, though they do get posted somewhat often (mostly to piss off /lit/). Other than that, the board talks mainly about their favorite books, and is a great place to go if you want a recommendation for something to read.
/out/ (outdoors) is for discussions about hiking, camping, geocaching, orienteering, gardening, etc, and other traditional ways of enjoying te great outdoors.
/p/ (Photography): Photography and the like.
/po/ (papercraft and origami) isn't very populated, but they're generally pretty helpful to anyone who shares their interests. Full of people showing off their awesome works of paper and stencils, and often containing simple papercraft guides.
/pol/ (Politically Incorrect) is the board for politics, current events, and general debate. Much broader in scope than the board it supposedly revived, /n/ (News), which was dedicated to news only.
/r/ through /tv/
/r/ (Request) is where it is possible to request where to find each and every one of the above topics.
/s4s/ (Shit 4chan Says) was originally an April Fool's prank meant to mimic the subreddit "Shit Reddit Says"note SRS is infamous for being an extremely vitriolic subreddit that mocks misogynistic, racist, and homophobic comments from Reddit. Reddit itself either sees them as irritating, humorless, easily-offended killjoys, or a useful antidote to stupid posts on Reddit. /s4s/'s main call is dubs (when a post number ends in repeating digits), dedicated ironic shitposting and forcing various memes (such as Kek or Blimp) and stealing other board's gets (Major posts like a board's 100,000,000 post or post 34567890). The board has an interesting subculture, as gets are central to the board, and they have a large list of colourful characters, as well as, even it's own board newspaper! It's also property of Gippo Dudee, kindly fuck off.
/sci/ (science and math) is for people interested in science and the latest scientific advances, or needing help understanding a math problem they don't get or a science project they just can't make work.
/soc/ (cams & meetups) was started as the board for anything not nerdy (it was originally named Social for this reason), but quickly devolved into a bizarro combination of /r/ for specific types of porn and meet-ups for one-night stands and phone sex.
/sp/ (sports). The big draws are game threads following and commenting on the action live (good games for the major sports can require multiple threads that hit the limit, and major playoff games are guaranteed to go something like 7-10 threads long). Thanks to the large number of users all over the world, /sp/ is one of the few boards to have distinct variations. There is the Soccer and Lad banter filled "yuro /sp/" and the Football/Baseball/Basketball and various other sports filled "murikan /sp/".
/tv/ (Television & Film) It's /mu/, but with movies, with all the same critic worship, hipsterism, and plebian flame wars. And celebrities. Lots of them.
/u/ through /x/
/u/ and /y/, the Yuri and Yaoi boards. This means they talk a lot about shows like K-ON or Kim Possible, which have no explicit (or really even implicit) homosexuality, but a fan base that really likes to pretend they do, as well as more explicit cases of homosexuality. Neither one moves very fast, so it's not uncommon to see a thread linking to 4 or 5 previous ones with the same topic that no longer allow images.
/vg/ (Video Game Generals) is a "spinoff" board of /v/. It's meant to offload the "general" threads clogging /v/: long-term oriented, recurring threads focusing on a specific video game that get recreated as soon as the old thread dies (750 posts, after which posts stop bumping the thread and it will soon 404). Threads receive their own, board-style abbreviation (such as /mhg/ for Monster Hunter General, or /sgg/ for Skullgirls General).
/vp/ (Pokémon). Also borne of /v/ overload, as Pokémon discussion clogged up the /v/ board badly.
/vr/ (retro games) is yet another spin-off of /v/ from March 2013, for the discussion of classic, or 'retro' gamesnote consoles, computer games, arcade games (including pinball) and any other forms of video games circa 1999 and earlier, but sixth generation is not considered retro, thus rendering the Dreamcast "not retro".
/w/ (anime wallpapers) is for very large pictures related to animes, to be used as wallpapers on computers.
/wg/ (wallpaper general) is for very large pictures not related to animes, to be used as wallpapers on computers.
/wsg/ (Worksafe GIF) is for... well, worksafe .gifs. Great for reaction images.
/x/, (Paranormal; as in The X-Files) is the creepy, scary, paranormal, and general "weird shit" board. /x/ is the origin of a great deal of the "creepypasta" floating around the Internet and memes like "AND THEN A SKELETON POPPED OUT" and "THEN WHO WAS PHONE?", which eventually led to the creation of SCP Foundation.
Archive Panic: invokedThe 4Chan Archives. Whenever a thread becomes considered "epic" on 4chan, it can be voted to go to the Archives. Almost every board has a section in said Archives. Each page has around ten threads on it, and page numbers vary from a few to the infamous /b/'s section, which, to say the least, is huge. Also note that Epic Fail Guy moments, memes, and various other categories get their own sections, and you've just taken out a good chunk of your free time trying to read them all. Oh, and there's always more coming in. Enjoy your lulzy prison...
Censor Box: The /tg/ board tends to use censor bars with "HERESY!" written on them, when they bother to.
Discredited Meme: invoked The trend of predicting a post number ending in doubles on a few boards got old to mods rather sooner than it did to posters. On boards such as /b/ and /v/, the final three digits of the post number were blocked out by X's as to make it harder to ascertain whether doubles were achieved (and to prevent the server from crashing so badly the next time the board hit another hundred million posts). When this did not hinder posters attempting to predict their post number, over the years it was removed. In another zig-zag, the mods eventually got so fed up with /v/ and /vg/'s dubs that every post that would have ended in the last two numbers matching skipped to the nearest set of numbers that didn't. It seemed to have finally worked...until browsers began predicting the final number of their post only.
Screamer Prank: The Creepy Pasta called "The .gif". It's about one of these on 4Chan, that looks like a smiley face made out of a mouth and eyes cut out of a magazine and placed on a yellow circle. After a minute, it turns into a frowney face and lets out an ear-splitting, blood-curdling scream, and rapid-fires a bunch of horrifying imagery. Then it closes your browser. People who watch it in its entirety are found dead with a smiley face drawn in blood next to them. However, in a cliche' twist, the admins removed it and banned the person who put it up. However, the 'pasta warns it could be on other sites...
That's No Moon: /m/ wrote a Science Fantasy universe where the local solar system's sun was surrounded by a giant Dyson Ring that was actually a large dragon that bit itself in the tail. This is currently the largest example of this trope on this page. /m/ does not think small.