User unknown: 4chan, anonymity and contingency

Lee Knuttila


Both horrifying and fascinating, ( is a wildly popular message board with a highly dedicated community of users. Compared to social media’s increasing push to persistent identity online, 4chan maintains a culture of anonymity. Focusing on the ontological encounter spawned by the site, this paper argues that the interface embodies contingency and senses of alterity in several uniquely virtual ways. It concludes by articulating how this online mode of being holds promise beyond the often repugnant content generated by the site.


4chan; anonymity; memes; anonymous; trolling; internet culture

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