Screenshot from the imageboard. Probably the most popular imageboard to date.

An imageboard or image board (also chan, which is short for channel) is a type of Internet forum that revolves around the posting of images. The first imageboards were created in Japan, and many English-language imageboards today are centered around Japanese culture. They are based on the textboard concept.


Characteristics of imageboards

Imageboards, similar to bulletin boards, are used for the discussion 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 imageboards , 4chan and 7chan, tend 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.

Most imageboards and 2channel-style discussion boards allow (and encourage) anonymous posting and use a system of tripcodes instead of registration. 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'). Programs such as tripcode explorer[1] enable one to create custom tripcodes, in order to further cement one's identity. However, using a tripcode on some boards, such as 4chan, is generally discouraged by the community, who prefer to remain anonymous.

On many imageboards, if a user wants to reply to a thread but not bump it, they can put the word sage (Japanese: 下げ) in the e-mail field.[citation needed] "Ageing" can refer to either bumping a post or putting the word age (Japanese: 上げ) into the e-mail field. It is considered polite to sage when replying to your own thread.[citation needed] Sage is used by some board users generally to signify a bad thread.[citation needed]

In Japan, the imageboard is a much larger cultural symbol, with one estimate putting the total number of posts for Futaba's seven Nijiura (Japanese: 二次元裏) boards[clarification needed] boards at over 56,000,000 and rising.[2]


There are two primary types of imageboard software packages in widespread use: 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

There are currently four Futaba-based imageboard software packages in widespread use: Futallaby,[3] Wakaba,[4] Kusaba,[5] and Pixmicat.[6]

Futallaby is a PHP script based on the Futaba script from Futaba Channel. Although Futallaby is still in use at 1chan,[7] and the Futallaby source is still freely available, 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 English imageboard script. It requires MySQL to work.

Wakaba is written from the ground up in Perl, and a SQL backend to store thread information. Wakaba is very strictly modelled after the Futaba and Futallaby scripts. Wakaba borrows some HTML codes and translated text from Futallaby. It is designed to be more efficient and cleanly written than other scripts that are available, while preserving the same kind of functionality. Wakaba scripts are in use at iichan. Wakaba is one of most popular western imageboard software scripts , used most notably by iichan (Wakachan).[8]

Kusaba is modular, written from scratch with PHP for server side scripting, JavaScript for some client side scripting, and with ADOdb Lite for database abstraction to a database, MySQL. The main focus of the development of Kusaba was to code faster and more efficient software for multi-imageboard sites. The center feature of the software is the centralization of the backend for all boards by having a single installation controlling all boards. The creator has discontinued the project in favor of two other imageboards: PyIB[9] and TinyIB.[10] In August 2008, the domain hosting kusaba expired. The last version of the software (1.0.4) was hosted on another imageboard site, Megachan, and development has been picked up by Kusaba X[11] and OperatorChan.

Pixmicat is another PHP script based on the Futaba script. It supports flatfile, MySQL and SQLite storage. It also supports internationalization, modules, remote image storage and templating. It is widely in use in Komica,[12] a Taiwanese imageboard portal.

Danbooru-style boards

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.

Some of imageboard engines have a public API which can be used to automate publication and post viewing.[13][14] A de-facto standard for the API, created by Danbooru and used by the other imageboards has been established for this. The feature is used by a number of board crawlers[15][16] and Firefox extensions.[17][18]



  • Gelbooru 0.2.x (PHP)

Danbooru[19] is a Ruby on Rails-based imageboard software that is released under a FreeBSD license.

Shimmie[20] is an imageboard written from scratch in PHP using MySQL as a database and GD or ImageMagick for image manipulation (thumbnails). runs an unreleased branch of the Gelbooru software (0.2.x). An older branch (0.1.x) has been released for public use.[21]


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. Imageboard software packages Futallaby, Yotsuba, Kusaba X, and others which are used on many other imageboards, are all derived from Futaba's original PHP script. Its boards usually do not distinguish between pornographic and "clean" content, but there is a strict barrier between two-dimensional (drawn) and three-dimensional (CG and photographic) pictures that is heavily enforced and debated.[22]


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."[23]

The site and its userbase have received attention from the media for a number of reasons, including posts sporting terrorist threats against schools and sports stadiums,[24] attacks against Hal Turner on his Internet shows,[25] distributed denial-of-service attacks against eBaum's World,[26][27] Cyber Bullying[citation needed], taking part in Project Chanology,[28] and multiple cases of anti-animal abuse reports.[29]

Many Internet memes have originated there, including lolcats,[30][31][32] rickrolling, and chocolate rain.

See also


  1. ^ "Tripcode Explorer". Courtney Wade/Hurrchan. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  2. ^ "The Society for the Study of Modern Image Board Culture Thread". 
  3. ^ "Futallaby image board script". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  4. ^ "<".<. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  5. ^ "kusaba". [dead link]
  6. ^ "pixmicat - Pixmicat! Imageboard System - Google Project Hosting". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  9. ^ tslocum. "PyIB Imageboard Script". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  10. ^ tslocum. "TinyIB Imageboard Script". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  11. ^ "Kusaba X". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  12. ^ "Komica". Komica. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  13. ^ "Gelbooru". Gelbooru. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  14. ^ "Danbooru". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  15. ^ "imageboards searcher". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  16. ^ another crawler - currently down
  17. ^ Hayashime, Atachi (2007-03-25). "danbooru :: Add-ons for Firefox". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  18. ^ "Danbooru". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  20. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  21. ^ lozertuser (12/04/08 02:23 PM). "Gelbooru source 0.1.10 is released. Get it here!". 
  22. ^ Futaba Channel
  23. ^ Sean Michaels. "Taking the Rick | News | Music".,,2266526,00.html. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  24. ^ "Wisconsin Man Is Charged in Fake NFL Stadium Threats". Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  25. ^ "Cyber foes find ways to silence hate-talk radio host". Retrieved 2007-02-28. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Lindsay Lohan causes massive DoS war". 2006-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  27. ^ Bertiaux, Michaël (2006-01-09). "Ebaumsworld assiégé" (in French). Le Lézard. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ Popkin, Helen A.S. (August 31, 2010). "Web video: Woman throws puppies in river, 4chan tracks her down". MSNBC Technolog ( Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  30. ^ "Lolcats' demented captions create a new Web language", Tamara Ikenberg, The News Journal, 9 July 2007
  31. ^ Richards, Paul (2007-11-14). "Iz not cats everywhere? Online trend spreads across campus". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  32. ^ Steel, Sharon (2008-02-01). "The cuteness surge". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 

External links

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  • Imageboard — Ein Imageboard ist ein Bulletin Board System (BBS) im Internet, über das hauptsächlich Bilder oder kleinere Binärdateien ausgetauscht werden. Über diese wird dann diskutiert. Dabei ist das BBS in bestimmte Kategorien, sogenannte Boards,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Imageboard — Un imageboard est un BBS (bulletin board system où système de bulletins électroniques en français) anonyme de partage d images. Ce type de forum sans système d inscription, qui trouve son origine au Japon avec la création en 2001 du Futaba… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Imageboard — …   Википедия

  • imageboard — noun A type of Internet forum that revolves around the posting of images with minimal associated text …   Wiktionary

  • 4chan — The 4chan homepage on August 23, 2010 URL …   Wikipedia

  • 4chan — URL Commercial non Type de site …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Futaba Channel — This article is about Futaba Channel. See 2channel for the article on ni channeru. Infobox Website name = Futaba Channel caption = The Futuba Logo. url = [] commercial = No type = Imageboard/TextBBS registration =… …   Wikipedia

  • 4 chan — 4chan 4chan (japonais : 四葉, Yotsuba, 4 feuilles ) est un BBS anonyme anglophone, constitué d un réseau d imageboards, qui a pris modèle sur les très populaires sites japonais 2channel et Futaba Channel. Il a été mis en ligne en octobre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • 4chan — ist ein englischsprachiges Imageboard. Die Seite ist dem japanischen Vorbild 2channel nachempfunden. 4chan ist eine der 900 meistbesuchten Seiten des Internets.[1] Die Seite machte durch provokative Netzaktionen auf sich aufmerksam und gilt als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Krautchan — Ein Imageboard ist ein Bulletin Board System (BBS) im Internet, über das hauptsächlich Bilder oder kleinere Binärdateien ausgetauscht werden. Über diese wird dann diskutiert. Dabei ist das BBS in bestimmte Kategorien, sogenannte Boards,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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