It’s a horrible idea to close down 8chan. Those who were going to kill won’t stop because a website has gone down. But those who simply needed to vent now won’t have an outlet. It’s always better to have an outlet.

This whole idea that words (whether they are read online or heard from a politician) are so powerful that they make people murder and that words can transform reality in any way has deep religious roots but people are taking it way too seriously.

The need to respond to tragedy by shutting people up is pathological in itself. But searching for words that “created” violence is simply silly.

8 thoughts on “8chan”

  1. Like

    1. It’s even more infantile to assume there’s an easy hack to the problem that consists of banning something. Unfortunately, it’s never that easy but people seem to sublimate anxieties into repeating the range of easy solutions and blame targets.


  2. Cloudfare isn’t doing it for moral reasons, they’re doing it for marketing reasons, so they don’t care either way whether this helps reduce violence. Personally I’m happy to see 8chan closing down, not because I think they caused mass shootings, but because child porn was posted there constantly (a problem I’ve been aware of for years that the site has never done anything about.)

    I’m skeptical that having a site like this for “venting” is in any way helpful (which is not to say such websites should be taken down.) If I want to vent, I can do it in a diary or on a blog. What 8chan provides that those don’t is a community of awful people to reinforce your terrible ideas. I do think communities can influence people, though when it gets to the point where you’re killing people it seems a bit silly to blame it on a website. But I’ve definitely been influenced by websites and seen other people be influenced by websites too. It’s not all negative; I’ve been heavily influenced by this blog!

    All that said, I’m skeptical 8chan has much of an influence on anyone. I don’t get the impression it’s a very tightly knit online community that has a lot of influence over its users. I think it’s just a terrible website that tends to attract terrible people, and the people who use it would be disproportionately violent even if they weren’t on 8chan.


    1. Yes. I’m skeptical that shutting down a website will make much of a difference for these kinds of crimes, but I can easily see why no one would want to host 8chan. As I understand it, 8chan was formed by people who were kicked off of 4chan for being too awful. I recall being shocked when I first heard that, because I didn’t think that the category “too vile for 4chan” even existed.


      1. Cloudfare actually loves hosting terrible sites, it helps improve their business model/algorithms. Article on that here: https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-cloudflare/

        “A site that someone, somewhere, deeply despises is the type of site that is likely to be attacked. And when sites are attacked, Cloudflare gets better at what it does; its pattern recognition improves. “Putting yourself in front of things that are controversial actually makes the system smarter,” Prince says.”

        Data are the raw materials.


  3. Am I the only person who dislikes venting? I like to talk, but for getting information and perspective, forming an analysis, with the ultimate purpose of taking a position and deciding to act in some way or not. Venting bores me, and listening to venting upsets me — and DOES tend to push me to act, in the form of speaking up, sometimes against my better judgment (I would not have gotten so heated up had I not absorbed so much venting from others).


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