Imageboards

Ones I Know

4chan
A pile of crap. There is no reason go there, but this list would feel woefully incomplete without it.
8chan
Probably the biggest still-living 4chan alternative. Has a reddit-like model where anyone can create their own board. The average board quality tends to be quite low.
lainchan
Pretty good. I am an admin. kalyx (previous owner) was unstable and probably the worst thing about lainchan, other than the politics board. Site was in a perpetual state of “about to be sold”, but this has yet to actually happen and it actually happened, Appleman1234 bought the site from kalyx! See also irc.lainchan.org.
nullchan
lainchan’s “rivals”, they were behind a lot of DDoSes and blackmail back in the day. But now they don’t exist, sucks to be them.
sushichan
Slow. Very cosy. Used to be sushigirl.tokyo, but the old owner went into the mountains and vanished (he’s confirmed still alive). Now run by a guy called Seisatsu. See #sushigirl on freenode. /kaitensushi/ best board.
uboachan
Also run by Seisatsu. I don’t know anything else about it.
(secret)
Totally avoids all the negative aspects of imageboard culture. Ultimate in cosy. Only open during certain hours.

Culture

Imageboard culture is a strange beast. The only constant is “lurk more”. If in doubt, try to gauge the culture of a board before posting in it.

I’ve heard it said that VA-11 HALL-A is to imageboard culture what Undertale is to tumblr culture. Given that I enjoyed the former and was bored by the latter, that might be the case.

Anime

Imageboard culture has a lot of overlap with anime culture. There’s a crowd who dispute this, but they are wrong. Most imageboards will have a dedicated anime board, and those which don’t will still have frequent anime discussion (unless it’s banned outright, but I haven’t seen that anywhere).

Anime, manga, and doujinshi is a common source for post images.

Identification

Providing any identifying information about yourself is a big no-no unless clearly relevant to the discussion.

A user may include a name with their post, but to do so is almost universally frowned upon and seen as attention-seeking at best (see namefag and tripfag). A user may also include an email address with their post, but to actually use that is so rare that the field has been repurposed to communicate textual metadata (see noko and sage).

The general philosophy is that posts should stand or fall on their individual merits, and who the poster actually is doesn’t matter. It’s even a little contentious that staff can tie multiple posts to the same user, and may be influenced by this when making decisions.

Politics

Those who talk about politics tend to be on the extremes, and the extremes on imageboards are more extreme than what you might be used to. If you feel uncomfortable with discussion about how liberals/muslims/jews (quite a popular bogeyman)/gays/etc are ruining the world, stay out of political boards. They are a cesspit.

Moderating political discussion on an imageboard is one of the least pleasant tasks you can do online. As soon as you take some visible action, people accuse you of bias and kick up a shitstorm.

Moderation

Imageboards traditionally have four very coarse-grained levels of staff:

Administrators
They can do everything. Traditionally, there is only one, but this is not necessarily the case. Some examples of admin-only powers are: creating and deleting users, creating and deleting boards, modifying user permissions. The capcode is traditionally “## Admin”.
Global Moderators
Like moderators, but with power over every board. The capcode is traditionally “## Mod”.
Moderators
The bulk of your typical imageboard’s staff. On their boards, they can do basically anything: delete, move, and edit posts and images; ban users; spoiler and unspoiler images; bumplock threads; sticky threads; and so on. The capcode is traditionally “## Mod”.
Janitors
They can delete posts. The idea of the position is that relying on users to report bad posts is unreliable, and so janitors are more proactive. They may have access to staff-only boards, which regular users don’t, and whatnot. They get no capcode. Typically, revealing that you are a janitor is grounds for immediate dismissal.

So you’re a mod. Now what?

You have somehow found yourself in the position of an imageboard moderator, and have seen a post which merits moderation: what do you do?

If you are unsure, talk to your fellow staff! We do it for the same reason: to have the best imageboard we can.

And remember: discussion of moderation within a thread itself is almost always off-topic. Don’t get caught up in that if people question your decisions (and it’s easy to do so!). If there is a meta-discussion board, redirect moderation criticism to there.

Terminology