The Internet cancer

Cancer comes in many forms. Generally, it is used to describe something unwanted/negative which is spreading on its own and which is difficult to stop. Like a virus, except it's growing inside something that was once healthy, slowly destroying it. The Internet is the "host" in this context.
Although the Internet itself is technically and politically flawed in so many ways, that's really nothing compared to a disturbingly large percentage of its users, which seems to increase all the time, far beyond what would be tolerable. I'm well aware of its history and the Eternal September, which came long before what I'm discussing here, but I still claim that nothing has caused such a fundamental change for the worse, on such a grand scale, as this "phenomenon". It's now everywhere and has ruined so many things completely.
It cannot be stressed enough that I'm not saying that this is the sole, isolated cause of all the problems online. That would be idiotic. However, it is definitely serious enough to write an article about, especially since everyone else seems indifferent or blind to it. (Unfortunately, this is usually the case.)

The cancer forms

Around 2004 or possibly 2003, a mid-teen American anime freak whose name is as unimportant as his positive contributions to humanity saw the popular Japanese Web site "2channel", which was (and presumably still is) a crappy bulletin board system where anyone could post anonymously as long as they spoke Japanese and had an IP address from Japan.
I'm not 100% on the details here, and it doesn't matter, but I believe it was using some kind of open source system, or maybe it just released its own source. In either case, I know for sure that this kid took it, possibly translated it (although it was likely already translated by somebody with actual skills), and turned it into an English clone of 2channel, imaginatively called "4chan". (From this point on, I will simply refer to it as "Chancer".)
Overnight, he had "created" the worst English-language forum on the planet; a "paradise" of illegally distributed copyrighted drawn pictures of girls with cat ears and huge dicks, enabling retarded kids world-wide to gather and arrange attacks at random targets and exchange painfully unfunny and stupid "memes" around the clock.
The many extreme usability and logic issues with this software pretty much guaranteed that the only ones who used it would be complete and utter morons of the worst kind. For instance, it required (and it wouldn't surprise me if it still does today) you to enter a secret code word into the "e-mail" field for it to actually take you back to the thread if you submitted a reply (or created a new thread). If you didn't, it would instead take you back to the big, messy index page, meaning that if you posted and forgot to type in the "magic phrase", good luck finding it before it's gone forever. This insane, backwards, Unix-esque reasoning is just one of many examples of what an absurd system this lucky idiot adopted.
Some people have told me that it "used to" be decent in the beginning, and that they themselves also refer to a "cancer" that came and ruined everything at some point. I don't buy this, based on the software itself and the personality of the person who ran it. And even if it were true, it is obvious that nothing was done about the problem once it became apparent.
My point couldn't be made any clearer: it was an incredibly crappy place, and its popularity can be attributed primarily to one thing: it was (probably) the only English-language version of 2channel in existence, and since there were no barriers against flooding it with junk posts, exactly that happened. Constantly. Every thread I ever saw was full of the most retarded gibberish you could imagine. Trying to have any kind of sensible discussion in such an environment was just futile.

Full-fledged cancer

As mentioned, the inane design and non-existent moderation made it a very attractive "second home" (and for many, it seems, their primary home) for the absolutely lowest forms of life who spoke English (or something vaguely resembling it) and had access to the Internet. The board was actually divided into various sections, such as "animu & mango" (I guess spelling isn't his strong side either, or he has the worst "humour" on the planet), or "random". The latter was by far the most active and was (and probably remains) essentially the epicentre of the modern cancer of the Internet.
Over the years, this dangerously mentally ill liar and thief has consistently allowed his users to do whatever the hell they want to anyone, and very much actively participated himself. I truly have absolutely no respect whatsoever for this smug asshole or his kind; he personifies everything that I despise about a human being and an administrator of anything: he didn't create anything himself (just copied it), what he stole wasn't even good (except when hosted an illegal clone of my software under a subdomain and sent me mocking, psychotic e-mails whose replies he edited and published for his low-IQ minions to swallow as the truth), takes no responsibility whatsoever (which is unfortunately a trait he shares with many others), abuses his ill-gotten powers to harass and attack people who actually try to make the world better, yet still gets "brownie points" among the brainwashed sheep who see him as some kind of God, and receives inexplicable media praise from moronic "journalists" in spite of the fact that the obvious public reaction would be to literally hang him high for his own crimes as well as the many crimes he has chosen to allow/aid.
I'm not getting into details here, but just for the record, here's a few random things which Chancer repeatedly and completely openly discussed/planned/executed, bafflingly without ever any kind of repercussions: DDoS attacks on numerous targets, hosting and sharing child pornography (eerily the same thing they kept lying about my site doing — these subhumans like to "project" their own illness onto others); spam/harass attacks against numerous forums and communities; attacks toward countless individuals both online and in real life (some, especially young girls, committed suicide as a result), as well as companies of all sizes, usually masked as "sticking it to the man" or "attacking the bad guys" in order to gain mainstream acceptance from the other kind of sheeple, who seriously think that these scum are somehow on their side, doing the right thing. At the same time, they explicitly claim to be "doing it for the lulz", which means "no reason", or "I have a mental illness and cannot control my actions". It's maddening to witness how people buy into this, time and time again.
This is nothing short of cyber terrorism, plain and simple. Calling it anything else is inaccurate and dishonest.

Cancer outside of Chancer

If you ignore the many "satellite sites" which revolve around Chancer, and various "supporting" sites also made by the same kind of "people" (a very flattering term in the context), perhaps the most serious issue is the fact that their obnoxious, unfunny in-"jokes" and awful attitude of "trolling" have spread so far outside of their own sphere of stupidity.
You can't just say to "not visit them", because naturally, I (or any sensible human being) would not do so, but we don't have to in order to be constantly reminded of their existence. They won't shut the fuck up or go away; they insist on further dumbing down the entire Internet, as if it wouldn't already be bad enough without them. Almost everywhere you go, you see the endlessly repeated and endlessly moronic "memes" and stupid pictures being passed around. The extreme trolls have made every chat room unbearable. Even in many otherwise clean, nice and intelligent places, you often notice this nonsense daily. It's truly sad. It's a disease. It's cancer.
This isn't a rant against a specific person or site. I only focus on Chancer because it has been what has primarily enabled all of this crap to flourish and go on for so long, and it's grown exponentially. I also consider Facebook, YouTube and essentially any larger community to be part of the cancer (or perhaps, more accurately, a different kind) that is killing the Internet.
I ought to point out that I definitely don't label anyone who disagrees with me "cancer" or even "idiots". It would be very disturbing and a dystopian nightmare to have everyone be exactly like yourself in every regard. Nothing would surprise you and you'd have constant competition for your special interests, which would of course no longer be special. That's not what I mean, and this is not highbrow snobbery. What I refer to is a certain kind of person who, completely regardless of their interests, nationality, ethnicity, age, background/education level and life situation, is just utterly obnoxious, unfunny and unusually malicious in a hard-to-define, unlikeable manner, with extremely confused ideas about what's funny/right.

The solution?

I no longer know if I believe that there is a cure for this. Most of the people who aren't infected by this brain disease are "just" stupid or hopelessly ignorant, and that's basically as bad. Huge mobs of angry, stupid people can be very dangerous as they can easily be tricked and brainwashed by those in power. The sheeple are prepared to believe anything, as long as the right person or group is saying it. If they (for whatever reason) like the person saying something, it will typically be considered the truth and the right thing to do. You unfortunately don't get much power by being and doing good in this world.
You just can't reason with pure evil. That's actually the one thing they are right about: they cannot be reasoned with, and they truly are a "hive mind", because they lack unique, individual personalities. You cannot convince the devil to change. The only "solution" as I see it is for enough of us non-infected individuals to stand up against the cancer and fight it in any way we can. They want to destroy anything that is good in this world, and are frequently able to do so. The only thing you can do is to keep on doing good, and never be a part of them. You can never control what others do — only your own actions.

Now what?

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Published 2012-01-12. Last touched 2013-08-18.