4chan word cloud is shocking, scientific

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Taking 5,576,095 random posts from the unmoderated, anonymous free-for-all known simply as “/b/” — one of several forums which comprise the imageboard 4chan — Andres Monroy-Hernandez and his research associates at MIT created a word picture to illustrate what posters to /b/ talk about the most.

The result, much like the forum itself, isn’t safe for work.

4chan — in addition to being unfiltered and the polar opposite of “politically correct” — is the root of many memes. Even if you’ve never been to /b/, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a meme that started there. Study the conversations in /b/, and you are basically studying the Id of the Internet, which makes for a target rich environment at the cutting edge of sociology and the study of identity in collaborative environments.

The word that dominates the cloud, “DESU”, is a polite Japanese linking verb commonly posted in bulk as annoyance or entertainment to other users. The remainder of the words, many of them unrepeatable in polite company, actually do a remarkable job of summing up this eclectic and often intentionally offensive community.

For a more in-depth analysis, check out Monroy-Hernandez’s paper 4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community.