Mob Mentality: 4chan vs. Scientology

Topic Description

On-line bulletin boards are a dominant text-based forum for knowledge sharing and the aggregation of communities of practice. This unit looks at one borderline instantiation of a bulletin board system, and the protest that board organized through a filter that asks what gets remembered and how are on-line identities composed.


Scott Jason, BBS: The Documentary, Documentary Information Archive. (Splash page for the magnus opus documentary on the history of BBSes.)

Buy at MIT Press Rheingold, Howard. "Grassroots Groupminds." In The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frointier. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780262681216.

Scott Jason, Textfiles: History. (A set of autobiographical documents reflecting on life on-line before widespread connectivity. Together, they present a bit of a sense of what BBSes were like when there were no alternatives. These short documents are of varying quality. Covers topics like trolling, phreaking, hacking, asynchronous chat, modems, baudrate, compression, files, script kiddies, ascii art, and everything else a kid with a 1200cps modem would care about. Good 1st-person background material for contemporary forums.)

Lindsay, project. DENSHA, (A page on Densha Otoko which contains English translations of the original Japanese threads.)

Schirrmacher Frank, The age of the informavore, Edge Foundation, Inc.

Assignments (Student Work)

“Anonymous” Project Chanology and its Relationship with Play 2009. (PDF)