Shiichan Anonymous BBS

Shiichan was a 2ch-type board in PHP. It was written in late 2004 by a guy named Shii. Currently, it is in a buggy beta stage, and no development is planned. This page is preserved because of the essay on it, below.

What's "2ch-type"?

A 2ch-type board is a sort of anonymous bulletin board system. You can have as many forums as you want; the latest posts in each thread are previewed in the front page of each forum. Nicknames are optional. A system is implemented to allow "registration"-like features without storing any user information in a database.

This type of board is based off of 2channel, pronounced "Ni-channeru", the largest Internet forum in the world (20 times larger than the biggest American forum). Shiichan is somewhat different from the 2ch look, but they still use the same system. Kareha is very closely modelled on 2ch.

Why is this better than regular forum software?

If you want to create a beautiful "community", forum software is not for you. You should rather find some way to securely verify people's identities and then talk with them on a first-name basis. Once you start allowing pseudonyms, anything goes.

On the other hand, you're interested in starting a forum on some topic of your interest, and allowing anyone to post, then 2ch-type is infinitely better than PhpBB, Invision, or vBulletin. I'm going to refer to these as "old-type forum software"; I'm not pretending to be unbiased.

Here's why:

This is hard to believe. (2006)

Problems with 2ch-type forums often come along the lines of "people will be more likely to insult, flame, and troll if they're anonymous". This may be true... but people are already pseudonymous on most forums. The drama and hatred you see on pseudonymous forums is as bad as it gets; with anonymity, you'll probably be better off because of the convenience. Either way you will need a dedicated team of moderators to police the board for trolling and nonsense.

A preliminary study done by... me in March 2005 found that there was no noticeable difference between 2channel and in terms of useful posts, off-topic posts, and nonsense in a long thread about technical issues. On the American forum where posts can be either anonymous or pseudonymous, most of the actual helpful contributions to technical discussions came from anonymous users, whereas pseudonymous users tended to offer their personal experiences. But this was totally unscientific. Do a blind study yourself.

Spam is another issue. Since 2004 when this essay was written, message board spam has become increasingly prevalent on all anonymous forums. However, on old-style forums spammers often register fake accounts and happily suck in users to their profile websites without posting. If you are experiencing spam that gets around your local filters, I have found that extremely simple tests, such as a drop-down box asking whether you are a human (Yes? No? Maybe?) often cut it off entirely.

If you can't or don't want to force people to pay or use their real names, at least give a swing at bucking the establishment and trying out a totally anonymous forum.

Shiichan is released under the GNU General Public License.
Copyleft 2004; all rights reversed, reprint what you like.
For formal permissions or to contact the author of this essay, visit