May 31 2022/Wakarimasen Update

May 31 2022 - This post got a little ranty (the philosophy/motivation of archives and whatnot), so the gist is that Wakarimasen is currently down but images are still being archived and are still available via a server within Wakarimasen, making it probable it is just down for maintenance.] More bad unclear? possible-negative news from the archives. I waited for several days to make this announcement to gather more reactions and theories from archivers and anons alike, but the time has come. In order the make this wall of text a little more manageable, I have separated it into two sections: "The Facts" and "The Theories/Other".

The Facts:

The archives of Wakarimasen stopped being publicly available May 21st. Wakarimasen is an archiver covering every board with full images and webms (which already poses a clear problem) but only archived since August/September 2020. It is similar to in the boards covered and nothing else. As of today, any page on the main Wakarimasen site contains a single gif of an anime girl crying (from the anime "Berserk" I've been told) while the source code contains this cryptic alt text associated with the image: "Even if we painstakingly piece together something lost, it doesn’t mean things will ever go back to how they were." However, it was soon found that images are still being archived on the site on the torako server, meaning that it is highly likely that the site is just down for maintenance. As proof, here is a post with an image made on May 29th, 8 days after Wakarimasen went down, and here is the Wakarimasen copy of the image (you can check the unix timestamp filenames). Unfortunately, the downtime has led to a massive outpour of schizophrenia and shitposting in a matter making it difficult to discern meaningful information from threads regarding Wakarimasen (as evidence, just look at how many replies every single post has in this /g/ thread). Prior to the anime girl being the default state of the site, for a moment when the site stopped being publicly available this page was made default before the crying gif was instated. The page gave a brief explanation stating that the database host has kicked him off and that he was looking for a new home for the server, giving the date for the site to be back up as "August 16th 2021". For some time, anons of /g/ and elsewhere speculated that "2021" was merely a typo and that the site would be back by August 16th 2022. However, after some digging on my own I found that the page was actually shown August 13th 2021 and the days prior to August 16th, giving evidence to the idea that this was just the default page that popped up when there was nothing FoolFuuka to display on the site whilst discrediting any theory that this was the official explanation for the downtime and that the site would be back up in 3 months. Along with mental illness, there was also two simultaneous outpours of support and vitriol from pro and anti-archivers. On one hand, the loss of Wakarimasen would be the single largest total archive loss since, and not a single hero archiver coincidentally finished scraping the site but a week prior as happened then. On the other hand, archival of 4chan in general can be considered counterintuitive of the function of an anonymous imageboard. In the words of one anon, "if we wanted permanent records of our retardation we'd reg a username on a forum. being able to vote to archive a thread was a good compromise but those days are long gone." This refers to 4chanarchive, the original 4chan archive (selective thread archiver that began in 2006) that went under in 2013 with a full archive loss. The pro-archive rebuttal to this is to use the fear of glowies every 4channer shares (if an anon doesn't share the fear that's a good indicator he's a fed), in the words of one anon, "let them delete history and reform it to their perverted will, it's no biggie, touch grass". A fact to be considered is that Wakarimasen harbours malware ads and shit to pay the bills. Half the time when you click on an image, it would redirect to a cancerous malware website. In fact, the admin even implemented a donor tier to bypass the fuckery (in fact, Wakarimasen is one of the only archivers in recent memory to include the ability to register an account (for the donor tier purpose), giving some credence to those who see Wakarimasen as detrimental to anonymous imageboard culture). Others noted the similarities between Wakarimasen and, another archiver that covered (almost) every board with full images (going back way farther than what was covered on Wakarimasen) that went under in early 2021 with no explanation from the site admin. In fact, was one of the least transparent archivers I've ever encountered, atleast Wakarimasen has a meta board for discussion (in which the admin actually interacted with users) as well as internal pages. Even further back is (not to be confused with, but for I wrote a descriptive account of the site and what transpired after its shutdown in the newspost titled "March 24 2021" (ctrl+F) and in the days directly after it. Wakarimasen would be the single largest archive failure since if things go any farther than the state of stasis it is currently in. On the DMCA/Abuse page on Wakarimasen, the page states that "This archive is a mirror for content hosted elsewhere." This is somewhat ambiguous, whether it means other archives or simply that the content is hosted in the database and that FoolFuuka is mirroring it to the website is up for debate. Wakarimasen also stated it was "associated" with Bibanon, and Antonizoon himself stated that "Since we know the guy and helped him out it seems like he wouldn't give it up without at least providing dumps. However, he hasn't been saying much recently so we don't know the current situation, but we assume that he is still scraping and just not publicly saying anything yet." Anyways, some anons began trying to figure out how to create a glowie-proof archive, but it's unclear if the idea will go anywhere.

The Theories/Other:

The waves of schizophrenia began with this post, a somewhat conspiratorial post authored by someone claiming to be an alt-chan owner/moderator stating that the feds want access to alt-chan/archive servers to datamine users. If the owners don't comply, the feds will spam CP to obtain justification for the seizure of the servers (also claiming "radicalization"). Although considered a schizo persecution fantasy, this and the next two posts go very in-depth over the shenanigans feds and others would get into to spy on the average internet user. The poster goes over the tactics the so-called feds would use to kill the site as fast as possible: Stirring up drama to drive away users, becoming janitors on these sites to gain further abilities, monitoring the admins sleeping habits to maximize destructive/FUD potential, using millions of bots with VPNs and residential IP addresses, and using false-flag techniques to discourage the discussing of politics and "anti-free speech laws", all in the apparent goal of seizing site servers for illicit purposes. This entire process is routine and streamlined in federal buildings and has been pumped into overdrive since 2019. This claim/theory is relevant to current 4chan events in how it heavily derives its basis on fears of glowies and feds, something that has become prevalent somewhat recently after the Buffalo shooting sparked fears that 4chan is a honeypot, making the theory very appealing to the average glowie-fearing anon. For a much longer post screenshot that goes into greater detail and schizophrenia over glowies, click here. A following post made by another anon takes the standpoint of U.S. law and free speech, claiming that big tech would centralize the internet and that all supposed free speech hosts would fold the second ADL or the FBI call. One final long text-schizo post made shortly after the second one ended the series, taking a focus on hosting providers and a programmers point of view. Firstly, the post states that most archivers are in it purely for the ad money and that to share the database would be counterproductive to this purpose, creating separate motivations for running an archive. If your motivation is to keep and store 4chan threads/history, you would share the database (like Desuarchive and 4plebs). However, if you are purely seeking ad money from the venture, sharing the database would cannibalize your site as mirrors would create less total dependence on your site, therefore decreasing ad revenue. Wakarimasen was the only archiver covering full webms for /wsg/ and /gif/, and there were many boards that Warosu stopped archiving in 2021 that only Wakarimasen had the images for, a small monopoly; To archive all boards with full images is no easy feat. This mindset of being in archivalism only for the money is a major cause of many archive failures/total losses, with the tendency to become a single point of failure completely devoid of the original mission and purpose of archiving 4chan. Secondly, even if the database is shared, there is not a provider in the world willing to host it. "They aren't going to risk losing their entire customer base to host one faggot that's archiving the asshole of the internet." This somewhat circles back to the idea that the feds are contacting hosts to take down/seize archivers, as the hosts "cucked instantly the moment they were threatened to have their uplink cut". Thirdly and finally, the poster writes that the solution to the "web problem" would be a new protocol and hypertext language, with any new protocol being worked on suffering from faggots trying to "turn them into memecoin scams and attempting to become the next FAGMAN company". The hypertext language would simply need a few extensions internally to avoid any reliance on Javascript, making auditing very simple for the browser portion as well as simplifying the hosting process (requiring less resources than "http services"). The basis of the post is that greed is the main cause of the death of archives and the internet as a whole, the main points being "Google adsense is what killed the web" and "We could eaisly [sic] fix the web problem if so many people weren't so eager to sell out for the almighty dollar". After these rants, the thread contained anons at every stage of grief (few at acceptance). The reason the (one of the largest archivers in 4chan history, archived in a somewhat similar way to Wakarimasen) went under in 2021 (see "March 24 2021" on the newspost page for more info) was under speculation for some time, and bibanon admin Antonizoon wrote his theory in the bibanon IRC chat: "they most likely only cared for profit. when ad renevue dipped likely due to coronavirus and google's anti cookie measures, they probably saw that there was no profit in the future and pulled the plug. people like that will just shut the place down if there's nothing in it for them. a real user who actually browses the board would have a different motivation which can be more stable in a way, though i guess less stable in different ways." This somewhat eerily follows in what the third anon wrote in the existence of the for-profit archive, making it more and more credible as a legitimate theory in the matter. Wakarimasen added a donor tier which removes ads from the site for a fee just two months ago, it is possible that the admin saw that not enough money was coming in from this and it was time to close on the site. This is highly unlikely however, as the site has remained up even though the archive is unavailable whereas most of the time it just closes fully with no warning. Also, images are still being archived. Another very simple idea for why the site is down is that the archive just ran out of money, as some anons claimed the admin had been begging for money in the previous months (although this is indicative of every archive ever). This is the cause for about 30-40% of archive deaths, alongside #2 hosts/glowies shutting them and #3 hard-drive failures and storage issues/#4 loss of will or morale with keeping the site up. For an example of #2, look no further than loveisover while there is a whole cache for #3. For #4, who can forget the famous "I have officially run out of fucks to give. I have no obligation to anyone. I am going to take a simple duty of care to migrate data to another admin and wash my hands of it" from Nyafuu's admin, VoH. Bibanon admin Antonizoon has some wise words on the demoralization of archive admins, a thankless job (cobbled from various IRC posts with minor edits):

Most likely the evolution of a 4chan archive sysadmin is that they read 4chan less and less, awful shit happens, and then they want it out of their life. People who dont want to work together and accept assistance so they suffer in silence instead are often susceptible to this.
- They probably don't get paid for one.
- Volunteering is really draining on your life if you dont get direct benefit.
- Essentially can be considered corvee labor. It looks like the population of competent 4chan archive admins to date can now be counted as solely the people who are in this group chat [The Bibanon IRC]. I never expected it to be that way. Also this really calls for new people to step up and learn to archive and have a commitment to public archive dumps, because this old generation of archive admins cant keep doing this forever while we see new upstarts get fucked due to lack of experience and then we clean it up from there. Those that have the skills donate their time, those that have no skills donate their money. Generally admins bear the brunt of the costs though.

I do not believe that Wakarimasen made any attempt to contact the Bibanon IRC in the ten days after the outage began; I was informed that an anon apparently emailed the admins and got told it was maintenance (stated in a /g/ thread), so it is possible Wakarimasen was just trying to fuck with the userbase with the cryptic source code text. However, the post claiming this is not particularly verifiable. There were several faggots claiming that they reported Wakarimasen to some unknown higher internet god/host which took action to shut the site down over the malware links, but this is almost definitely complete bullshit. The admin of Desuarchive gave this post acknowledging the uncertainty of the situation but that it was unlikely Wakarimasen suffered a legitimate database failure. A final theory interests me the most: it is possible that Wakarimasen did indeed run out of funds to keep the site running in terms of bandwidth, but the entire storage/database of the site is still archiving and available. Therefore, there is a possibility that the admin just removed the actual main visible part of the site (replacing it with the anime girl) whilst still keeping images/media up on the torako server for other archivers to redirect to, e.g., keeping the most vital part of the site (the webms not archived by Desuarchive and images from boards Warosu ditched) available for archives whilst decreasing page views (or querys or whatever). The entire idea of having zero publicity would require private contact with other archives as to this plan and their cooperation with not informing the general 4chan public of this, allowing for a covert partial-archive shutdown but not really. If this is true (although impossible to verify), it would mean Wakarimasen is a true archiver and not a for-profit archive as suggested in the third /g/ post. In this sense, the archive is playing opossum.The archiver of made some theories as to the downage of the archive, mostly covering the usual suspects:

- Too time consuming to handle, even though they had a larger staff than I do (I'm a single guy) - I receive sometimes up to 500reports a day on Moe alone and up to a dozen emails.

- Maybe they didn't profit that much from the adds to cover the hosting bills? They used a third party provider to upload each picture, making it quite costly. I don't remember if only the upload or the download of a file was billed, but it can be pricey.

- Maybe the 10-50emails per week from DMCA/copyright agencies or emails from the police regarding illegal content, that can also take a toll.

- Could be also the content hosted, 4chan gets tons of porn, tons of animal abuse, tons of illegal content, shootings, etc. etc.


Today, May 31 2022, 10 days after the outage begin, Wakarimasen is still down.