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Screengrab of the front (catalog) page of /pol/ in December 2019, with each discussion thread indicated by an image. Several perennial /pol/ topics and memes are visible, including Pepe the Frog, racism, Adolf Hitler, support for Donald Trump and his border wall, and opposition to Israel.
Screengrab of the front (catalog) page of /pol/ in December 2019, with each discussion thread indicated by an image. Several perennial /pol/ topics and memes are visible, including Pepe the Frog, racism, Adolf Hitler, support for Donald Trump and his border wall, and opposition to Israel.

/pol/ (Politically Incorrect) is a political discussion board on 4chan. The board's intended purpose is the "discussion of news, world events, political issues, and other related topics".[1]

A quantitative analysis found that /pol/ is an important influencer of news content on Twitter, with the board contributing 3% of mainstream news links and 1.96% of alternative news links on Twitter (as a fraction of all links co-appearing on Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan). The researchers concluded that "'fringe' communities often succeed in spreading alternative news to mainstream social networks."[2]


/pol/ was created in October 2011 as a rebranding of 4chan's news board, /new/,[3][failed verification] which was deleted that January because of a high volume of racist discussion.[4] According to Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, /pol/ was created by "4chan's founder […] to siphon off and contain the overtly xenophobic and racist comments and memes from other wings of 4chan."[5] This has led to /pol/ acquiring the nickname of a "containment board", because its purpose is to keep far-right and other generally distasteful political content off of 4chan's other boards.[6][7][8]

Political views

/pol/ has been characterized as predominantly racist and sexist, with many of its posts taking explicitly alt-right and neo-Nazi points of view.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The controversial Southern Poverty Law Center regards /pol/'s rhetorical style as widely emulated by white supremacist websites such as The Daily Stormer; the Stormer's editor, Andrew Anglin, concurred.[10]

Many /pol/ users favored Donald Trump during his 2016 United States presidential campaign.[14] Upon his election, a /pol/ moderator embedded a pro-Trump video at the top of all of the board's pages.[15][16][17][18]


Much of the content on /pol/ relies heavily on memes to further spread ideas.[19] One of the most popular memes found on the board during the period surrounding the 2016 US Presidential election was that of Pepe the Frog, which has been deemed a white supremacist symbol by some media outlets due to it being shown in uniforms, places, and people associated with Nazism, the Ku Klux Klan, and antisemitism.[20][21][22] Many have questioned the sincerity of users on /pol/ as possible trolls.[23][24]

Notable events

/pol/ was where screenshots of Trayvon Martin's hacked social media accounts were initially posted.[25][26]

After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, a Google search for a "registered democrat" showed a /pol/ thread in the top stories section falsely identifying him as the shooter. A spokesperson for Google said that the thread appeared because search queries and news about the man were rare allowing for the thread to the appear in the top stories section of the man's name but the thread did not appear in broader searches about the Las Vegas shooting.[27]

A popular meme that originated on /pol/ claims comedian Sam Hyde is the perpetrator of a mass shooting event or terrorist attack, in hopes of trolling a mainstream news outlet to report Hyde as the attacker.[28] The first instance of this hoax was the Umpqua Community College shooting. According to BBC News, CNN mistakenly included Hyde's image on their coverage of the shooting.[29]

Users of /pol/ engaged in coordinated attacks on LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner's HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, a performance art project made to protest Donald Trump's presidency.[30]

Users of /pol/ organised the It's OK to be white poster campaign.[31]

Users of /pol/ devised a prank to make the OK hand sign a white supremacist symbol. The sign resembles the letters WP which they said stands for white power.[32]

See also


  1. ^ "Welcome to /pol/ - Politically Incorrect". 4chan /pol/. September 9, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2019 – via WebCite.
  2. ^ Zannettou, Savvas; Caulfield, Tristan; De Cristofaro, Emiliano; Kourtelris, Nicolas; Leontiadis, Ilias; Sirivianos, Michael; Stringhini, Gianluca; Blackburn, Jeremy (2017). "The Web Centipede: Understanding How Web Communities Influence Each Other Through the Lens of Mainstream and Alternative News Sources" (PDF). Proceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference. ACM. pp. 405–417. ISBN 1-4503-5118-2.
  3. ^ moot (October 23, 2011). "Welcome back, robots". 4chan /r9k/. Retrieved August 16, 2019 – via WebCite.
  4. ^ moot (January 19, 2011). "Why were /r9k/ and /new/ removed?". 4chan. Retrieved August 16, 2019 – via WebCite.
  5. ^ Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine (2018). "r/The_Donald". We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory. Hachette Books. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-316-43536-9.
  6. ^ ""Dennis Erasmus" — Containment Breach: 4chan's /pol/ and the Failed Logic of "Safe Spaces" for Far-Right Ideology". July 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Saeger, Eric W. (August 24, 2018). "Russian Nazi Troll Bots!: The Busy Person's Guide to How Trump's Trolls Won the Internet, What's Ahead, and What You Can Do". Metro Clarion Media – via Google Books.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Dewey, Caitlin (September 25, 2014). "Absolutely everything you need to know to understand 4chan, the Internet's own bogeyman". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Siegel, Jacob (June 29, 2015). "Dylann Roof, 4chan, and the New Online Racism". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Alonso, Fernando III (June 13, 2014). "#EndFathersDay is the work of 4chan, not feminists". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Schwartz, Or (December 7, 2014). "4chan Trolls Take Over Electronic Billboard, Racism Ensues". Vocativ. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Alt-Right". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  14. ^ a b Hine, Gabriel Emile; Onaolapo, Jeremiah; De Cristofaro, Emiliano; Kourtellis, Nicolas; Leontiadis, Ilias; Samaras, Riginos; Stringhini, Gianluca; Blackburn, Jeremy (2017). "Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan's Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web" (PDF). Proceedings of the 11th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media: 9. arXiv:1610.03452. Bibcode:2016arXiv161003452E. This paper presented the first large-scale study of /pol/, 4chan's politically incorrect board, arguably the most controversial one owing to its links to the alt-right movement and its unconventional support to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
  15. ^ Lee, Oliver (March 13, 2016). "Understanding Trump's Troll Army". Motherboard. Vice Media. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (November 9, 2016). "'We actually elected a meme as president': How 4chan celebrated Trump's victory". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Steinblatt, Jacob (October 13, 2015). "Donald Trump Embraces His 4Chan Fans". Vocativ. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  18. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (March–April 2017). "World War Meme". Politico. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  19. ^ Hathaway, Jay (June 7, 2017). "What the Harvard teens don't get about memes". The Daily Dot. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  20. ^ "Pepe the Frog". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  21. ^ Roy, Jessica (October 11, 2016). "How 'Pepe the Frog' went from harmless to hate symbol". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  22. ^ Ellyatt, Holly (September 29, 2016). "Who is Pepe the Frog and why has he become a hate symbol?". CNBC. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  23. ^ Tait, Amelia (February 16, 2017). "First they came for Pepe: How "ironic" Nazism is taking over the internet". New Statesman. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  24. ^ Wilson, Jason (May 23, 2017). "Hiding in plain sight: how the 'alt-right' is weaponizing irony to spread fascism". The Guardian. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  25. ^ Bankoff, Caroline (March 29, 2012). "White Supremacist Claims to Have Hacked Trayvon Martin's Email, Social Media Accounts". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  26. ^ Mackey, Robert (March 29, 2012). "Bloggers Cherry-Pick From Social Media to Cast Trayvon Martin as a Menace". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  27. ^ Shieber, Jonathan (October 2, 2017). "How reports from 4chan on the Las Vegas shooting showed up on Google Top Stories". Techcrunch. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  28. ^ Daro, Ishmael N. (June 3, 2016). "Don't Believe Any Breaking News That Names This Comedian As A Mass Shooter". BuzzFeed. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  29. ^ Bell, Chris (October 2, 2017). "Las Vegas: The fake photos shared after tragedies". BBC News. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  30. ^ Selk, Avi (April 2, 2017). "A live stream of Shia LaBeouf chanting was disrupted by Nazi-themed dancing. Then things got weird". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  31. ^ Ross, Janell (November 3, 2017). "'It's okay to be white' signs and stickers appear on campuses and streets across the country". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  32. ^ "How the "OK" Symbol Became a Popular Trolling Gesture". Anti-Defamation League. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 January 2020, at 11:24
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