Forum Classification Project

Hey, we're already rating browsers, mail providers, addons...so why not forums? After all, since most of the discussion has moved to giant corpo platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, it is particularly important to find a way to separate yourself from those. The most important criteria will be what is required to register and post. Why is recaptcha so penalized? Simply, it is heavily exploitative - pretty much making you into a dog performing tricks for its master ("Hey Spike, show me the fire hydrants! Good boy...now the crosswalks!"). And if you screw up, it's back to the drawing board, you bad doggie you. You have no idea when the reward (being allowed to register) is coming either - maybe your master will be forgiving and force you to perform only three tricks this time? Low tier is the best rating a forum with recaptcha can get.

Why is blocking anonymizers penalized even more? Because it makes connecting everything you do on the forum to your real identity that much easier. You know, these days people even get arrested for comments that the rulers didn't like - and with a VPN, they could have avoided it. Therefore, if the admins include that "feature", it pretty much means they're supporting this Technological slavery system. Any forum that has forced deanonymization will not get a rating higher than Very low - leaving space for Shit if it has other flaws.

Other criteria taken into account are the privacy (aside from the anonymizer issue - such as asking for your real name), quality of moderation (penalizing arbitrary censorship / micromanagement of your posts), amount of activity, quality of discussion, JavaScript dependence, and anything else that comes to mind. But even if a forum scores well in the above categories, it won't reach Mid tier as long as it exploits people with anonymizer blocking or recaptcha. Anonymization was tested with SigaVPN or RiseUp - more popular VPN and / or TOR might still be blocked; if you encounter that - e-mail me so I can modify the ratings. If you have any additional data for any forum listed here (or a new one), e-mail me as well so I can add it.

General forums

Nanochan

ORIGINAL ADDRESS IS BACK UP: https://nanochanqzaytwlydykbg5nxkgyjxk3zsrctxuoxdmbx5jbh2ydyprid.onion/ and the bunker has collapsed. Activity seems to be restored and the spamming retards gone. Therefore, Nanochan remains a high quality board for discussing technology (most posters and best content), as well as politics and offtopic stuff. Not available on the clearnet; has simple, unbloated design with zero JS requirement. Top tier.

Zchan

Update: a DDOS attack happened on July 12 and the site is now CUCKFLARED without even an onion to bypass the MitM (apparently software doesn't support onions). Stick a fork in it. I guess it's the nomad lifestyle for us anons until someone competent and with principles comes along. Use the webring! Update July 15: now totally RIP. Was fun while it lasted. Clearly, someone out there is really determined to bring down the whole anon community. UPDATE August 2020: revived again as Zzzchan, still cuckflared, slow (/v/ - the only real board - has 10 PPH compared to 8chan's 80 as of writing), and onion-less. Admin was even planning to use recaptcha - what a joke. UPDATE: there's some new dead boards and - since 15 / 10 / 2020 - an onion domain that seems to quite unreliable. Regular address is still behind CF. Admin doesn't seem very competent - he forgot to pay for his server for example.

8chan.se

One of the few places anons retreated to after julay/v/ died. High activity, similar to the old 8chan. It was made by Mark - the guy who ran the /v/ board on 8kun before being fired. Which is the main complaint of the posters, since he sucked at moderation according to them. TOR address is available and JS is not required for posting (but captcha fucks up sometimes). UPDATE January 2021: fuck it, the clearnet mirrors are now cuckflared as well. It seems nothing can avoid the CF monster! Use the onion to bypass it. Also, there's no more issues posting with Pale Moon. Post quality is good (UPDATE January 2021: actually, it has declined quite a bit and now consists mostly of whining and off-topic stuff; still, probably the best place to discuss gaming anyway). Due to the small issues I'm giving an overall rating of High tier.

8kun (formerly 8chan)

This used to be a great imageboard I've loved posting on. Unfortunately, they recently have been framed into allegedly having a killer post on their boards (when in reality he posted his manifesto on Instagram and it was simply reposted by someone else). Their CDN (the evil CloudFlare) then took it down because of an alleged harm caused by 8chan (despite hosting actual criminals). I wanted to wait this whole situation out, thinking they will just get a new CDN within a few days (the admin posted an encouraging message on his twitter We are using the downtime now to scale 8chan's servers, networking, and software to be stronger for when we come back online.) but it hasn't happened and likely won't - and that's because 8chan is voluntarily down until Jim attends a congressional hearing. The date is September 5th. He will have to explain the situation with the alleged shooters posting on 8chan and probably be probed with a million other questions. This used to be a top tier board that will now likely die (or become government-controlled) because the elites hated actual free speech and decided to bury it. The users have scattered around in many different places that are not quite the same. We're losing the internet, and fast.

UPDATE: I was right. 8chan got rebranded as 8kun and is a shadow of what it was before. Here's a list of the issues with it:

UPDATE June 2020: some of those issues might be wrong now, I don't check out 8kun anymore. I still don't recommend going there and I certainly don't trust the administration. Also, if you're looking for activity, forget it - you'll only find that on the /pnd/ board (which is /pol/ in all but name) and the absolutely cancerous polish /vichan/ - /v/ has 0 PPH as of writing this, for example. Very low tier.

Julay.world

Killed by CP spam, administration changes, and other drama - /v/ is gone, domain has changed, the only semi-active board is the useless /cow/. Late April, it was even announced that the site will be killed 3 months later, but then it changed to a rebirth. We don't know how that's going to look like, and regardless - we now have other alternatives for everything Julay had to offer. Let it die.

4chan

Same format as 8chan (but introduced persistent IDs five years ago, nullifying the anonymous aspect at least on the /pol/ board). Recaptcha for every fucking post - can a forum be any more exploitative? Paying for a 4chan pass can avoid Recaptcha and give you access to a premium board (yawn). Blocks TOR, VPN and proxies. Used to include malware. Cannot do much without JavaScript enabled - not even view the catalog. Uses Google Analytics. UPDATE July 2020: so I randomly went to this cesspool for some reason and discovered it is Cuckflared - and I thought it couldn't sink any lower. The only saving grace of this forum is the huge activity, but the content totally sucks from the little I've forced myself to read. Shit tier.

Reddit

One of our community members has a lean interface for reading Reddit. Check it out! Recaptcha required to register. Absolutely terrible privacy policy (archive) - pretty much a datamining operation, like Mozilla Firefox. For the first few days you will have random delays preventing you from posting at all. Reddit censors subreddits with alternative information (archive), such as the 9/11 truth subreddit (archive). July update: more banned subreddits. There's also shadowbanning going on - for example, my site is taboo on r/privacy; any posts with the mention of it will not appear. Also has literal bots moderating the boards (for example, deleting posts with the word "VPN" in them and threatening their posters). New UI is shit but can be changed; with the old UI, you can at least read the site with JavaScript disabled, but still cannot post. However, Reddit - unlike 4chan - allows posting through VPN. Downvote system makes it easy to bury posts that buckle the trend, creating a culture of conformity. UPDATE: now they also ban people for upvoting (archive) the posts they want to censor. Makes it even worse in terms of conformity, so it's best to avoid it altogether at this point - despite the huge activity. July 2020 update: also, ads cannot be bypassed through sorting by "new" anymore - and there are obnoxious ones all over. Just put Reddshit in its coffin already. Very low tier.

Raddle.me

Reddit alternative. Registration requires only an username and a password (plus solving a simple text captcha). E-mail is optional if you want the option to reset your password. Absolute zero third party requests. IP is stored for 7 days but you can use a VPN and they provide an onion as well. Decently high activity but can't compare to Reddit of course. Has downvote system as well but unlike at Reddit, the posts are not automatically hidden. Warning: HEAVILY LEFTIST and of the bad (SJW) type - it has a section with a description of Death to whiteness, for crying out loud. Despite alleging to dislike accusing others of malicious acts, they will jump on you like rabid dogs for posting an opinion they don't like (though often in a roundabout way, since they are too weak to confront you directly). They criticize reddit for banning leftist subs for "no reason", but do the same to the users on their forum. If you're used to independent thought, forget about it - Raddle is a total echo chamber. Logic is scarce in any topic relating to feminism, sexism, homosexuality and all their other favorite victimhood issues. They even have a bot going around censoring certain words (archive), which include stupid, lame and dumb - but they themselves have no issue with calling someone a piece of shit or telling him to fuck himself. I could go on...this might be Raddle's only real flaw, but it's massive. That flaw, though, also allows you to discuss stuff you rarely can elsewhere, like shoplifting or anti-capitalism. But you can get most of the same in 8chan's leftypol board, with way saner people. I way misjudged these guys at the beginning - this is a disgusting, hypocritical, hateful bunch. In the end, I can't with good conscience give Raddle anything higher than Low tier.

Saidit

Another Reddit alternative. I was kind of impressed with it - you can sign up through TOR, without any personal data and only a text-based captcha. The privacy policy and ToS are much better and big corpos like Tencent don't have influence there unlike on Reddit. There's good content and censorship level is low; I can't see any ads, either. All of that evaporated when I've noticed that Saidit is behind Cloudflare. Unfortunately, Low tier.

Voat.co

July 2020 update: Yet another reddit alternative alleging itself to be user-respecting - but it's now cuckflared and for a long time too (according to an E-mail I've got). If it was that way since the beginning, I'd just end the entry right here. But since I've already had a writeup, let me just keep it. Privacy policy says this:

The information inside the log files includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and possibly the number of clicks. This information is used to analyze trends, administer the site and track user's movement around the site.

And does not specify duration. Track user movement around the site is also a significant issue. However, it's a hundred times better than reddit which violates you in every way imaginable and more. No, I can't say that anymore (though reddit is a massive violator) since Cuckflare is swiping everything. JavaScript is required to submit messages. New users get one fucking post per day, even on the second day. Activity is okay but much, much less than reddit. And so, the forum is pretty useless. But at least it allows anonymizers and doesn't ask for personal data. There's apparently no censorship either: our policy is to not meddle and not censor content unless said content is illegal in the United States. The one post per day thing kind of kills it though. Cuckflare plus other flaws results in a rating of Very low tier.

Slashdot

Recaptcha and real name - no thanks. Also does not allow the deletion of your account. Can be decent for reading though. Low tier

Hacker News

UPDATE February 2020: Has ReCaptcha now, but allows bypassing it by e-mailing the admin. Comments appear immediately. Gigantic activity - a thread almost every minute. Despite HN's alleged focus on "quality posting", 90+% of the threads are big corpo tier trash. Usually I'd put it in Low tier because of ReCaptcha, but thanks to the possible bypass, it's going to Mid tier

Linux forums

SalixOS

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From the most user respecting to the least - recaptcha AND mod approval for a forum with almost zero activity (lol). What can I say? It still allows posting through the VPN? EDIT: actually, it used to block the Snopyta VPN when it still existed - but some others, like Riseup, somehow get through. `Decent privacy policy...whatever, I'm so disappointed since the distro is so good. Due to blocking anonymizers, recaptcha and mod approval (on a dead forum no less) the rating is Very low tier.

Ubuntu Forums

Asks for your real name, recaptcha AFTER you've already bothered to activate your e-mail, runs a datamining operation. Don't be fooled - this is a big corpo forum with big corpo policies (slave-like code of conduct). Shit tier.

Fedora Forum

No captcha, VPN allowed for registration and posting. No mod approval - immediate creation of posts and threads even for a new user. Fully usable without JavaScript. Privacy policy is OK but pretty lacking (doesn't state the duration for which your data is stored) - though at least there's no litany of third-parties that will get your stuff, which I guess they would mention otherwise. There's no personal data asked for either except maybe the country which you can fake. Sounds great, right? Well check this out:

when you post a message, upload a file, or otherwise provide us with material for display on the website, you are granting FedoraForum.org a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to: 1. Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication. 2. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.

And the cat's out of the bag! You give up ownership of anything you share on the forum at all. And that, despite everything else, sends Fedora Forum to Mid tier.

Arch Linux Forum

Captcha requires usage of Linux command line (lol). VPN allowed for registration and posting. No mod approval for accounts or the first post. No JS required. No third party requests. OK privacy policy. High activity. Elitist as fuck culture with a very restrictive "code of conduct" (for example - politics, religion, sports, rant threads are BANNED). As well as a bunch of other ways to micromanage the way you post - covering everything from bumping old threads and how to properly answer questions to image sizes and grammar. They even "discourage" recommendation threads, lol. I have no idea, though, how all that is enforced in practice. Check here (update: now requires logging in to view) to see the kinds of threads that get deleted. Wanted to give High at the beginning since the technical stuff is so good, but the people side (actual reason we come to a forum anyway) leaves a lot to be desired. Mid tier.

Linux Questions; Linux.org; Linux Mint; Kali Linux; KDE forum

Recaptcha. Didn't research further so could have other issues. Low tier.

Other software / tech forums

Pale Moon forum

Cloudflared (edit: this is wrong - only the site is behind CF). Solving simple (first-party) captcha HCaptcha is now required for registration (as of July 2020 or maybe earlier - hope you're ready to perform tricks, Spike); VPN (but not TOR) allowed. Does not accept disposable e-mail or cock.li. First post has to be approved by the moderator. Decent privacy policy, but - In principle we store data only for as long as is reasonably necessary/commonly practiced to operate our sites and services. And this can mean anything. At least it doesn't share your data with third parties. The regulars suffer from attitude problems, and threads critizing them or their browser are randomly closed (archive) despite not being inflammatory. The TOR-hating sucks, but you can still use a VPN and the discussion quality is fine enough fell of a cliff recently thanks to infighting, especially certain devs being confrontational for no reason. There's still a lot of good content to find there if you dig deep and just limit yourself to reading. But since forums are supposed to be participated in, the rating is Low tier.

Bitcointalk; Torminatorr

Recaptcha; didn't research further - Low tier.

Cracking Paradox

Does not allow registration through VPN. Don't know anything more about it. Very low tier.

Other forums

MensTennisForums

Good forum not only about tennis. Allows VPN, has good moderation... Who cares though - it has recaptcha (don't think it had one when I registered) and a shitload of google and other trackers. Would really like to give it at least Mid, since the community is truly great - but I can't support exploitation. Edit: also cuckflared since the last software update. Very low tier

Disroot forum

Registration requires a written justification, but that's much better than a recaptcha. Unfortunately requires JavaScript for any kind of interaction. June edit: new UI got totally fucked, what a joke - as if it wasn't terrible enough in the first place. Very low activity, and what's there consists mostly of reporting problems with the Disroot services. Allows VPN and has a great privacy policy; doesn't make a single third-party request either. Still, with activity so low as to be almost dead, I can only put it in Mid tier Low tier due to the new shit UI.

Final Fantasy Shrine (DEAD) / Squid Board

Used to be a forum mostly for sharing video game soundtracks. Had an amazing collection, but is now dead. Replacement forum is https://www.squid-board.ru/. Requires reCaptcha for registration, cannot even browse without it. Haven't seen the content, so let's say Low tier.

Sportsbookreview; David Icke; Psience Quest

Recaptcha; didn't research further - Low tier.

Prison Planet

Admin account approval. Haven't been approved in a few days, assuming either the VPN or the riseup e-mail was the cause. Very low tier.

Ray Peat Forum

Community is good, but cannot register through VPN - Very low tier.

SMW Central

Enforces a Cloudflare browser check that needs JavaScript and cookies to pass. ReCaptcha required to sign up. Very low tier

Summary

Everything fucking sucks. Use 8chan.se for vidya discussion and Nanochan for tech. The most active politics board seems to be on anon.cafe; another one is on NeinChan. The webring (available on anon.cafe) also contains places for discussion on other topics such as anime, movies or sports. As I am not very interested in those, I'll leave the quality judgments to you. The paranormal community (/x/) - one of my other big interests - unfortunately seems to have disappeared completely (UPDATE: zchan has it but it's dead).

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