News Of The Tweet: Rules Of The Internet

It might seem like there should be rules but perhaps lawlessness is best for the internet.

By Seb Kemp

Last week I posted @creativemorning’s tweet of Simon Collinson’s quote about there being no rules for the internet.

Well, it turns out there are rules for the internet. Rules of the Internet is a list of protocols and conventions, originally written to serve as a guide for those who identified themselves with the internet group Anonymous (@YourAnonNews). The list serves as a summation of popular catchphrases and axioms commonly associated with 4chan.

The following is gleaned from Wikipedia, not because I’m lazy, but because there is so much out in the public sphere about Anonymous, but due to the veiled nature of the group, the autonomy of its individual members who operate in somewhat anarchic global digital brain rather than a centralized seat of power, and the somewhat unpredictable output, it is hard to really know exactly what they are and what they stand for at any one time.

“Anonymous is loosely associated network of hacktivists…Broadly speaking, Anons oppose internet censorship and control, and the majority of their actions target governments, organizations, and corporations that they accuse of censorship. Anons were early supporters of the global Occupy movement and the Arab Spring…Since 2008, a frequent subject of disagreement within Anonymous is whether members should focus on pranking and entertainment or more serious activism. Supporters have called the group “freedom fighters”[5] and digital Robin Hoods[6] while critics have described them as “a cyber lynch-mob”[7] or “cyber terrorists”.”

They are particularly active when it comes to the issue of the freedom of the media.

4Chan is an imageboard website which was originally used for the posting of pictures and discussion of manga and anime, as the site was modelled on Japanese imageboards. However, it is a bit of a chaotic dumping ground of stuff and things, with users able to present or comment about absolutely anything it seems. The site has also become the birthing tub of many of the internet’s most popular memes and pranks, such as lolcats and Rickrolling.

But back to the rules. Since there are numerous drafts and editions in circulation, the rules fluctuate in number and the validity of each rule remains debatable. Despite this, several of the rules including Rule 34 and Rule 63 are agreed upon across internet communities. Rule 34 is “There is porn of it, no exceptions”. This is followed by Rule 35, “If no porn of it is found at the moment, it will be made”. Porn and the internet go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong.

However, the idea of the internet having rules is still impossible and the Rules Of The Internet are testament to that. For example, Rule 20 states “nothing is to be taken seriously.” Despite the madness of the implied rules, they do clearly reveal the character of the internet, or at least the deepest internet lurkers. There is a fraternity of tricksters who dance the thin line between being genuine nerdy jokers and troublesome agitators. They sometimes present behavior that is face-palming stupid and then other times bravely show that the internet isn’t yet entirely under control of the bigger powers. As long as there is rogue behavior of hacktivists and hoaxers then there exists a resistance force that will keep it in check.

Or at least keep it as a breeding ground for inane memes, dancing cats and humorous YouTube videos of Russian kids falling off tall buildings.