When it comes to the eclectic and flat-out eccentric reaches of the Internet, 4chan is something of a bizarre nexus. A melting pot of Internet culture, 4chan is a gathering place for pop culture aficionados, Web enthusiasts, "trolls," and even the enigmatic collective entity known as "Anonymous." However, venturing into 4chan unprepared can lead to disaster, leading some to activate proxy servers before entering this Twilight Zone of the Internet.
4chan is a series of Internet image boards, where visitors can post images and links and make comments on other posts. The various boards range broadly in subject, from the pursuit of the occult and the paranormal of the "/x/" board to the bizarre, random and often obscene postings of the random "/b/" board. The site is definitely "Not Safe For Work,"; pornography and extremely off-color humor are frequent subjects.
A proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary between the user and the destination server. It acts as a sort of buffer between the user and the other server, allowing the user to filter Internet content and potentially prevent infection by malicious software.
Reasons to Use a Proxy
There are several reasons a 4chan user might try to use a proxy. One simple reason might be that 4chan is considerably strict about banning users who post illegal content such as child pornography or content that has been declared off-limits by the rules. Even a minor infraction can result in a permanent IP ban, meaning the user can never again access 4chan. With a proxy, you can mask your IP address as a sort of workaround for the IP ban. Many 4chan users also have a habit of posting links to known dangerous content as a prank on the unsuspecting, and a proxy server can potentially sidestep the direct danger to the user's computer.
4chan's policy is quite clear regarding the use of proxy servers -- they will be blocked. 4chan's frequently asked questions section explains that the use of proxies and Tor exit nodes is prohibited and both services are blocked whenever possible. This is due to repeated abuse on the part of some 4chan users.
7 Proxies Meme
While using a proxy may offer some protection, the belief that the use of a proxy makes you invulnerable has become something of a joke. It has even inspired a somewhat obscure Internet meme lampooning those who "hide" behind proxies, defiantly challenging would-be attackers. Reading as a cocky taunt from a place of impenetrable safety, the meme reads "Good luck, I'm behind seven proxies!"