A Case Study of a Successful Niche Internet Community

In one corner of the internet, spawned from one of the numerous hobby boards on 4chan, is a community, one dedicated to an even more niche category. As a place holder we will refer to this community as Gentleman’s Culture, or /gc/ for short. /gc/ originally spawned off of a “general” thread on 4chan, eventually migrated away, as any group that seeks further refinement and trust does, to a persistent platform. /gc/ was formally founded in March of 2016, extending back even further if one attributes the “general” thread from whence it came to the same circle of people, and one likely should as that is where the culture, original posters, and focus originally spawned from. /gc/ has successfully survived 4 deletions of their Discord and 2 internal schisms, as well as directly causing the disintegration of several adjacent communities that share the same niche overarching topic, acting as a web surfing Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age. To understand how /gc/ came to be, flourished, endured, aspired to and accomplished real world goals, one must understand the underlying forces that drive and shape this fraternity.

Bullies Function As A Sort Of Social Watchdog

Bullying: a method of hazing utilized by successful masculine cultures from time immemorial. It is impossible to go back through history and find a strong, tight knit group of men that did not utilize internal bullying as a way to both strengthen internal bonds, but also to weed out and rectify bad ideas, sentiments, actions, and choices. There is no greater motivating force to change the way you are carrying out choices than to be called a retard for doing it in a way viewed as incorrect by the rest of the tribe. /gc/ is infamous inside their niche internet micro-climate for the bullying they unleash upon new arrivals (aptly named “newfags” from their roots in chan culture.) Bullying, while not exclusively carried out by men, is itself a masculine trait. Rough housing, hazing, joshing, carrying on, and banter are all critical elements of this sacred rite among men. Hazing, within Spartan enōmotia, Roman Contubernium, military barracks throughout the ages, fraternity houses, hedge funds, and elementary school playgrounds, is used to initiate new members to the tribe in a way to toughen them while making them feel like they are part of something greater. This process has served to create and propagate some of the most effective forces in the world, whether conquering foreign lands, winning gold medals, or controlling some facet of the greater world that has an outsized effect compared to what any of the men could do individually.

Once initiated through this process of hazing, the stage of joshing, carrying on, and banter begins. A full-fledged member, while no longer hazed, will still receive the exact same treatment, but with an acknowledgement of respect from his peers. The jokes at his expense are meant to continue this process of toughening and shaping into a useful component of the unit, making the unit greater than it was before. No member should ever mistake their status as a member for security however. In /gc/, being “newfagged” or stripped of access and banished back to the containment zone can happen to anyone at any time should a fellow decide to become a spontaneous retard.

/gc/’s culture is built on the foundations of Xbox Live Halo and Call of Duty lobbies. Complete lack of moderation leads to a culture that seems harsh and abrasive to outsiders, but internally is stronger and more cohesive than 99% of online communities. This culture has led to mass mobilizations of the group in the style of Habbo Hotel or HWNDU, where a member designates some other community within their specific interest area as detrimental to the overall health of the interest area and lets loose the hounds of war. /gc/ has successfully infiltrated and collapsed several adjacent internet communities through the use of bullying, psyops, gaslighting, forgery, and rampant shitposting.

A culture built on this foundation also abides by an often overlooked crutch in most groups: a refusal to spoon feed. Members are encouraged to do their own research, to figure out what works for them, and learn from posts what did and did not work for other people. Asking /gc/ to spoon feed you will only be met with hostility and shitposts with no real answers and often answers that, if carried out, would lead to negative results. Spoon feeding only leads to a member who may have made better purchases or decisions, but will never know why they made them. Even with an explanation attached to an answer, most will ignore the explanation in favor of just hitting add-to-cart on whatever item was suggested by the answering party. To understand why you are doing something is often more important than doing it in the first place.

This bullying is not only used to shape new members and destroy dissident factions, it is also used as a psychological tool to affect broad changes within the community. Health and fitness are foremost of these changes, anyone who does not meet the overall standards of what /gc/ defines as “not fat” is incapable of taking part in a good faith argument as the only response they receive is “Yeah, but you’re fat.” This same tactic is used to discourage retarded purchases or decisions in the special interest and even goes so far as to bully decisions in associates’ personal lives. This has been used with great effect to push members to live a more “traditional” life, shaking off the shackles of hedonism for marital pursuits and even encouraging the seeking of God.

Modern society has all but destroyed traditional bullying, instead opting for a world where all bullying takes place online, indirectly, through the security of social media. By removing physical in person bullying and direct confrontation, society has been made softer and weaker, unable to cope with what the real world brings to bear. The bullying that does occur is no longer constructive, no longer a social watchdog, but unchecked human malice. No consequences remain for what is allowed to occur. To quote Mike Tyson, “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it”. There is a fine line between bullying and outright disrespect, a line that has slowly been evaporated as our mammy society has reigned in the virtual world without having any idea how to manage the physical world. To move forward into a stronger future we must bring back a culture of corrective bullying, not meant to harm, but meant to teach, toughen, and strengthen our young men, lest they become weak and servile.

The Case For Anime

/gc/ does not simply let new members join their community. There are layers that must be endured to reach the conversational layer of /gc/. The first and easiest layer to pass is a simple channel, “post-object-and-timestamp”. As the name suggests new members must post objects pertaining to the groups niche interest along with a timestamp to be allowed into the next layer. This layer serves as an oddly effective buffer against lazy and unmotivated people, as well as those who actually have no interest in the institution itself. Bullying of course occurs at this layer if what you post does not meet the high standards of /gc/. You will receive endless criticism even if you will be technically admitted to the next layer. Any attempts to argue back are met with increasingly hostile levels of torment until the person either concedes or leaves.

The next layer, and the layer that functions as the most effective filter is a channel called “newfags”. This channel is mostly used as a dumping ground for certain members to post anime imagery and bully the newfags. The anime works as another surprisingly effective filter. While a newfag may possess the niche objects required to gain initial entry to the community, if they do not have a will strong enough to endure something as simple as anime image macro spam in between minor conversation, they will not fit in with the group as a whole–even though the majority of the group is ambivalent at best towards anime and the rest of the server is mostly devoid of the images and topic. Utilizing this “newfag” area as both an area to appease those who enjoy anime and a litmus test for any new arrivals allows for efficient use of collective resources for both hazing and personal enjoyment.

Anime itself cannot be ignored as part of most online communities, especially those spawned from any of the various chans, where it was the initial driving topic in the founding of those websites. While not every member enjoys anime (and some even actively despise it) the confinement to one or two channels is amenable enough to appease both sides and keep the overall focus of the community on the special interest it was founded on. Some communities do not explicitly define where anime is allowed to occur, if you will. This can lead to the disintegration of the unifying culture of the group at large through take over by weebs who, by and large, inject it everywhere they can. Your niche internet community that was once focused on some specific topic for cars, now suddenly is side lined by a group who have made the community about “cute anime girls” in cars. By only allowing the posting of anime in one channel you create both a healthy barrier towards outsiders as well as a pressure release valve for those who truly internalized the original culture of the chan that birthed this society.

If someone is liked well enough inside “newfags” a moderator, internally known as gate-keepers, may decide to allow this person into the general population of the group. This is comprised of 4 simple channels with extremely broad topics: general, nsfw-and-off-topic (basically general 2, not much nsfw is posted here), sales-buying-selling (self explanatory), and niche-larping (for the discussion of specifics of the founding topic of the community). These channels are not cut and dry in their specific conversational rules. Anything can, and is, discussed anywhere; the channel names serve as general guidance and nothing more. There are 2 more channels: one for voice-text (utilized by those in voice chat) and video-game-containment (serving as the second channel anime is allowed). By keeping the channel list low, conversation amongst a body of roughly 100 people is kept focused and active.

The Failures Of Most Online Communities

/gc/ is obviously not the only online community that falls into this niche interest area, but it is the only successful one when measured by the ability to affect real world change and achieve real world fraternal cohesion. Think of it as the Kardashev scale for online communities. A “Type I” online community is one that has gotten past some catastrophic event that fractures the group, or has lasted long enough to avoid fizzling out. It has a stable cohort with an active core of associates and occasional new faces to grow the population at a sustainable rate. A Type I community has some general level of trust among long time members, but nothing can be truly verified yet. A “Type II” online community is one where certain fellows of the circle have met in person. There may even be large scale meetups for the group that involve their niche interest; think something along the lines of an annual car meet, camping trip, or range day. A Type II community has a higher level of trust among members, especially those who have met in person several times. Discussion is no longer primarily focused on the special interests, but rather how the special interest plays into personal lives, and even discussion about personal topics. A “Type III” community (on the precipice of which /gc/ sits) is similar to a network state. Here the cohort has frequent in person interactions among members while also having decentralized projects to help bolster the group and its ability to affect real world change in ways that matter to the community at large. Balaji Srinivasan has written extensively on this topic and I encourage you to go read “The Network State”.

Most communities never make it to a Type I community. Similar to the thought process of the Kardashev scale, most civilizations face some sort of cataclysmic event before ever reaching Type I. There are many reasons for this, from having too many channels, to too strict moderation and too many rules. To have a truly thriving online community there must be an almost laissez-faire approach to building, shaping, and moderation.

Let us start with the not so obvious first problem: too many channels. Many people when starting online communities believe that discussion should be directed, rigid, everything should go in its place. Server creators will often create tens of channels, sometimes hundreds, to try and keep some semblance of organization among conversations. This has the exact opposite effect. Most members are only going to pay attention to a couple of channels, never bothering to go through and read 100 channels every day. This splits your members into unintentional cliques, while also slowing down the speed of conversation to a crawl in all but the most general channels. Keeping your channel count low encourages adherents to be actively involved in every corner of the community and drives conversation at a speed people are comfortable keeping up with. A large channel count is usually a marker of a slow death of an online group, where channels go unused for weeks or months, channeling conversation into a select few channels until the community eventually just burns out.

This brings us to the next problem; too many rules. Generally servers with large channel counts also have some sort of rule that stipulates that discussion of a particular topic only belongs in a specific channel. Any mention of the topic outside the channel is generally met with a moderator response of “take it to X-channel”, effectively killing whatever the conversation was unless those discussing the topic care enough to actually pick up and move their conversation. On top of nanny state-esque rules regarding how and where to speak of things, most online communities have zero tolerance policies for the things that made /gc/ such a success: bullying, shitposting, and banter, not to mention the instant ban response of anything racist. Unsurprisingly most online communities strive to be as inclusive as possible, even if it means total destruction of their niche interest. Excessive rules are always a marker of a community doomed to be overtaken by those who hate the group itself. The good intentions of the rules writers are taken advantage of, and anyone worth anything inside their circle of people is driven out by the constant nanny pressure of the moderators, leaving a husk that eventually disappears into obscurity.

Which leads us to one of the biggest problems: too strict moderation. Already touched on by the instant banning of any wrong-think, excessive and strict moderation has the same effects as the two above reasons for collapse, with the added benefit of several jannies who believe they have a cult of personality. Warnings for saying anything off color, mutings for continuing, followed by “talks with the moderation team” are all surefire ways to ensure your community is only filled with children and state enforcers of the gay agenda. “He does it for free” is a well deserved jab. Someone who lets the smallest amount of power over a small niche interest internet micro-climate go straight to their head generally does so because they have no control over their own life and external circumstances. Excessive moderation will destroy a community long before 100 channels or strict rules do. Members will simply leave because they cannot stand who has been granted the ability to police them. Generally extreme moderation will lead to some sort of catastrophic schism in the group along the lines of a moderator and someone they chose to ban, leading to the eventual destruction of the micro-society as a whole.

The 3 reasons mentioned above are the top reasons an online community fails to flourish, but there are two more reasons that roughly fit under the moderation umbrella. The first is being much too lenient admission standards. A non-selective group is a non-cohesive group. Having a culture built out of people with wildly different views and opinions is not “good diversity”, it is simply division. There is no sense in allowing someone into the community that does not share the community’s culture and values. Even if someone seems to fit into your institution initially, new members should be consistently checked as they begin to voice themselves. If long term someone is an active detriment to the body, they should be removed from said body, not continue to be given access simply because they were able to wiggle their way through the first few filters.

The last reason is both a new and an ancient reason a community falls: women. Most online communities are primarily made up of men, and as we have found over the last decade, letting women into your special interest generally means your special interest will stop catering to you and start catering to women, gays, and those who never cared about your interest in the first place. Not only that, but weak men who have managed to enter your circle will almost certainly simp for the women, making any attempts at bullying the woman result in an outpouring of white knight responses. Women belong peripheral to the männerbund, as the wives and girlfriends of the men who make up the community proper, not as members themselves.

Gatekeeping is an essential part of any special interest group. To ensure the interest is kept true to its original intentions and purpose, members must strive to make sure only those with pure intentions are allowed through. Lack of gatekeeping has led to the complete destruction of many male dominated spaces over the last decade, leading to much broader societal problems. Young men who feel lost because they feel there is nowhere they belong. Everywhere they used to go and enjoy has been taken over by the GAE or destroyed outright, scattering members to the wind. This has led to extreme demoralization and a woe is me attitude proliferating among these lost young men. Gate kept communities offer a respite if the young men are willing to shrug off the atomization of modern life and conform to a community that one day, after years of merciless bullying, will live and die for them.

/gc/ Structure

The structure of a community is a good indicator of how long said community will last. Too hierarchical and internal politics and infighting will tear it apart, akin to a royal house or empire. Completely flat and no single person or group has any ability to make decisions or move the needle forward, akin to communism. /gc/ has 4 major roles, and several minor informative roles. The first is the aforementioned Newfag. This role only has access to the newfag channel and must endure the gauntlet to be given the next role, Access. Access roles have access to all but one channel, but are still treated as newfags. The next role is Oldfag. At this level fellows have access to every channel, the one channel previously disallowed to access being gatekept from those who have not spent enough time with the group to partake, dubbed “Meta”. Oldfag requirements are not public, members receive it when a gatekeeper believes they have earned it. The final role in this vague hierarchy is Moldfag, achieved after being an Oldfag for some time, generally having met at least one other associate of the server, usually an Oldfag or above.

The supplementary roles within /gc/ are markers of one of two things, accomplishments or acts of retardation. The freely given “Moron” role, being self explanatory, along with several other derogatory roles serve as a quick reference in conversation for which members are worth paying credence to at that moment. Accomplishment roles, such as the “Autism Medal of Honor” are mostly given out in parody for entertaining actions or raiding other servers. These roles pose no real bearing on the loose hierarchy of newfag to moldfag as any member in the 4 roles may have any of the supplementary roles attached to them as well. The supplementary roles simply act as a way to both humble, bully, and embolden fellows to better reflect the community as a whole.

The major channels of /gc/ have been discussed previously in the “Case for Anime” section, but one, and perhaps the most important, channel has been left out - Meta. Meta is where updates on personal lives are shared, important information for the higher trust side of the community, and more serious discussions take place. While obviously not free from shitposting, meta serves as a filter to occasionally discuss more serious topics and organize events online and offline. /gc/ functions and thrives on multi-layered gatekeeping of information. By gate keeping specific information through a few levels of roles and channel access, both security, as well as culture is preserved.

Obviously security concerns exist, specifically through the platform choice of Discord itself. Local /gc/ chats exist on platforms like Signal and Telegram to organize local events and discuss topics that members would rather not show up on a court docket one day. These external chats, generally consisting of local Oldfags and Moldfags are just secure extensions of the broader /gc/ community.Unlike many other communities, where subchats breed dissent, resentment, and politics, these chats simply serve as a lower bandwidth way for local members to organize more effectively. More secure and slower speed chats allow members to further discuss more serious topics topical to their locale as well as avoid large scale shitposting from a broader audience. As stated these chats do not seek to replace the larger scale community, but simply to augment it in a world where platforms increasingly are monitored and wiped out.

Subchats or groups are occasionally created to support an upcoming event to focus the conversation among the participants, but at the event’s conclusion the chat simply remains as a place to post pictures or recaps of the event and attendees move back to /gc/ proper, contrary to most other online communities where subchats often turn into a cancerous growth. Other communities often create subchats when the environment becomes too undesirable for them and they often bring their close compatriots with them to a new chat then sparingly interact with the original group and if they do, only when beneficial to them. This creates a fracture and slowly kills the main chat, a problem that has occurred once or twice in /gc/ but has never led to anything more than /gc/ dismantling the new chat and reabsorbing the useful members who left and learned their lesson.

The /gc/ Discord itself has been deleted 4 times already, 3 times due to various “breaches of community guidelines” and once due to shitposting. However, every time /gc/ returns stronger than before, collecting 99% of those lost in the server deletion almost immediately, and shoring up any stragglers in the following weeks. Without external ways to communicate, through Signal, Telegram, and an emergency email list, an event like this usually spells the end of a mostly online community. Especially when those server deletions usually coincide with account bannings, removing any access to previous contacts accrued on the account.

While no official leaders exist within /gc/, there are thought leaders, or “smart niggas”, members whose opinions the larger body of associates trust. These opinions, however, are generally only trusted within said thought leader’s field or profession. This creates an informal group of subject matter experts (SMEs) that effectively serve as the “leaders” of the community. During discussions if a SME is involved most people will throw their weight behind the SME rather than the other debater in the argument. /gc/ remains small, so SMEs within the community are generally only one or two fellows who know anything beyond a baseline level of information in their particular field. While this is sometimes a burden for projects and development as we will discuss in the next section, it does prevent deeply technical “ass fights” (as they are dubbed) from effectively squashing discussion in one of the few channels, where most other members are just going to flame both of the technical SMEs in their argument, resulting in massive wastes of time.

A lack of formal leadership in /gc/ allows members who have true proclivities towards leadership to rise to the occasion, specifically at real world events where teamwork among attendees is paramount. Several 3rd party events attended by both small and large groups of /gc/ members have allowed leadership personalities to take charge and demonstrate themselves in a way that is not necessarily available to them in the online environment provided by Discord. These in person events greatly enhance the trust and confidence in those who rise to leadership roles among the attending members, and through the rest of the community by word of mouth. This lack of structure has helped bolster the informal roles of SMEs and naturally aspiring leaders to form an organic body of leadership and guidance for the broader community.

The lack of a formal chain of command among oldfags and moldfags, beyond the two roles, prevents internal conflict and politics from actively ousting whoever is currently “in charge” or functioning as the server owner. There is a single case of this happening, when the server was deleted for the 3rd time in an elaborate shitpost. The current owner of the server was seen as undesirable to most, but benign enough to ignore–until one member decided to offer the server owner a sum of cash in exchange for ownership rights. Before any cash had exchanged hands the previous server owner transferred ownership rights to the member offering to pay, who proceeded to delete the server as a joke. This allowed the server to be reformed by another moldfag, not by either of the previous individuals. This also enabled the group to oust the few undesirables allowed to remain in /gc/ by the previous owner.

/gc/’s structure is a significant contributor to the overall success of the community as a whole. Layered gate keeping, rugged individualism, and natural leadership among members has created an organic hierarchy, rather than one forced from the top down by some random owner or moderator. Members are more willing to fill roles required within the community, within projects explored by the community, and within real world team-based events that require each member to play to their strengths and lean on each other for their weaknesses. Aside from the 4 roles, there is no sense of progression or advancement. The overall attitude towards a particular member is the only acknowledgement of accomplishment or dissatisfaction outside of random informative roles. Each member knows exactly where they stand, as no other member is pulling punches when interacting with anyone. A SME in one field will be called a retard for a bad idea in another field. Respect is earned, not given, as it historically has been and should be.

Member Expectations

As discussed in the “Bullies Function as a sort of Social Watchdog” section, initial traits of /gc/ members heavily align along the Xbox Live first person shooter pregame lobby crowd. Men who are capable of, and enjoy, banter as well as the aforementioned bullying and who display general willingness to become part of a larger group rather than continue to be some sort of cringe, edgy, lone wolf. A personality akin to an infantry soldier or a frat kid, with an IQ (generally) higher than that of said infantry soldier or frat kid, and a strong willingness to learn and adapt as the organization continues to evolve. A general curiosity in the niche interest area is not enough to succeed in, and oftentimes even be allowed to enter, /gc/. As with any interest group, large swaths of those who would/could involve themselves are generally not good fits for associations that wish to do more than simply talk about said interest - and oftentimes these people bring with them baggage from some other parts of their lives/personality. Bums, dirtbags, degenerates, fatties, and other wastes of space would never fit in, even if some part of their personality contained the aforementioned “infantry/frat” traits.

Once admission is earned a few things are expected of the members. The first, obviously, is to continue the spirit of the community through continual banter and bullying, but the rest are actually more focused on making the person a more capable and focused individual. A large emphasis is placed on physical fitness. Associates who cannot carry their own weight will never be able to carry the weight of the community should the need arise. Weight lifting, running, or HIIT - the type of physical fitness does not necessarily matter, just that the members are all physically strong and able to commit to physically demanding tasks.

Willingness to learn is obviously another expected trait. /gc/ specifically is focused on a particular interest where choices made in pursuit of the interest can be categorized as either worthwhile or retarded. If a member is unwilling to recognize their choice as retarded even when it is explained why the choice is retarded that member will not last long. Choices in the interest can range from purchasing decisions, as discussed earlier, to ideas to be executed in the real world or new standard operating procedures. Fellows are encouraged to poke holes in new ideas, eventually either ending up with something worthwhile for the community as a whole or helping a member understand why their line of thinking does not make sense.

/gc/ explicitly rejects burnouts and “losers” who do not contribute to broader society as a whole. /gc/ members should be striving for success in their own lives to drive success within the community as a whole as a by-product. A broad diversity of skill sets and professional backgrounds allows the group to pursue internal projects with SMEs in their respective fields. Successful individuals also have personal capital growth curves that allow for disposable income towards the organization’s benefit. Someone barely scraping by is not going to be able to commit any capital towards group functions or project’s, but someone who is scraping by while attending some sort of schooling may eventually become a larger contributing member. Similar to what Balaji says in The Network State, an institution of people that contain much personal wealth can affect real world change given some community driven planning and decision making.

Finally, a more recent development within /gc/ is a concentration and encouragement of finding religion and a religious purpose within the broader Christian community. The large-scale atomization and hedonism within modern culture is recognized as a blight among members and the solution to these problems has been identified within the Christian faith. The general success, happiness, and purpose found in members who were already practicing members of the faith has been viewed by cohorts who previously had no association with religion as a guiding light. Many of the more successful members finally understood that the final key to both happiness and lifetime success was belief in God. This has been an interesting development within /gc/ as previously agnostic or atheist members have largely come to the same conclusions and incorporated the Christian faith into their lives as the community has grown. Individuals have become ranking members of their local churches, and by extension, pillars of their local communities. The industrial scale evils of the world, to include poisoned food and water, state enforced homosexuality, and destruction of childhood innocence has shown brothers that there is real evil in the world. The only way to remove real evil from this world and bring about large scale change is through the word of God. Give each man someone to look up to, someone who is good and righteous, and he will become good and righteous himself, a tool against demonic modernity. Overall, what this selection criteria eventually achieves is a mannerbund of strong, driven, (mostly) intelligent, and successful men who share a common purpose. As a member, your role is to build yourself into the best version of yourself, and by consequence, build the community into the best version of itself. Standards must be kept for a group to have any chance of escaping the Type I community filter.

A Successful Gentlemans Culture

This brings us to what /gc/ has actually achieved due to all of the topics discussed thus far. /gc/ is, by all accounts, on the edge of a Type III online community. With yearly meetups, group participation in 3rd party events, local get togethers, not to mention several members have attended other fellows weddings; /gc/ is well integrated and has built a high trust community capable of affecting real world change. Internal projects and shared goals among the body drive this change and as associates start to become more financially wealthy, internal capital investment in these projects and goals are able to grow. The movement towards Balaji’s Network State is coming, the question is which current online communities are capable of capitalizing on this new paradigm and which will crumble before it.

Type III communities require high trust, and /gc/ has more than excelled in this category, though through no formal or conventional means. Generally high trust groups are built on one of three foundations.The first is the length of time the men have known each other, where bonds formed in adolescence that survive to adulthood are generally of the highest trust as members intimately know everything about each other and trouble makers are generally culled over time. The second foundation applies to newer circles of men, formed in adulthood, by initial strangers. Usually, the only way to achieve high trust among strangers is to rely on some sort of background check information, reputable references, and other contacts vouching for them before any amount of trust can be placed in any one member. The final “foundation”, if you would even call it that, is mutual blackmail. A strange way to breed “trust” in a community by giving each member the ability to invoke mutually assured destruction should some other member break the trust. This specific type of “trust” foundation is generally non-sustainable and leads to catastrophic implosions similar to Epstein or the Three Percenters. /gc/ on the other hand, relies on none of these.

/gc/ came from one of the many specialty boards on an anonymous image board, from an even more specialized general interest thread. At roughly 8 years since migrating from the image board to the primary online location of Discord, /gc/ is not made up of members who have known each other since adolescence (even if some adherents were teenagers at the time of inception). /gc/ also does no formal background checks or vetting, online there is simply the initiation process. In person events are where any serious vetting occurs, and no one is expected to implicate themselves in any sort of “mutual blackmail” scheme; an obvious security risk and gigantic red flag.

In person events have become a large part of /gc/. Yearly meetups are held, focused around a few geographic areas, that encourage both old and new members to both take part in the niche interest, but to do it with those they spend all day talking to online. 3rd party held events, where a large /gc/ contingent make up the attendees are also common, resulting in interesting interactions and observations from other attendees outside of the group. Onlookers are often taken aback by the way /gc/ fellows communicate with each other, but conversely, are still able to cohesively complete the task at hand, often better than other groups present. Many ask questions, mostly pertaining to what they are witnessing as the bleeding of an online culture into the real world–a culture that has completely removed itself from the culture war that has been tearing through the mainstream for the last decade or more. Oftentimes one or two people at an event inquire about membership, but more often than not it is plainly clear that while this person may have good intentions, they do not have the specific traits required to join a full time Xbox Live lobby chat. These /gc/ organized and 3rd party events force members to trust each other, continuing the creation of a high trust system by solidifying connections and relationships.

Built up trust and real world friendships have led to real world capital investment into /gc/ activities. Simple things like Christmas gift exchanges and birthday presents, but also aid efforts like financial assistance or search and rescue operations after natural disasters. /gc/ has built a strong enough network where money flows freely inside the network, keeping wealth among associates. Members purchase from other members who make material within the niche interest, rather than from external retailers, to encourage the continuation and success of their businesses. Member funded group events and competitions encourage the development of skills and provide a venue perhaps not available in the locales of some of the fellows who make the long journeys to come to these events.

/gc/ has begun to take on group projects that both help, and advance, the broader community. From developing common off the shelf (COTS) solutions to previously gatekept technology that falls within their special interest area, to larger scale organization, standardization, and authoring of white papers to bring old and new members alike up to a greater understanding of /gc/’s potential place in a growing decentralized future. Development of COTS solutions to financially out of reach hardware and software has proven to be quite successful in enabling capabilities only afforded to either those in the know or the connected and financially wealthy. Successfully turning what was once a $10,000 hardware purchase into a $200 hardware purchase, albeit with less plug and play features, enables further development of capability enhancing projects across the board. Large repositories of in-group information are finally being organized and shared to propagate and encourage further development of resources. To go too far into detail would defeat the purpose of this paper, as the specialization of these projects within /gc/’s interest are not the point. Rather, the point is that /gc/ is capable of designing, funding, developing, and fielding their own technologies and resources to better improve themselves, rather than relying on outside forces to do it for them. Any community that seeks to achieve the success and future independence that /gc/ has achieved and strives for, will need to do the same.

The trust, in person meet-ups, capital investment, and projects all stem from a single source, shared goals. Both personal, familial, and professional goals shared by all or most associates of the group drive the real world effects. Without a shared identity or culture, which largely includes the goals of a community, there is no success outside of online shitposting. /gc/ members seek to be independent from an increasingly fragile society, while also having a trusted and reliable network to lean on when times are tough and futures are uncertain. Members individually strive to become strong, intelligent, capable, and successful men with fulfilling lives and wonderful families. Individually a fellow of /gc/ is a strong asset to any company, team, business, or church. Collectively /gc/ is moving in a direction where the weight they can bring to bear on any one system, goal, or idea will have real, lasting effects.

Capturing the Masculine Spirit

/gc/ is a unique online fraternity, not in any of the single ways it differentiates itself from reddit online culture as there are thousands of unmoderated group chats scattered across the web, but by the way it has been able to thrive and extend far beyond the boundaries of the internet. Strong, long lasting fraternal bonds that do not simply end when the user has been offline for 1200 days. Weddings attended, goals understood, and bonds built in a way that, while rare in our current atomized society, have been the way men have built relationships for millennia. A community that has survived any number of events that would have fractured or outright destroyed a weaker group of men. A community that looks upwards and onwards, towards goals not thought achievable at the onset of its founding. /gc/ serves as a small, but powerful and important bulwark against modernity.

Preparing for a vision of the future that is unstable and unpredictable as a group strengthens each individual member into becoming a pillar of their local communities. Building men that are capable of venturing into the unknown, fearless and excited for the challenges that may come, even if they present the bleakest imaginable circumstances. In an ideal world, in the world Balaji sees the 21st century becoming, /gc/ will thrive as a network state, the plans and projects are in motion to ensure this. Every possible future scenario discussed, logged, theory crafted, and often tested to ensure that the first time the community must act is not the time that it counts.

Any community currently seeking a secure future, or any individual looking to build a community with aspirations beyond the digital world should take these words into serious consideration. /gc/ did not get to where it is by accident, the foundation it was built on and the pillars that support it are ancient and eternal. The tenets that drive it forward have been pushing man towards the frontier for as long as there has been one. Until recently it was thought that the final frontier was space, that the men of today had no wilderness to roam and conquer. It has rapidly become apparent that this was never the case, one must simply remove the wool from their eyes, seek the companionship of like minded men and set forth into the vast unknown. The world is ripe for the taking, and out of one of these Spartan like communities there will rise an Alexander; a Ceaser, it is only a matter of time.

Open Source SaaW

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