In a new publication for Convergence, Sal Hagen studies a clash at the onset of an alleged “extremist turn” online: the 2014 Tumblr-4chan raids. Happening just before Gamergate, the text asks what this alternative event can teach us about the politicisation of mid-2010s online subcultures.
The study posits that the raids attest to how cross-site hostility did not just arise from political clashes, but also from “media-ideological” conflict on “right” conduct online; 4channers deemed Tumblr’s ethos of care as incompatible with dogmas on the Internet as brutally unforgiving.
The text also pushes back against narratives on the online culture wars as a clash between two equally toxic sides. This framing was prevalent in some academic work (e.g. Angela Nagle’s) but also in popular imaginaries like this video by Internet Historian.