Contact me for feedback or questions! I reply to everyone.

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

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 wil 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: after a long wait 8kun - the new 8chan - is up. For now, accessible only through Tor. All the old boards got brought back along with their posts. However, don't put too much hope in it - it's appeared two months late due to the incompetence of the admins who got it taken down several times beforehand. And you can bet the feds will be looking closely at it now (if it is not already a honeypot - after all, the admin went through a hearing with contents still unreleased). There is now an obnoxious Disclaimer: this post and the subject matter and contents thereof - text, media, or otherwise - do not necessarily reflect the views of the 8kun administration message under every post. Apparently, any photos of children are banned, regardless of whether they are sexual or not. The quality also remains to be determined - the admins have invited the QAnon spammers after all. Unfortunately it seems that in this world, all good things either turn to shit or die. Hopefully 8kun is different but the signs point otherwise. So far, they're appeasing their enemies through new rules, disclaimers, enforced agreements and other kind of crap. Of course, they still hate it so it's pointless. Never appease your enemies unless you like losing! If 8kun has to do this kind of shit to stay around, then either move it completely to the darknet or just let it die. Moral of the 8ch / 8kun story: we need the fucking darknet so that people are not afraid to say Fuck You to the vermin that hates our freedom.

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 an 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. The only saving grace of this forum is the huge activity. Shit tier.

Reddit

Recaptcha required to register. Absolutely terrible privacy policy - 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). 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. Huge activity saves this one too. 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 misjugded 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.

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

JS-free registration and posting with not even an E-mail requirement. No third party requests. Comments appear immediately. Gigantic activity - a thread almost every minute (which can make it hard to find the interesting ones, though there's an upvote system). Might bump this up to Top when I post more and am able to ascertain their moderation, the general attitude (is it an echo chamber?), Update: no, it's staying at High. Simply because, despite HN's alleged focus on "quality posting", 90+% of the threads are big corpo tier trash. High tier

Voat.co

Another reddit alternative alleging itself to be user-respecting - and then it throws a recaptcha in your face. Not researching this crap anymore. Even though it might actually be worse than that, I'll just dump it into Low tier.

Straight Dope

General forum that has been around since 2000 according to the copyright date on the site. Sign up allows TOR and even a burner email for registration, however reCAPTCHA is used for verification. The community is decent, active, and large with ~3K+ active members. So far it seems nice, however problems come up when you start to look at the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy (Archive) and Registration Agreements (Archive). "We also may analyze the aggregated information and share that data with advertisers... straightdope.com allows third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our Web site." There are ~10 trackers on the site, half of which are Google so it's not a 'We also may', it's more of 'We will'. That's the only major issue with the ToS/PP. The REAL issues come up with the registration agreements. "If you do not wish to see advertisements, you may purchase an annual subscription. Subscribers are given the user title 'member.' For more information about subscriptions, click on the 'Subscribe' link in the menu bar at the top of most SDMB pages after you register. A subscription is required if you wish to post a picture in your user profile." If you think that last sentence means 'You have to PAY to have a profile picture' I wouldn't blame you. I thought thats what it meant. It doesn't mean that, you can have a profile picture without a subscription, but it's worrying that they have confusing working in the registration agreement. Later on you see this line: "We reserve the right to delete any message for any or no reason whatsoever." That's right they can delete your post for no reason whatsoever if they feel like it. The real kicker is that for the page on registering an account, they use a version of the registration agreements from 2008 (Archive), they can't even be bothered to update a page people would likely read when signing up. Straight Dope had promising start as listed at the start however the many trackers, reCAPTCHA and concerning lines in the registration agreements and ToS/PP raises several issues. - Low tier. Entry written by Asexual Vulpes - thanks!

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? Decent privacy policy...whatever, I'm so disappointed since the distro is so good. But nothing with a recaptcha will get even a Mid rating. 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 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. Solving simple (first-party) captcha required for registration; VPN 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. Mid 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. 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. 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.

Final Fantasy Shrine

Video game music forum (mostly). Registration through a text-captcha; VPN posting allowed, no mod approval or other hassle. Lots and lots of VGM to download. Doesn't seem to do much censorship. Kind of low activity aside from the download sections obviously. Otherwise, as far as I can see - High 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

The only one I really recommend from the above list is 8chan, HN and perhaps FFshrine - it has seemingly no flaws but the not-too-high activity and narrow focus. Sad to say it seems forums are dead - try to find interesting people to talk with directly (like through XMPP).

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