I’ve always been interested in image boards. There is something special going on in these spaces that seem to lead to interesting things (couple that with anonymity and we get things that are interesting but slightly terrifying, you can’t unsee 4chan). One of the most interesting things I find is how kids/teens use the internet is the in their use of things like Tumblr. I like many other people over the age of 15 just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Have you browsed r/AdviceAnimals recently? It’s pretty bad.
Still, something interesting I have stumbled upon recently is the fad of “Polandballs”. The idea of Polandballs according to r/polandball is:
Wiggly mouse-drawn comics where balls represent different countries. They poke fun at national stereotypes and the “international drama” of their diplomatic relations. Polandball combines history, geography, Engrish, and an inferiority complex. The comic series first became popular on a well known German image board int ze internetz.
Some comics are political, some are not. An example of a Polandball:
The UN fairy and that image itself caused an absolute riot to break out in the Reddit comments, I’m not going to pass comment on it but to say at least it caused us to talk about something. The current situation in Ukraine also causing the appearance of quite few Polandballs.
So while this is all fun and games, there was a problem, Polandballs went mainstream! As the visitors poured in to r/polandballs the perceived quality of the comics dropped. So they took action and made some rules. I love the fact that they asked the community what should be banned in a Polandball and then graphed the responses:
For those who just have to break the rules there is now a stateball reddit which concentrates on america, fuck yeah! humour at http://www.reddit.com/r/stateball.
I like Polandballs and although I can’t put my finger on why I like the idea of image boards so much they remind me that there is something about communicating in this way with visual yet crude throwaway bits of information that is just really powerful. Maybe this inferiority complex that r/Polandball talks about relates to more than just the things in the comic? Off to ask an eight year old what its all about.