802: Online Communities 2
A larger version of this picture can be found here: http://xkcd.com/802_large/.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Not all of the regions are fully explained. Many labels aren't even mentioned outside of the transcript.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
This comic shows a map of internet communities where the size of each region roughly corresponds to its size, and its proximity to other regions indicates similarities.
This is the successor of 256: Online Communities. It differs in that it is updated, and furthermore, instead of using the membership of whichever service to determine its size on the map, it uses its "daily social activity."
The map actually has two super−maps: the online community map is surrounded by the "countries" of E−Mail and SMS ("Instant Messaging"). These, in turn, are surrounded by the "Spoken Language" country (which is odd, considering that e−mail, SMS, and the Internet in general are based on written language) with its own sub−country, "cell phones" (which do involve e−mail and the Internet while being the mean medium of SMS's).
At the title text Randall explains that, using his definition of "most activity per day", Farmville is actually the second most popular social-network farming game -- the Chinese game Happy Farm was more popular at the time. This strikes many English-speaking xkcd readers as odd, because Farmville is much more famous, leading one to wonder how the it could not be the most played. The phrase "browser-based social-networking-centered farming game" is an example of an overly-narrow superlative.
 Facebook Region
The Facebook region deals with social networks, that is, websites oriented towards having people meet.
Facebook is a social networking site that allows people to meet old real−life friends and make new friends that share similar interests. One of its most notable features is that a member can update a "status" or make normal posts about the happenings of the member's life, complete with pictures, other members "liking" these posts. The size of the Facebook region is not exaggerated; most websites seem to allow "liking" their content or allow/require logging in the website with a Facebook account. There even are cell phones with a "Facebook" button!
- FarmVille and Farm Town are Facebook games in which users manage farms. Happy Farm, the Chinese game that inspired the other two, does not require Facebook integration, so it is separated by a solid line from Facebook. The "Unethical Bay" refers to how these games tend to addict players into constantly buying virtual items of questionable value.
- The People You Can't Unfriend refer to people whom, due to real-life expectations and relationships, unfriending them is difficult, no matter how you really feel about them.
- The Blatherskite River refers to the conversations on Facebook, which may be long yet devoid of general meaning or logic.
- The Data Mines refer to the data mining that Facebook does with the interests of its members. This fuels the profitable advertising business at the expense of customer trust.
- The Plains of Awkwardly Public Family Interactions refer to how interactions with family members on Facebook suddenly become more awkward because everyone on Facebook (and sometimes off Facebook, given that you do not necessarily need to log in if you want to see someone's Facebook account) if you are discussing with your family through post comments.
- The 524,287 Strong for Mersenne Primes refers to the communities who gain followers for a cause. A Mersenne prime is a prime number that is 1 less than a power of 2; 524287 is the 7th known Mersenne prime.
- The Jungle-Bay Mountains of "It's Complicated" refers to one of Facebook's options as to what a user's relationship status currently is. A Jungle-Bay Mountain is a complicated and undefined climate, hence the complication.
- "Old Facebook" Resistance refers to Facebook's earlier users, who have often resisted (and resented) changes made to Facebook as it became more popular.
- Privacy Controls is located on the map surrounded by a Lava Pool, which is a reference to how difficult it is to find the privacy controls within Facebook.
- Niche Market Mountains refers to social networks aimed towards more niche markets are located. Similar to how mountains tend to be isolated from mainland, niche social networks tend to be just that: niche, without much interaction with the general populace.
- Charred Wasteland of Abandoned Social Networks refers to the tons of websites wanting to take advantage of the success of websites like Facebook to compete or even overpower with them. Even so, these websites tend to not have the userbase or even the expertise towards the long-term, hence they become wastelands: environments devoid of life, except the few life forms that are from these wastelands (in this case, the ones who are loyal to the website or which are sadly few).
- In the Charred Wasteland stands Ozymandias, the titular broken statue of Shelley's poem. In the poem, only "two vast and trunkless legs of stone" and a "shattered visage" are all that remain of the once-great statue and both of these features are present in the comic. According to the poem, the pedestal before the broken statue reads "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings..." hence "friend of friends" below Ozymandias on the map.
- In the north are the Duckface Mountains and the Red Cup Mountains."Duckface" refers to this incredibly obnoxious facial expression, and "red cup pictures" are any pictures containing party-goers holding disposable red plastic beverage cups. Facebook is absolutely flooded with both types of pictures.
- In the south is Buzzword Bay. Buzzwords are words and phrases that make you sound a lot more topical than you actually are, used to garner attention; again, Facebook status updates are commonly filled with buzzwords.
While Facebook is the largest "country" of the Facebook Region, there are a lot of smaller "countries" that represent smaller social networks.
- Below Facebook (and "Old Facebook' Resistance") is Diaspora, a fully open-source, decentralized, privacy-respecting-and-expecting alternative to Facebook. From what this map tells, Diaspora is little-known, even if Facebook is taken out of the context.
- StudiVZ is a German-speaking social network similar if not a ripped-off version of Facebook.
- XING is a German-speaking social social platform similar to LinkedIn.
- Ning is a service to create custom social websites. Its free services shut down in 2010.
- Taringa! is a Spanish-speaking social network that is based on a forums. Copyrighted material is frequently found there.
- Next to the Euro(pean) Gulf is Skyrock (social network site), a French-speaking social network.
- Wer-kennt-wen is a German-social network somewhat like MySpace.
- Nasza-klasa.pl or NK, is a Polish-speaking social network based on school relationships.
- Badoo is a social network primarily based on dating and picture-sharing.
- Classmates.com is a services in which the user can meet classmates that came from the same high school. The website is probably best known by its memetic advertisement that said "She married him??!! And they've got 7 kids??" (Incidentally, there is more to the coupled picture than what the advertisement says.)
- Myspace is a social networking website that is a kind of proto-Facebook: users could customize their one-page websites with whatever they wanted, make their interests and daily lives public, and interact with other users. Back in the mid 2000s, MySpace was the largest social network, many people using the website; however, the surprisingly-less-customizable Facebook ended up taking the place of MySpace. The "bands" country of MySpace refers to how a lot of bands in the day advertised and interacted using the website. Indeed, the latest incarnation of MySpace (in terms of 2013) is more oriented towards band members.
- LinkedIn is a social network aimed towards people in the workplace, which is why it is adjancent to Corporate Bay.
- Orkut was one of Google's first social networks before Google made Google+. It shut down in 2014.
- Hi5 is a social network that is very popular among people in Latin America.
- Renren (「人人」, "people" in Chinese) is "a Chinese copy of Facebook."
- Bebo was a social network popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It went bankrupt in 2013 and will move away from social networking and into apps.
- Friendster - One of the first major social networks, it has fallen way off in usage in recent years and was eclipsed by MySpace. It is still popular in Asia.
- Vkontakte or VK, is the second largest social network service in Europe after Facebook. It is available in several languages, but particularly popular among Russian-speaking users around the world.
- Netlog is a Belgian social networking website specifically targeted at the global youth demographic.
- Mixi is an online Japanese social networking service.
- Qzone is a social networking website, which is big in China. According to a report published by Tencent, possibly surpassing other social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace in China.
- Tuenti is a Spain-based, social networking service, that has been referred to as the "Spanish Facebook."
- Cloob is a Persian-language social networking website, mainly popular in Iran. After the locally (and internationally) popular social networking website Orkut was blocked by the Iranian government, a series of local sites and networks, including Cloob, emerged to fill the gap.
- Kaixin001 is a social networking website which ranks as the 13th most popular website in China and 67th overall.
- Piczo was a privately held blog website for teens. In November 2012, Piczo.com shut down.
- Odnoklassniki is a social network service for classmates and old friends. It is popular in Russia and former Soviet Republics.
- Adult FriendFinder is a pornographic dating site.
- Match.com is a dating site.
- Ok Cupid is another dating site.
- PlentyofFish is yet another dating site.
- Sulawesi is a real-life island in the Indonesian archipelago. It also appears in 256: Online Communities.
 MMO Isle
MMO's (short form of "MMORPG", short form of "Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Player Game") are websites that host online games where multiple people take the role of a character and play in a setting hosted by the website. These types of games tend to be fantastical in setting. Frequently, missions are added to the game, giving current player more incentive towards playing more.
- Habbo Hotel is a website where someone creates a human avatar an interacts in a virtual world that is not that different from the one in real life.
- Club Penguin is Disney's MMO where someone creates a penguin avatar and interacts with other in a more polar, cartoony setting. Club Penguin is aimed towards children.
- Maple Story is an MMO that has a more natural setting. The most distinguishing feature of Maple Story is its cartoony pixel art.
- GameFAQs, while not an MMO, is a website that has the largest repository of walkthoughs, that is, guides that help someone beat a game. GameFAQs is notable for not only its large repository of walkthroughs of games that are across an extreme variety of consoles, handhelds, and even computers (not all of them MMOs), but also the drama that is rumoured to happen in the GameFAQs forums.
- IGN (full: Imagine Games Network), while also not an MMO, is the largest website that gives news on video games in general, not just MMOs. Each of the games mentioned in the site have pages that have summaries, reviews, screenshots, other art, videos, and links to news related to its games.
- FFXI (full: Final Fantasy XI) is an MMO from SquareEnix, being the first MMO of the popular Final Fantasy series.
- Runescape is an older MMO.
- Starcraft II is a realtime strategy game with a science fiction setting that heavily involves space travel. While technically not an MMO, it has a significant online multiplayer component.
- WoW (full: World of Warcraft) is the definitive MMO, being not only the most popular and one of the longest-running but also the most expansive (having its own spinoff games, comic books, novels, and even figurines), WOW giving the idea of how an MMO should be. A player can choose from a variety of races, each with its own heavy history.
- Second Life is similar to Habbo, albeit with a bigger suspension of disbelief (one example being that the player does not need to be a human) and in a 3D setting.
- NationStates is a text-based political simulation game. Notably, some of its traffic comes not from the actual game (which is optional), but the extensive set of political, roleplaying, and general forums attached.
- Urban Dead describes itself as "A Massively Multi-Player Web-Based Zombie Apocalypse", which sums it up pretty well.
- KoL (full: Kingdom of Loathing) is a comedic browser-based MMO-ish RPG with minimalistic stick-figure art.
- CDC Games is a Chinese company reputed to be the largest MMORPG distributor.
- EVE Online is a science fiction MMO which is notable because of its virtual economy.
- Gaia or Gaia Online, while not an MMO, is a forum oriented towards pop culture, including video games and Japanese media. Its most notable feature is the heavy customization possible of a member's pixel-art avatar. Its members tend to roleplay a lot, albeit in a more written, story-based form. Gaia has gained a reputation with its members stealing art and causing drama.
- CoH or City of Heroes was a superhero-based MMORPG that was shut down November 2012.
Other notable regions include:
- The Mountains of Steam, referring to the game distribution service Steam where people could buy and download video games in general, not just MMOs.
- River Grind refers to "grinding." In most MMOs, the character is a fighter of some sorts, yet starts at a level 1, signifying the character's aptitude level in combat. The character can level up and gain more aptitude levels through earning experience, of which the most reliable and otherwise common way is the process of "grinding," that is, repeatedly fighting opposing monsters (sometimes of a level notably lower that your character's), gaining experience points from winning these battles until your character gains a level, that is, "levels up". While a practical necessity in strengthening the character, this process can be tiresome, hence the expression "grinding."
- Spawn Camp refers to "spawn points", the places in combat-oriented MMO's tend to produce ("spawn") random AI-powered creatures, and the act of "spawn camping", in which the player character simply stands behind or around the spawn points to fight the enemy creatures as soon as they appear.
- Gulf of Lag refers to how the MMO can be slowed down a considerable amount due to the large amount of players simultaneously using the same server, this congestion bogging down the server and frustrating the users.
- End Guy for the Internet refers to "end bosses", the last — and usually hardest to defeat — "bad guy" in a game (or a section of a game).
 YouTube Region
The YouTube region refers to websites that are based on user-created content.
YouTube is the definitive video website where people can upload videos with the purpose of public viewing, ranging from home movies through official music videos through Let's Plays of people playing video games to questionably-legal uploads of cartoons and films. Google had purchased YouTube.
- Viral Shores refers to how viral videos (whether they be viral marketing or simply memes) tend to proliferate on YouTube.
- Britney likely refers to pop singer Britney Spears and the "Leave Britney Alone" guy.
- Maru Gulf refers to Maru the Cat, a YouTube celebrity also mentioned in xkcd.
- Prairie Dog Habitat likely refers to the viral video Dramatic Chipmunk (which is actually a Prairie Dog).
- Rick Rolling Hills references, well, Rickrolling. More information here. The "deserted" note likely refers to how Rick Astley himself is tired of the meme, or again, how people tend to leave the video upon getting "Rick Roll'd," never actually going to the video with the express purpose of viewing the video.
- Lunar Landing Soundstage is, of course, a reference to the Moon landing conspiracy theories, which Randall has railed on before.
- OK Go Bay refers to the band "OK Go" who have multiple viral music videos on YouTube, most famously "Here it goes again" featuring treadmills.
The HTML5 swamp refers to the spotty support of HTML 5 (an update on HTML that is frequently touting its media capabilities, making HTML 5 a viable alternative to Flash) YouTube has. Of course, by the time the comic was written, HTML 5 was still in its infancy. The Music Video Bay refers to the amount of music videos (official or otherwise) are present in YouTube.
Other counties of the YouTube region include:
- vimeo, a website where people tend to showcase artistic content that they made on their own, notably independent studios.
- Flickr, a website where people can upload and share photographs they took.
- Fotolog, a photo website very popular in South America in 2004-2008, which was used as a social network.
- Last.fm, a music website that is notable of its "scrobbling" feature.
- deviantArt, the largest art website, where people can upload, sell, and buy not only art itself, but also video, audio, Flash-work, and even skins (the original purpose of deviantArt). While many big-name/professional people and organizations have their works in deviantArt, the site is more infamous for the large amount of people who upload low-quality fan-art and fan-characters, most notably of media from Japan. Another point of infamy is the large amount of drama that can happen in the website.
- Newgrounds, a website that hosts art, (Flash-based) videos, audio, and (Flash-based) games to which other users can comment and rate. Even so, content from Newgrounds tends to be obscene, though there is a filtering system if a viewer does not wish to see obscene content.
- Chatroulette is a website where people are randomly paired up with each other and video/text chat.
- Brickshelf is the online resource for LEGO fans.
- Tumblr, where people could make a blog and post text, pictures, video, audio, quotes, and links. The most distinguishing feature is the ability to "reblog" these posts from other's people's blogs into the user's own blog. Notable features of Tumblr include sketchblogs (where people upload their sketches), Ask blogs (where people answer questions other users ask, the moderators of these blogs usually pretending to be a character from a form of media), and the large amount of "social justice" (where people fight against racism, sexism, and other forms of negative discrimination). (See also 1043: Ablogalypse.)
- b3ta is a popular British website, described as a "puerile digital arts community" by The Guardian.
The Isle of teenagers who just discovered macroeconomics is a joke about how teenagers tend to think that the world and the economy are a lot simpler than they actually are. Combined with the typical internet mindset, this leads to a lot of teenagers posting blogs and videos and comments on blogs and videos describing how idiotic the government and other red-tape-related adults are. The Snob Sound could refer to the large amount of people who look down on others in the surrounding websites (one example being an original artist looking down on people who draw mainly fan-art). The Iraq is a reference to Miss Teen USA 2007, Ms. Teen South Carolina - Lauren Katlin said "I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as...the US should help the US and should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the asian countries so we are able to build up our future." The usage of "the iraq" became a meme.
 Twitter Region
- Bieber Bay is a reference to Justin Bieber a pop singer whose singing sprouted on YouTube and became very popular on Twitter and other social media. He is very much vilified because of his rather feminine appearance and his hordes of fans (called "Beliebers") that seem to support him to ridiculous extents. Lately, though, Justin Beiber has taken a "bad boy" attitude because of all the Beliebers who are willing to defend him no matter what, him partaking in a lot of questionable activities that include tattoos, questionably-legal substances, and buying prostitution, thus lowering his popularity in the general populace.
- Google Buzz is a former social network attempted by Google. It has since been shut down.
- Bit.Ly Mountains is a reference to the URL shortening service bit.ly.
- Kayne's Isle of Sadness is a reference to the musician Kayne West.
- Sarah Palin USA is the Twitter handle of former politician Sarah Palin.
- Clueless Politician Coast is a reference to the number of politicians on Twitter and other social networks who repeatedly share clueless updates that more often create an uproar than help their election chances.
- Desert of Food Updates is a reference to the number of pictures of food that are shared on social media (especially Twitter). There has even been some controversy on posting such pictures.
- Journalists Trying to Find the Cutting Edge is referencing journalists on Twitter trying to keep up with the way that news is gathered and delivered now, despite usually working for a newspaper that publishes once a day.
- SHAQ is a reference to the former NBA basketball player, Shaq.
- identi.ca is an open source social networking and micro-blogging service, being an alternative to Twitter.
- Breaking! Waves is a pun on the fact that so many people used the word "Breaking" at the beginning of tweets that do not warrant that tag that the word has lost most of its meaning and become a joke. It is a pun because waves "break" on the shore.
- Web 3.0 refers to the unofficial term Web 2.0. In this case, "Web 1.0" refers to accessing the Internet using Web Browsers, e-mail, and chatting, mainly through the use of computers. "Web 2.0" refers to accessing the Internet through new means (for example, RSS Feeds that read the news) through more devices (for example: tablets and cell phones). As such, "Web 3.0" means either what the Internet is like now in its current state of development, or what it will soon develop into; either way, it is still very much Under Construction.
 Geotagged Bay
- Yelp is a website where people post reviews of real-life public locations (one example being restaurants).
- Geocaching is a worldwide GPS scavenger hunt where users upload positions off caches and others will find them and log it online
- Foursquare is a location-based social network.
- Latitude refers to Google Latitude.
 Troll Bay and the Sea of Memes
- Reddit - Reddit is the self-described "front page of the Internet" in which users submit stories, photos and videos and the best are "up-voted" to the top of the page.
- Wikipedia talk pages refer to the pages that describe members of Wikipedia, edited by their respective members.
- Wikia is 3rd party wiki software, used in the making of the user-editable encyclopedias of just about any subject matter.
- StumbleUpon is a website-sharing service.
- Delicious is a bookmarking and bookmark-sharing service.
- Digg is a former competitor to Reddit in the social-news sphere, but now has been sold and restarted as an aggregator of news stories.
- Slashdot, labeled "/." on the map, is a technical news site.
- Fark is a stricter user-generated news site.
- YTMND is an acronym for "You're The Man Now, Dog!" It's also a community in which users can create meme-type nonsense by playing music over an image (either static or animated).
 Skype Region
The Skype Region refers to different IM, or Instant Messaging services, that enable almost-real-time text chatting between multiple people. These often allow services like voice chat and even video calls.
- Skype is, according to Randall, the most popular of these among the internet. It has many features to allow peer-to-peer voice chats, as well as allowing calls to be made at a price to actual phones.
- AIM or AOL Instant Messenger is a chat client created by AOL.
- GG is Gadu-Gadu and instant messenger client popular in Poland.
- Yahoo Messenger is an instant messenger client by Yahoo.
- Google Talk is a voice/video chatting service from Google. Google Talk also has an invasion fleet at its shores.
- ICQ is an older messaging service, albeit with an 18+ requirement (despite pornography not being the point of ICQ).
- Windows Live Messenger, or "MSN", was the messaging service of Microsoft before Microsoft bought Skype. MSN was useful in that people could draw and send pictures to other chatters.
- UseNet was one of the original ways to communicate on the internet, though peaple can download (copyrighted) files through the service. Since it is still in use by some, it gets the tag "Still Around!" on the map.
- IRC Isles refers to the ancestor of Internet-powered chatting. People would have connected to a server and spoke publicly. IRC is still in use (per 2014, notably in getting help from users4. One of those isles is #xkcd which is an IRC community around xkcd.
 Bay of Drama
- FanFiction.net is a website where people can submit their fanfiction (stories by fans written about other peoples' media, normally that about popular media). The website tend to have people that are not helpful to those who legitimately want critique of their own stories.
- Xanga is a blogging service that, while popular at its time, lost out to...
- LiveJournal, one of the definitive websites and Internet communities. More specifically, LiveJournal was the most popular blogging service before Tumblr became popular.
- ONYD - Reference to Oh No You Didn't, which is explained in the Blogosphere region.
- Dreamwidth is a LiveJournal fork emphasizing its open-source nature.
The Blogosphere region contains several general blog topics.
- Photo Blogs - One popular use of blogs is the chronicling through photographs the lives of the authors.
- Diary Blogs - Another popular use (and, in fact, the original use) is writing commentary about the authors' lives.
- Bay of Grammar Pedantry - This bay deals with the fact that, whether due to a lack of proper education, a habit of using "chat-speak" in the text-limited SMS and MMS, or simply due to the (generally) more relaxed nature of the Internet, tend to write with horrible composition, a point of annoyment to a lot of other people due to the subsequent increased difficulty of reading the horribly-written material.
- Fandom Blogs - A "fandom" is a community of fans. A fandom blog deals with the subject matter of the respective fandom.
- Sea of Zero (0) Comments - These are the blogs that get very little attention and therefore have no comments.
- SpamBlog Straits - Spammers use blogs to increase the number of links to their site to try to game search engines.
- Many more straightforward blogs, including:
- Gossip Blogs
- Political Blogs
- Music Blogs
- Tech Blogs
- Business Blogs
- Corporate Blogs
- Religious Blogs
- Miscellaneous Blogs
- Blog Blogs - These can refer to blogs that talk about the matter about blogging itself, though they can also refer to blogs which authors use in talking about blogging.
 Blogosphere (Core Region)
Gossip Blogs: Each blog below focuses on gossip surrounding celebrities and other well-known persons.
- Jezebel is a liberally feminist blog, hosted by Gawker.
- Gawker is a blog that is the host of other blogs.
- LJ Oh No They Didn't - LiveJournal Oh No They Didn't - Oh No They Didn't, also known as ONTD, is the largest community on LiveJournal with over 100,000 members. The community focuses on celebrity gossip and pop culture with most of its posts aggregated from other gossip blogs.
- Isle of Mockery is a reference to the fact that some of what these blogs do is mock celebrities or other for doing or saying stupid things on camera.
Liberal Blogs: Each blog below focuses on American political news with a "liberal" or "progressive" slant. These blogs tend to lean for the Democratic party.
- Huffington Post is a news blog.
- Paul Krugman
- Daily Beast
- TPM - Talking Points Memo
- Ezra Klein - Ezra used to have his own site at the Washington Post, but is now the editor of [Vox.com].
- Think Progress
- Kos - Daily Kos
Bay of Flame:
- Politics Daily
- CNN Political Ticker
- NY Times
- The Talk
- Libertarian Isle (shaped like a Nolan Chart)
Conservative Blogs: Each blog below focuses on American political news with a "conservative" or Republican slant.
- Pajamas Media
- Michelle Malkin
- Hot Air
- Red State
- American Thinker
- Boy Genius Report
- Gizmodo is a news and opinion blog, hosted by Gawker, that talks about life's more technological matters.
- Engadget is another technology-oriented, albeit independent, blog.
- Joystiq is a news and opinion blog that focuses on gaming.
- Kotaku is another gaming-oriented news/opinion blog, the main difference beig that Kotaku is owned by Gawker.
- BoingBoing is "i blog about wonderful things", the topics being quite random.
- Lifehacker, another Gawker blog, is a blog that teaches people how to simplify their lives through 'lifehacking', that is, using their resources in creative wayss. While the subject matter is life in general, there is a significant technological slant.
- Deadspin is a sports and sports gossip blog founded by Will Leitch.
 QQ Region
- Baidu Baike (「百度百科」, "Baidu Encyclopedia") and Hudong (「互动百科」, "Interactive Encyclopedia" ) are two Chinese online encyclopedias. Baidu Baike is powered by the same company as Baidu, the search engine popular in China.
- The Ma Le Ge Bi and the Grass Mud Horse Bay could refer to the Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures.
- The Location of Jia Junpeng refers to the Internet meme of Jia Junpeng in 2009 in China.
- Tencent QQ is a Chinese instant messaging program.
- In English communities "QQ" has several more common definitions:
- An emoticon, representing a face with two large, crying eyes.
- A synonym for "rage quit", in which a video game player quits the game out of sheer frustration. It originated in Warcraft II multiplayer, where pressing Ctrl+Q+Q would quit the game, and became more widely known in World of Warcraft.
- These definitions are commonly combined, usually to mock the "rage quitter".
- The Gulf of China refers to how sites in the region are based in People's Republic of China ("Red China"). The Great Firewall refers to The Great Firewall of China, a pun on The Great Wall of China. Similar to how The Great Wall of China was meant to keep intruding nations out of the then-capital of the city, The Great Firewall of China is meant to keep visitors from visiting censored websites. However, either a VPN or remote access to a computer in a "freer" country can circumvent the Firewall. Oddly other Chinese websites (Qzone, Renren etc.) are not enclosed in this zone.
 Forums Islands
Forums are websites where one person post a topic to which other people can discuss.
While the map has a zoomed in version, this article shall discuss the two bigger islands, first.
- 2channel is a Japanese imageboard that was actually the original inspiration for 4chan.
- Craigslist is a classified advertisement website with sections devoted to just about everything... which formerly included prostitution services, hence the The Former Site of Adult Services.
In the zoomed-in map, there is...
- 420chan and 7chan, other imageboards in the style of 4chan (see below). Their relative lack of popularity and derivative nature leads a lot of 4chan users to mock them; hence, their position on Randall's map suggests that they're mere wads of semen.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica, labeled ED on the map, is a wiki site dedicated to chronicling internet memes and other noteworthy sites, events, people, and anything else that catches their attention, their respective articles written in an incredibly arbitrary and vulgar manner. The site is heavily steeped in the attitude of veteran, vulgar 4chan users. People who have articles in the website tend to react with despair, given not only the cruelty in which the articles talk about the person in question, but the presence of the article means that the person is now an eternal target from the trolls. The user is not in a position of retaliation, since the userbase of Encyclopedia Dramatica and 4chan tends to overpower the victim easily...
- ...usually. Due to the founder's talk against the Australian Aborignals (the founder is Australian), legal action has gone against the founder to the point of the founder having to shut down Encyclopedia Dramatica, founding the far tamer Oh, Internet! website, instead. Trolls responded by not only uploading their own mirror of the website but also vilifying the former founder forever.
- (Please note that, due to the malicious nature of the pop-up advertisements of Encyclopedia Dramatica, the link above points to its safe-for-work successor, Oh, Internet!)
- 4chan.org is an imageboard in which people can upload pictures while others comment on them. The website is infamous for its loose/often non-existent rules, incredibly vulgar userbase, source of new memes, and spawning of trolls. 4chan's random board, known internally as /b/, is almost constantly flooded with porn and image macros. This is why Randall's incarnation of 4chan is shaped like a penis.
- Tunnel to Habbo is a reference to the 2006 Habbo Hotel Raids, in which hundreds of 4chan Anons simultaneously logged onto Habbo Hotel and proceeded to be as obnoxious as possible, standing in formations of swastikas and penises or body-blocking the swimming pools.
- Catbus Route is likely a reference to Lolcats in general.
- eBaum's World is a media-hosting website founded by Eric Bauman. The site has lost a lot of traffic after (quite valid) accusations of stolen content.
- The gulf labelled Anonymous is a reference to the trolls that label themselves "Anonymous" who recently had gained national acknowledgement because of the group's real-life tirades, including cracking attacks against the Church of Scientology and the founding of WikiLeaks (a website that leaks confidential material related to governments).
- SomethingAwful is a website that is meant to showcase all things "awful". SomethingAwful also has a large trollbase, but they tend to be more honorable than the ones from Encyclopedia Dramatica and 4chan. One example is there being a spotty holding of the no-furries rule in the forums. The forums themselves are famous because of the holding of the Let's Plays of Dangan Ronpa and Super Dangan Ronpa 2, which had cooked up public interest to the point of there being an English-language release of the games.
Please note that, due to these Let's Plays being in a forums that frequently hides behind a "paywall" that requires a paid account before accessing, the links provided go to their mirrors.
- Map of Online Communities
- Size on map represents volume of Daily Social activity (posts, chat, etc). Based on data gathered over the Spring and Summer of 2010.
- [Two insets on the upper left-hand corner shows that this map is a tiny portion of the huge continent of Spoken Language, encompassing portions of the Internet, Email, and Cell Phones (SMS).]
- [The largest landmass on the map by far, which takes up nearly the entire northern half of the map is "Facebook" - with large states in the south-east of the country labeled 'Farmville' and 'Happy Farm'. There is a much smaller state to the west of these called 'Farm Town'. To the north of these states is a large swath of unremarkable land entitled 'Northern Wasteland of Unread Updates.' This is directly north of the large Dopamine Sea.
- A peninsula on the south-west, just below the Plains of Awkwardly Public Family Interactions, houses many tiny states, such as MySpace, Orkut, LinkedIn, Bebo, & Hi5. It is bordered on the south by Buzzword Bay, which contains several islands of varying sizes. Among these are YouTube and Twitter (the largest), which are separated by the Social Media Consultant Channel. To the south-east of Twitter, across the Sea of Protocol Confusion, is another, equally large island. Most of it is Skype, with the north having two largish states called AIM and Windows Live Messenger. On the south-west part of the island are two smaller states called GG and Yahoo Messenger.
- The Island of Skype is extremely close to, but separated by the Great Firewall (a dashed line), the large landmass of QQ. It's north shore is the Gulf of China and Grass Mud Horse Bay. Outside of these bays, over the Great Firewall are two islands called Craigslist and 2Channel.
- In the Dopamine Sea, off the southern shores of Farmville and Happy Farm, is MMO Isle. Its largest state is WoW, with Runescape, Lineage, Maple Story, Habbo, and the Mountains of Steam among its notable landmarks. To the southeast of the island is the Gulf of Lag, in which sits the CDC Games island, with Eve Online.
- To the east of Twitter is Troll Bay, with such islands as Reddit and Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicio.us, and Wikipedia Talk Pages. To their south are the IRC isles, of which one is the tiny island of #xkcd.
- East of these islands, and north of Skype island, is the Sea of Memes. In this sea, to the north of Craigslist and 2Channel, is an archipelago of tiny islands. There is an inset, labeled 'Forums.' (See below.)
- To the southwest of Twitter island, in the Sea of Opinions, are the blog islands. These lie south of the islands in Buzzword Bay, as well. The northernmost islands in this group are centered around the Bay of Drama, on which can be found Diary Blogs, Gossip Blogs, and Livejournal. Gossip Blogs share an island with Political, Music, and Tech Blogs. To the north of this island is a smaller island called Photo Blogs. South of Diary Blogs, and off the southwest coast of Music blogs is a smaller island called Fandom Blogs. South of Tech Blogs, off of which sprouts the small peninsula of Business Blogs, is the Spamblog Straits. On the other side of the straits is a large island made up of Miscellaneous Blogs, with two states demarcated as Religious Blogs and Blog Blogs. Southwest of the Blog Islands is the Sea of Zero (0) Comments.]
- [An inset of a group of islands in the sea of memes located on the lower right corner of the map, labeled 'Forums'. The largest by far is 4chan and /b/. Also found here are D2JSP, JLA Frums, Fan Forum, Something Awful, and many smaller ones, too numerous to list here.]
- [The northeastern third of Gossip/Political/Tech Blogs island is another inset labeled 'Blogosphere (Core)'. This can be found on the lower left corner of the map. Two peninsulas in Political Blogs bookend the Bay of Flame -- these are Liberal Blogs and Conservative Blogs. Between them lie several tiny islands such as Politics Daily, CNN Politcal Ticker, and Mediaite. Off the coast of Liberal Blogs lies the island of NYTimes, off the coast of Conservative Blogs is Libertarian Isle. Between the two lies The Talk. The northern peninsula of Tech Blogs contains places such as Gizmodo, Engadget, Joystiq, and Kotaku.]
- [Text found between the two insets, which are directly below the main map.]
- ABOUT THIS MAP
- Communities rise and fall, and total membership numbers are no longer a good measure of a community's current size and health. This updated map uses size to represent total social activity in a community -- that is, how much talking, playing, sharing, or other socializing happens there. This meant some comparing of apples and oranges, but I did my best and tried to be consistent.
- Estimates are based on the numbers I could find, but involved a great deal of guesswork, statistical inference, random sampling, nonrandom sampling, a 20,000-cell spreadsheet, emailing, cajoling, tea-leaf reading, goat sacrifices, and gut instinct (i.e. making things up).
- Sources of data include Google and Bing, Wikipedia, Alexa, Big-Boards.com, StumbleUpon, Wordpress, Akismet, every website statistics page I could find, press releases, news articles, and individual site employees. Thanks in particular to folks at Last.fm, LiveJournal, Reddit, and the New York Times, as well as sysadmins at a number of sites who shared statistics on condition of anonymity.