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Not Your Personal Army

This is an old catchphrase whose variations on /b/ back in the day were often /b/ is not your personal army, 4chan is not your personal army, and Anonymous is not your personal army. It was used to dismiss calls for trolling or raiding that, rather than intending to produce lulz for all involved, had been posted only because somebody was trying to leverage the power of /b/ to satisfy a personal vendetta against another individual or online community. Its purpose was therefore to remind such people that the userbase of /b/ and 4chan does not undertake raids, pranks, and trolling in order to assist them (or anyone else) in their personal issues and drama, but rather does so purely for its own entertainment.

Although the catchphrase is an important part of the site's culture and serves a useful purpose, as time passed I noticed that its usage began to shift incorrectly: whereas originally it was used to dismiss obvious instances of people attempting to employ /b/'s raiding and trolling ability for their own personal goals, later on it was also used as a reply to proposed raids/invasions/pranks which were, or might have been, genuinely lulzy for all participants. In the latter case some posters, having misunderstood the phrase's meaning, incorrectly used it as nothing more than a lazy, misapplied excuse to not participate in a raid from which they were likely to obtain much lulz.

I don't mean to say, of course, that a person must participate in every raid, prank, or invasion he hears about, but he also should not let a confused understanding of the meaning of this phrase cause him to miss out on an entertaining event. When somebody suggests that the board should troll a genuine lolcow or invade an online community that takes itself too seriously, this is not at all a personal army request, but is instead merely that person bringing a potentially lulzy opportunity to the attention of his fellow /b/tards and inviting them to join in the fun. I can only wonder about how many lulzy raids and trolling campaigns were diminished in force, or even failed to happen entirely, because of misuse of this catchphrase—no doubt this (along with many other reasons) contributed to the general decline over the years of 4chan's ability to conduct successful raids. We simply have to remember this phrase's original and proper definition, and be more careful in our usage of it, so that fewer otherwise successful raids are abandoned before they are even begun.

See also the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on this phrase.


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This page last modified on 28 August 2021.