4chan Chronicle/Halcyon Days
Like any period of childhood youth, this era shaped 4chan for years to come. It's most iconic memes, the basis for the board's culture, who was who in the hierarchy of anonymous and its friends and enemies. The people who browsed the site during these years would later form the archetype of a 4chan oldfag.
4chan Halcyon Days edit
(Aug 2004 – Sept 2005)
On August 7, moot gathers a group of friends and contributors and starts 4chan again. Though not excellent, there was an increased efficiency when it came to moderation and scripting, commandeered by Team4chan. In a reactionary move towards the rise of 4chan, Lowtax makes mentioning the site a bannable offense while simultaneously engaging in a crusade against anything resembling pedophilia, such as anime girls. The increasing oppression coming from the moderators creates a constant flow of banned users fleeing to 4chan. Its free and anonymous posting, lenient moderation, and SA-influenced culture prove to be an appealing alternative to users upset with the admin's meltdown, like Colonial America for disinherited Englishmen.
Once moot grows up to legally visit his own site (he is 16 at this point), he slowly opens up to the 4chan community. There's a noticeable rise in popularity, and new users who posted without being aware of the fads and inside jokes, thanks to SA's inherited FYAD culture, were responded to with shouts of "lurk more" or newfag.
4chan's culture begins to stabilize at this point as a world of hatred, anonymity, truth in opinion, and trolling. According to a poll, which some claimed was fake, the age median drops from colleague age to high school freshman. This did not mean, however, that the presence of underage anons was unheard of. It is an interesting counterexample to the rise of social media occurring at the same time. Some of the original users begin to thin out as they lose interest, but are just as quickly replaced by SA refugees and immigrants from sites like YTMND, Fark, and, to the disgrace of many 4channers, Gaia Online. 4chan becomes a fast-changing society, beginning to carve out its own culture and place in the world. The stereotype of middle-class teenagers with few friends and an interest in the Internet whose daily lives didn't excite them enough begins to characterize 4chan's population. Bored even from the basic Internet and its drama and gore, they flocked in looking for the obscene, the bizarre, the transgressive, the silly and absurd, the self-referencing injokes and the crazy ramblings. The lack of a registration process felt truly innovative and funny, so they began to see just how far they could go in that direction.
This could be safely considered the best period for 4chan. /b/ was not as massive as it is today and was comparable, in terms of traffic, with the rest of the site. All boards enjoyed a degree of content and active and present moderation. The atmosphere was dominated by ironic silliness and short comedic comments and catchphrases; users would go out of their way to invent comedic situations and would usually follow whatever game the OP was playing, playing the role of an active spectator and contributing whenever necessary. Many users had decent Photoshop abilities, inherited from the highly skilled SA goons, and most of the classic memes and events took form during this period. Anyone could make a thread, bookmark it, and come back the next day to see if it was still there. Memes were created in a structured way: someone would make a simple, usually silly joke, and the /b/tards would make dozens of variant images and jokes. Discussion tended to range from civilized, concise posts (while serious debate happens all the time, actual, calm discussion of a topic is something rarely seen in modern times) to ridiculous ALL CAPS sentences.
It's in this period that moot and the staff members begin to form an ideology based on anonymity. Backed first by Asan and Shii, both mods, it slowly began to become the leading mentality of most 4channers, and the population would soon change from an even proportion of tripcode users and anonymous to an anonymous majority.