Cyberpunk, Stasi Spies Youth SubCulture

grarpamp grarpamp at
Mon Nov 26 17:34:19 PST 2018

East German secret police guide for identifying youth subcultures (1985)

 x220 3 hours ago [-]

One subculture I got somewhat involved in was the internet
cyberpunk-hacker culture, until about a year ago. Communicating
through 4chan threads, alt-chans, and IRC channels, these users were
always interesting to read from on various topics such as cyberpunk
media, politics, current events, hacking, software, fashion, and

I'm dismayed that it petered out. I see the cyberpunk form of art and
worldview as more useful with each passing year.

peterwwillis 23 minutes ago [-]

What was the cyberpunk worldview? Afaik it was something along the
lines of "the world is run by vast networks of shadowy dystopian
entities and we must use cryptography to resist this so we can have
freedom" (basically, Information Technology libertarians)

westmeal 18 minutes ago [-]

That's the cypherpunks. Cyberpunks are 'high tech low lifes'.

wavefunction 19 minutes ago [-]

That's cypherpunks.

malvosenior 2 hours ago [-]

Do you have any theories as to why it petered out? Like you I feel
it's more relevant today than ever before but also can't find a
growing or healthy community with that mindset anymore.

x220 2 hours ago [-]

Aside from conspiracy-theorizing about current events (and I don't use
that term pejoratively), people tended to discuss the same topics. New
cyberpunk media doesn't come out very often, so people tended to talk
about the same books, movies, manga, anime, videogames, and fashion.
Some of the alt-chans with dedicated cyberpunk boards would run out of
ideas to talk about pretty quickly, since there weren't enough posts
that the website had to prune old threads like 4chan did.

Another hypothesis I have is that cyberpunk media is not as
captivating as it used to be since we arguably live in a cyberpunk
world. In America there is unimaginable wealth inequality, with some
cities having insane costs of rent for cramped apartments, with access
to the best technology and medicine in the world but only if you can
afford it. We also don't have to use media to imagine a world where
digital corporations have a huge amount of power over daily life and
the government spies on everyone all the time since both of those
things are happening right now. I think we live in a cyberpunk world,
it just doesn't have huge buildings, neon lights, and widespread punk

I came in contact with a few guys who wanted to make another alt-chan
with a different model (see what other users are typing in real-time,
and all posts get deleted early in the morning) but it never
materialized as far as I can tell.

Edit: do any of you want to join an online cyberpunk community?

ebullientocelot 1 hour ago [-]

I don't think your two points are mutually exclusive, and suspect they
are both correct to one degree or another. I live in a second-tier
city working for a second-tier company and my daily life is already
fairly cyberpunk! During the day I actively work on the advertising
economy surveillance state, and at home I do things like install the
Pi-Hole for my family and try to help anybody who will listen reduce
their target profile for the eye in the sky. I mention this,
particularly that my city and company are second-tier, because you
don't have to work at FAANGM in SV to experience these things.

There is definitely a sense in which I would be interested in at least
checking out a cyberpunk community, but as other have mentioned, it's
more or less culture now.

ip26 1 hour ago [-]

Another challenge is when your alt culture goes mainstream, now it's
just culture. The alt community has to tack deeper to the extremes to
stay alt. You don't need an alt board to talk about current events
(aside from conspiracy theories)

ebullientocelot 59 minutes ago [-]

While this is true, I still experience a little of that
early-exposure-to-the-Internet sense of wonder when I stumble across a
community that's off the beaten path technologically.'s Gopher
service was such an experience in the past couple years.

starbeast 2 hours ago [-]

Not an online one. If it was a BBS running on a cube sat, then maybe.

n-exploit 2 hours ago [-]

Maybe it's time to create anew.

eindiran 2 hours ago [-]

Are you considering making it materialize now?

x220 1 hour ago [-]

I'm considering making an alt-chan that cyclically purges content.

miss_classified 55 minutes ago [-]

By now, it should be obvious that your efforts to attenuate the
duration of long-running content won't prove to cultivate an increase
in the quality of participation.

There are (at least) three aspects of online community participation,
that seasoned users are pretty well-versed in:

  1. Archiving, mirroring and back-ups.

  2. Leaked screen captures and scrapes
     of private direct messaging.

  3. Back-end aggregation of logs and
     messages, even for supposedly private
     SMS interactions.

Forget it dude. We all know that whatever signals get placed onto the
wire turn out to be spliced through passive beam splitters and land in
an open S3 bucket.

The ones that don't? Your girlfriend just screenshots it, and and
tweets it out in the open for the world to see anyway. Whoops!

There are no more online subcultures. Only distortions of perception
enforced by impulsive, would-be moderators.

beloch 33 minutes ago [-]

You might consider asking why so many of the greatest cyberpunk
authors abandoned the genre. Many science fiction authors
idealistically try to produce stories they feel society needs to hear
at a given point rather than just retreading genres that have been
well-mined and which they feel aren't contributing to progress.

Google Neal Stephenson and "getting big stuff done". Stephenson wrote
some of the best books late in Cyperpunk's sci-fi reign, but later
came to feel that portraying technological advance as leading to
decay, inequality, and corruption was contributing to the stifling of
technological ambition in the U.S.. When huge technological leaps are
necessary to get past pressing problems like clean energy, space
exploration, etc., does it make sense for pop culture to portray
technological progress as a negative force that will lead to

William Gibson gradually moved away from Cyberpunk for a long period
of time, writing novels that were set closer and closer to the present
day. "The Peripheral", released in 2014, was the first book by Gibson
set in what could be considered "Cyberpunk" for quite a while, but
it's not really cyberpunk. (Note: Mild spoilers ahead) Technology does
indeed create a calamity that negatively impacts world society in this
book, but "cleptocrats" are just as much to blame for creating a
dystopia. However, the book also shows some "big stuff" being done,
even in the dystopia, and some pretty far-out tech ultimately prevents
the calamity it created in the book's prime timeline. A fairly
idealistic group of heroes actually change the world for the better
using technology in this book, which is rather more optimistic view of
both people and technology than is consistent with standard cyberpunk.

While Ernest Cline was not an established author before writing "Ready
Player One", it's interesting to note that this book doesn't really
represent a return to cyberpunk for serious science fiction. The plot
can certainly be considered cyberpunk. (Note: I have read the book,
but not seen the movie yet). However, it's basically one long dose of
80's nostalgia, so the cyberpunk setting makes perfect sense for that
book. Thus, it's not really science fiction in this respect. It's not
trying to predict or shape the future. It's an exercise in wallowing
in the past, and the form of this novel matches that function.

I'm still a fan of cyberpunk, but I recognize that science fiction has
moved on. It responds to the needs of society, and nightmarish
technocratic dystopias are not what is needed today.


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