When we started Endchan, to me, it was a bet on user experience. 8chan was going to switch to InfinityNext, which now 9chan uses. I bet that users would not like the instant jump to a radical new interface and prefer the older interface.
8chan was leaving Infinity, their existing software, for many reasons. Mainly it was hacked together without much thought to the structure. InfinityNext was a carefully approached re-imagination of what 8chan could be.
Selecting infinity for Endchan was not wise for a couple reasons. First what if InfinityNext was never finished. This was a real concern at the time, we even name our git repos InfinityNow as a joke around this idea it may never happen. And we had this luxury because not only had I made an imageboard engine and turned it into an archival system called Futabilly for 8archive after its backend couldn’t keep up. But mainly because StephenLynx had started a project after InfinityNext and before Futabilly and he had a great fast engine ready to be put to the test. 8TailedLynx a theme for Lynxchan also helped provide a similar interface to 8chan. My engine didn’t have no-js support, so it wasn’t even an option.
We were the prime Lynxchan instance for a couple of years until the disagreements over the direction of LynxChan added up and I just decide it would back-port features and fixes as needed. This has left our site feeling old and stale. We’ve had a couple boards disagree with our decision and have left for new instances running with the latest LynxChan.
InfinityNext was somewhat completed but 8chan failed to migrate to it. It was handed off to NextChan which they continued some development until Josh regained the will to implement another chunk and launched 9chan.
Josh’s 9chan plans didn’t quite work out as he expected and said if someone, like us, didn’t take over he was going to shut it down.
After we took over 9chan, over the next year we learned what it cost to not have a strong personality as well as lead developer with the promise to continue to transform imageboards into the future.
I had some code for a new imageboard / social media hybrid, called WrongThink. And after discussion with some other developers, one proposed the idea of unifying all sites under one look and feel.