The Eternal September

September 1993

Prior to 1993, new users of Usenet had arrived reliably early each fall, when a new freshman class entered universities and gained access to high-speed connections and computer hardware. During the school year they would assimilate into the existing Usenet community by learning “netiquette” and leaving behind their status as newbies.

But beginning in September 1993, millions of AOL users were able to access Usenet at once, overwhelming the existing userbase’s ability to teach them the ways of the community.

This was the first glimmering of the failure of the libertarian “promises” of a self-regulating cyberspace community (Fidler 2016)

Fidler, B. (2017). Eternal October and the end of cyberspace. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 39(1), 6-7.