2020-08-08 13:34:59 UTC
Eternal September or the September that never ended is Usenet slang for a
period beginning in September 1993, the month that Internet service
provider America Online (AOL) began offering Usenet access to its many
users, overwhelming the existing culture for online forums.
Before then, Usenet was largely restricted to colleges, universities, and
other research institutions. Every September, many incoming students
would acquire access to Usenet for the first time, taking time to become
accustomed to Usenet's standards of conduct and "netiquette". After a
month or so, these new users would either learn to comply with the
networks' social norms or tire of using the service.
Since then the popularity of the Internet has led to a constant stream of
new users. Hence, from the point of view of the early Usenet, the influx
of new users in September 1993 never ended.
Dave Fischer appears to have coined the term in a January 1994 post to
alt.folklore.computers: "It's moot now. September 1993 will go down in
net history as the September that never ended."
With the exception of those who use Usenet as a means of downloading
pirated material and who provide nothing of value to Usenet at all, is
the eternal september over and should we go back to the days of valuing
quality communication and netiquette? By being over, I mean the gradual
loss of interest in Usenet over centralized corporate platforms like
Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.
I'm in the process of writing a new guide on netiquette for beginners
based on RFC1855, Spaf's "A Primer on How to Work With the USENET
Community", and a few other documents but without the legalistic nannying
that many "Codes of Conduct" have.
If the Eternal September is over and we care about Usenet as a real and
living form of communication over the Internet, what are the most
important things that we want newbies (and oldies) to know when they
start using Usenet?