In the early days of the internet the Usenet news groups were, apparently, an oasis of reasonably polite discussion and debate. Users generally obeyed to the wonderfully archaic unwritten rules known as “netiquette”. Every September though US colleges would open the doors to a new crop of freshmen who would gain access to the internet. After a few fractious weeks in September these newbies would generally either bow-down to the laws of netiquette or get bored and find something better to do.
In September 1993 everything changed. America Online – at that point one of, if not the biggest provider of internet access – granted it subscribers access to the Usenet groups. Tens of thousands of American internet users spilled into the Usenet groups and rapidly proved to be unwilling to abide by the rules of netiquette. The Usenet groups were never quite the same again, September ‘93s annual storm refused to settle. Indeed by January 1994 Usenet hold hands were already dubbing themselves to be a living in an “Eternal September”.
Eternal September is the internet’s original sin, the moment the online Eden was ambushed by the unruly mob. September ’93 shows no sign of ending, the internet continues to expand and people fail to obey netiquette. Unwittingly these original Online Americans invented the template for many termed trolls since. They may not have necessarily meant to annoy anyone but in gate-crashing someone-else’s party they invited the ire and disdain of those already there.
It is unknown whether Green Day’s soft-rock snooze “Wake Me Up When September Ends” takes inspiration from this incident so let’s instead enjoy two infinitely preferable tracks Big Star’s “September Gurls” and Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September”:
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