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Eternal September (also September that never ended)[1] is a Usenet slang expression, coined by Dave Fischer, for the period beginning September 1993.[2] The expression encapsulates the belief that an endless influx of new users (newbies) since that date has continuously degraded standards of discourse and behavior on Usenet and the wider Internet.


Usenet originated among universities, so, every year in September, a large number of new university students from the Northern hemisphere acquired access to Usenet, and took some time to acclimate themselves to the network's standards of conduct and "netiquette". After a month or so, these new users would theoretically learn to comport themselves according to its conventions. September thus heralded the peak influx of disruptive newcomers to the network.[1]

In 1993, the online service America Online began offering Usenet access to its tens of thousands, and later millions, of users. To many "old-timers", these "AOLers" were far less prepared to learn netiquette than university freshmen. This was in part because AOL made little effort to educate its users about Usenet customs, or explain to them that these new-found forums were not simply another piece of AOL's service. But it was also a result of the much larger scale of growth. Whereas the regular September freshman influx would soon settle down, the sheer number of new users now threatened to overwhelm the existing Usenet culture's capacity to inculcate its social norms.[3]

Since that time, the dramatic rise in the popularity of the Internet has brought a constant stream of new users. Thus, from the point of view of the pre-1993 Usenet user, the regular "September" influx of new users never ended. The term was first used by Dave Fischer in a January 26, 1994, post to alt.folklore.computers:[4]

It's moot now. September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended.

Some ISPs have eliminated binary groups (Telus in Canada)[5] and others have dropped Usenet altogether (Comcast,[6] AT&T[7]). On February 9, 2005, AOL discontinued newsgroup access through its service, which it announced on January 25, 2005.[8][9] On September 16, 2008 Comcast discontinued newsgroup access, previously provided to all its high speed customers.[6][10]


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