Decreasing Time to Eternal September

July 15th, 2011

For those of you that aren’t familiar, please read about the Eternal September, which refers to the lasting damage to a community when vast numbers of newbies suddenly enter and dramatically harm the quality and usefulness if discussions.

  • Email: 24 years
  • Usenet: 13 years
  • Facebook: 2 years
  • Google Plus: ?

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  1. TechNeilogy

    I wish Google+ the best, but I really am enjoying the distinctly technical slant of the beta test community. Hopefully, communities formed during that time will be able to persist and thrive without too much noise.

    Reply

  2. Ben

    What’s your criteria for reaching September?

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  3. k3ninho

    I always thought that the metaphor of an ongoing September as the new academic year, having to train up new users, is arrogant: life provides us with new users on a constant basis (children) and we provide ongoing training over a number of years to bring them up to speed. Why should the internet be any different?

    I don’t know whether your comment casts this as good or bad. Good, because internet use and messaging is getting to everyone? Bad, because everyone’s using the Farcebook-Activity-Tracker or the Gurgle-Advertising-Portal? (Or even worse, bad because this used to be *my* playground?)

    I’ll be getting off your lawn, sir. :-)
    K3n.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    I sorta invited you to my lawn by putting up the comment form, so pull up a chair and chat ;-)

    I guess you’re right; I never really connected with the pre-AOL September meaning. I was probably not around the right places at the right times to do so.

    I was around Usenet though, and do remember vividly when AOLers joined. The point isn’t to blame them (which is easy enough to do, and some of them deserved blame). But AOL threw a lot of people into existing communities without being clear to their users — communities that had a very different culture than AOL did. AOL should have educated, but didn’t. Usenet netizens tried, but the influx was too huge, too constant, and spread out over too long of a time to be effective. Eventually AOL helped kill Usenet by popularizing it.

    I’m forgetting the exact language they used, but AOLers seemed to be annoyed at these other people that were complaining about how they used “their” chat rooms, clearly having no idea that AOL wasn’t the only interface to them.

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    k3ninho Reply:

    “I’m forgetting the exact language they used, but AOLers seemed to be annoyed at these other people that were complaining about how they used “their” chat rooms, clearly having no idea that AOL wasn’t the only interface to them.”

    That’s the Eternal September: there looked to be no way to train people not to be socially inappropriate. Some of the AOL attitude came from being a paying customer – today a free-rider on Facebook or Google Plus can’t pretend to have the privilege of a paying customer. And mucking up your social standing online now is mucking up your social standing, so people quickly learn not to be that way.

    K3n.

    Reply

  4. Matt Platte

    CB Radio.

    Reply

  5. rektide

    first, i <3 newbs.
    second, my favorite Eternal September moment of late comes from the Android ROMs world. Das Bamf followed the path of Gingeritis and peaced out from one of the more popular Android modder sites XDA after being inundated with newbs and horrific OT newb posts in every single release thread. the devs are fleeing the popular channels, looking for more inter-mediation. the Eternal September has caught up with them, and they're fighting back by fleeing the regular channels.

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