There’s a very niche car forum I inhabit, full of grumpy old men. It’s my favourite place online.
This contributor summed up his experience of the internet since 1993. I can only imagine, but it sounds about right to me.
And it’s a a nice reminder of how the first generation webbies I meet through work often feel.
Years ago the “proper internet” was just obscure bulletin boards and stuff on usenet, and the general public were absolutely ignorant of it – It was mainly used by intellectuals, hobbyists etc. A good place, unsoiled by the general public – If you wanted access to it, you had to work for it.
One day in September 1993, AOL included Usenet access in their internet package for the general public, and this basically ruined the place.
Car forums experienced a similar thing in the mid/late 2000s, where loads of idiots turned up and ruined the game. Before then you could safely presume anyone you were talking to on a forum was probably a decent person, but once word got round to the nobheads, it dragged the whole place down.
I really can’t stand facebook, but all the dickheads who ruined forums are now on facebook instead, and forums are slowly falling back into the hands of mostly good people, and I’m really happy about that.