- Spring has come and passed, the peace can never last, wake me up when summer ends.
You might as well wake up. Summer will never end. Especially for imageboards since 2007.
All internet forums, online games, and other internet spaces usually degrade to the point where new people will change the original culture that was established. This is inevitable for everyone of them. The only difference is how these people will handle the new folk to assimilate into a community to less the chance of degradation. This is the same thing that happened to USENET in 1993.
It’s moot now. September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended.
- Dave Fischer in a January 26, 1994, post to alt.folklore.computers
The phrase “Eternal summer”on 4chan and on other major imageboards is a play on the term “Eternal September”, coined by Dave Fischer in a statement about how much USENET culture degraded to the point where it’s unrecoverable. The primary reason why it got that way was that in 1993, the World Wide Web became popular and then normal suddenly discovering USENET, you have a constant “influx of new users who continue to behave in ways Sys Admins consider rude”. (Meatball wiki – The September That Never Ended) This was in contrast of USENET’s primary audience, university students, which were always come to USENET every September and get used to the community standards of use after a few months. Now with this constant influx, in relatively larger sizes than the university students ,they have to constantly deal with new users daily.
Sadly 4chan was, and currently is, not immune to this phenomenon of Eternal September. The only major change is this was instead of this happening during September, it happens during the summer. The major demographic change was instead of university students, its high schoolers: The Underageb&.
Underage& are people who are under the legal age to view most imageboards on the internet. 4chan, 7chaN, 420chan, iichan, have polices that say that you have to be at least 18 years and over to view their imageboards. However, despite these polices they’re enforced on an honor system so mods assume that if you post you’re at least 18 years of age. But any channer can tell a person is underageb&, such as using leetspeak, saying things in AIM speak and the like.
Eternal summer happens every year since 2007 in all 4chan boards. It’s a three month period where “bored kids happen to stumble upon the site” (21316461 - /a/ anime and manga). These bored kids include not only high schoolers, but middle schoolers who think going to /b/ is cool and all that. Many of these kids just jump onto /b/ or any other 4chan board and participate without lurking moar. It’s obvious that you can find out a person isn’t lurking or an obvious newfag (A new channer).
This manifestance of eternal newfag summer started around May 2007. It was characterized by extremely high turnover rates for threads, “massive meme hemorrhaging”, usage of 4chan catchphrases in anime communities such as AnimeSuki and GaiaOnline, the use of those same catch phrases in “common speech in an attempt an attempt to look “cool” and “hip”, and massive underageb& usage of the site. (Newfag Summer – Lurkmore.com) This was also known as Newfag Summer because most of the newfags came to 4chan for /b/, not for the other boards.
But it was much earlier than that… This instance of eternal summer may have begun in 2006. That is when 4chan got famous for their raids on Habbo Hotel, Ebaumsworld, and various other raids that occurred. In their response, the oldfags of /b/ considered them “THE CANCER THAT IS KILLING /b/”. Yet as the years go by, we realize that everything is cancer to them.
In 2007 it reoccurred again after Fox News did a report on 4chan. It happened again during project Chanology. When Encylopedia Dramatica got popular, it happened again.
Eternal Summer is manifested in the following ways. In /a/ people ask for source of a picture they like, or “What anime is this?”, or sprouting memes in unrelated topics. In /g/ they display obviously tech support advice or show little knowledge of computers or technology. In /k/, people post weapons that are not actual weapons, like airsoft guns. In /cgl/, the may ask why there are so many tripfags on the board. These are just the few example of how eternal summer is manifested on the boards.
The primary reason why eternal summer is ongoing is that many newfags fail to routinely lurk throughout the time on the boards. The major difference between imageboards and static forums is that you can’t easily ask people what the culture is. There are no established netizens who “took it upon themselves to teach the n00bs the netiquette” in static forums. (TV-tropes endless September) In imageboards users are expected to figure out the culture themselves without asking. If they do ask, mostly likely depending on the board, they will be helpful or downright hostile.
The impact of eternal summer would be definitely lessened if there was an explicit warning for newbies: Lurk more, constantly, daily, routinely. Even if you’re oldfag there is still culture and in-jokes to learn because it is impossible for them to be there when a new meme or in joke is born. Sadly with the mainstream popularity of large imageboards, this is less likely to occur. Some may say that we have already crossed the point of no return.
For further reading: Meatball wiki – The September That Never Ended: http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/TheSeptemberThatNeverEnded 21316461, /a/ - Anime and Manga, easymodo archives: http://archive.easymodo.net/a/thread/21316461 Newfag Summer - Lurkmore.com : http://www.lurkmore.com/wiki/Newfag_Summer Eternal September – TVTropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EternalSeptember
- Ndee “Jkid” Okeh (firstname.lastname@example.org)