Eternal September (also September that never ended) began September 1993, a date which the existing members of Usenet believe that an endless influx of new users (newbies) from AOL degraded standards of discourse and behavior on Usenet and the wider Internet.
The term eternal September is a Usenet slang expression, and was coined by Dave Fischer. The term is so well entrenched that one news server calls itself Eternal September, and gives the date as a running tally of days since September of 1993 (e.g., May. 14, 2013 is "September 7196, 1993, the September that never ends."). This server was formerly named Motzarella.org.
Usenet originated among some of the early nodes of Arpanet/internet some of which were universities. Every year in September a large number of new university freshmen acquired access to Usenet for the first time, and took some time to acclimate 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, or simply tire of using the service. September thus heralded the peak influx of disruptive newcomers to the network.
In September of 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 newcomers were far less prepared to learn netiquette than university students. This was in part because the new services made little effort to educate their users about Usenet customs, or to explain to them that these new-found forums were outside their service provider's walled garden, but it was also a result of the much larger scale of growth. Whereas the regular September freshman influx would quickly settle down, the sheer number of new users now threatened to overwhelm the existing Usenet culture's capacity to inculcate its social norms.
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 used by Dave Fischer in a January 26, 1994, post to alt.folklore.computers, "It's moot now. September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended."
- Eric Raymond. "September that never ended". The Jargon File (version 4.4.7). Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- "The Year September Never Ended" net.wars Chapter 1, Wendy M. Grossman, NYU Press, 1998.
- Motzarella.org will Become Eternal-September.org on July 1, 2009
- "The Making of an Underclass: AOL" net.wars Chapter 3, Wendy M. Grossman, NYU Press, 1998.
- Dave Fischer (January 26 1994). "Weeks? hah!!". alt.folklore.computers. (Web link). Retrieved 2007-03-23.