Meow Wars

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The Meow Wars referred to a series of flame wars on Usenet which started in 1996,[1] and ended circa 1998. Its participants were known as "Meowers".[2]

In 1996 a member of the group alt.fan.karl-malden.nose, a previously unused board re-colonized by Harvard University students posting about daily student life, jokingly suggested harassing members of the group alt.tv.beavis-n-butthead. Members of the latter group retaliated and drove Harvard students away from the previous board. They began including the word "meow" in their posts in a reference to a karl-malden user with the initials CAT;[1] the "meow" itself was a reference to Henrietta Pussycat, a character from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.[3] That word was repeated multiple times in subsequent spam posts.[1]

The trolls created their own usenet groups and used what is called crapflooding on other boards.[2] The Boston University e-mail server was disabled due to the volumes of posts. Meowers retaliated against people who opposed them by spamming them.[2] Ultimately the flamewar affected many boards and involved many users repeatedly posting spam. Roisin Kiberd wrote in Motherboard, a division of Vice, that Internet vocabulary was created as a result of the Meow Wars.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kiberd, Roisin (2016-07-08). "Twenty Years Ago, Trolling Was Repeatedly Posting 'Meow' in Usenet Groups". Vice. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  2. ^ a b c Bartlett, Jamie. "A Life Ruin: Inside the Digital Underworld." - Excerpt from: The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld posted by Penguin Random House UK to Medium.com. Version on Google Books: Melville House Publishing, June 2, 2015. ISBN 1612194907, 9781612194905. Google Books pages discussing the Meow Wars (using "Meowers" to describe the participants) are PT29 and PT30
  3. ^ "MEOW (Or, 'what is all this crap on alt.college.college-bowl, anyway?)." George Washington University Trivia Club. December 2, 1998. Retrieved on October 31, 2017.

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