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; the "meow" itself was a reference to Henrietta Pussycat, a character from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. That word was repeated multiple times in subsequent spam posts.
The trolls created their own usenet groups and used what is called crapflooding on other boards. The Boston University e-mail server was disabled due to the volumes of posts. Meowers retaliated against people who opposed them by spamming them. 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.
- Kiberd, Roisin (2016-07-08). "Twenty Years Ago, Trolling Was Repeatedly Posting 'Meow' in Usenet Groups". Vice. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
- 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
- "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.
- Boyd, Jeff (The 2-Belo). "The One True History of Meow." - A personal account of the Meow Wars referred to in the Motherboard article.
- alt.fan.karl-malden.nose newsgroup on Usenet (alternative free web access using Google Groups)
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