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The Jays were blanked by a team whose momentum should carry it down to the Morlocks before the season ends, so instead of talking about the game, I'm going to talk about the Internet's history.

Since 1979, each September brought with it an influx of new users to the Internet. Especially prior to 1995, when the National Science Foundation opened the Internet to commercial use, students usually first gained access when they went away to university; the Internet, after all, was primarily an academic endeavour.

Tim Berners-Lee first publicized his World Wide Web project in 1991, changing the way the public would view the Internet forever. Before then, it was seen as what it really is: a medium for many services, including Usenet.

Usenet is a discussion service with many categorized "groups," or bulletin boards, most of which were created as a result of votes by users. In the early days of Usenet, it was possible to (and some people did) monitor and take part in discussions in every newsgroup, but today that's utterly impossible: there are about 100 000 Usenet newsgroups, around 25 000 of which are active.

Usenet began as a small service focused around discussion, and as many communities do, its users created a code of conduct called Netiquette. Every new user was expected to follow these guidelines, and to learn the community's rules before joining it.

Of course, not every person did that, and so with every September (and its associated frosh) came an adjustment period, as more experienced users taught the newbies how to behave. Before long, new users became grizzled veterans, ready to greet the September babies a year later. This pattern continued until 1993, when America Online began offering Usenet access to its users. Because AOL didn't take any measures to try to inform its users of netiquette, or even inform them that Usenet was a thing wholly separate from AOL's service, Usenet was flooded with new users who seemed utterly unwilling to learn the community's customs and social norms. The sheer number of new users made this unlike any September Usenet participants had seen before; it was the Eternal September. Since that time, Usenet has been flooded with "Me too" threads, flames, spam, and trolling; discussion is all but gone from the once-rich medium.

Parallels between Usenet and Batter's Box should be pretty clear. Sometimes, when Jamie Campbell or Mike Wilner mentions us on the air, we experience a mini-September of our own. The key to dealing with these new users is to be patient while remaining steadfast in our standards. Batter's Box is a great place for smart baseball fans to talk, and we intend to keep it that way forever. Our regular readers and posters are key in our vision, because all of you set great examples for everyone who wants to become part of our community. We have just one request: if you notice somebody who doesn't follow our community's "rules," try to keep discussion of it off of Batter's Box. E-mail one of the Batter's Box Roster, and we'll deal with any complaints. Remember, that unlike Usenet, we'll never experience an "Eternal September," because we can regulate who can join, and when.

To all the new users out there: Welcome! You're all welcome here! We welcome your passion, your love of the game (and the Jays, or even the Yankees, if that's your thing), and all your thoughts. We ask only that you try to maintain the high level of discussion you found when you arrived here. If in doubt, "lurk" for a while, reading what people have to say and how they say it. But never be discouraged! We're happy to have everyone who wants to make a contribution, and we'll never say no to a smart baseball fan.

AOL shut down its Usenet access in early 2005, finally bringing to an end September of 1993. The crush of new users never ended, though, especially once the Internet became the huge part of culture that it has become, and so Usenet has never regained its stature.

Baltimore 7, Jays Zaroo: The Eternal September | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#127193) #
Joe, this is really interesting, but you know so much more about it than I do, I have nothing to add and no intelligent questions to ask. So let me go on a tangent off your first line and ask this instead ...

Seriously, what the hell happened to Baltimore?
R Billie - Thursday, September 01 2005 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#127204) #
I really think the turning point for them was the injury to Bedard. After that he was slow to come back and the club started getting frustrated with him. Cabrera started getting a lot more inconsistent. Ponson hardly ever performed up to his contract though I don't think that should have been much of a surprise (and I hope the Jays don't pursue Washburn for the same reason).

Also, Brian Roberts is still playing at a high level but seriously, this guy was hitting close to a Barry Bonds level for the first several weeks of the season. That couldn't possibly have lasted. And you take Lopez out of the lineup for several weeks. Matos couldn't stay in the lineup consistently. Bigbie wasn't hitting much. The whole thing with Palmeiro.

But all that said that team is just 3 or 4 games behind the Jays. The Jays are viewed as having had a decent season and the Orioles are viewed as having had a disastrous one. Yet I think realistically these were the two teams that would have been battling for third place anyway.
Baltimore 7, Jays Zaroo: The Eternal September | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.