Early social media — the online distributed forum system everyone used to use on the Internet. It hosted “newsgroups” (specialized forums), and sf groups were very active:
- alt.sex.bondage aka a.s.b (ay*es*be): by extension, the initialism refers to anyone who enjoys BDSM sexual games. A small group of fans participating in such at cons unfortunately opened the door to parasitic mundane S/M enthusiasts who found our conventions convenient playgrounds, with a devastating effect on at least one East Coast con.
- rec.arts.sf.fandom aka rasff, pronounced “rass-eff”: the Usenet newsgroup that, for its time, was probably the closest net equivalent to general fandom. A lot of fanzine and convention fans tended to hang out there. The group was very important in the 1990s, and could have been said to have been a focal point of fandom during that decade. rec.arts.sf.fandom archives on Google Groups.
Changing technologies, the appearance of new social media, and greatly increased interpersonal friction over politics, post-9/11, contributed to participant attrition so that by the mid-2000s, many of the fans had migrated largely to Live Journal, personal blogs, and other newer channels, and later to Facebook.
It still exists, in a way, as Google Groups.
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