From the mid-90s to the early 2000s, the Internet was a roomier landscape. People tended to congregate in AOL chat rooms, but if you were a little savvier, you found a home on your favorite band's message board. For me, that band was Weezer, and I wiled away many Friday nights on their message board, discussing everything non-Weezer related — from the meaning of life to the meaning of those "Got Milk?" ads.
I've met many others with message board histories. The band may have been different (Saves the Day, Foo Fighters, uh, Stone Temple Pilots), but the culture was essentially the same. If you were one of those poor saps who actually had a social life during your teenage years, here's an A-Z guide to obsessive boardies.
Admin (aka “mod” or “moderator”): Either ruled the message board with an iron fist or let all hell break lose. Usually had some level of reverence and authority over boardies, and a number of groupies.
Banning: The act of having your IP address blocked from the board. Highest form of punishment administrated by admin. True boardies always found a way around this.
Censor: For fun, certain words or phrases were censored on the board by a mod. Weezer fans hated the words “hash pipe” while the Foo Fighters board took particular offense at “Cobain” or “Kurt.”
DM: Short for Direct Message. If a fellow boardie chose this form of contact, they were either conducting serious business or sending nudes.
Emoticon: Not just relegated to facial expressions. Everything from a bouquet of roses to a challenging sexual position can be emoti-cized.
Flame War: When boredom struck, boardies sometimes decided to “invade” other boards (Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Pregnant Over 50) and cause general mayhem.
Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."
HTML: The best way to dress up a post. Go big with < b > bold < / b > or subtle with < i > italics < / i >. Hell, why not throw in a <scrolling marquee>?
Icon: Avatars were the windows to your soul. Choose a bad one, and it could later be mocked with the flick of a Photoshop crop.
Jargon: Every board has its own. On the Weezer board, popular acronyms included BYF (“Brick Your Face,” used as a warning) and “PIIMB” (“Put It In My Butt,” used by adolescent boys to discuss latent desires.)
Kazaa (see also Napster, Limewire): Ways to get your hands on Neutral Milk Hotel b-sides fast enough to keep up with that discussion on Jeff Mangum's psyche.
Love: The occasional result of late-night AIM conversations, constant streams of DMs, and matching avatars. Sometimes they met in real life, sometimes their love blossomed solely over mailed mixtapes.
Meet Ups: When the forum's eponymous band came to a town populated with more than three boardies, a meet up was scheduled. Often awkward, often uncomfortable, these would later result in AIM conversations never being the same again.
N00b: Newbies to the boards were hazed by mocked replies or ignored threads. A 1000+ post count was needed before the chance of being taken seriously.
Oink: The sophisticated choice for illegal music torrents. Sadly shut down by the feds in 2007.
Pic Thread: The best way to show off to your boardie crush was to post a Myspace-angled picture of yourself in one of the daily pic threads. If he/she was into it, they'd respond with an equally foreshortened self-portrait.
Quiet: If an out-spoken boardie disappears for months with nary a post or log-in, rumors of death start to circulate. Or worse, a job.
Rivers Cuomo: Every board has an idol, and that idol is meant to be mocked. By the mid-2000s, we Weezer boardies had lost our faith in Rivers Cuomo, causing an endless cycle of self-hatred that 90s Rivers would have loved.
Signature: An automatic signature at the end of each post was just as telling as one's avatar. You can be mysterious and have no signature at all, or you can be that guy and have 5-6 Tarantino quotes and multiple links to your vlog channels.
Troll: He posts pictures of mating elephants in the pic thread. He hijacks the “My sister has leukemia” thread with Korn lyrics. He hacks the admin account and sends everyone viruses. He is almost always a he.
Unf: The sound boardie pervs make when young, nubile boardies post in the pic threads.
Viral: For whatever reason, certain threads found fame outside of our small community, and this was always surprising in the pre-Reddit Internet. For the Weezer board, it was the "Boners in Math Class" thread.
WTF: Band message boards rarely discussed the band they were devoted to. Instead, WTF-inducing threads would explore one boardie's suspicious-looking mole or Patrick Swayze's career circa 1990-1995.
X-Post: The mark of a spambot. Crossposting threads from one board to another resulted in an instant ban.
Y2K: Where were you on the eve of the new millennium? If you were a boardie, it was just another night in front of the computer, spending the impending apocalypse with a group of online beings who you have never met but know on a frighteningly intimate level.
Zero: The number of posts a “lurker” has. Lurkers are happy to just observe and usually do not even acknowledge their relationship with the board until their twenties, when they write blog posts about it.