By Philip N. Zeman, Editor-in-Chief and Guy Who's Been Around All This Time
With respect to the online portion of Transformers fandom, I'm in a unique position here. You see, I've been here a while. Many of you may not know me; I hardly think of myself as one the most well known TransFans online. Heck, when I heard someone refer to me some time ago as an "ATT Elder", I was shocked. I certainly didn't think of me being that big in the Usenet scene.
But, in a way, it's true. As Steve Stonebreaker, the keeper of the alt.toys.transformers FAQ, once said, "Before ATT was, Phil was." Several years ago, Steve asked me for a brief history of the beginnings of online Transfandom, something he could put in one of his FAQs. I happily agreed, and I wrote a small essay detailing my memories. After I sent it to him, he replied that it wasn't quite what he needed, so I wrote something shorter and more to the point. But I asked him if he please not post the original version in any fashion, as I had an idea I might use an expanded version of it at some point in the future.
Now, finally, I'm going to share the results of that original essay with you. I've got a unique perspective on online Transfandom, because I've seen many different pieces of it come and go. While some of this article is written purely from a fact-based background, I will admit that a good portion of this first installment comes directly from my memories and is not a purely historical and factual account.
So come along for the ride. See the birth of online Transfandom -- and its many branches -- as I saw it.
One popular belief is that online Transfandom started with alt.toys.transformers. This is, actually, a fallacy. Other people believe that it began with the Mailing List, and from a certain point of view, they are correct.
But for me, there's a different starting point, and really, only one way the online fandom began....
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