R:17 / I:2
/gg/ - General General #5?
Previous thread: >>fuckIunno
The term general has the surprisingly commonplace problem of referring to multiple things that get mixed up.
Originally there was general discussion, some topic that was discussed in general. This historical site from what appears to be 1992 mentions alt.lucid-emacs.help as a place for general discussion of its namesake: https://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/DataSources/News/Groups/alt.html
, and 1993 book The Virtual Community also briefly mentions it as a part of newsgroups: https://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/4.html
The oldest dates I can find for the usage of "general discussion thread" in forums are from 2002 (https://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f226/swedish-residences-general-discussion-18856.html
clearly the term was well known by then) while the shorter "general thread" might be from around '07 (searches are clogged with hardware stuff, if anyone has evidence of it being used earlier I'd appreciate it). Both simply meant talk about a topic in general. The opposite of a general discussion thread would be a "particular" discussion thread which focuses on something specific instead of a broadly chatting about a topic (e.g. would goku be able to beat superman?). It is important to note that a thread can open as a particular but smoothly derail into a general. The opposite can also happen if a particularity is prominent enough to overtake the thread.
Typically, general threads start with a declaration that it is an X thread and a prompt, or just the declaration. These generally last a lot less than they would in a traditional forum, a popular general discussion thread won't be able to live for five years. Of course, if there is continued interested then more threads will be made. Maybe a lot of them. Some of those threads' OPs may have links pointing to new content or frequently posted guides, maybe quotelinks to the next or previous thread to continue the discussion more easily.
Although there had been prior protests against duplicate threads, it's not until 2010 that people started complaining about both "eternal threads" and constant generals. This is one of its oldest instances, which coincidentally likens generals to forums: https://desuarchive.org/a/thread/40944031/#40944503
. I think at that point there was an increase in the amount of general threads and a change in how they were approached or perceived, changing the meaning of the word as well. I wouldn't be able to tell you the details, though. From there, only two years passed until the creation of /vg/, made for the new general.