It appears to have been started on 01 November 1991 by Laura Lemay. The oldest posts Google has are from the 4th of November, but a couple of them are responses to what appear to be posts on the 2nd.
The first "Is x gothic?" post was on 03 November 1991. In this case x = Fields of the Nephilim, and someone asked in a non-troll like fashion if SoM were Goth.
The first"What is goth?" post was at 17:27 on 04 November 1991.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
After A While
Three years later, some of the regulars had the bright idea that doing this in the same physical location with alcohol & music would be a really good idea.
Alt.gothic is a USENET newsgroup for goths. USENET is an absolutely huge discussion for virtually anything, started in 1979. A newsgroup is a subject-oriented subsection of USENET. Newsreaders.com has a general discussion of how to get yourself hooked up to USENET. Many ISPs already maintain USENET news servers available for their customers' use without additional charge, and many news clients are available for free or very low cost as well.
For those without the interest to maintain a separate tool for reading the newsgroup, there are several alternatives:
- Google Groups provides a web-based interface to alt.gothic
- Google also provides a read-only RSS Feed. Atom feed is also available. See Google's alt.gothic feed list for additional feed information and feeds.
- LiveJournal has a syndication of this feed that can be added to friends pages. As this can easily overwhelm a Friends List, there's also a syndicated feed of the more-topical alt.gothic.convergence.
Divergence - Some of the regulars couldn't make it to Convergence IV so they organised a meet up on IRC instead. This is before the days of webcams, wireless or even affordable laptops so usenet was very quiet on Convergence weekends in those days.