alt.toys.transformers, usually referred to by its initials ATT, is an outstandingly ancient Usenet newsgroup which was the de facto center of internet Transformers fandom in the 1990s. The group was created on September 11, 1993 to replace an awkward "mailing list" (really just a bunch of people manually sending email to a long list of recipients) that had started after Transformers nostalgia broke out in the newsgroup rec.arts.animation.
Although ATT's importance to the fandom faded in the late 90s with the advent of the more popular web-based message boards, for several years it was essentially the only community space available to fans outside of newsletters and clubs which still operated by snail mail. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that ATT was the fandom during those years.
This newsgroup was where many of the fandom's colloquial terms and fanon originated or were popularized, such as alternate mode, kibble, and seeker. Although ATT is essentially obsolete these days, much of today's Transfandom culture is derived from the community that once thrived there.
In the later 90s, as the number of participants in alt.toys.transformers grew, a few splinter newsgroups were spun off, although none of them ever matched the success or popularity of the original. These other groups were:
- alt.toys.transformers.marketplace - Created in December 1996 to separate sales and auction posts from the discussions in ATT.
- alt.toys.transformers.fanfic - Created in January 1998 to create a special-interest forum for the posting and discussion of Transformers fanfic without needing to sort through other discussions on ATT.
- alt.toys.transformers.classic.moderated - Created in May 1998 to create a special-interest forum for Generation One discussion without needing to sort through the then-dominant Beast Wars discussions on ATT.
- rec.toys.transformers.moderated and rec.toys.transformers.marketplace - Created in May 1998 in an attempt to move Transformers discussions from the alt.* hierarchy to the Big Eight.
- alt.toys.transformers at Google Groups
- In the beginning - A personal recount of the early days of internet Transfandom, by Phil "Skyjammer" Zeman.
- TF newsgroup control messages - Found at the bottom of this page are the original "newgroup" commands that created all of the Transformers newsgroups.