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Copypasta is internet slang for any block of text that gets copied and pasted over and over again, typically disseminated by individuals through online discussion forums and social networking sites. Although it shares some characteristics with spam in the sense they’re both unsolicited (and often considered a nuisance), copypastas are mainly spread through human operators whereas the latter is automatically generated by electronic messaging systems.
This simple concept of “manually copying text from one place and pasting it elsewhere” has been in practice since the innovation of basic text-editing commands (copy/cut/paste) in the early 1980s and subsequent rise of spamming in the early 1990s.
According to Wikipedia entry, American computer scientist Larry Tesler is widely cited as the pioneer of “cut and paste” commands, who first transferred the function into a computer text-editing software in 1974.
Etymology of Copypasta
An English portmanteau of “copy” & “paste”, the term “copypasta” is believed to have been coined by 4chan’s Anon community circa 2006. One of the earliest reference articles on “copypasta” was submitted to Encyclopedia Dramatica in September 2006. Outside of English-speaking regions, such text-based memes are referred by indigenous names.
For more specific instances of copypasta, check out the sub-meme entries for details and the comments section below.