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“First!”is a cliché comment written by internet users to mark their initial discovery of a previously uncommented post. Due to its insubstantial nature, the practice is often perceived as a type of trolling behavior meant to frustrate and annoy other users. While the phenomenon remains most prominent on the English-speaking web, similar methods of chain commenting have been also observed on non-English language websites.
According to the Wikipedia entry for “First Post”, the first English-language website where the commenting practice became a noticeable issue was the technology news site Slashdot, which launched in September 1997. On the site, the first comment would be displayed above the rest in chronological order, often resulting in users replying with “First post!” or “FP!”
After the community news site Fark was launched in 1999, a word filter was enabled that would change the words “first post” to “boobies” and time-warp the comment to be 12 hours in the future, preventing it from appearing at the top. On June 21st, 2000, the Wayback Machine archived a snapshot of the online retailer Geek Culture, which featured a t-shirt with the words “First Post!” screen printed on the front.
On January 2nd, 2005, Livejournal user Khrisnege published a post titled “First comment, suckers!”, which questioned why the commenting practice was becoming prevalent on "Livejournal"http://www.knowyourmeme.com/memes/livejournal posts. On June 24th, the tech news blog Engadget announced that their commenting system had been switched off due to excessive trolling and “first post!” comments. On November 15th, 2006, Amazon Askville user UltraNurd submitted the question “Why do people try to get the ‘first post’ on Internet forums?”, to which user Morbus replied that the practice began on Slashdot due to the difficulty of being the first to comment on a post. On April 2nd, 2007, YouTuber CasimirN uploaded a video titled “First!” (shown below), which featured a man sitting at a computer typing the word on every article he stumbles across online. The video has gained more than a million views as of July 2012.
On October 28th, 2008, the Cheezburger site Graphjam published a Venn diagram titled “Why People Write ‘First’ in the Comments”, featuring the sets “because they are first”, “because they think they are first” and “because they are idiots” (shown below). On December 10th, the viral content site BuzzFeed reposted the diagram.
On February 10th, 2009, Urban Dictionary user dtsergiu submitted an entry for “first”, which was later selected as the “Urban Word of the Day” in February of 2011.
“A word that is said when you are the first one to post a comment on a video, picture, article on the net.”
On December 20th, a Facebook page titled “Oh thats cool you were the first comment want a cookie?” was created, which received over 252,000 likes within four years. On February 5th, 2010, the gaming news blog Game Informer published an article titled “People Who Write ‘First!’ In Comments Sections Should Be Banned From The Web”, which argued that the commenting practice stifled meaningful discussions in articles online.
Several YouTubers have uploaded videos parodying “first” comments, many of which criticize the practice as being annoying and juvenile.
Patton Oswald Skit
On May 12th, 2012, the Internet humor site Funny or Die published a promotional video for the 16th Annual Webby Awards featuring Patton Oswald performing a skit in which he pretends to be the first “first” commenter.
Amazon Askville – Who do people try to get the first post on internet forums