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Threadjacking is a deliberate attempt at steering a discussion away from the original topic by bringing up another, usually more provoking and completely unrelated, topic. Depending on the context, threadjacking can be used as a timely diversion in the event of awkward discussions or, more commonly, as a form of cheap amusement through trolling.
Changing the subject topic in an online discussion has been in practice since the early days of mailing lists and newsgroups. According to search results, the earliest mention of “threadjacking” can be found in a game-related discussion thread posted via Civilization fan forum in October 2001; the earliest attempt at “threadjacking” on record can be found in an off-topic thread posted via Team XBOX forums in April 2002.
…You think that’s manly nail polish they’re wearing? LOL
This thread is now about duckies and bunnies. Discuss.
- Written by Dad at 04-19-02, 06:10 PM
The Urban Dictionar entry for “threadjacking” was created on December 11th, 2003.
Derivatives / Techniques
Threadjacking still remains a common practice in online forums and chat-rooms. Such attempts are typically made via text replies or image macros tailored for the occasion. Through the years, these threadjackings have evolved and some instances of it have gained their own notable.
Interruptors may not actually completely change the topic of the thread, but instead add a sub-topic of sorts. For instance, people may post Candlejack or Hypnotoad while replying to the topic, but then may cut short of their post as though to imply they have been abducted by Candlej-ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!
In contrast, an unintentional digression from the thread topic is known as Thread Derailment. This occurs when a discussion goes off topic and strays into a new subject without being triggered by a specific “threadjacker.” The end result is the same as a threadjack, but there is no specific culprit responsible for the threadjacking in this case.
During many heated discussions, posters may resort to one of the many forms of Shitposting such as the repetitive posting of Desu or the spamming of Chickun which raises the chance of the topic at hand getting lost.
“This is now an X thread.”
Most often associated with the posting of 60’s Spider-Man images, This is now an X thread. is a phrase that has been used to threadjack topics with great frequency since at least 2009.
“Imma Let You Finish”
After the 2009 MTV Music Video awards, the popular Kanye West Interrupter was often posted and occasionally derailed threads to talk about the incident or Kanye West as a person.
Red Leader Standing By
Though sometimes serving as threads by itself, the popular Star Wars phrase Red Leader Standing By occasionally is known to be used as a threadjacking technique.
Sweetie Belle Derelle
The MLP character Sweetie Belle has been known to be used as a initiating image for a technique known as the Sweetie Belle Derelle and is often used with other memes in a face swapping technique to continue the derail.
Google Trends does not currently show any notable search history for the terms “Threadjacking,” “Thread Derail,” or just “Threadjack,” but does show some searching for the related terms “This thread is now” and “This is now a spiderman thread” as seen below.
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