This page shows the history of the incelosphere in the forum of an incelosphere timeline. The incelosphere is defined as all communities and websites focused on incel. The history of incel itself is much more broad, and you can find that at our Incel Timeline.
Pre-internet grievance spaces and matchmaking groups
Prior to the internet, there were some IRL grievance spaces and matchmaking groups focused on alleviating involuntary sexual abstinence, and this part of the incelosphere encompasses thousands of years.
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- 199x - The first shyness (and seduction) Usenet groups
- Although the term “incel” did exist in the late-90s, the most common term in the incelosphere used to refer to involuntarily celibate people in the 90’s was, “socially anxious men,” on the alt.support.shyness Usenet Group and “AFC” meaning “average frustrated chump” on the alt.seduction.fast (ASF) Usenet newsgroup.
- 1997 - The first, self-identified, cybercelospherian community
- The usenet group alt.support.shyness populates the first explicit incel community called: Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project (which was an email listserv). This listserv coined the neologisms “incel” and “INVCEL”. The goal of Alana’s project was to promote sympathetic and insightful academic research on incel people. Alana’s mailing list was a feminist forum, and Alana had created the first incel forum as a lesbian with dating experience. Alana stopped maintaining the forum around 2003.
- 1998 - Shyness Usenet group populates the first cybercelospherian community
- In 1998, members of alt.support.shyness were explicitly invited to Alana’s incel listserv to help it become more active and something of a community.
- 1998 - First self-identified incel forum using conventional forum software forms
- A year after Alana’s first incel forum, in 1998, the first online German incel person community, Parsimonyforum 3708 of the Absolute Beginners, was established using conventional forum software (instead of an email listserv, which is what Alana used).
- 1999 - Pill Jargon enters mainstream lexicon
- Laurence Fishburne whilst starring as Morpheus in the film The Matrix, narrates the line “You take the blue pill, the story ends here, you wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill ... and I'll show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.” This quote subsequently becomes eulogized with “blue pill” and “red pill” eventually becoming eponyms for entire philosophies in the incelosphere as well as adjacent communities.
In 2000, Beate Küpper, wrote a psychology dissertation called, “Are singles different from the others?: a comparison of singles and couples”, exploring the causes of, “involuntary singles”, as opposed to, “voluntary singles”. In 2002, she later publishes the book called, “Are singles different? A Comparison of Singles and Couples Series: Focal Points of Personality.”
In 2000, a charity for disabledcels is launched called TLC Trust along with a website. The Yahoo support group groups/loveshy-drgilmartin was created in 2002. In 2003, love-shy.com started as an anonymous board before it switched to non-anonymous a couple years later. In 2004, the first-ever female-centric community of the incelosphere was created on Yahoo with groups/loveshy-women. The Japanese inspired image-board 4chan also started this year as an anonymous community. In 2004, Alana’s former community moved to a new forum called incelsite, and it was then rebranded to incelSupport in 2006 and hopped across at least three different domain names. In 2004, Tectum Verlag, a German scientific book publisher publishes Olaf Wickenhöfer’s study of, “involuntary single[s]”, called, “Unfreiwillig Single: Eine Studie zur Sozialisationsgeschichte und kulturellen Alltagspraxis”, citing Denise Donnelly, Brian Gilmartin, and Beate Küpper, as well as his own study. In 2006, Arne Hoffmann publishes a book called, “Untouched”, or, “Unberührt”, chronicling the stories of 11 incel people, as well as reviewing the available literature on the subject and publishing new essays on the subject of incel. In 2006, the Japanese Marxist incelospherian group Kakuhido emerged, doing public protests of Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and White Day all that same year. In 2007, the first website of the French incelosphere is founded, Virginite-tardive.fr, which is entirely in the French language.
- 2001 - First academic study explicitly covering incels
- Alana got her wish and a sympathetic and insightful academic piece on incel people was published, specifically polling the members of her listserv. This research was published and is colloquially known as the Donnelly Study referring to its main sociologist Denise Donnelly. The terms “incel” and “involuntary celibate” subsequently became valid sociological terms.
In 2008, 4chan’s r9k board appeared, a hikikomori board that never self-identified as incel, but male hikikomoris are generally involuntarily celibate. Since 2008, r9k defined most of what media as of 2018 refers to as “incel subculture.” Also, in 2008, the first clip of the unreleased US incel documentary The Incel Project was uploaded to blip.tv. The developing documentary seemed to have stalled sometime between 2012 and 2014. In the same year, the vlogging community of the True Forced Loneliness “movement” started, a space adjacent to incel boards that initially consisted of three vloggers and a website complaining about dating from a societal perspective. In 2009, love-shy.com came under the adminship of an extremely anti-feminist admin for a couple years. This is the same year that the PSL boards started, a sequential group of raucous forums that happened to contain a lot of involuntary celibates. r/ugly is a semi-incelospherian subreddit that was created in March 2009. The website loveshyproject.com was also created in 2009. The same year, the website involuntarycelibacy.com was created.
In 2011, the subreddit r/foreveralone was founded, which would go on to become one of the largest and most feminist spaces of the incelosphere. In 2013, incelSupport crashed, and all forum posts were lost in the process. In 2014, Robin Sprenger published academic literature on incel called, “Male Absolute Beginner: A Communication Science Approach to Explaining Partnerlessness”, which is self-explanatory. It was published by Springer VS.
In 2014 a reiteration of incelSupport was attempted as yourenotalone.info, but was quickly abandoned due to lack of interest. Wizchan began in 2014. Also in 2014, the PSL boards now all contained 'rate me' subforums, thus further ingraining blackpilled concepts such as lookism in the incelosphere. During 2014–2015, the incel presence on Reddit began, mostly through Caamib from love-shy.com, starting with the extremely anti-feminist subreddits: r/truecels and r/incels. While r/incels technically started before r/truecels, r/incels was dormant until it was used as a ban evasion of r/truecels. The emergence of incelphobic forums like inceltears and leftbook tag groups began the start of the Battle of Incelistan. In 2017 the Facebook group incelistan began but not as a response to the similarly titled Battle of Incelistan, but more as a response to incelphobic leftbook tag groups. Almost all the members of Incelistan came from the Facebook group Ancapistan and not any subreddit or established incel forum. In November 2017 r/incels and r/truecels were banned, with some in those subreddits moving to the new sites incel.life and incels.co.
In 2017, the Netherland government got rid of its 25-year policy that made sex a human right in the Netherlands, no longer providing reimbursements to disabled people seeking legal hookers.
Incel.life was shut down in 2018, due to efforts by Babe Magazine. In early 2018, Alana decided to rebrand her abandoned research project to “Love not Anger,” while claiming that the term “incel” has acquired negative connotations. Although the trueforcedloneliness.com website is no longer operational, there nevertheless are many sporadic blogs and vlogs wherein content creators self-identify as TFLers.
In mid-2018, Incel Wiki starts as incels.info. In 2018, Braincels was quarantined from Reddit on the basis of misogyny.
In 2019, the largest incelphobic group: Found the Incel, was banned from the internet by Facebook for violent speech after an outing of sample posts on YouTube by William and courageous flagging by Master and others.
That year, the Washington Post and other outlets released articles detailing how rates of celibacy among men between ages 18–30 was approaching 30% per year (an all-time high), validating the intuition of many incel forums, and ending some of the gaslighting directed at incels. This became one of the largest topics of discussion across the entire incelosphere.
In mid-2019 love-shy.com took down their FAQ page on incel people in a distancing attempt while also allowing their most extreme incel people to stay on the site. Also, the same year a podcast devoted to incel topics by a non-incel was started called The Incel Project (Podcast), which has absolutely no association with the previous The Incel Project (Documentary).
In September 2019, incelmatics was launched. It is notable for being the first YouTube channel run by an incel person community instead of an individual. Their community being a few dozen people on Discord. The leader, jet112 a graphic designer, started putting a lot of effort into creating or commissioning documentaries, art pieces, and the first large, incel-run podcast.
On September 31, 2019, Reddit’s “Braincels”, one of the most popular and well-known incel forums was banned due to new rules being made by Reddit on the spot. Braincels was given no notice. Users moved to incels.co, incelistan.net, incelswithouthate, reddit.com/r/celouts, saidit.net/s/incels, or simply stopped using incel forums. Smaller forums went into high gear to attract Braincels users, however no mass exodus happened, leaving some wondering how many real users were on Braincels in the first place.
In April 2020, inceltears shut down with the message, “That’s all folks, we're done”, after a mod removed the rest of the mods then deleted their account.
Also in April 2020, incels dot wiki splits into four different wikis, some larger, some smaller, over an admin tussle and disputes about a blackpiller editor. Not long afterward, Reddit bans all blackpill subreddits, including r/shortcells, blackpillfeminism, and many more, leaving incelswithouthate as the only sanctioned incel board left on Reddit.