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Commonly abbreviated to SHWI. One of the first AH sites on the internet, predating AH.com.
It began as a Usenet discussion group, hence the somewhat odd name.
Noted for producing such timelines and alternate history projects as:
SHWI also created the Mosaic Earth 1 gaming project and the Alison Brooks-coined concept of the Alien Space Bats. Needless to say, a lot of the early AH online community concepts and lingo got their start on SHWI.
In April 2018, AH.commers discovered that the last remnant of soc.history.what-if has been shut down, apparently after being inflicted by heavy spammer or spambot activity. SHWI seems to have passed into history…
Former SHWI regulars on AH.com
Plenty of the older members of AH.com - the founding members in particular - had experience with the SHWI newsgroup. Some newer AH.com members count as well, often having returned to the AH genre after several years. Here is a sample of a few notable former SHWI members who are now members of AH.com and have contributed to the site over the years.
AH.com discussions about SHWI
Soc.history.what-if - General discussion from November 2007, on the history of the newsgroup and its status in the late 2000s.
So spammers/spambots have finally killed soc.history.what-if it appears - Sad news about the seemingly final demise of the newsgroup, in April 2018.