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…
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.
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.