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Alternate history as a concept and genre of fiction.
Timeline. Either refers to only the timeline of an alternate history scenario or (increasingly more often) to the scenario as a whole.
What if ? The basic question that leads to alternate history ideas. What if this or that had happened otherwise than in real history, etc. This acronym can mostly be seen in the pre-1900 and post-1900 forums of the board, where it is used by board members while suggesting points of divergence.
Alternate Timeline. A single, specific alternate universe and its history.
(I)OTL and (I)TTL
“In Our Timeline” and ”(In) This Timeline”
Point of divergence or points of divergence. A point in which an ATL branches out from OTL, creating an alternate history.
Alien Space Bats. A plot-device creature capable of ISOTing anything up to whole planets, to allow time travel and teleportation, to create and destroy life, make everyone change sex and give them the arms of a bear, and so on. Used as an explanation for scenarios which are magical or otherwise unlikely. By AH.com Convention, this category also includes WIs within fictional universes, such as Star Wars.
Derived from the name of the novel Island In the Sea of Time, written by S. M. Stirling. On AH.com, “ISOT” is used as both a verb (magically transporting an area of Earth through time) and a noun (the name for a timeline that involves an ISOT, or a reference to the event). Strictly speaking, the term “ISOT” should only be applied when it concerns a large area (such as a country or island), but AH.commers have taken to using it in lieu of the 'time travel' or 'teleportation to the past' concepts in general (e. g. as in the phrase “I'll ISOT myself to the year 1914”).
Alternate History Challenge” (often just “Challenge:”). A challenge to create a specific type of alternate history scenario, preferrably in the most realistic/plausible manner possible. Often doubles as a “What if ?” or “How can I create such an AH scenario ?” question.
“Plausibility check”, a close relative of the WI and AHC style of discussion thread. As its name implies, it isn't purely about spitballing what if ideas, but focuses rather on discussing the plausibility of a potential what if idea (e.g. “PC: Can the modern Kingdom of Norway found overseas colonies in the Pacific with a POD after 1920 ?”).
Double Blind What If
Future Blind What If, derived by analogy from DBWI. Appearing in the Future History subform, FBWIs generally consist of roleplaying and never actually ask “What If?”.
The Universal Colour Scheme
Soc-history-what-if. Another, older AH forum, kind of a spiritual predecessor to AH.com. Currently defunct.
The timeline of the Southern Victory book series (written by Harry Turtledove), referring to its POD centered on Robert E. Lee's Special Order 191 (failed in OTL, succesful in the ATL of the series).
The Decades of Darkness timeline
The Look to the West timeline
The Lands of Red and Gold timeline
The Fight and Be Right timeline
Hundred Years' War
Seven Years War
American Revolutionary War/American War of Independence
English Civil War
American Civil War
Russian Civil War
World War 1 / The First World War
World War 2 / The Second World War
Confederate States of America
Holy Roman Empire. Also used in the verb/phrase 'HRE-ise', which means even wilder balkanisation than the usual one.
Austria-Hungary. Not to be confused with the “AH” acronym.
War of Independence
Hall of Infamy
President of the United States
A relatively new term coined by AHF, and adopted by others. The NOOBWI thread involves the board members taking on the personas of Alternate History N00bs. NOOBWI threads are marked by relatively basic AH questions (ex: WI the Nazis won WWII), and a near total disregard for conventional AH, particularly the Butterfly effect. It is currently frowned upon as a tired joke and has become a banned form of WI on the board, so don't use it.
Other typical internet abbreviations (e. g. IIRC, TBH, IMHO, BTW, OMG) are used the same way as on any other discussion board.
AH where one nation is distinctly preferred, more than would be a.) understandable, b.) realistic and/or c.) tasteful. Typical nationwanks : USA conquers both American continents. Russia conquers Eurasia. Japan creates its Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The British Empire/The Ottoman Empire/Austria-Hungary/The Roman Empire/Napoleon's Empire lives until today and becomes yet even stronger. Germany wins WW1 or WW2. Etc. There are also non-national forms of Wank, such as ”techwank”, in which the side with the superior technology (especially in ISOTs from the future) ALWAYS wins, and we're expected to cheer. For even more outrageous scenarios, Doctor What and David Bar Elias coined the term “nation-bukkake”.
The breakup of one nation into many smaller ones. Used outside of AH contexts as well.
A state being neutralised by agreement between greater powers. A reference to the treatment of Finland by the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. Used outside of AH contexts as well.
“The sea-mammal that shall not be named”
See Operation Sealion.
Big-Arsed Map, or Big-Assed Map. Very large map. A Q-BAM is a BAM made by Qazaq2007.
The preferred term on the board for stories/scenarios that were intended to predict the future at the time they were written, but that time is in our distant past so they are kind of like AH, but unintentionally so. An example is H.G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come.
Wacky Hijinks (or “hijinx”)
A gallows humour euphemism for “colonial oppression”, and more specifically “actual colonial oppression” as opposed to fantasies invented by twelfth-generation immigrants. Example: “The idea that Britain deliberately let Ireland suffer during the potato famine is ludicrous, but there is no denying that English and British people did get up to Wacky Hijinks there over the years”. A modern equivalent to describe suspected war crimes is ”[state] is doing naughty things to [group of people]“
Mostly attributed with the ISOT, whereas a “Swiss Cheesed” Earth has many nations from different TL's and/or with a single nation of that said Earth left behind. It is the staple/mainstay of the Shared Earth Forum and has a history stemming from the First Mosaic Earth game on the Old Board. To date it is either on it's 20th or 22nd incarnation, depending on who one is asking, and if one has even kept up with the numbering.
Archaic English for “thank you”, an abbreviation of thank ye (using the now unused singular form of you, 'ye'). Has become popular on the forum since Thande used it a lot in his TABAE stories.
Interesting (in the Chinese sense)
As in the alleged Chinese curse 'may you live in interesting times'. Used if you want to describe a war or a genocide as intellectually 'interesting', but to acknowledge that using the word alone would sound insensitive.
Ideological Circlejerking is the creation of a thread or multiple posts within a thread whose purpose is ideological and political self gratification, generally little supported by fact or common sense. The term is purposed for the more heinous of ideological self gratifications. These are also often flamebait and common in Future history.
This is a poetic shorthand related to the New Board administration. Short explanation: It's used when a board member is on vacation. Longer explanation: It is used when a board member is busy and wants to prevent himself from visiting the board instead of doing something more productive, so he asks the admin or moderators of the board to temporarily ban or kick him. Of course, since these are temporary and voluntary forms of banning, they are not considered as infractions against board policy by the member who requested them. Some AH.commers dislike this phenomennon, since there is no separate lable for these temporary bans - many members have repeatedly freaked out because they though another friend of their's from the board has been permanently banned. This has led to many members asking Ian the Admin for a possible addition of an official “Gone Fishing” lable. Eventually, a thread called ”The Pond” was created to catalogue the board members who have gone fishing, in order to dispell any confusion over who was kicked/banned for real and who wasn't.