So, similar to a whitewashing, I’d say it was a ponywashing

When I started noticing?
It was a turning point where it was moving from being either grown men who saw it as a “colorful and friendly” version of Dungeons and Dragons, with sarcastic ponies or grown pervy men who were fetishing the ponies (as a substitute for little girls) …

…and was becoming sanitized as “kid friendly” because actual boys (bros) were becoming bronies and the adult-only playground had to basically shove off to the darker corners of the internet.

It was fascinating to watch the cultural sanitation and any kids who jumped on board at that time would never see the “dark side” stuff until much later. as they got older and dove deeper if at all. They never had to because it was tucked away.

But to those that ventured into the tucked away places such as the various imageboards like 4chan or sites where they shared the fetish art, they’d also encounter the other dark stuff in those places, the neo-nazism, racism, incel (anti women), anti-semitism, etc.

But interestingly enough, as a collective group I’d say they generally managed to hold on to “a lot of” the innocence but they incorporated it into their world as well.

So, similar to a whitewashing, I’d say it was a ponywashing: it’s kind of acceptable if it’s a cutie-mark but maybe stay away from that part of the village.

Yeah, I saw signs of it even then. I was more focused on watching a pervy culture get mostly sanitized rather quickly, which I saw in a few other places as well – the power of a whole generation of kids getting online at once compelled the subculture changes. Same thing happened with furries.

To shorten,

Yes: “weird hipster-flavored nerd cult thing”

And also the space for expanding into neonazi territory was there and there were hints of it as some of the it started getting darker.

It was a heydey for it though and lots of people joined particularly when there was good music surround it and spook halloween-y elements, characters outside of canon that were bloody murderers, pony version of famous serial killers — while they also enjoyed the sarcastic little ponies in the little village as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPfMb50dsOk

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