Meme: "Time Traveling Robots".
Originator: An Internet troll originally going under the name "Rondo", although a wide variety of subsequent usernames were used.
Cultural Height: April of 2012 through early 2013
Background: It started innocently enough. A question posted by a new user, asking about the Terminator franchise. Then another, again, seemingly innocently enough.
And then it began.
A question was posted asking for a list of all movies involving time traveling robots. It was closed as off-topic as an open-ended list.
Another question was posted to replace it. It was closed as well.
Rondo implied that he believed time traveling robots were real, and expressed frustration with his eventual reluctant conclusion that Terminator 2 was fictional:
The new question feed started filling up with questions about time traveling robots. Some of them were disguised, starting off as seemingly legitimate questions, only to throw in a bit about time traveling robots at the end.
Others were blatant, asking every possible variation of questions involving time traveling robots conceivable.
Classical examples of early time traveling robots were sought:
User accounts were banned or destroyed, only to have a new series of questions posted under a new account. John Connor quailed in despair. K-9 contemplated suicide by sonic screwdriver. Even Bender swore off a life of crime. All to no avail.
Aliases were created, usually some sort of anagram of "Rondo", and various scatological themes were incorporated into his obsession with robots.
Rondo's quest spread to other sites, as well:
Eventually, the influx of time traveling robot questions stopped.
And then started again.
A user going by the same original username eventually showed up, and started posting questions that seem legitimate. Some of them didn't even involve time traveling robots. It is uncertain whether there is any relationship between this account and the original trolls.
Consipiracy theories were formulated, speculating on the possible identity of the original perpetrator.
Regardless, the spam thankfully ended, but ever since the concept of time traveling robots has had a special place on our site, and the original spam would be referenced for a long time after.
Eventually, it would go on to inspire a blog post