Flash Crowd

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Flash Crowd was the title of a 1970s short story by the science fiction author Larry Niven, one of a series about the consequences of instantaneous, practically free teleportation booths that could take one anywhere on earth in millseconds.

One consequence, not predicted by the builders of the system, was that with the almost instantaneous reporting of newsworthy events, tens of thousands of people worldwide would flock to the scene of anything interesting (plus criminals, hoping to exploit the instant disorder and confusion so created).

On the World Wide Web, a similar phenomenon can occur, when some web site catches the attention of a large number of people, and gets an unexpected and overloading surge of traffic: a notorious example is the Slashdot effect