History of the word "Suntherian"
Every now and again when I read about this word I wind up frustrated with how people misrepresent it's meaning. I realize that this is probably in part because -- well you have no way to know the truth. So here goes:
The word "Suntherian" was originally defined during a discussion on a previous iteration of the Werelist forums in 2005. The contents of this forum have since been lost (the site went offline and as far as I can tell, the admins of the site don't have any backups), but what has survived are some of the mentions that the various parties involved in that conversation, also left elsewhere.
The thread on that Werelist forum was authored by the younger me. I had created a thread asking if my experience of Therianthropy could be what is called Contherianthropy. I was pretty sure this was it, however I didn't want to just assume, I wanted to ask someone else so that it would be objective. Various members of that forum joined in on that conversation as well as Jakkal (a firm proponent of the idea that I was wrong about what Conterianthropy is) and WordWolf (a voice of reason).
Jakkal's main argument against my position, was that Contherianthropy was defined by Lion Templin in 1997 as always having the same perfect ratio of animal and human. I argued this was impractical, because every therian (being human) experiences feelings and emotions and these affect how much of the animal or the human surfaces at a given time, therefore the ratio not being unchanging.
The discussion polarized, with Jakkal continuing to maintain, that the literal interpretation of Lion Templin's words, although impractical, was the only correct one and that only Lion Templin himself could say otherwise. And so WordWolf, with the intention of resolving the stalemate, introduced a new word: Suntherian. It was to mean the exact same thing as "Contherian", except that WordWolf, rather than Lion Templin, was therefore authorized to define how his words were to be interpreted, given that he was the creator of the word.
WordWolf discussed his position on his Christian Therianthropy forum (which has since survived as an archive). And Jakkal discussed her position in her Livejournal (which is also still around). However as the original conversation was lost, people who researched the word in the later years, were getting a distorted image of what the intention behind the whole thing was.
To my dismay, even people considered legitimate sources of information on Therianthropy, have later appropriated the meaning of the word, to be somehow separate from Contherianthropy and more flexible, which it never was. And needless to say, people who were inclined to accept Jakkal's position, had thought of the word as the needless nonsensical abomination that Jakkal portrayed it to be.
Given that it's been 13 years since I had that particular conversation, I don't care if you prefer to use the word "suntherian" or "contherian". My main concern here is that by distorting the meaning of the word, people have produced descriptions of what a "suntherian" is, that matches nobody's experience and only creates confusion. This is bad for the community, because it causes people to have arguments about nothing and detracts from the goal of creating a clear explanation of what the Therianthropic experience actually is.
As I've discussed here on Therian Guide, it seems that many people experience Therianthropy as Suntherianthropy (or Contherianthropy, if you must; though many prefer to use neither of the two words). It seems some people become more like suntherians as they grow older and as they learn to become more integrated with their animal aspect. And some do not.
Most notably, some people describe a "sliding-scale" experience, which has been associated with modern appropriations of the word "Suntherian": meaning they sometimes become more likely to experience their animal aspects, and other times less likely to do so, which I -- being the original Suntherian -- have never experienced. Perhaps there is something of note here to be described in a new word or so.
Hopefully in the future we come up with words for better reasons than to resolve Internet arguments.
Most problems are man-made.