Freedom Of Assembly: Talking

Read at your own risk

This document dates from the early web period, and is kept for archival purposes only. It is no longer updated, and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate.
  1. Freedom Of Assembly
  2. Discussion Groups

You can use the various conferencing services to carry on real-time conversations with large numbers of people. Most of these services are text-only, although a number of MUDs and MOOs are now supporting Web access, which means that they can include pictures and hypertext. See the section on the web for more information about that.

There are two basic types of on-line, real-time gathering grounds: the conference call, and virtual worlds.

Talking: IRCing

Internet Relay Chat is pretty much one big text-only convention center. You’ve got lots of people in various chat rooms talking about vast numbers of topics. At any given time, there can be hundreds of different chat rooms, and you can create your own chat room if you like.

Each room is like a conference call with two to a hundred people.

You’ll need special software to get onto the IRC. Look on Download.Com for anything with “IRC” in the title.

IRCs use “slash” commands. Everything that you type that doesn’t start with a slash is something you say. Everyone else can “hear” you say it. If you type something with a slash in front of it, the IRC server assumes you’re trying to tell it something. One of the more common slash commands is /help. You’ll also use /list to list the available channels, and /join to join a channel. You have to “join” a channel before you can take part in the discussion on that channel.

What do people talk about on IRC? On the “france” channel, they’re currently talking about “Nuclear complaints”. Lets take a look:

Welcome to the Internet Relay Network Jerry

/join france

[ You have joined channel france ]

Gamma2: Bravo2: Hier a 23h30 boom moins de 20kt

FG982: titanik : je me bats avec depuis 2 mois pour faire un bot...

Bravo2: gamma2 delire!!!!

fredg: axelle: HAHAHAHAHHAHAA (STressee) j’ai achete des bottes avec des protections (coquee) ;-)

FG982: jup : je pars pas, c’est fredg qui part !

Gamma2: Bravo2: Non, tout va bien

Jupiter: ah bon.,.

eddies: I know, and thats also wrong. But times change and france (and china) are the only countries who are still testing

fredg: axelle: merci de ta confiance :P

Jupiter: j avais pas suivi.. desole..

fredg: axelle: :-)

Bravo2: gamma: tu est ou maintenant?

axelle: stressee : prevoyante :) c bien :))

rhosm: bonjour

jERR: Vive les essais nuclaires!!!!!!!!!

LILI: hi everyone

axelle: fredg : ben je suis les conseils de stressee

fredg: axelle: an je suis tres mauvais danceur mais tres doux de maniere generale .. emem qd j’ecrase els pieds :-)

BeETLeJui: fredg passe le bonjour a stressee :-))))

Gamma2: Eddies: What’s the problem then? You know there are many more dangerous items in the white sea?

On IRC, each line is something that someone said. At the beginning of the line is the nickname of the person who said it, followed by a colon. Sometimes, a statement will be directed to a specific person, and that person’s name will follow the speaker’s name. In the last statement, above, Gamma2 is speaking to Eddies. Everyone can see what Gamma2 said, however. It’s just a way of keeping track if there is more than one conversation going on in the channel.

Talking: MUDDING

MUD is an acronym, and it stands for whatever the speaker wants it to stand for. They started out as role-playing games: Multi-User Dungeons. As they gained respectability, people started looking for more respectable names: Multi-User Domains, Multi-User Dwellings, Multi-User Damn-near-anything-except-Dungeon. They’re still the same old MUD, however. MUDs provide a level of interaction quite a bit greater than IRC. Not only are there other people you can talk to, but you can look at them, and you can walk from one room to another. Objects besides people can exist in MUDs, and you can pick them up, use them, and make your own. MUDs are a primitive—usually text only—form of virtual world.

It’s quite easy to use a MUD. You have to have special “Mud” software (such as “Telnet”) and you have to know of a MUD where you want to go. If, for example, you want to go to the MUD (actually, a MOO) at, you can type telnet 8888. The ‘8888’ is the port that LambdaMOO operates on. Lots of MUDs work on strange ports. We’ll talk more about ports later. Just remember that, if a MUD location includes a “port”, you have to include the port when you telnet there.

What happens at MUDs? Let’s visit LambdaMOO, da mudder of all MOOs. A “MOO” is a form of MUD. It stands for “MUD, Object Oriented”, and means that it’s easier to do certain things with objects in a MOO. That’ll be for later, and if you’re interested in things MOO, you can read Come to Valhalla for a beginner’s guide. Here, however, is an uncensored direct example of what you can expect in a MUD: (Legend: I said; They said)

*** Connected ***


The closet is a dark, cramped space. It appears to be very crowded in here; you keep bumping into what feels like coats, boots, and other people (apparently sleeping). One useful thing that you’ve discovered in your bumbling about is a metal doorknob set at waist level into what might be a door.

There is new news. Type ‘news to read all news or ‘news new’ to read just new news.

Type ‘@tutorial’ for an introduction to basic MOOing. If you have not already done so, please type ‘help manners’ and read the text carefully. It outlines the community standard of conduct, which each player is expected to follow while in LambdaMOO.

Daisy_Tattoo teleports out.

Guest is in love with The Bassmaster - cyberlove that is
Guest sighs miserably

Carleen is not in love with JBF or Phatman- in fact, she can’t stand them.

Guest [Caarleen]: Would seem there are some weirdos out here

Gareth has disconnected.

Guest [to Carleen]: MMMMh

Carleen [to Guest]: if you ever meet JBF or Phatman, do not speak to them

Gareth has connected.

Ebony_Guest has connected.

Ecru_Guest teleports out.

Sp00ky teleports in.

Open Door

You open the closet door and leave the darkness for the living room, closing the door behind you so as not to wake the sleeping people inside.


It is very bright, open, and airy here, with large plate-glass windows looking southward over the pool to the gardens beyond.

On the north wall, there is a rough stonework fireplace. The east and west walls are almost completely covered with large, well-stocked bookcases. An exit in the northwest corner leads to the kitchen and, in a more northerly direction, to the entrance hall. The door into the coat closet is at the north end of the east wall, and at the south end is a sliding glass door leading out onto a wooden deck. There are two sets of couches, one clustered around the fireplace and one with a view out the windows.

You see README for New MOOers, Welcome Poster, a fireplace, Cockatoo, The Birthday Machine, lag meter, a map of LambdaHouse, SeaDog, Helpful Person Finder, and Zap-Zap_Gun here.

SarahBeth, Vida_Blue, Charlotte_Sometimes, Trax, the late Gilmore, ScrabbleMonster (daydreaming), Melon (distracted), Lavender_Guest, Louise Brooks (Ca Plane Pour Moi), Daisy_Tattoo, Stimpy, Cyan_Guest, and Sammael are here.

A previously unseen panel in the wall opens up, and Dr_Sperm tumbles out, looking a bit startled, but otherwise okay.

Look Birthday

Daisy_Tattoo holds up a BIG sign:

| |
| what’s the # to the Hot Tub? |

Lavender_Guest [to Vida_Blue]: hiya this evening ?

The Birthday Machine is a computerized datebook shaped like a big birthday cake. Its function is to announce the birthdays of MOO-folk so register your birthday today! Among the fake frosting you can see dials marked DAY, MONTH, and YEAR and a button marked HELP. You can also simply use `HELP BIRTHDAY MACHINE’ to get the help text. There is a little keyboard for typing in the names of MOO-folk whose birthday you wish to know.

CAsAnOva turns 17 years old today.
Steve-2 turns 24 years old today.
Tweff turns 18 years old today.
Beladonna turns 23 years old today.
Diablo turns 21 years old today.
jasmyne turns 25 years old today.

After you make a regular character, come back and register your birthday!

Charlotte_Sometimes has disconnected.

ScrabbleMonster idles actively.

Cockatoo squawks, ":wipes his eyes...."I am old I guess.""

Louise_Brooks [to Daisy_Tattoo]: #388

Charlotte_Sometimes has connected.

Sammael embraces saidin and channels open a gateway, he walks into it and it closes behind him....taking him to another place.

SarahBeth [dasiy_tattoo]: #388...and you don’t need to use that spammy sign..just ask okay?

Cockatoo squawks, “What’s happenning Grunt?”


*** Disconnected ***

What’s going on here? You’ve got people disconnecting, connecting, bemoaning their age, squawking, talking, and idling.

Here’s what happened: when you first connect to LambdaMOO, you start out in the “Coat Closet”. And some people are perfectly willing to do some strange things in coat closets, even in real life. From the Coat Closet, I opened the door and came out of the closet into the “Living Room”. There was something called a “Birthday Machine”, so I looked at it, and it told me the names of everyone on LambdaMOO who has a birthday today. All the while, other people are coming into and out of the Living Room and talking to each other. After I typed “look birthday”, and before the MOO showed me the Birthday Machine, I saw Daisy_Tattoo hold up a big sign and I saw Lavender_Guest welcome Vida_Blue.

The locations of MUDs changes regularly, as some MUDs close down and others start up. You can find a list at Yahoo, and by keeping your ear to the silicon.

  1. Freedom Of Assembly
  2. Discussion Groups