Comic Meeting Grounds

For in-person face-to-face interaction, take a look at Comic Book Conventions.

MUDs and MUSHes and MOOs: Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are places where you can go, be someone, and wander around meeting people. Most of them look pretty much like the text-only adventure games where you “walk south”, “take Mjolnir”, and “kiss Rogue” (but perhaps only once…).

Often, you can come in as a guest by typing “connect guest” when it asks you for your character’s name.

Usenet News Discussion Groups

Discussion groups take the form of “mailing lists” or “Usenet newsgroups”. Usenet newsgroups require that you have a “usenet news reader”. The web browser that you’re using to read this page probably has a news reader built into it. You’ll find out when you click on any of the newsgroup links.

Anyone with a news reader can read news. There is no central authority which grants or takes away permission read news.

There are three major classes of newsgroups: those that are easy to create, and those that are not easy to create, and those that are run by businesses. Groups that begin with “alt” are easy to create; sometimes they have interesting discussions, sometimes not. Groups that begin with “rec”, “talk”, “sci”, “news”, “soc”, and “comp” are hard to create. It requires a vote of the interested public. But this pretty much ensures that there are people out there interested in the topic. Other newsgroups are geographical, organizational, or commercial newsgroups. They may or may not be carried by your site.

Mailing List Discussion Groups

Discussion groups take the form of “mailing lists” or “Usenet newsgroups”. Mailing lists work with normal electronic mail. The same way that you send messages to your friends, you send messages to the mailing list. The mailing list software at the mailing list address takes care of making sure that everyone on the list gets the mail you send. You don’t have to worry about it.

In order to subscribe to a mailing list, you’ll need to ask permission from the mailing list owner. Usually, the list owner delegates this responsibility to a computer program, which will let you in automatically. You simply request permission to join by sending e-mail to the “administrative address”. Normally, the request to subscribe will be a message that looks something like “subscribe listname Your Name”. It’s a computer, so you don’t want to vary the form beyond what the computer expects.