Internet Chat Relay: A Forum?

Ryan Daum rdaum at
Tue Aug 1 11:39:35 MDT 1995

On Tue, 1 Aug 1995, Jim Jaszewski wrote:

> 	I was wondering...
> 	Some here have said (more or less?) that the nature of this list
> limits communication of a sort which is better served by face-to-face
> meetings, or even old-fashioned letters.  The way I see it, whatever the
> limitations of this Internet list, it's still _far_ superior to isolated
> polemics which no-one but the few participants would be party to -- unless
> the letters were assembled and published. Even then...

The format of this medium also holds advantages: i.e. the ability to
thoroughly think through what you're going to say before you say it :-)

> 	Consider this one tho':  how about the ideer of using Internet
> Chat Relay (ICR) at some time (maybe _all_ the time?  :) for that
> 'realtime' feeling??  I'm sure that the technical obstacles are low enuff
> to enable many here to agree to get together evenings and slug it out in
> hot (electron) type...

Having started, years ago, a #socialism channel on IRC, I can comment on
that medium.  Basically, the relay network sucks.  You're lucky if you
can hold a 10 minute conversation without the stupid thing "splitting"
and you losing half the net.  It's the most braindead technology I've
ever used.  Also the type of people who use IRC are there to get netsex,
harass people, or just be a pain in the ass.  One finds nettwits coming
into the channel and quoting Rush Limbaugh at you.  It's discouraging.

There are better realtime mediums than IRC.  They are a bit more
difficult to use, however.  MOOs are my first pick.  They are multiuser
user environments situated around the concept of an adventure game or a
textual virtual reality.  There is no real game however.  Just a lot of
rooms, characters, objects and so on.  You "say" and "emote" things and
move between rooms, picking up objects, sending mail, paging people, etc.

There is a private MOO which I hang out on that I'm sure wouldn't mind
some business.  It is set up for discussion of postmodern science
fiction, but doesn't really serve that purpose -- anybody can go there
and discuss if they have an invitation.  Seeing as how I know the people
who run it are all somewhat radical, or at least interested, they'd
probably love to be deluged by a flood of marxist academics.  Check it
out, it's called Dhalgren and to get there, do this from your shell prompt:

telnet 7777

Using telnet is ugly however, and there are "clients" you can get that
make using MUDs much easier.  The best known one is "tinyfugue."  You'll
have to know how to compile unix sources to get it to work on your shell
account.  If you're calling from a Mac or a PC, there are mud clients
around.  Try an ftp session with in the /pub/mud/clients

Anyways, I think we should try this out.  I'd love to converse with
people in real time and I think MOO is the ideal medium, as I have
already used it for such things.  (We had a radical politics discussion
list at LambdaMOO for a while)...

BTW, I'm "Karl" (Karl Porcupine) there.


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