• The Dragon Ate My Homework

    Author(s): Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold
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    Jan, 2019

    Abstract: Wired magazine examines the latest rage on campuses, online virtual worlds built from words. They cover a variety of MUDs including Cyberion City, and some of the people who play them.

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  • An Ethnography of a Computer Society

    Author(s): Michael S. Rosenberg
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    Mar, 1992

    Abstract: In modern society, the role computers play in our lives cannot be underemphasized. With computer technology growing by leaps and bounds, with access to computers being opened up to an even larger segment of the population, and with more and more people becoming familiar and more comfortable with computers, it is no wonder that entire social systems based on and through computers have developed and spread throughout the world. This phenomena can take many forms, one of which is the Multi-User Dungeon (MUD). Within this paper, I try to show the reader the culture that has developed within the "virtual world" of a MUD, the people behind the culture, and its relationship to real life.

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  • Ethnographic Fieldwork on the Internet

    Author(s): Jennifer A Clodius
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: We would like to introduce Jen Clodius, a graduate student in Anthropology at the U of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation research focuses on community formation on the Internet. She is examining how these communities of interest form when there are no geographic boundaries. Clodius has been involved for 4 years in an inter-collegiate course teaching anthropology on the Internet.

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  • Constructing the Virtual Campus

    Author(s): John Unsworth
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: This paper is about my experience in constructing three text-based virtual worlds; it is also, to some extent, about the mapping of those worlds as expressive, pedagogical, and disciplinary "spaces"--or, one might better say, texts.. The first of these text-spaces was the virtual campus at North Carolina State University, on which I taught two courses; the second is PMC-MOO, sponsored by the electronic journal Postmodern Culture as a conference facility/slash/theme-park on the topic of postmodernism, formerly hosted at NC State, now moved with me to the University of Virginia; the third is a conference facility-cum-reading room for the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

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  • Communicative Implications of a Text Only Virtual Environment

    Author(s): Eva-Lise Carlstrom
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: LambdaMOO is not only a new sociolinguistic environment, it is a new kind of sociolinguistic environment. To illustrate: on entering a new MUD for the first time, it is reasonable to ask about what commands can be used, how objects are defined, what one can change about one's character, etc. This is roughly equivalent to arriving in a new country and inquiring about the laws of physics. It is commonly said that speakers of a language construct reality by doing so. In a MUD it is literally true that "reality" is created through language, both by the actions of the players and through the code used used by the programmers.

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  • Conversational Structure and Personality Correlates of Electronic Communication

    Author(s): Jill Serpentelli
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: Differences in communicative structure was studied on three electronic communication systems, two interactive (LambdaMOO and Internet-Relay Chat) and one non-interactive (VaxNotes, an electronic bulletin board), in two different subsettings (on each system, a topic focused on computing and a more general topic) by coding transcripts of conversations according to type of utterance. Significant results were found that the LambdaMOO setting had more greeting statements, statements indicating interaction with system code, statements relating to computing, and a trend toward more affectionate statements. Notes, however, contained the most biographical information statements, more statments coded "other", and a trend toward more humorous statements. The experimenters concluded that this study provides some basic data that can delineate the differences between different systems of electronic communication, and that can be generalized to speculate on some personality correlates of people who use these systems. However, the researchers also concluded that much more work needs to be done on both communicative and personality aspects of electronic communication.

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  • Mudding - Social Phenomena in Text Based Virtual Realities

    Author(s): Pavel Curtis
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: A MUD (Multi-User Dungeon or, sometimes, Multi-User Dimension) is a network-accessible, multi-participant, user-extensible virtual reality whose user interface is entirely textual. Participants (usually called players) have the appearance of being situated in an artificially-constructed place that also contains those other players who are connected at the same time. Players can communicate easily with each other in real time. This virtual gathering place has many of the social attributes of other places, and many of the usual social mechanisms operate there. Certain attributes of this virtual place, however, tend to have significant effects on social phenomena, leading to new mechanisms and modes of behavior not usually seen `IRL' (in real life). In this paper, I relate my experiences and observations from having created and maintained a MUD for over a year.

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  • THE MODAL COMPLEXITY OF SPEECH EVENTS IN A SOCIAL MUD

    Author(s): Lynn Cherny
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    Sep, 1995

    Abstract: The availability of the emote modality, combined with social responses to object and room-persistence in MUDs, creates a more structured and flexible communication environment than is found in other single modality chat programs. The emote command is used for ritual greetings and goodbyes, for back channels during conversations, for play interactions, for reports of activity in "real life" which might distract a user from the conversation, and for presentation of background information during conversations. I discuss the status of emoted actions as speech acts, and how their interpretation depends on frame of reference within the virtual world and the real world.

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  • Ethnography of a Virtual Society

    Author(s): John Masterson
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: The limited scope of this paper has been to provide the reader with a broad ethnographic overview of the culture of one MUD, Ancient Anguish, while demonstrating that many of the central themes addressed are broadly applicable to the several hundred other virtual worlds available to anyone with a computer and a modem (a number that is constantly rising).

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  • GENDER SWAPPING ON THE INTERNET

    Author(s): Amy S. Bruckman
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    Aug, 1993

    Abstract: In text-based virtual reality environments on the Internet called MUDs, it is possible to pretend to be the opposite gender. In these virtual worlds, the way gender structures basic human interaction is often noticed and reflected upon. This paper introduces MUDs, and then presents a community discussion about gender issues that MUDs inspired. Gender swapping is one example of ways in which network technology can impact not just work practice but also culture and values.

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  • Spoof Spam Lurk and Lag - the Aesthetics of Text based Virtual Realities

    Author(s): Lee-Ellen Marvin
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    Dec, 1994

    Abstract: This paper explores communication in six text-based virtual realities through four items of jargon: spoof, spam, lurk, and lag. Research was conducted using the ethnographic tools of participant-observation and close analysis of actual interactions of MOOs (Multiple-user Object Oriented environments). Examples of how these terms are used in real-time interaction were analyzed for what they communicate about the aesthetics of interaction. Close examination suggests that these articulated aesthetics serve as rules for proper behavior, markers of experience and belonging, metaphor for poetic expression and resources for play and challenge within the community.

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  • Creating a Learning Culture

    Author(s): Amy Susan Bruckman
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    Dec, 1994

    Abstract: MOOSE Crossing is a text-based virtual world (or "MUD") designed to support the development of a "constructionist learning culture." (1) Children from a variety of geographic and cultural backgrounds will connect across the Internet to collaboratively build a virtual world. As part of this research, I am developing a new programming language (called MOOSE) and client interface (called MacMOOSE) designed to make it easier for children to create new places and objects. The virtual world, MOOSE Crossing, will be opened to 300-1000 children aged twelve and under on the Internet. Through analyzing the children's learning experiences, I will be able to explore the potential of the combination of construction and community. In what ways can community support and enhance constructionist learning? I will study the learning which takes place in this environment through two techniques. First, I will analyze the artifacts the children create and logs (recorded with informed consent) of what takes place in the virtual world. Second, I will work closely with one local group of children, and use an ethnographic methodology to explore their learning experiences. The goal of the MOOSE Crossing project is to create a new type of constructionist learning culture, and observe that culture to shed light on the power of the combination of construction and community.

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  • MUDs Grow Up Social Virtual Reality in the Real World

    Author(s): Pavel Curtis and David A. Nichols
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    May, 1993

    Abstract: MUDs are multi-user, text-based, networked computing environments that are currently used mostly for gaming. Despite the obvious shortcomings of a text-only system, they are quite popular. The Social Virtual Reality project at Xerox PARC is extending MUD technology for use in non-recreational settings. Our goal is to keep the strength of MUDs-shared computing with a powerful real-world metaphor-while correcting their shortcomings by adding audio, video, and interactive windows. We are building two specific prototypes: Astro-VR, for use by the professional astronomy community, and Jupiter, for use by researchers within Xerox.

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  • CULTURAL FORMATIONS IN TEXT BASED VIRTUAL REALITIES

    Author(s): Elizabeth Reid
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    Jan, 1994

    Abstract: Beginning with an understanding of virtual reality as an imaginative experience and thus a cultural construct rather than a technical construction, this thesis discusses cultural and social issues raised by interaction on 'MUDs', which are text-based virtual reality systems run on the international computer network known as the Internet. MUD usage forces users to deconstruct many of the cultural tools and understandings that form the basis of more conventional systems of interaction. Unable to rely on physical cues as a channel of meaning, users of MUDs have developed ways of substituting for or by-passing them, resulting in novel methods of textualising the non- verbal. The nature of the body and sexuality are problematised in these virtual environments, since the physical is never fixed and gender is a self-selected attribute. In coming to terms with these aspects of virtual interaction, new systems of significance have been developed by users, along with methods of enforcing that cultural hegemony through power structures dependent upon manipulation of the virtual environment. These new systems of meaning and social control define those who use MUDs as constituting a distinct cultural group.

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  • SIMULATING FUTURE HISTORIES THE NAU SOLAR SYSTEM SIMULATION AND MARS SETTLEMENT

    Author(s): Reed D. Riner and Jennifer A. Clodius
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: The authors and their colleagues are engaged in the fifth iteration of a classroom-based socio-cultural simulation activity called "The NAU Solar System". Teams of students in classrooms on seven campuses are role-playing the development and interaction of human communities in a future Solar System; the NAU team will, once again, establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars. Interaction among the teams is facilitated through the Internet by e-mail and an on-line Multiple User Domain (MUD) program, a text-based virtual reality, which mediates student participation. Each team is evaluated in reference to the local faculty member's pedagogical objectives.

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  • Concepts of Space and Place in a Virtual Community

    Author(s): Jennifer A Clodius
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    Dec, 2018

    Abstract: TinyMUD code, and the ease of real-time communications it affords, that attracts most of its users. Text is an information-dense medium; the ability to use the same language forms we use in everyday speech with minimal interference from the underlying code makes this medium a powerful narrative tool. As Howard Rheingold, one of the few people who have actually written about virtual communities, writes, "narrative is the stuff of which MUDworlds are made. Everyone and everything and every place has a story. Every object in a MUD, from your character's identity to the chair your character is sitting in, has a written description that is revealed when you choose to look at the object"

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  • TEXTUALITY IN CYBERSPACE - MUDS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCE

    Author(s): Jeffrey R Young
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    May, 1994

    Abstract: Philosophers and postmodernist critics discuss the way humans communicate, engineers and computer systems designers create ever- integrable networking capabilities and work to improve human- computer interfaces, but at the crossroads, people are playing games. While the philosophers and engineers sleep, the MUDers are at their computers, hour after hour, playing in the cyberspace. In Multiple-User Dungeons/Dimensions (MUDs), text-based virtual realities accessible via Internet, thousands of people share fantasy space, or "live" electronically. They walk and talk, build and destroy, hug and have sex while sitting at isolated computer terminals scattered throughout the world.

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