Hi, my name is Vlad, and I have a problem.
May 8, 2003 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Meet Vlad. And Chuck. And Amiz. And Nec. This is an interview that I found to be absolutely fascinating. After countless (really... countless...) hours spent in places like Bianca's Smut Shack, Vlad got really, really into chatting. I was really pretty amazed reading through this interview at how far people go on these things. Invented online personalities become real life ones. I can't help but wonder whether this is an extreme exception, or something of a norm. The next step in wondering, of course, is to wonder how many Mefites are going down this road. Hmm... could it be... you? Find out. High scores, anyone? (Probably NSFW, but then, look at how much Vlad got away with!)
posted by dgt (22 comments total)
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:34 PM on May 8, 2003

The vast majority of internet chat is incredibly awful. The chatrooms I go to have are the ones with people I like in them, and the conversations are very much like real life would be - except with more time to think before you say something, and the ability to reach out with a hyperlink for any information or concept to discuss. I don't think you'd describe me as addicted - if so, most people are "addicted" to spending time talking about life with their friends. IRC is just a medium, it's the people that matter.

asl u want cyber?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2003

I found myself switching between personalities quickly, sometimes having entire conversations with myself online.

The advantage of this is that you always win your arguments.

IRC is just a medium, it's the people that matter.

Well, if you actually know the people. The fact that you could be chatting with lizard-people from outer space and not even know it, is what makes IRC so unappealing. (To me, at any rate.)
posted by Ljubljana at 11:20 PM on May 8, 2003

Does anyone else get a the feeling that "Dick" and "Vlad" just might be the same guy?
posted by Schnauzer at 12:02 AM on May 9, 2003

This actually read like fiction, but I'm not sure.
If so, it's a decent short.
If not, yup, you can get yourself addicted.
That would be a reasonably reasonable hypothesis, Schnauzer.

I'm online and chatting in a couple different places daily - at work, even (not that they care) - but it's just me chatting. I use this same handle pretty much everywhere, and I am identical to "Kavasa". But but. I've known a couple people who sink into the RP. I've known one guy who killed himself at least partly because what he represented himself as online was so much better than the reality to him.

Decent story, anyways.
posted by kavasa at 1:07 AM on May 9, 2003

Yeah, it did read like fiction. But I spent a lot of time at Bianca's years ago. I recognise his nick, too. I recognise Destiny, also. I had the same kind of reaction to Bianca's that he did. It was unreal, and utterly amazing. Incredibly friendly and welcoming - had the best online chats there I can remember. Wonderful fun. Didn't end well, though. Not at all.
posted by humuhumu at 2:20 AM on May 9, 2003

how'd it end?
posted by kv at 5:48 AM on May 9, 2003

arggh that place... ! they inline tonnes of my files in their chat rooms... as avatars or i don't know what... and i haven't been able to successfully block them via my .htaccess file. people who use the net to chat seem to have no idea what else it may be used for and they're certainly clueless when it comes to things like bandwidth theft. gah. a pox on all bianca chatters.
posted by t r a c y at 5:52 AM on May 9, 2003

how'd it end?

Would rather not go in to it... a passage of life that doesn't represent one of my finer periods.
posted by humuhumu at 6:45 AM on May 9, 2003

tracy: bianca's smut shack has been around much longer than this notion of "bandwidth theft". Wouldn't surprise me if the peculiar modern idea that it is somehow bad to use hyperlinks outside of certain narrowly defined parameters never percolated into the general moral sense over there.

This article gave me a wistful sort of "yeah, that was what it was like back then" feeling, only it was eWorld that really pulled me in, not Bianca's. It was more real than reality. I've never found anywhere on earth where you could find so much fast, witty, friendly, and smart conversation. It set my expectations for society at large so high that I've been disappointed by just about every group I've encountered since.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2003

I've found plenty of fast, witty, friendly, and smart conversation at #mefi.

I don't think it would be wise for Mars to show up there, though. In fact, it would be a very bad idea.
posted by beth at 7:48 AM on May 9, 2003

it's been around longer than 9 years...? that's how long i've been online and aware of bandwidth theft. it doesn't take einstein's iq to figure out that people with personal domains pay for their bandwidth and that you as a stranger don't have a right to decide where that bandwidth will be used. it's not a "notion", it's not simple hyperlinks, it's inlining 100's of files that are not meant to be accessed from another domain. but i guess they're too busy pretending to be buxom blondes or hung like horses to notice that the internet is used for many more things than the escapism their run-of-the-mill lives require. feh.

I've found plenty of fast, witty, friendly, and smart conversation at #mefi

i keep meaning to drop in there but frankly it scares me to think of being in such close quarters with you lot. seriously, i'd just end up in the corner sucking my thumb in the fetal position, whimpering "mommy". eep! of course at bianca's that would probably be a huge turn on for a certain segment of their community.

scored a well adjusted 22 on that net addiction test, btw.
posted by t r a c y at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2003

You'd be surprised at how laid-back it is, t r a c y. Debates (few and far between) are kept civil, order is gently enforced by several ops, and people are friendly and interesting. And lately we've taken to playing games against each other (couronne, canasta, literati).

If I had a nickel for every time someone's made me laugh out loud there, I'd have.... enough money to buy a Tivo.

It's a world unto its own, and quite a different flavor from metafilter proper.
posted by beth at 8:11 AM on May 9, 2003

Used to be a Biancaphile, down in the Bathroom. Even had a lady fly halfway across the U.S. to meet me in person.

However, any online persona, be it here, or There, or Bianca's, has always been me, even down to the physical descriptions, prematurely grey hair, glasses, belly and all.

As for net addiction? Well, there is that whole Planetside beta thing...
posted by Samizdata at 8:31 AM on May 9, 2003

hey every1, whats yur a/s/l

juts kiding
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2003

oh, have no fear, Beth, it's been years since I fired up an IRC client...
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:20 AM on May 9, 2003

I got sucked into the net by a bbs called yabbs (warning: there are really bad posts from my 19 year old self in there that I can't make myself read), it was a short step from there to all the Citadel bbs's... I was essentially offline from 1996 until 1998, with extremely sporadic access, and when I finally got regular access again, everything seemed different.

I've never been anything but myself online, and I've been lucky in that pretty much everyone I've met via the net has been pretty much exactly what they represented themselves to be.
posted by eilatan at 10:38 AM on May 9, 2003

help! busy backgrounds make Vlad article hard to read. bleh.
posted by dreamling at 12:25 PM on May 9, 2003

*quits chat client, logs off mefi, goes to gym*
posted by divrsional at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2003

Oh yeah... 31 on the test.
posted by Samizdata at 5:12 PM on May 9, 2003

Complaining about "bandwidth theft" is just silly. If you post data publically, it's not up to you how people use that information. If you don't want other people linking to your files directly, block them by referrer. A mismanaged site does not make other people thieves. Am I right, postroad?
posted by maniactown at 11:51 AM on May 10, 2003

The fact that you could be chatting with lizard-people from outer space and not even know it, is what makes IRC so unappealing.

Um. Surely you mean that's what makes it appealing. I mean, part of the appeal of IRC is that you never know just who you're going to meet.
posted by kindall at 7:30 PM on May 10, 2003

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