Salmoning: a bot-initiated two-way chat surprise
June 14, 2008 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Have you been salmoned? I just met a stranger from Denver via the process of salmoning, in which a chatbot initiates an unexpected two-way conversation between two (apparently random) nicks, giving them both aliases ending with "salmon," and leaving both parties confused.

Like this guy says, once you figure out what's going on when you've been salmoned, you can have a pretty good chat.

In my case, the bot's opening line was, "Fill in the blank: I'll eat me candy with the [blank]. Excuse my manners if I make a scene." (It's from a Weezer song; the answer is "pork and beans.")

My unwitting partner's nick was EconomicSalmon, so for a minute I thought it was Felix Salmon, who writes about finance and economics. My random nick was, apparently, MilkySalmon.

A typical salmon chat. Another. One more. Still one more.
posted by Mo Nickels (26 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This sounds a little fishy to me.
posted by sour cream at 7:49 AM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is.. brilliant, and I'm disappointed that I didn't think of it.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:54 AM on June 14, 2008

It could salmon to you.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:55 AM on June 14, 2008

Mr. Rushdie was unavailable for comment.
posted by gimonca at 7:55 AM on June 14, 2008

posted by Faint of Butt at 7:55 AM on June 14, 2008

I, too, have been salmoned. A thoroughly confusing experience.
posted by kaseijin at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2008

I got hit by this a couple of years ago, when it was just the Hatmaster doing it.
posted by m0nm0n at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2008

I'm confused now and I don't think I've even been salmoned.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:05 AM on June 14, 2008

There used to be a mid-day DJ in Chicago (Kevin Mathews) who would do a bit like this. He'd start a 3-way call by dialing 2 somewhat similar places. 2 pizza places, 2 Chinese food take-out places, 2 hotels, etc.

It could be amusing.
posted by Bonzai at 8:09 AM on June 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Be very wary of SalmonElla.
posted by netbros at 8:23 AM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have a fish. In my chat.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2008

I'm just glad you called it salmoning and not hatting. Because that would be wrong.
posted by languagehat at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2008

I should have signed that "languagesalmon," shouldn't I?
posted by languagehat at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2008

I'm going to sue. This is defamation! Or something! Salmon hentai, salmoning....what happened to the internets I used to know and love?

For the record: I am highly anti-social and would never want anyone talking to anyone ever. It can only lead to trouble.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by languagehat
posted by Salmonberry

Now we just need this guy to show up, and all hell will really break loose.
posted by dersins at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

I did this to random people with 3-way calling when I was a bored suburban teenager. I like the idea of calling two businesses better -- now I feel bad for having annoyed people in their homes.
posted by nev at 10:15 AM on June 14, 2008

I did this to random people with 3-way calling when I was a bored suburban teenager.

I must confess that I too did this when I was younger. But one of the parties was always the same: our local library had a Dial-a-Story phone number, where you would call and get a pre-recorded children's story, read presumably by one of the librarians. I used to connect random people to the story, because, hey, everyone could use a story now and then, right?

No, I'm not proud of what I did. Oh the folly of youth.
posted by Brak at 11:28 AM on June 14, 2008 [7 favorites]

The prank phone calls of Longmont Potion Castle include lots of those kinds of calls, and are often hilarious.
posted by loiseau at 1:37 PM on June 14, 2008

The Great Hatsby

Hell Atlantic
posted by RTQP at 1:57 PM on June 14, 2008

Well, it certainly does seem to produce its share of swimming upstream of consciousness conversation.
posted by ilana at 2:39 PM on June 14, 2008

I did this to random people with 3-way calling when I was a bored suburban teenager.

And way back in the 40s, my grampa worked as a telephone switchboard operator, and used to pull that prank when he got bored. It's apparently a universal human desire.

-Dearest, do you know of an Engelbert J. Salmon, Esquire?
-No my darling. Why do you ask?
-We just received a telegraph from him. He wants to know if our holiday in Prussia was pleasant!
-But we didn't take a holiday in Prussia!
-I know, I better write him back and set him straight...
posted by bookish at 3:11 PM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seriously, people have nothing better to do with their time than this???
posted by subgear at 7:29 PM on June 14, 2008

Oh, come on. Who knows what odd connections will be made, what novel partnerships may be struck? This sort of random-connection mechanism might be a kind of social catalyst. I often wonder at the future influence of computer-mediated social interactions. It seems likely that net-assistant programs (agents) will become available that can not only provide a more fluid search capability, (they'd listen to all your interactions and suggest answers and side-thoughts that you hadn't thought of, often before you event think to ask), but also provide dynamic re-expression. Sort of like language translation, but beefing up the conceptual content and possible connections and ramifications on-the-fly, in your native language, so your recipient sees you very differently than they would if your communication were not re-expressed. What's more, your agent could collaborate with the knowledge of other agents, so the sort of person you'd find interesting will automatically be connected with you. Could be cool.
posted by gregor-e at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2008

douglas adams has risen from the dead!
posted by spish at 9:42 PM on June 14, 2008

did anyone see 'the lawnmower man'? remember the bit where he rings all the worlds phones at once? i've always imagined that when (and if) this happens that we will all be connected to our one true soul mate...

...and stop making those gagging motions with your finger. its all right to have romantic notions from time to time...get off my back.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:28 AM on June 15, 2008

I would be happier if this didn't involve a sort of fish. I've seen some nasty usenet pictures recently, involving fish.
posted by Goofyy at 5:33 AM on June 16, 2008

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