RE: Jeff Bone on IRC:

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From: Lisa Dusseault (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 14:11:38 PDT

I would so have loved to retain one aspect of MUDs as we moved on to IRC and
buddy lists (and tried to, but failed, while I worked on chat server at MS):
doors are to MUD rooms what links are to web pages, and they were invaluable
to navigation. Well-designed "doors" in online-chatting contexts can lead
to related rooms on the same site or on other sites; they can even be
gateways to other protocols, just as web-page links are.

Without doors, we're stuck with IRC flat-lists for finding our way around;
buddy lists even worse because there's no way of "wandering" or browsing
into a buddy-list discussion. You HAVE to be invited.

In a MUD, when a room got too crowded, you could wander into the next room,
and people who were interested in following you could do so because they see
you leave. In IRC, you have to announce related rooms which always seems
like a "grab" for popularity.

I guess part of the failure is that links are document-related concepts that
people take seriously. Virtual environments -- which is what it feels like
if you model links as doors and conversation milieux as rooms -- cannot be
taken seriously; they're too game-like.

There was another feature of MUDs that made them more interesting than IRC
to me, because there was something to do in between talking to people, or
before you know many people to chat with. Without already being an IRC
community member, it's too much work and not enough chatting to become one.
Although I guess I got drawn into MUDs through knowing people IRL, so I had
a MUD community right off the bat.

Anyone remember Black Hole mud? It was one of those that hopped servers
until it died... briefly hosted at Waterloo... nothing has ever been the
same since it died forever *dramatic sigh*


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeff Bone []
> Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 11:12 AM
> To: S. Mike Dierken
> Cc: fork@xent.ICS.UCI.EDU
> Subject: Re: Jeff Bone on IRC:
> Interestingly we had a design for similar called "Venue" on the
> table at one
> point at Activerse; prototypes were server based but we looked
> at moving it
> towards event notification / common engine with Ding!. I don't see MUDs
> coming back *at all* except as gaming environments, and then
> you're looking
> at Quake. The problem is that there's little perceived added value in the
> navigational, situational, etc. aspects outside of VRs of gaming,
> *for most
> people.* Hence the uberascendancy of buddy lists, the trumping
> of Tiny* by
> IRC, etc. They just dispense with the noise and window dressing
> and get on
> with what people really want out of RT network comm tools.
> jb
> "S. Mike Dierken" wrote:
> > Do you see MUDs coming back as a sample peer-to-peer application?
> > Fully browser based, rich media, people sharing rooms marked up in XML?
> >
> > Mike

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