The Chat Room Essay, Research Paper
Dr. Mary Henderson
The Chat Room
As Dr. Barry Mowell of Broward Community College once put it,
“One of the most effective vehicles for wasting your time and
interacting with pre-pubescent or otherwise immature, rude people
who frequently engage in gross self aggrandizement and ill-
mannered behavior would be the internet chatroom.” When I read
that six months ago, I ventured into a chat room for the first time. I
found that a chat room can be quite addicting. I have since chatted
on the internet every day with little exception.
Since I am a computer science major, I looked for chat about that
subject. On America Online, hereafter referred to as AOL, I found
that in the category “Special Interests” tech chat fit my requirements.
When I first went to it, I didn’t know any of the abbreviations. In a
chatroom, in addition to talking about tech subjects, there is a
compelling desire to laugh. They express that as LOL, short for
laugh out loud. There also is ROFL, meaning rolling on the floor
laughing. There are other abbreviations, some utilizing profanity.
Essentially, over the last six months, I have begun to notice that
the people in the room can be classified into some simple
categories. These may be generalizations but are wholly accurate
and appear to encompass the entire spectrum of people who chat.
There are helpers, non-helpers, SNERTS, script kiddies, hackers,
and relationship seekers.
First of all, there are those who help people with their computer
questions. They seem to go to extraordinary lengths to do so, freely
assisting people with their computer questions very patiently.
Then there are those who help no one. Either they dont know how
to or simply refuse to help. Some of them may be termed smart
alecks because, when someone asks for help or a tech question,
they give rude and sometimes obnoxious answers. When someone
comes in the room and gets an answer like that, they frequently
Then there are what we term SNERTS (short for snot nosed
egotistical rude twerps). The name speaks for itself. The SNERT
is usually some small person who thinks they can hide behind the
computer screen and get away with being rude and annoying.
The next category is the script kiddie. The script kiddie desires to
be a hacker. They know certain codes or scripts that will disrupt the
room. They can be quite annoying. For example, they can send
scripts into the room that will erase the entire rooms text. Or they can
send many lines of text into the room. That is called scrolling. They
can even exploit weaknesses in someone’s computer or program and
boot or punt them offline.
Another category is true hackers. Hackers are quite
knowledgable. Some use their power for good, and others to
destroy. Hacking can be illegal and hackers can be prosecuted if
they break the law and are caught. A real hacker however, will never
Then there are those who seek companionship. They can
be seeking true love or just a good time. Some represent
themselves honestly, while others are deceptive about
their true selves.
AOL has taken steps to eliminate some of the people that act
in an inapropriate manner. The first line of defense is a box that
when checked, removes the person’s text from your screen. That
is called “Ignore.” The next step is the “Notify AOL” button. One
copies what the person has typed and sends it to AOL. Once sent,
the community action team reviews it for possible violation of TOS.
TOS is AOL’s terms of service. If there is a violation of the terms, you
can lose your account or get a TOS warning. Three warnings in six
months terminates your AOL account. The last line of defense
against people who are out of line is the chat room host or guide.
Frequently a host or guide comes in the room. If someone gets out of
hand, the host has the power to gag the person for 15, 20, or 30
minutes. Gag means to completely remove all the person’s text in the
room so no one sees it. Three gags in a day is TOS warning.
I would say that, in my experience, the chat room is a good place
to be. I have made many friends and have met people from all over.
I have enjoyed the chat room, and probably will continue to enjoy it
for the rest of my life.