LambdaMoo – Unknown & Unadulterated

I can honestly say that LambdaMoo is a one of a kind experience. Coming from a person who doesn’t game very often (basically never), logging in to this virtual world was novel to say the least. Aside from the rare instances of I-can’t-sleep-so-I’ll-play-Two Dots on my phone, the last time I gamed was probably in middle school on when I would use the free trials on all of the cool game apps they offered. Hamburger shops, Zuma, and Nancy Drew were some of my favorites. But these silly computer games, with its bright colors and engaging sound effects, reminded me nothing of LambdaMoo.

The switch from a visual based game to text based game made it seem more personable and much more mature. Due to the fact that it can be considered a chat of some sort, I can see how extremely easy it is for others to interact with one another. Although, I didn’t exactly figure out how to do that – communicate with others. I learned how to speak on LambdaMoo, but no one seemed to respond and the only thing I was comfortable with (and capable of doing) was giving directions.

The dialogue that I did experience was at the grocery store and I was lost 100% of the time. Conversation would pop up sporadically while I tried to regain my sense of location and determine my next plan of action. I had no clue who these people were and why they were yelling to clean up the pee on aisle 4. I often found myself forgetting that these were real people speaking and it wasn’t just a game programmed to do so.

In general, my time in LambdaMoo really honed in the idea of privacy and anonymity and the ways it can affect someone’s integrity. My guest user name “Brown_Guest” meant nothing and so did the reputation that I have for myself in the physical world. I could have shouted anything in LambdaMoo, including the utmost offensive thing known to man – which is extremely unlike me – and none of you would know. Likewise, none of the LambdaMoo-ers would know what type of person I am and the kind of things I say on a daily basis. Like Rushkoff said, the more we engage anonymously, the more we lose the humanity within ourselves. LambdaMoo is an outlet in which I believe epitomizes this statement as its open for anyone to join and participate to their liking. Ultimately, it makes me wonder where the line is drawn between online regulation and freedom of speech.

Christine Chu



  1. I agree that when we become anonymous, we tend to lose a bit of humanity. It is tough to say where we should draw the line between regulation and freedom of speech. While I believe that anyone should be able to voice their opinions (anonymous or not) it becomes a problem when people start to feel threatened. I think that more anonymous online spaces need to be closer regulated in order to prevent harm.

  2. There’s a quote that goes, “my right to punch you ends where your nose begins.” I think it can be applied to the debate of free speech vs regulation and where the line can be drawn. As long as one person is not harming another, they should be able to say whatever pleases them. The moment it becomes harmful to another person, though, (physical or emotional) that speech infringes upon the other person’s rights. This is still ambiguous, because most things people say could be potentially harmful to someone out there. But it is the best line of reason I have heard on the subject so far.

  3. Great post! I agree with you regarding the site being able to tie into anonymity when you have an interaction with another “guest” on the site. I agree with the other comments above stating that there is a fine line between freedom of speech and regulation. As long as no one is being harmed (or bullied) then a person should be able to speak freely.

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