My experiences using LambdaMoo were unlike any that I have ever had on a computer. Never before had I been introduced to an interactive space that was created purely based on the imaginations of its users, and using strictly descriptive text. When I first experienced LambdaMoo in class, I was extremely lost and initially confused on what users went there to do. However, once I entered into LambdaMoo again last night, I recognized that it was more welcoming than a lot of other places, both online and in everyday life, and that the other, more experienced, users were interested in helping the newer ones learn. I felt a sense of closeness with the other people in the Coat Closet with me, and almost didn’t want to leave.
I felt torn between exploring these other places built in LambdaMoo and maintaining conversations with the other users. My experiences with LambdaMoo were odd for me mainly because I interpreted them as strange crosses between gaming and reality. As Dibbell stated, “all of these entities — rooms, things, characters — are just different subprograms that the program allows to interact according to rules very roughly mimicking the laws of the physical world.” For this reason, the experience was pretty challenging. If I were having a conversation with these people in real life, would I leave unannounced? Where does one draw the line between expressing social graces and addressing the fact that these are people we will never have to know? For me, it was difficult to determine how I should behave in a place where I would not be permanently attached to my behavior, but where I was expected to treat it like reality. Also for this reason, it is difficult for me to interpret the acts committed by Mr._Bungle that Dibbell described in the reading. Though no physical harm was done, LambdaMoo is strongly representative of a reality for some people. For instance, as Cherny discussed, omitting a wave as you enter the room can be rude to other users. With this in mind, we must play to the sensitivities of other users when using LambdaMoo because there is no easy way to determine what their LambdaMoo experiences mean for them.