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Computerspil II Game Communities (22/03/02). how collaboration started. beyond email. texts not only in our machines (servers...) shared textual space across geographical borders authorial collaboration: author-author (noonquilt) author-machine-author (everything)

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Computerspil II

Game Communities


how collaboration started
how collaboration started...

beyond email

  • texts not only in our machines (servers...)
  • shared textual space across geographical borders
  • authorial collaboration:
    • author-author (noonquilt)
    • author-machine-author (everything)
    • author-machine (eliza)
    • machine-machine? (the Impermanence Agent)
the internet as new cultural space
the Internet as new cultural space

Strange collaborative/connected textual phenomena:

  • Most individual writing on the Internet belongs to the cathegory of fan fiction (i.e. Buffyverse)
  • Cult websites (i.e. AYBNBTU)

community=simple: people doing things together? or needs more structure?

communities of practice
communities of practice

“Being alive as human beings means that we are constantly engaged in the pursuit of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world accordingly. In other words, we learn.

Over time, this collective learning results in practices that reflect both the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These practices are thus the propety of a kind of community created over time by the sustained pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these kinds of communities communities of practice”

(Wenger, Etienne. 1998)

communities of practice ii
communities of practice II
  • are characterised by the following dimensions...
  • joint enterprise (negotiated enterprise, mutual accountability, rythms, local response)
  • mutual engagement (doing things together, relationships, social complexity, community maintenance)
  • shared repertoire (styles, stories, artifacts, tools, historical events, actions, discourses, concepts)
  • learning by participation is becoming a competent member of the community
  • (Wenger, Etienne. 1998)

some definitions

  • MUD (Multi-User Dungeon)
  • MOO (MUD Object-Oriented)
  • MUSH (Multi User Shared Hallucination)

They are virtual environments that attempt to emulate three dimensions: height, width, and depth, as well as all five sensory perceptions: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste, all using plain text (ASCII) characters.

MOOs may be social, educational, or professional environments, usually structured to "look" and "feel" like actual physical locations, complete with all manner of rooms, including libraries, auditoriums, meeting rooms, courtyards, offices, and lounges, classrooms.

an example

Fun to read?

an example

Diego- Elves are wimps! I refuse to risk my life for you.

Aradiel- Oh, bugger off, you do it for the money, not for us.

Andune- Unless he apologizes I am not going anywhere.

Julius- Apologize for what? The elves bit?

Andune- Whatcha think?

Julius sadly shakes his head.

Diego caresses his axe provocatively.

Don Diego- Make me, elf.

Aradiel (OOC)- Oh, come on, sure you are not going to start with race again...

Diego (OOC)- I’m a bloody dwarf, I am roleplaying.

Andune (OOC)- It’s always the same, all because of that game where I killed you.

Julius- Noble friends, let us not linger any longer...

Aradiel leads Andune away from Diego by the arm and looks furiously at both.

Aradiel- Can we move ON, PLEASE? If we don’t find the stupid maiden forget the next level, AND the gold.

muds have changed a lot
MUDs have changed a lot
  • From geek entertainment to NASDAQ ( (
  • From textual to visual
  • From shareware to big business
  • From a despised pastime to an anthropological field (gender, psychology, etc.)
understanding muds
understanding MUDs
  • Rules (programming language/objects/user levels)
  • Rules/etiquette for social interaction
  • Goals (entertainment/education/commercial)
  • Possible actions (talk/fight/character advancement/create objects...)
  • Themes (D&D, genre fiction, literature, community)
  • Tension IC-OOC
  • Storytelling re-created (RPGs)

online games?

writing about communities
writing about communities
  • Virtual communities as “webs for personal relationships in cyberspace” (RHEINGOLD) concentrating on healing and RL communities, liberation
  • Virtual communities as unreal (TURKLE) but all communities are unreal...
  • The logics of cooperation (HEIDE SMITH)

  • “when communities form, a semantic world of sharing knowledge, solving problems, working as a team, playing, building, quarreling, cooperating, planning and forming relationships develop” (AHUNA)