Thursday, January 26, 2006

I can't spell but the rest of the net is a mess with text

I've been around the Internet for quite some time. I've played online games, I've gotten tons of spam, I've seen crazy websites and bizarre eBay auctions, etc. The one thing that I've always wondered is how people compose strange text messages. The first example of this strange text was in the early 90's on IRC (which is the original chat application.. pre AOL). This was back when all we had was text and the neat thing they added was ANSI text which was essentially text with color. So, people would come up with these macros that allowed them to spit out pre-written text. They
would use the colors to make text where each letter was a different color or the really creative ones would compose complex graphics with characters and symbols and color (like roses and the oringal smilies).. it was a really interesting time and in some ways it made sense.

Since the old IRC days I've been witness to all kinds of odd text incarnations. Most annoying is a form of chatting in the online game world that at first I thought was simply a small group of idiot children typing.. Their text at first was shorthand like skipping apostrophes or using a synonym of a word that was quicker to type but no nessisarily grammaticly correct. That soon gave way to text that was strangely complex in composition with capitals mixed in and wrong letters that looked correct like "h3y dOOdz wHa7$ gOiN oN" .. I wondered at the time how they did it.. was it simply random? Did they have tools to automaticly alter their text? For instance, that example took me like 2 minutes to type where it should have taken 3 seconds.

Turns out the the language was a combination of leetspeak and just plan goofy PK slang (like adding in pwn varients). By the way, it's little known, but google has a UI written in Leetspeek. Even Microsoft has a parents guide on hacker chat.

Of course there is spam writing which simply is strange. I believe they have tools to obfuscate their words so filters can't find them as easily.

But the stuff that is the most odd to me is web site text that is strangely composed, either with cryptic text or bizarre random font changes. I mean, do people actually write this way? Or do they take the extra time to make their writing fucked up? I can't figure it out at all. Maybe it's just some goofballs who think that they really need to underline every other word to make them more important?

No comments: