Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LOL lo m8y gd2 hav u :DDD

If you have more brain cells than nose, you are most probably annoyed by the insane amount of "lol", emoticons and leetspeak some players generate. Usually those who need more instance runs to be properly geared for higher level content. You may assume, that the proper gear for them has Equip: automatically teleports you away from fire or from the frontal melee cone of the boss or from the range of incoming, soundly announced, 10 sec casted AoE.

Let's start with some etymology: "lol" means "laughing out loud". It is to be used in internet communication to let the other party know that you are laughing. So the only proper usage is as a full "sentence", showing that in face to face communication you would be not speaking but laughing. Example:
- A guy complained on gchat that someone named Orgrimmar Grunt did not answered his whispers!

"lol" cannot be part of a sentence like "I've seen a guy chatting with a mob lol" since if the speaker would be actually laughing in face to face communication, he could not finish his speach. If he wanted to show that he is smiling while talking, than a smily would be in order: "I've seen a guy chatting with a mob :-)"

Yet you see "lol" as a punctuation mark in many people's chat, even in sentences what are not even funny, strike that, not even meant to be funny. No one would expect laughter on either sides when "lol can u boost me in RFK :D". Yet you see a "lol" and a laughing emoticon in the sentence. By the way, these emoticons are placed to the end of every sentence by these people.

The other surprising thing is the huge amount of leetspeak in the communication of the same people. I'm not talking about sensible abbreviation like "lock", "sbolt", "AM" or "NS-HT". These abbreviations save us from unnecessary typing.

However "peeps" is just 1 letter shorter than "people" and the other leetspeak elements are also not save us mentionable time. We have to add that most of the people on the European servers are not native English speakers, so the decoding of "m8" "dud" "u" "ppl" is not straightforward (for example "m8" is "mocho" for a Spanish speaker). So leetspeak is actually hard to decode and that's exactly why we find it annoying.

Considering the mental capabilities of the "lol can u boost me in RFK :D" class people, learning and "properly" using leetspeak is quite an achievement for them and one must ask why they bother?

The excessive usage of "lol", emoticons and leetspeak is not a sign of plain dumbness, neither it's a style or habit. It's a very effective survival strategy that let these people to get things that they could not take by themselves.

"lol" and the emoticons try to create positive emotions in the target. Laughing is positive, people has the tendency to laugh or at least smile when people around them laughing, even if they don't know why do they laugh. So "lol" makes you feel positive and makes you believe that these positive emotions came from him. Actually they came from unconscious mental schemes of your own mind. So after you "received" these positive emotions from him, you feel you shall help him (see also: lot of smiling people in advertisements).

When you hear "The tank was on 10% but luckily NS-HT was not on CD and I had RG up to SM", you not only understand (or not) the story but instantly have the feeling that the speaker is a restodruid or at least someone who knows the class intimately. If you are a fellow restodruid, you feel that this guy is someone like you, someone similar to you, he is "one of us".

With the leetspeak the speaker wants to provoke feelings in you that he is member of your in-group, he is your intimate friend therefore you feel right to help him, as friends do.

So, contrary to popular belief the "lol can u boost me in RFK :D" class people are not skilless. Granted they don't know how to control their character. But they know something more important. They know how to control you. After all someone will boost them at RFK, otherwise they would give up.

Everything they have came from the work of you and people like you. People who have working skills, both in game and real life, produce items. These items then somehow find their way to the skilless people. The way is "helping", "sharing", "solidarity" and such.

They are the social parasites. They don't lie to you or put a gun in your face like antisocial parasites. They provoke feelings in your head and make you do the things they want you to do. Every time you boost them (although you definitely planned something else), you pass an item to them, don't boot them from the group despite their lower-than-tank DPS, they get something from you, they win and you are a victim. You will feel tired, and bittersweet and lose interest in the game (and in your job, and your hobby and finally in your life). You don't know why since no one forced you to do things, so you blame yourself.

And you should! If you are a victim, it's your fault and yours only. You have the power to defend yourself, if they can control your brain, than something is not OK with you. Some tips:

- lol can u boost me in RFK :D
/report spam (saves a spot from ignore list)

-lol m8 can u give me 10G
/report spam (saves a spot from ignore list)

- hey we need a tank for som HC dont wanna wait an hour in queue
- Sorry, but I'm not planning to go HC
- m8 we need you we rdy to go
(If he wouldn't be a parasite, he would say "OK, bye")

[he DPS-ed less than the tank]
- X DPS-ed less than the tank. Please press yes on vote kick that I will initiate. If you vote no, I go AFK, if you're fine with boosting him, you can boost me too.
- c'mon m8 don't do this to me, I just don't have enough gear
- At first, I'm not your mate, it's the first time we met. Secondly, gearing up is your responsibility and no one elses. If you need gear to perform in heroics, go grind reputation or farm materials for crafted gear.
- don't be such a jerk, it's just a game dud (threatening that you'll have the reputation of a "jerk" if you don't obey, but in the same time you are still a "dud", so you have a chance to save your reputation)

So if he just came out of the blue and asked something from you, just /ignore.

If he is member of your group or guild, the main point is to maintain a professional, distance-keeping tone in your communication. You will feel that it is not right, you should adapt to his tone. Answering "look [name]" to a "hey dud" seems inappropriate. Remember that he is not a friend of yours, it was him who used inappropriate tone and he did it to victimize you. Your tone is the proper one. After you made your point and he made no new point just beg, "be nice" or insults you, just /ignore!

Some of the requests come from normal other people, but after you politely reject it, they say goodbye. Don't expect it from the social parasites though. Their strategy works in 99%, so they won't give up. Be prepared that every such conversation will end up with /ignore. If the ignore list is filled, just un-ignore some randomly. Chances are good that you will not see him again anyway (you will see others like him). Or get IgnoreMore addon.

PS: I'm not claiming, that their strategy is conscious. They are not planning that "hey there is a loser I go and take something from him" like an antisocial would. If one would ask them they would reply: "its much more important to be friendly and nice than knowing the game deeply, I'm just nice to people, so they like me and help me out. After all boosting in RFK is fun!" Yet being social is no excuse for being a parasite. Remember, the terrorists also honestly believe that they are doing the right thing and it's no excuse for them. You may feel sympathy for them, but that's their mind game. They are parasites and shall be treated such.

PS2: the decode of the title is "Hi matey, good to have you! :-)"

PS3: yes, it's a rewritten post from 1.5 years ago. If you are in the 5% who were reading this blog back then, sorry.


Anonymous said...

This looks suspiciously like a re-posting of an old article with the same content.

Kaaterina said...

I don't ignore people. I just answer a very dry. "No.".

If he insists in his whining little tone, I ask: "I'm sorry, what part of "No." was unclear?"

They'll usually give up.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more with this post. I would add that a lot of people seem to use "lol" when they feel uncomfortable in a social situation. In the same way that someone speaking to you in real life might let out an "umm", "hmmmmmm", clicking their tongue or any other kind of weird noise. This side seems to apply to anti-socials in some cases.

Anonymous said...

A better addon than IgnoreMore is called ImpIgnore. IgnoreMore has several problems, including not blocking /say's a lot of the time and not blocking group or guild invites. I also found that it became quite glitchy when adding people with special characters in their name to your ignore list.

ImpIgnore has none of those problems.

Ladron de la Noche said...

lol, someone needs to lighten up a bit ;)

The unnecessary leet speak really does annoy me as well, especially when it is abbreviations of words that are nearly as long as the word itself. It often makes whatever the person was attempting to communicate more difficult to decipher and it always makes the person look like an idiot. I don't understand why an extra lol or emoticon would bother anyone though, if used excessively and inappropriately it could be obnoxious however they can also be used as an indicator that the speaker is amused. They both convey that message, why be uptight about which signal is used?

Cirian said...

This truly is a skill that one can learn to use however.

Exactly as stated it is generally used to manipulate the emotions of the target of your emoticon or lol.

While L33tk1dz may possibly be using this unconsciously I, personally at least, use it very intentionally. Using some friendly emoticons can make people understand that some harsh sounding statements are meant in a good way.

Just by couching a word of advice towards that DPS who is pulling sub 1k with some emoticons you may be able to get them to listen rather than ignore you or start running at the mouth. These people are by nature prone to not accept criticism about their style of play or gearing strategies etc, however quite often one simple suggestion could give someone just 100 more DPS which, over the course of a heroic run might save you a minute or two. That is a reasonable gain for 10 seconds worth of typing.

You can also get people to accede to something which is perhaps not in their favor by such usage. As mentioned you can intentionally use such things to get people to be more prone to do things for you like give you a good deal on something they are selling.

I am particularly fond of ^^.

Mongarwer said...

Having PUG-ed random heroics as a tank, I must disagree with talking to people who do less DPS then me. Yesterday, the 2 DPSes were doing less (one had half tanking gear, other was maybe just slacking), one DPS was mostly DC and we did it without any problems. Arguing with them just takes time so if things go smooth, no point in bringing it up.

MetaManu said...

Damn, i agree with this post, shocking :)

Anonymous said...

Didn't realize it's been 1.5 years already... Still, the situation hasn't changed, if only for the worse.

LarĂ­sa said...

Yeah, I recognized it, but thought it had gotten a brush-up.

Being one of the five percents makes me feel a bit exclusive.


Anyway - as much as I hate the excessive lol-ing, I still think that some of the short versions you can use, for instace when forming a group for a certain instance, are rather handy. Quick and easy to write, quick and easy to read and understand. But that's an entirely different matter.

Anonymous said...

@Mongarwer: Not doing anything will just lead to more problems. If no one ever do anything about the slacking dps what prevents every dps from slacking? Its one or two dps in 50% of your runs now. If all dps finds out slacking is OK then it will be 3 dps in every run. Your 10-15m heroic will now take 30m since you are the only one doing dps worth something.
(Comparison with the fact that more than 50% of the Danish population will live off welfare from 2010, because no one stopped the development in time)

wickEdgirl said...

Most people are just conforming to what they perceive as "standardized language use" in a specific context.

And yes, you are right that they are not doing it consciously, but as a sign of being part of a larger group. Language is there just for that (among other different reasons, of course). And this is especially true for any sub-section type of language called slang, which develops its own "signs of recognition".

Language is always changing. Some say developing, some say regressing into unnecessary shorthand or silly and unbecoming usage of words.

Same with LOL, maybe it used to be an acronym to depict a person laughing behind their computer, but now it has a more complex usage, even if it is pretty indiscriminate: someone already said it shows a kind of social awkwardness, but also in many situations it is used as a sign of irony or distancing from what is said, or as an uncool showing off of supposed coolness.

I honestly do not think that this use of abbreviations is a sure sign of social parasitism - a lot of people that you could call parasites, especially in real life, tend to be polite beyond belief with all the proper grammar and long winded or haughty sentences. If anything, I see those that use leet speak more as immature and childish than being able to provoke positive feelings that they could abuse.

Krytus said...

Damn!! 1.5 years of goblinism? You're probably my third longest relationship!

Kevin said...

The only thing you really seem to be missing the mark on here is complaining that 133tsp3ak is hard to decode.

That is the reason why elite speech was conceived in the first place. The entire point of it is to prove the superiority of the writer over the person who is unable to decode it.

It's also annoying.

Baberth said...

My personal peeve is leet speak like "ne1" - 'ne' [like your complaint with peeps] is /1/ character less than the actual word of 'any', and actually takes longer for the word to be mentally processed since 'ne' has a sound of its own that is completely unrelated to what is intended.

Granted, I don't mind abbreviations as much, as long as they make sense ['idd' for indeed, which comes from the dutch 'Inderdaad'; and 'peeps' to me is a completely different word to 'people to me: I first was introduced to it in the 80s with a Harry Enfield [a comedian] character of Stavros]

But these aren't leet speak, no part of the word/abbreviation is a phoentic representation that is only valid in limited tongues, and I guess that's where I draw the line

Wodinn said...

'lol' has really evolved from it's origins... and this isn't the french language so that's perfectly ok. So much context is lost in text that throwing in a 'lol' is often a good way to denote sarcasm or jest. If you've ever been misunderstood because some one attributed an air of seriousness to something you typed lightheartedly, you may appreciate how slapping 'lol' at the end of a sentence can save yourself from headache in the future.

Cirian makes a good point, too. This really is something one can exploit to manipulate the morons that really do overuse leetspeak and the like. Manipulate gently, and in a positive direction, of course.

Genaro said...

Please substantiate the statements that "50% of Danes will be living off welfare by 2010". This suggests that these people are unemployed but surely that is not the case- Danish unemployment is <10% according to published figures?!
I am sure they can't all be M&S, even if all of their WOW players insist on putting DK into all their names...

Anonymous said...

We have a terrific mage raiding in our guild who is a wonderful person and the furthest thing from a leech, but always uses an unnecessary volume of numbers and abbreviations in his typing. It REALLY annoys me. But I'm sure my sarcastic 'lol' and :) used as punctuation annoy others.

And while someone pointed out that an emoticon could soften an otherwise harsh-sounding statement, an emoticon can also express disdain while accompanying an otherwise neutral statement. For example, before kicking someone from your group, you say "Bye :)"

Anonymous said...

i think most people saying "dud" actually mean "dude" more than anything else; a typing to fast kind of thing. It would go in line with your thoughts on "m8" though in that it is just pointless when you are typing words (think if someone added the word "like" to every sentence as some people do in conversations).

Chris said...

I read this back in the day and wanted to comment.

I put 'lol' on the end of every sentence, and I am extremely intelligent. Its a bad habit from IRC days and literally typing and expelling ideas as quickly as possible. I also dont capitalize or use punctuation on the internet.

Sometimes its foolish to judge people entirely on how they speak/type (although im the first to admit that my bad typing habits make me look like an uneducated monkey)

shieldbreakr said...

Pretty much the most epic post on this particular subject I have ever read. I just re-tweeted it around to my followers since I think this is a must read for any veteran WoW player. Perfect decoding of the parasitic nature of the "l337-duds".

Well done.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with adding an emoticon or lol at the end of your sentences. I don't buy this argument that it's not possible IRL to laugh and talk simultaneously.

I often will write things like "Looks like we're ready to start! :)" just meaning to communicate that I am smiling while saying that.

In this internet age, we have a hard time relating our body language while typing (which is an important communications channel IRL), so these silly things have to do.

Kurt said...


This is not an official reference, but it's what I found in 3 minutes of googling, and if you decide to seek more substantial references as to the true nature of Denmark's welfare state, this will alert you as to what he's referring to:

Summary: With the marginal tax rates in Denmark starting at 50% and going up to 70% (coupled with the 25% sales tax), and with a generous transfer payment system in place, there is reduced incentive to work in Denmark.

Of course, sensational sounding statements like "nearly 50% of the people in Denmark are living off welfare" is not that meaningful without comparisons to other countries. This definition of welfare, however fittingly, includes elderly people receiving retirement benefits from the government as "welfare recipients", and so we'd expect other countries to also show high numbers by this method. I failed to find any number for the United States in the 10 minutes I spent looking, I'm fairly sure it will be at least over 30%, possibly much higher.

Bristal said...

I'm embarrassed that I recognized the post immediately. Am I getting too much of my world view from a Greedy Goblin?

I'm 47 and have never used lol in WoW or texting. It just seems so...immature and even feminine in some way.

Kind of how preteen girls would chat?

I see it as a sign that the player is either very young, very high, or trying to get something from you.

Stupid Mage said...

What really kills me is when people say lawl in vent. HELLO just laugh for real if it's funny, don't try to pronounce lol.

Role Craft said...

I am more likely to respond to someone who asks me for something politely, and in a complete sentence (grammar, punctuation, capitalization) than to someone who automatically tries to make friendly with me. I'm not exactly "anti-social", but I am NOT comfortable with the assumed familiarity people like to enter into via the Internet (games or otherwise).

Oddly enough, I'll give gold to someone who is PROBABLY lying to me, if they ask politely and in a complete, correct sentence. Even if I think they are lying to me. So long as their request itself seems reasonable.'s a counter-productive self-protest against "can u giv me gld plz".

The quickest way to get on my ignore list? Ask me for something using "lol" "u" or "ne", and when I decline... call me "hun". (I'm also not a fan of being called "man" or "bro", but I can't blame them for assuming the player is male.)

True or not, leet-speak and its derivatives represent a person as a few VERY negative things to me. Lazy is at the top of the list. In many cases, stupid. The majority of the people I interact with who use the abbreviated leet speak can't even form a COHERENT statement using it. Not for my lack of understanding, but for the lack of important parts of a sentence. Like... a subject and a verb.

Ugh, just ugh. Of course, I'm a roleplayer. I will SOMETIMES use "LOL" if it is SO hilarious that I can hardly type (but only in OOC channels!). Typically, I type out *laughs* - I don't expect that of everyone, but I prefer hehe or haha to lol. Any day.

And I've used "lawl" in Vent. Mostly being sarcastic. "Did you hear that guy. He ran level 20's through BRD for titles. Seriously, lawl."

Michael said...

This is really two or more separate posts.

Complete grammatical incompetence and nonsensical sentences with randomly added emoticons.

Ignoring strangers who attempt to get hand-outs through manipulation.

The first one I entirely agree with you. Randomly dropping leet buzz words doesn't communicate anything, it doesn't make you cool, it doesn't make you friendly, it just makes you an idiot (possibly 12 y.o.).

On the second topic I'm happy to help out people I have an established relationship with. One of my RL friends hit the level cap a few weeks after our main group. He wasn't geared up enough to join our guild. We ran him through some dungeons to get over the gear-threshold and to help him meet some of the guildies (usually on their alts). This was a guy we knew we could rely on, knew didn't suck and we wanted to raid with because we drink beers together.

Mongarwer said...

@one of the Anonymous :)
It's not that I don't do anything, but if the run is smooth, I just leave it until the end. Then I inspect them/see recount. If they are under me on recount and have something like: no/wrong gems and/or no/wrong/enchants and/or no/wrong gear, then I post it and advise them to study their class a bit. Doing so before would just slow things down, and to be honest, doing randoms with M&S does provide challenge :)

Jason said...

1337 5p34k is generally held to be the replacement of letters with ascii symbols, originally used as a sort of cipher to defeat text filters used by online message boards, not an attempt at shorthand. Indeed, many words in 'leet speak' are harder to type and harder to read than the original word. There are exceptions (see: pwn).

Not that it isn't annoying as hell to read, but aside from 'n00b,' most of the perverted English you'd see in WoW (u, ur, hav, m8, wut) trace their roots to AIM and text messaging (AOLese).

Personally I feel that in a game like WoW, where everyone is using a full keyboard, there's no excuse for shorthand unless you really need to type something out fast while tanking.

Anonymous said...

wow, this touched a nerve. I have several ways of dealing with difficult to read abbreviated language; I am quick to forgive typos and clumsy typing, so don't think that I am completely intolerant of human error (or goblin error for that matter).

1. I use my own form of leet speak by segmenting everything into 4 letter groups (fore xamp leth iswh atit look slik e) they either get it or ignore me (which saves a spot on the ignore list)

2. feign ignorance of the internet speak at all. ne1 help with rfk? (me) maybe, but what does going northeast have to do with rfk? they lose patience.

3. confuse 'u'. instead of you, i read ewe. and take it further and start using ewe for the letter u. Again, they lose patience and put me on ignore.

4. refer to anyone who uses lol excessively as either "chuckles" or "beavis." If they get it, this can be met with a bit of hostility.

so far, #1 has been most effective (its like using pig-latin for the first time)

Anonymous said...

I always interpret 'LOL' at the end of the sentence as someone laughing at their own joke.

'LOL' at the beginning of a sentence tends to appear as a nervous before someone says something stupid.