Typically, the command for this would be emote waves, (we can type this as :waves in shorthand) which displays that wave as the text "Newbie waves" to the other users who are logged on. We may smile, grin, laugh, frown, raise eyebrows, or any other action we can type in, to describe what we are feeling and how we would be reacting nonverbally in the situation we see created "virtually" on the screen. Emoting makes the otherwise sterile, text-based environment of a M** infinitely more personable for newbies and for veteran characters alike.
Characters talk to each other privately by using whisper and page commands, and publicly by using say commands. Normally, each user types in a line or two of text, and then awaits a response from other users in the MUD. In this manner, characters converse as they would in actual face-to-face conversation, using both verbal and nonverbal signifiers, all expressed in text form. For the newbie, this can be the most difficult aspect of M** space to become accustomed to, but it can also be the most addictive aspect as well. Exchanging ideas with entire "rooms" filled with learned colleagues, both veterans and newbies, characters' text can literally fill the screen in a matter of seconds, often concerning several issues simultaneously. Elsewhere in this issue, Cynthia Haynes provides links to actual logs of LinguaMOO sessions, which are helpful examples of what the conversations look like on the screen. As Eric Crump tells us in "It's Fun to Have Fun, But You Have to Know How,"
...in a real-time environment such as a MOO... it's often difficult to follow a conversation due to the frantic pace, or the existence of multiple simultaneous "threads." But it's these threads that leave my head spinning and my heart racing, the gliding over the surface of a new topic at thrilling speeds and plunging in occasionally, connecting with others in a frenzied shouting match in a virtual room to the point of exhaustion, then getting up from my chair, looking around, and realizing that I'm the only one home. That's the future. But so is publishing on-line. And hypermedia. And exploring. And punning. And building. And learning. And having fun. (1995)To help us to adjust, most M**s remind newbies that all of the characters logged on were once newbies themselves, and the most valuable command in those first few sessions may be '@page
After a few practice sessions, newbies may begin to realize that, while the exchange of words and ideas are an excellent teaching aid for collaborative writing, we need more than just listening, speaking, and emoting to teach in these environments. Although writing instruction can be achieved with just words and ideas, with just "people talking," the best teaching environments often have additional tools or objects for us to use, such as rooms, notes, display boards, texts, and recorders.