Wading Through the MUD:

The Process of Becoming M** Literate

Key Terms on the M**

Like many other M** glossaries, this one is generic, and attempts to acquaint the newbie with M** terms in general. Variations are noted, but new users should always read the help files located within each M** for more specific reference. The examples provided are taken from MediaMOO.


Command that allows users to set a text description of themselves, usually typed in as '@describe me as... Variations include 'describe' or 'description=' on different MOOs.

@set gender

Command that allows users to set their gender so that actions referring to them are programmed automatically with the appropriate pronoun.


Command that allows users to monitor a list of users who are currently logged on, where they are residing within the MOO, and how long they have been logged on/idle. Variations include 'who' and 'WHO' in different MOOs. For example:
You type: @who
The MOO displays:

Player name         Connected    Idle time    Location

-----------         ---------    ---------    --------

KevinG (#11052)     2 hours      an hour      Third Floor Atrium Landing

taliesin (#11049)   21 hours     20 hours     Hindsight

metaphor (#10945)   3 days       a day        Seaside - a resort comMOOnity

Tari (#2921)        9 days       a day        Tari's Very Fashionable Hovel

Total: 4 players, none of whom have been active recently.

There are 2 players invisible to you.


Command that allows users to determine the "real" identity of a player in the MOO. This usually includes an email address for that player.


The names assigned to users who register with the MOO. Characters may be fictitious names, imaginative personas, or simply the real user's first name or initials. Users typically must request a character and wait a few days for an email response with a password.


The generic name we use for any software package that allows remote users to log in and work on a host computer (the domain where a MOO program resides). Although "raw" telnet is actually a client package, many players prefer fancier programs that make using a MOO even easier by controlling the way the screen looks.


Command that allows users to build objects, usually modelled after a "parent" of the same type, so that a note may be based on a parent object such as a letter. Variations include '@create' and even '@dig' on different MOOs. For example:
You type:
@create $thing called "Blackboard"
MOO displays:
You now have Blackboard with object number #3914 and parent generic thing (#5).


Command that allows users to set descriptions of themselves or objects that other players may look at in the MOO. For example:
You type:
@describe blackboard as "a huge virtual writing space that encircles the classmoo.
MOO Displays:
Description set.
(See "look" below to view the description)


Command that allows users to express their feelings, or sometimes actions. Variations include the shorthand ':' to signify what a character feels. For example: a character called Newbie typing :waves would show other players that: Newbie waves.


Users who log on to a MOO without a character of their own are allowed to connect as guests. Guests may still set descriptions of themselves and behave with the same set of commands as other players. In most educational MOOs, guests are treated very courteously by characters.


Command that allows users to "see" what other players or objects look like in the MOO. What is actually displayed is a text description that the player or object's creator has typed into the database. For example:
You type:
look blackboard

The MOO displays:
a huge virtual writing space that encircles the classmoo.


Term used to describe users who log on and "listen" in to a MOO session without actively participating. Lurkers are often newbies who are learning, but can also be users who have logged on to the MOO in one window of their computers to monitor the MOO while they use another window to work on other tasks of their own.


The portmanteau term created when we merge "Network" with "Etiquette" to define the behavioral guidelines that apply when we are online. Typical netiquette usually follows common sense codes of politeness, such as not interrupting others, not SHOUTING our text, and not filling the screen with nonsense text.


The term used to refer to any piece of the M** database, including characters, rooms, furniture, teaching tools, or even food and beverages.


Command that allows users to send messages privately to others who are logged on to the MOO without disturbing the conversations of others. Variations include '@page' or 'page with' or even 'page = ' on different MOOs.


The term used to describe users on a MOO, MUD, or MUSH. Although this term refers to both characters and guests, many academic M**s prefer using the term user to distinguish between a learning environment and a gaming environment.


Command that allows users to speak to each other so that all user in the same room can see their comments. This is the most frequently used command in most MOOs, and variations include the shorthand " before the text, so that a character called Newbie who types "Hello would appear on the screen as Newbie says "Hello."


The client application that allows users to connect to a M** and interact with the database as though they were sitting at a terminal connected to the host machine. "Raw" telnet can provide a crude connection, making the text wrap oddly or interrupting a user's input to display other users' output. See client.


Command that allows users to speak to each other quietly, without interrupting the conversations of other players.

Back To:

Last Update: June 8, 1996 by Claudine Keenan
Send any comments to cgk4@psu.edu