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WRITING: Essay: Instructional: Chatting 101

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12 May 2009, 03:12 PM    #1
Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 212
For an explanation of the 101 Series see my KupiPage: The 101 Series! This was
originally written a long time ago.......i will do a few of these here i think we will
see....it hasnt been updated to reflect the changes on Kupika since, such as the additions
of POST, kupi-chat, etc.

Course Description: 

This discourse is about chatting in a pubic online chat like on Kupika’s “Fleeting
Thoughts” section. This is not about one-to-one chatting which is a very different
situation due to familiarity between the chatters or the privacy of one-to-one chatting.
The topic of CyberSex is more closely explored in CyberSex 101 and only touched upon here
in brief. This topic is suitable for all audiences.


The good thing is that if you are in the chat-room you already know alot about chatting.
For most persons on Kupika, they have never known life when there wasn’t such a thing as
online chat! 

Throughout this discourse, I am going to ask you to think of online chatting as if it were
a like a regular party you might go to at someone’s house. In the case of Kupika, this
is Yohanne’s party and we are all his guests.

The room is just a regular room, four walls, a few doors, a tray of cheese and crackers,
coffee and juice on a side table somewhere. Drinks are over there and music playing over
the din of conversation. Around the room is a bunch of people, some holding drinks, some
standing off to the side, in bunches, pairs, threesomes and a few individuals hanging
around listening in. Everyone is talking about well anything you can imagine. That’s it.
The analogy is that simple.

I am convinced that if people remembered to think of online chatting like this it would
not only solve a lot of problems but they would enjoy it a lot more and make the whole
chat much more interesting and fun.

This brings us to the first important “rule” or lesson and maybe the most important

1. Behave like You Would if You Were a Guest at a Party in a Room Full of Friends and

This means in a nutshell:

- Be Yourself, Don’t try to be something you aren’t ++
- Don’t Act the Fool Just to be Cool
-Take an Interest in Others
-Lurking is Ok, but Talking is Better
-Respect Others and Have Some Consideration
-Entertain Others but Don’t Try to be the Life of the Party

**Special Note Regarding Youths***
-Because there are a lot of very young persons on Kupika, be considerate and sensitive to
this fact. Avoid cursing and profanity as much as possible. Also try to use some
discretion in any solicitations of others or for cybersex. Don't engage in cybersex in the
public chat obviously.  In sum, don't say anything that you would or should feel
embarrassed to say in front of a little kid.

++Important Exception to the "Be Yourself Rule": 

There is one obvious exception to this important rule and it is one of the beauties of
cyberspace and online chat. The nature of online communication makes it quite possible for
people to express themselves in ways that they might not be comfortable doing at a
“real” party.  So, a shy introverted person in a “real” party setting might be
able to express themselves in a richer bolder way online. A person who may not be
considered physically exceptional might attract attention due to his or her communication
skills and personality. And so on.

In a way this can be understood to be how one may actually express more of their truer
self, perhaps revealing hidden or masked aspects of their personality or person; or it can
be an experiment with pushing one’s own boundaries and limitations. Either way, this is
a good exception to the rule of being yourself or acting as you would at a “real”

At a “real” party, you might be too shy to ask the cute guy to dance. Online feel free
to give him a twirl.

2. It Takes a Village to have a Chat or Chat is as Good as You Make It

It’s simple. A good chat reflects the quality of the people in it. (Kind of like a good
party actually.) It’s good when one or two persons serve as catalysts to keep the chat
going but if only a few are chatting, the conversation will soon seem dull to others and
people will leave. The best way to avoid this is to engage others in conversation and try
to be as inclusive as possible. Let the natural flow of topics meander its way. If you
aren’t interested in a particular topic try to say something anyway but don’t try to
abruptly change the topic for the whole room. It is likely that some others would be
interested in what you want to talk about so you can say something about the new topic but
do so politely. Don’t say something like “what you all are talking about is boring me
so let’s talk about X.” In fact, it’s best not to even speak negatively about a
topic which others are clearly discussing and in which you have no interest. Instead, just
say, “I find X interesting, and I was just thinking about it.”  Either your
non-sequitur will be funny or it will pique someone’s interest and you can discuss it
with them.

3. So You’re Bored, So What? 

Picture it. The party is going on and you walk in to the room and announce loudly:
“I’m sooo bored!”

Just what exactly is the response do you think you would get from that?

Here’s a newsflash, do you know what it implies if you are bored? Answer: That you are a
boring person, or you are too lazy to find something interesting to do, or you are a
demanding person that insists that others entertain you.

In any case, no one is going to care too much and more importanly no one is going to want
to talk to you. Why would they? It is too much work to raise you from your bored state to
one of interest and fun. It is far better to come into the room, at least seeming to be,
if not actually, having fun and being an interesting fun person. Walk in that way and a
lot of people will want to talk with you.

Ah but what if you don’t think you are an interesting person? Trust me you are and more
than likely there is someone similar enough or who will be interested in you so take a
chance and introduce yourself.

Similarly, imagine that you are standing around with a group at the party when one of them
suddenly announces, “I’m really bored right now!” Again, how do you think that’s
going to go over? 

That’s what its like when someone does it while in chat. If, what they mean to say is
“let’s go find something else to do?” or even “let’s change the topic of
conversation?” that is one thing. And if that is the case in chat, then the one who says
they are bored needs to take it upon them to suggest something more interesting to talk

If on the other hand, they just simply mean that they are bored with the conversation, the
polite thing to do is to simply say goodbye and leave the chat. Otherwise it’s an insult
to everyone else and makes that person seem infantile and self-centered.

It’s probably a good rule of thumb, never to utter the words, “I am bored” or even
the words “bored” or “boring” in a chatroom. There is no quicker way to kill a
conversation or seem like a dullard than to suddenly fill the room with pressure to
entertain you. 

4. Making an Entrance

Some people like to slip into a party without calling too much attention to themselves and
others make a grand spectacle. Here’s where chat is a bit different than a “real”
offline party. At a party, it is possible to slip in without too much notice. Also,
sometimes its funny and entertaining for someone to make a grand entrance. Neither of
these behaviours is good form in an online chat however.

In the first place, everyone sees new entrants to the chat. So if you remain silent too
long and just lurk, people will be begin talking about you. People might even begin to
wonder whether you are the serial killer that is just sizing up the victims. So don’t be
too creepy by trying to slip into chats and not saying anything.

Conversely, in chat it is obnoxious for someone to come in suddenly and be too pushy with
their entrance. That’s a turn off and people will not want to talk with you.

A good entrance is simply saying “hello to everyone” or similar expression. If you
know someone at the party you might say hello to them first, but others might assume that
you only want to chat with that person so if that is not the case make sure you indicate
that you are there to chat with others by greeting others.

A better entrance is to say something brief about yourself when you say a general
“hello” such as “Hey this is Sarah and I like My Chemical Romance” or “hey all,
this is Jake and I play guitar” or “Howdy, its DudeRocket and I’m from Canada”

5. Put Out the Welcome Mat

The best way to make newcomers welcome is to greet them when they join the chat. It’s
just polite to acknowlege their entrance even if you don’t particularly desire to chat
with them. On Kupika it is very useful to peek at the person’s profile when they come
in. That way you can gather some info about them and won’t ask bumbling basic questions
like age, gender or location, etc.  It’s even better to browse what they say on their
profile page so you can break the ice by saying “hello” and asking a question about
something they are especially interested in.

By welcoming one another, a pleasant conversant atmosphere is created.

6. The 1 + 1 Rule

The basic form of good chatting is quite simple and it?s called the 1 + 1 Rule. What
it means is that if someone asks you a question you give them the answer
(that?s 1) but you do not stop there! You should add another 1 by either providing
an additional detail or piece of information or by asking a question in turn. 

The following demonstrates how quickly chat can get painful by not following the

Celeste: What kind of music do you like?
Fearne: I like Jazz
Celeste: Cool, do you play an instrument?
Fearne: Yeah.
Celeste: What kind?
Fearne: Saxophone

The following illustrates the 1 + 1 Rule?s improvement over the above:

Celeste: What kind of music do you like?
Fearne: I like Jazz and I play saxophone.

Or another possible answer:

Fearne: I like Jazz. What kind of music do you like?

In the first example, Fearne?s response is the answer to the question (1) plus an
additional bit of information (+1). In the second example, Fearne?s response is the
answer to the question (1)  plus a question in return (+1). 

Seems simple and it is simple. So learn it, it?s the basic level of chatting.

7. Different Strokes

You want a chat room filled with only people who think like you do, believe in your god,
etc., then go to Sameness.com. If you step into a general chat room you have to be
prepared for encountering persons who are different from you and you should not be
offended if those differences come out.

It is ok to discuss differences even on such personal and weighty topics as religion,
politics and sex, that is after all, one of the reasons people go to chat rooms. But such
discussion should always be kept at a courteous mature level. 

It’s the height of bad form to insult persons or engage in personal attacks simply
because you disagree with the viewpoint of others or because they are different from you.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone in chat but it is good to be civil to
everyone and better to be friendly.

If in the end, you really don’t wish to associate with a person in chat simply ignore
them. That’s something that is much easier to do in chat than at a party.

8. The Thumper Rule

This goes hand-in-hand with #6 above. The Thumper Rule is simply: “If you can’t say
something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”  In other words, it’s not
polite to say something mean or negative to another person, especially if the person
hasn’t done anything to you. Try to be nice to everyone or at least civil and you will
gain a good reputation and more people will want to talk to you. This will also keep the
entire chat room a friendly atmosphere that is conducive to chatting.

9. Dealing with Bullies

Once in a while you get a loudmouth at a party or someone who tries to show-off by picking
on another. In some chatrooms, one can appeal to the moderator or chat-room operator, but
in Kupika this is discouraged.

The best way to deal with bullies is just to ignore them. In Kupika you can blacklist a
person but the official chat section (Fleeting Thoughts) doesn’t allow you to block the
person or turn off whatever they write. (See the note on Gabbly below.) So you just have
to tolerate reading whatever it is they are saying. This may make it harder to ignore them
but if you do they will most likely tire of harassing you and leave you alone.

The second best way is to make the situation humorous so they will seem foolish for
picking on you. The next best thing to do is to ask for help, perhaps by messaging a
friend privately. If enough people in chat side with the victim, the bully will most
likely feel the social pressure and back off.

10. Cyber-Fights

Cyber-fights, flame wars, etc. have been around since chat and even emailing began. Among
its main functions, chat is a communication medium that makes it easy to debate, discuss
and argue so its common to find two or more persons debating on topics as wide ranging as
religion to which is the best flavor of ice-cream. (Everyone knows it’s Chocolate.)
Thus, it is no surprise when tensions sometimes rise. This can be especially true when a
person doesn’t apply any of the preceding “rules” when chatting.

Aside from the occassional entertainment of it, cyber-fights are annoying to anyone not

If you do have a legitimate beef with another person, it is best to send a message
directly to that person and deal with it in private rather than airing your disagreement
out in public chat, even if you are in the right in the dispute.

11. Abbreviations

Abbreviations are very common in online communications, especially chat. Sometimes
abbreviations are used out of laziness but most of the time abbreviations are just used as
a way to save time and speed up the chat and are therefore considered perfectly

There are generally two categories of abbreviations: Informational and Emotive.

Informational Abbreviations such as: BF (boyfriend), GF (girlfriend), BFF (best friends
for life) and so forth are meant as short-hand for common information.

Emotive Abbreviations such as ROFLMAO (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off) are
obviously intended to describe some emotion or action, or imaginary action.

The term “lol” meaning “laughing out loud” is possibly the most used term in chat
and the most overused term. Actually, with rare occasion, no one ever really laughs out
loud while chatting but it can happen. LOL is still highly acceptable but try not to
overuse it, or any abbreviation for that matter, or it will lose its intended affect.

There is a list of common abbreviations in the first “additional reading” link below.
Get familiar with abbreviations and use them generously but not too often.

12. Actions and Inner Thoughts

Early internet communications was the province of nerds and technophiles. Perhaps not
coincidently these persons also tended to be fans of role playing games like Dungeons &
Dragons, thus it was almost immediate that it became common for persons to role play or
describe “actions” in the chat.

This is done by simply typing the action or thought and distinguishing it from regular
chat with some type of marker. Almost anything can be used for this purpose from
parentheses ( ) to dots or ellipsis … to the common form of asterisks ***

Some actions or inner thoughts could therefore be expressed thusly:

Eduardo: wow that’s really good ***takes out cookie, presents it to Kelly***
Eduardo: I bet you wish you knew what I was thinking….cookies….you’ll never guess
Eduardo: Ah thanks for the cookie Kelly! (((hugs)))

Actions and Inner Thoughts spice up chat and help make it more interesting. Just like at a
party its cool when someone does a little party trick or expresses themselves nonverbally.
 The more creative the better usually but try not to get carried away. After all, D&D was
a game for nerds for a reason.

13. Links

The use of links is tolerated in chat but don’t over do it. Make sure the link is
relevant to the topic of conversation and try not to pull people out of the conversation
by sending them all looking at other pages on the net.

14. Privacy (email, msn) 

Just a word about privacy. Most chats are inherently public so unless you want everyone to
know your email or msn address don’t post it in chat. Similarly, if privacy is a concern
of yours you should never reveal personal information in chat. If there is someone that
you want to provide such information to, it is best to do so in a private message to the

15. Humor

Humor is always appreciated at a party. But keep in mind that a lot of humor has
difficulty in translation across cultures and language barriers.  Chat is best for short
quips and witticisms. Longer jokes, especially those that have a long set-up to the
punchline may not work well in chat.  Don’t be afraid to say something funny, silly,
crazy or random. Such activitiy stimulates conversation and interaction.  

It goes without saying that certain humor that may be considered offensive such as racial,
sexist or similar jokes offensive to certain segments of society should be avoided.  Even
the funny ones. Such jokes depend too heavily on non-verbal communication, tone of voice,
body language and of course the identity of the the speaker to be both acceptable and

16: Your Rep

Your reputation is your most valuable quality in chat. Everyone loves it when someone 
known to be entertaining, funny, smart or otherwise likeable joins the party. On the other
hand, nothing diffuses the positive energy in chat then the entrance of someone with a bad

By taking an interest in others and by not relying on others to entertain you but rather
taking the initiative to talk to others you will gain a good reputation and your chatting
sessions will be upbuilding and fun for all.


•	Why should you never use the word “bored” or “boring” in chat?
•	What is the 1+1 Rule?
•	What kind of humor should be avoided in chat?
•	What’s the most valuable quality you bring into the chat room?


(these are some exercises for you to try the next time you chat)

•	Make it a point to greet every new person that comes into chat
•	Ask at least three questions of a person based upon the information in their profile
•	Experiment with being “out of character”
•	Describe at least two “actions” or “inner thoughts”
•	Speak to someone totally different from you

Additional Reading: 



Gabbly is a unique chat tool that allows people to open a chat upon virtually any website
or webpage. All one need do is type the website URL or page after: http://www.gabbly.com/
and it works!  All such persons referring to the same URL will enter into the chat.

The main page now better known and used by some for Kupika is:

In theory, one should be able to continue to use the underlying website with no problems,
but I have observed some minor glitches w

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