Lamer-speak

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Crackers, Phreaks, and Lamers

From the late 1980s onward, a flourishing culture of local, MS-DOS-based bulletin boards has been developing separately from Internet hackerdom. The BBS culture has, as its seamy underside, a stratum of `pirate boards' inhabited by crackers, phone phreaks, and warez d00dz. These people (mostly teenagers running PC-clones from their bedrooms) have developed their own characteristic jargon, heavily influenced by skateboard lingo and underground-rock slang.

Though crackers often call themselves `hackers', they aren't (they typically have neither significant programming ability, nor Internet expertise, nor experience with UNIX or other true multi-user systems). Their vocabulary has little overlap with hackerdom's. Nevertheless, this lexicon covers much of it so the reader will be able to understand what goes by on bulletin-board systems.

Here is a brief guide to cracker and warez d00dz usage:

    * Misspell frequently.  The substitutions
               phone => fone
               freak => phreak
      are obligatory.
    * Always substitute `z's for `s's.  (i.e. "codes" -> "codez").
    * Type random emphasis characters after a post line (i.e. "Hey
      Dudes!#!$#$!#!$").
    * Use the emphatic `k' prefix ("k-kool", "k-rad", "k-awesome")
      frequently.
    * Abbreviate compulsively ("I got lotsa warez w/ docs").
    * Substitute `0' for `o' ("r0dent", "l0zer").
    * TYPE ALL IN CAPS LOCK, SO IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE YELLING ALL THE
      TIME.
These traits are similar to those of B1FF, who originated as a parody of naive BBS users. For further discussion of the pirate-board subculture, see lamer, elite, leech, poser, cracker, and especially warez d00dz.


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