Roorats: Basic Introduction
The Roorat 'branding' was a little virtual community created, in part, by myself back in 1999 in the Yahoo! Police and Fire chat rooms. Specifically Room 7 IIRC. The chat room regulars were all in some way related to police, fire, military or paramedic operations... And then there was me. At the time a young impressionable 17 year old.
I did have a huge interest in those functions however, and held them in high regards. This stems back to my childhood, and some other stories which I may or may not have talked about on the blog before. Regardless, there I was... A 17 year old geeky guy, whose only social interaction in Grade 12 (my senior year) outside of school / work, being a regular group of responders who I conversed with online, in a chat room.
This was my first real introduction to online Role Playing, and it came naturally to me. I didn't even know I was doing it at the time, but in my mind, I built that chat room into a little city. We had our own laws, and every regular seemed to hold various special positions within the community. Looking back on it now, it was scary how clique we were, and also quite scary how much information we collected back in those days.
You see, we would sometimes have intruders who would seek to cause drama, or bother our peaceful little corner of chat. Yahoo! of course, wouldn't respond of do anything about spammers, or chat harassment at the time. There was no recourse, but to look into the matter ourselves.
So we tended to keep fairly good records on people. I had programs which would comb the internets looking for information based on peoples email addresses, and yahoo user names. I also had programs which would log various chat rooms including our own, and allowed those logs to be searched for conversations involving said people. If people got really annoying, I also had programs that would DDOS their Yahoo! account, causing them to be unable to stay online. This is how things had to be done back then... Until Yahoo just became so filled with spam bots that it was impossible to deal with, anyhow.
Looking back at that, and browsing thru the records I had kept, it is actually very scary that I was able to collect so much data on people. In many cases, I had peoples phone numbers and addresses. I don't really recall how I obtained all that information, but I think most of it was through internet searches. And because I really had no life at the time except for this virtual community.
Anyhow, I plan on posting a few random files I found from back in those days, which document how complex this virtual community was. In some ways it mirrors the world today, in its paranoia and implied security. I browse through these old files, and note at my views on privacy today, and it sends chills down my spine.