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-   -   leetspeak has more than one purpose (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=155578)

Novelty 01-10-2003 11:43 AM

leetspeak has more than one purpose
 
In addition to being an attempt to differentiate themselves, specifically from adults, many kiddies use certain forms of l33+$p34|< because of a lack of time. This is especially true in games, where typing in full sentences takes too much time.

For example, in the middle of a round of UT 2K3 (Unreal Tournament 2003 for the uninitiated), you may kill someone and be thinking, "I am much better than you and if was not difficult to paint the walls with your innards." Of course, by the time you type that, you'll be killed 2-3 times over. Therefore, that becomes "u r ez" or something similar.

An unfortunate side effect of this is that many players use games as a means of being an ass. You can be called "ez", a "n3wb" (short for newbie), or any number of other things without regard to whether or not it's factual. It's not really a big deal -- kids will be kids, I guess -- but hearing the same l@m3r over and over again can get grating. :)

~Nov

Kwyjibo 01-10-2003 12:02 PM

Re: leetspeak has more than one purpose
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Novelty
It's not really a big deal -- kids will be kids, I guess -- but hearing the same l@m3r over and over again can get grating. :)

~Nov

All the more reason to hunt him down an 0wN #15 |3U++ . :)

Arnold Winkelried 01-10-2003 01:29 PM

don't forget the link to the online column
 
Welcome to the SDMB, and thank you for posting your comment.
Please include a link to Cecil's column if it's on the straight dope web site.
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Cecil's column can be found on-line at this link:
What the heck is "leetspeek?" (10-Jan-2003)

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jea 01-10-2003 02:20 PM

I was surprised that Cecil didn't comment on why 133t was invented: security. Enterprising young hackers found that their passwords would be easy to remember, yet relatively proof to standard dictionary attacks by substituting numbers for letters. While we, with our great cognitive skills, can recognize and remember p455w0rd fairly well, a simple dictionary based password guessing program wouldn't.

porkchop_d_clown 01-10-2003 02:30 PM

Security?

That's a new one on me.


AFAIK, 133t is just an extension of the sort of shorthand and "amusing typos" that was already well in place in the late 80's - and using numbers for letters is a game that I played with calculators in grade school.

Check out the Jargon File for a history of computing slang...

TTFN

Breathe Exhaust 01-10-2003 03:43 PM

(O)ld (K)inderhook
 
I thought it was pretty well decided that OK derived not from "oll korrect," but from Old Kinderhook. Old Kinderhook, NY, was Martin Van Buren's hometown, and the initials OK came to signify one's support for Van Buren's 1840 presidential campaign. Dubious provenance for one of the most recognized words in all speech, but that's what I've heard.

siece 01-10-2003 03:45 PM

Actually, leet began earlier than that, as a way of conserving memory. When the idea of having computers talk to each other was new, every bit was like gold, since the size of peoples' hard drives was usually measured in ks, if they had one at all. Since every character eats up 8 bits, shortening 'to' into '2' and so on was pretty much mandatory. A message like the (long) one Novelty used above simply wouldn't fit down the pipe.

Later, it became a cost isue in terms of bandwidth. Even today, anyone stu^H^H^Hunfortunate enough to be using my local phone company's internet service is paying by the bit for their surfing habit.

Subsitution entered the picture when people decided they wanted to bypass various keyword filters. Clueless sysadmins then added the subbed in words to their block list, and 1337s invented new subsitutions. Things snowballed from there, and the war continues to the present day.

BTW, the Jargon File can be found here: http://tuxedo.org/jargon/

bibliophage 01-10-2003 04:22 PM

Re: (O)ld (K)inderhook
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Breathe Exhaust
I thought it was pretty well decided that OK derived not from "oll korrect," but from Old Kinderhook.
Cecil Adams on
What does "OK" stand for?

panamajack 01-10-2003 06:08 PM

The security reason seems very unlikely to be the origin, but it does partly explain its continued popularity, as well as its continual mutation. Given that a large portion of what is on the internet is capable of being indexed, filed, and pushed into a database to make it easier to search, if you don't want to be found, it becomes even more valuable to have some 4r90+ that's difficult to decipher.

It's the same reason some people use N@zi, or joe@nospamaol.com (in a newsgroup posting) -- it's a way to keep out of purely machine-based searches.

mellybeanTC 01-10-2003 07:08 PM

i think it was more to *bypass* security that leetspeak originated ... i was on BBS's and early UNIX internet, super-slow modems and no leetspeak needed. but when looking for um, shall we say, certain fileZ ... they could only be found when misspelled. i noticed it in filesearches far before i saw it in chat.

i'm 36 and frankly it's scary to be able to read leetspeak fluently *lol* i can't type it that fast, tho.

peace,
mellybeanTC

DSYoungEsq 01-10-2003 07:46 PM

One, too, should differentiate the contraction of words to single letters or numbers (e.g.: you = u) from true 133+. Contraction of words to shorter expressions serves the purpose of limiting the amount of typing needed to convey a message, useful when chatting, or when posting to boards (the typical methodology for communication by computer in the days before Instant Messages). On the other hand, most "leet" takes just as long to type as if you were using the actual letters; the point to it is to make it look different on the assumption that only you and your "in" buddies can read it. In much the same way, kids have used things like pig-Latin, or talking backwards to hide their output from adults.

Novelty 01-11-2003 12:26 AM

I do believe that part of using "2" for "to" (or "two" or "too" or, in France, "tu") or "ur" for "your" or "you're" are actually in part because a lot of people, especially the younger crowd, isn't exactly sure what the differences are between them. By that, I mean that many would see no grammatical error in something like, "Their so many of them" or, "There so man of them" even though both are wrong.

I'm not about to preach on the advantages of proper grammar or English in general, but for a kick, correct someone's grammar when online and let the flaming begin.

I can understand using shortcuts because of time constraints (as in a game) or because of bandwidth restrictions (early online connections and places that charge for connections by the hour/minute/bytes sent), but when you're on a public message board and there's even the ability to proofread before posting, it doesn't make much sense.

I guess everyone needs an identity. That would explain both l33+$p34k and ebonics in one fell swoop. It's as if they're screaming, "Recognize us, damnit!" Like Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter.

Of course, I could be wrong. :)

~Nov

___________________________________________________

Change is good, but I prefer paper money.

Hamadryad 01-11-2003 09:01 AM

Quote:

It's as if they're screaming, "Recognize us, damnit!" Like Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter.
Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! *raises hand in the air and waves it frantically*

I use 13375p34k because...I don't know why. I never shorten "you" to "u," or "to" (or "too") to "2."

Wow, that is the funniest sentence I think I've ever typed.

ANYHOW...

I used to be on BBSs back in the bad old (-ish) days as well (next year my handle will be old enough to vote), and I remember the first 1337-i5# type of writing I saw: "warez" for "wares," or pirated software, and "phreak" for "freak," or hack into and pillage copywritten programs and systems.

At the time, I was the only person I knew who had a computer in the house - or wanted one. I never would have guessed at how far they would have spread, or that some day I would be looking back at "hakk/phreak warez sitez" with nostalgia.

</batty old lady>

Solomon7t 01-11-2003 10:39 AM

Im sorry but there is great confusion on leet speak here.

1. The origins:

We owe leet speak to our wonderful friend JeffK. JeffK is a pardoy ( I hope you figured that out) of a generic AOL using wanna be hacker script kiddie. The kind of kid that has watched Hackers one to many times. Leet Speak would not be what it is today if it wasnt for JeffK. Lowtax (creator of JeffK) probely didn't create Leet Speak but he can be credited with making it what it has become.

2. Not all examples given here are really leet speak.

Leet speak would be something like this: H4N H4N J00 4R3 73H 10054R W007 W007!!!!!!!!

Things like abreviating words like r, lol, rofl, stfu, etc, etc are just general online irc/instant message user abbreviations.

Stuff like this: "HELO FAGORTSAND WELLCOEM TOO MY NEW AND EMPROVED HOEMAPEG!!!!" is lowtag/JeffK making fun of 14 year old aol kiddies who think they are cool.

3. Lastly, anyone who thinks its cool to use leet speak is moron. Only use it to mock those who use seriously. I am a 17 year old (hardcore) gamer so dont think this view is a generation gap kinda thing.

im sorry if anything doesnt make sense or is unexplained, i havent slept well in weeks.

nuffle 01-11-2003 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Solomon7t
2. Not all examples given here are really leet speak.
Leet speak would be something like this: H4N H4N J00 4R3 73H 10054R W007 W007!!!!!!!!
Things like abreviating words like r, lol, rofl, stfu, etc, etc are just general online irc/instant message user abbreviations.

Excellent point, Solomon. I also don't think leetspeak grew out of the need to type more quickly or conserve space. There are many examples of shortened words in leetspeak, but just as many (if not more) lengthened variations: hacked = h4x0r3d, w=\/\/, m=|\/|, t = + (shifted chars are slower). And as good as these script kiddies may be, I doubt any of them could type leet (of any great length) faster than the normal english they grew up with.

nuffle 01-11-2003 11:40 AM

One more thing... Like Solomon says, it ain't cool to use leetspeak, you just sound like a dork. Solomon claims its not a generation gap thing, and i think he's right. It could have been, but got abandoned instead, most likely because its medium was the internet. Too many people saw it. I mean, for god's sake, it's the topic of a Straight Dope question and now all us squares are discussing it.

Of course the kids are gonna give up on it...

Martigen 01-13-2003 11:14 AM

Plz, Jeff K did not popularise 1337speak, the opportunity for his creation came about precisely because of the pervasiveness of the culture that he eptimoises. The whole humor of Jeff K is in the exaggeration of the dialect.

Mart


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