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Old 01-10-2003, 08:11 AM
analander is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2

What the heck is "leetspeek?" - more links! - including the new "Tales for the L337" version of Hamlet.
Old 01-10-2003, 08:13 AM
analander is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2

oops column link

Old 01-10-2003, 08:19 AM
olsam is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 5
There's a person who roams the great wilds of the Internet posting kR4zZ333 54i7 in some other form of 1337. She's a music software programmer/artist from Holland and used to hang out on the Kurzlist (Kurzweil maling lsit) and the Music-DSP list.
Here's a coupla linx to get you started to the cult of Integer:
Old 01-10-2003, 08:22 AM
carnun is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 4

Origins of stuph like w4r3z...

(In reference to I thought that things like w4r3z had a lot to do with avoiding easy searches for piracy sitez. Or maybe this is a coming together of the IRC culture with that of the hacker culture?
Old 01-10-2003, 09:15 AM
tourbot is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: this is nowhere
Posts: 545
I would have liked to have seen a bit more emphasis on the origins and usage of leetspeak. I'm not sure I agree with the statement that leet means "Only the elite ... are supposed to understand it".

The first time I heard the word leet (about 5 years ago) it was used as an insult, in the sense of someone who thinks they are too good for someone/something. I don't recall the exact wording, but it went something like "they don't spend any time hear 'cause they think they leet". That this was being used in reference to one of the head coders (who had moved on to a rather high-profile job) on a MUD I was playing is not insignificant. My guess is that leet is more commonly used as a compliment, usually referring to the persons coding or hacking skills. Hence, leetspeak was initially the language of those with leet coding (or other computer) skills, not the language of people with leet leetspeak skills.
Old 01-10-2003, 09:32 AM
nuffle is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: US
Posts: 10


As a computer programmer, I can tell you that being 1337 (elite) is a definite compliment. It means you've got good kung foo (to throw around some other slang). You're a great coder, hacker, phreaker, etc. Me and my programmer friends joke about being 1337 h4x0r5, perhaps because we know deep in our hearts we are l4/\/\3r5.

Let me second the earlier post that 133t speak most likely had practical beginnings and grew from there. Hackers are a paranoid bunch, and since their communication over the internet was out in the open, they needed to disguise their words. Not from humans, though, but from computers. They didn't want some government goon catching them merely by doing a search for "hackers," "warez," or whatever. So they coded their words so that humans could relatively easily understand them, but search engines or email scanners wouldn't see them.

That sort of talk spread, though, as a mark of being a good hacker (being 1337).
Old 01-10-2003, 10:34 AM
Podkayne is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 6,082
What's the origin of the xor thing? Does it have anything to do with the exclusive or operator?

Also, let me compliment Cecil for sneaking "horseshit" past the censors.
Old 01-10-2003, 12:21 PM
nuffle is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: US
Posts: 10
Here's a link to a site that will translate a web site into 1337 (and other dialects). This was featured in Weird Earls a while ago.

For example, the straight dope in 1337 speak:

Also, google offers "Hacker" as a language preference. You can change your language at:
Old 01-10-2003, 12:47 PM
dasmegabyte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5

A brief entymology of leetspeak

I have to speak up here for a second.

First, I'm a rhetorician in a graduate program for linguistics considering a thesis on the net's affect on speech patterns, specifically the "typed" speech of chatrooms and how it differs from both audible speech and previous written texts. Believe it or not, this is hardly specific enough for the linguistic world, and I'll probably have to narrow it down to the use of the at sign vs the 4 in words like h@x0r, or the double zero inflection of "r0x0r j00r s0x0r."

As a child of chatrooms (first logged on in 1989, w00t) I grew up with leet speak. I saw it progress from a few words (mostly "fux0r" and "hax0r") to a full blown language. And I feel I have a few pretty good ideas as to why it developed the way it did.

1) In the days just before the internet, there were connected networks know as Bulletin Boards. They were largely text based, but allow alternation of colours. Smart geeks utilized this colour ability along with the extended characters of the ANSI character set to come up with some really clever art. Of course, this could easily increase download times over a 2400 baud modem to 7 ort 8 times what they'd normally be due to the overhead of the ANSI "escape" codes, so we'd mostly use this art for menus and for signing off messages cleverly. For example, I was known on one board as "mr self destruct"...I used the summation characters to create an s on two lines and a coloured dash to underline the rest.

2) Abbreviations like "u" and "l8r" became important mostly when multiline bbs's came around. It was just easier...and decreased the download time and the "scroll" (number of lines dumped at any one time). Abbreviations like "lol," "brb," "afk," and "ianal" further decreased scroll and mostly became part of the lingo because they were documented in popular text files on net terms. Less popular abbreviations happened all the time and were often system or scene specific...hackers speak of "cdc" or "&totse", gamers might speak of "lord" or "TEOS."

3) The first time I saw the "-x0r" verb extension I didn't know what to make of it, either. I can trace the time of its entymology to late 1996, around the time mp3 trading began, I have a log from that period where I asked about the -x0r and got laughed at. FYI, it's pronounced "-ksor," thought pronouncing it is a sure way to get your ass kicked.

4) Number substitution became huge on IRC in the late 90s, when some "scripts" for the popular clients would actually do a "find and replace" of entered english text and spit out attractive coloured hacker speak. Scripting is a way to stand out in IRC as a real user of technology, even if the script itself is stupid...taking over IRC channels through force and the use of manipulative scripts is still a pasttime for some "hackers." These attacks, and the counterattacks chatters were forced to use to "get back" a channel they'd once chatted in, required that pretty much everybody on the network had some kind of cute automation script on their client. For those too lazy to write their own (like myself), the freely available scripts on the market afforded decent automated flood protection -- the "leetspeak" modules were just a neat side effect.

It's important to note that leetspeak is generally considered by netizens from hackers to hardcore chatters to be poor ettiquette and is used normally in an ironic context. It's long been proven that proper spelling is essential to an internet argument...attacks on spelling and grammar are more popular and effective than most pingfloods.

From EFNet's #pce (limted to 31337 users),
Old 01-10-2003, 03:15 PM
Tamex is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 2,533
Thank you dasmegabyte and nuffle, and welcome to the SDMB.

I, too, wish that Cecil had spent more time researching the history and origins and usage of l33t rather than just regurgitating an old SDMB thread. It was funny and all, but certainly lacking in ignorance-busting.
Old 01-13-2003, 11:03 AM
Martigen is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2
Ack, I feel I must contribute.

For the origin of 'elite':

It comes, I believe, from the warez scene which was rife even back in the BBS days. The best warez were '0 day', ostensibly 'same day' products released to the warez community. People who could do this were, undeniably, the best. I don't think they initially thought of themselves as 'elite' but they very quickly garnered enough respect to be called 'elite', the best of the best, able to warez software like no other. And thus, to be elite you had to be the biggest badass warez dude, and this invariably implied extensive hacking skills. However you weren't just 'elite', you were '1337' -- an expression derived from the the subtitutions hackers often used to bypass keyword filters (I believe this was covered elsewhere). And the younger generation has this annoying habit of emulating the peers they admire.

Which leads me to backup dasmegabytes comments on the use of 1337speak:

It is more commonly used today in -jest- of the community that spawned it. 1337 people don't speak in 1337 unless taking the piss. Those who -think- they are 1337 speak in 1337, but by doing so are, by virtue, not.

Make sense? 1337speak is fun, but -not- cool.

I think it's facinating that our language has been evolving online. The heavy 1337speak that is depicted in Cecil's piece is thankfully not commonplace, however bits and pieces of it where appropriate are well and truly entrenched into netspeak -- especially abbreviations such as h4x (to refer to extreme good luck or skills, as if someone 'hacked' a result they achieved) and the wonderful example given by dasmegabyte of '-x0r'.

Similarly, misspelling is another form of expression which is deliberately used precisely because, theoretically, it shouldn't. Common misspelled words inversely become the norm. For example one might express that something is 'really good' such that one might say that it (colloquially) 'rocks', which might be expressed as 'That movie si teh rock!' -- 'is the rock', 'rocks'. And strangely, I find I prefer many abbreviations because they convey an emotion through text which would normally be convyed by facial expressions -- saying 'sif' as an off-hand version of 'as if' and 'plz' used as a disbelieving 'oh please'. A favorite is the popular '0wnz' or 'pwnz', but not just in terms of being able to better someone else, to 'own' them, but also as an expression of -anything- that is inherently great -- for example 'Vanilla Coke pwnz me'.

Our language is evolving online simply because its moulding to the medium we are giving it. Rofl, lol, h4x, plz, sif, 0wnz and many more are the result of people communicating as much as they can in the starkly limited expression that is letters on a page, flying by in a chat room.

Do not ph33r it, embrace it

Old 01-13-2003, 06:02 PM
Irishman is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Denton, TX, USA
Posts: 12,486
I'd rather just beat it with a stick.


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