Imho, Otoh and Bozo's Guide To Net.Speak

In any group, certain topics and phrases come up often enough that the group develops short ways of referring to them. From the outside, this can look like pointless and laughable jargon, but from the inside it just looks like convenience. You don't have to speak the jargon to fit in, but you do have to understand it, because there are few better ways to make a bad impression than to say "Huh? What are you talking about?"

The Internet has developed its own extensive jargon. What's more, this jargon evolves very fast: If you rely on an outdated glossary (one compiled as little as a year or two ago), you may not really understand what people are saying. With this in mind, we here at Imho, Otoh and Bozo are pleased to present the current meanings of the following common terms:

bandwidth, waste of bandwidthfascistflameflamebaitgeekimhoNaziotohspamtictlatrollWWW

Net.Term Its current meaning What it used to mean and/or its etymology

bandwidth, waste of bandwidth Boring! Each link betweeen the computers that make up the Internet has a maximum bandwidth, the highest number of bits per second that it can transmit. If a portion of that bandwidth is used to transmit your silly and gratuitous frivol (see WWW), it can't be used to transmit my immensely important information. This is a waste of bandwidth.
fascist "I don't like your politics". See flame and Nazi. "A person who advocates or practices a philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism." - The (1976) American Heritage Dictionary
flame "I didn't like what you said." See fascist and Nazi. A personal, ad hominem attack. Back in 1959, Xerox PARC (which invented computers but couldn't figure out how to get credit for it) had a program called The Emoticon, which graphically displayed the content of email travelling over a network link. Logical, rational messages were shown in cool colors like blue and white, while heated, emotional messages were shown in warm colors like red and yellow. The flickering, firelike patterns that irate messages created quickly caused them to be dubbed "flames", and the name stuck.
flamebait "You don't really think I'm going to respond to that again, do you?" To try to provoke a flame (or, even better, a flamewar) by posting provocative comments. "Evolution", "AIDS", "circumcision", and "socialism" are all sure fire flamebait.
geek n. One who spends (too much) time online. v. To spend (too much) time online. Pre-TV, someone who bit the heads off chickens &c in carnival sideshows. By extension, someone so totally lacking in social skills as to only be able to talk to people they can't see; geeks calling themselves "geeks" is not unlike Jews and Blacks referring to themselves as Yids or Niggers.
imho "God told me" "in my humble opinion", often used tic.
Nazi "I don't like your politics". See fascist and flame. The real Nazi's were a variety of fascists who killed 6,000,000 Jews along with a few hundred thousand gypsies, homosexuals, and other "undesirables". The really shocking thing about this is that they were not just another 'Third World hellhole' but one of the leading industrial nations, with a worldwide reputation for high culture.
otoh "On the other hand" Just another acronym. Net.speak is full of them. See tla.
spam "I don't want to buy that." Gratuitous advertising, especially that which is repeated much too often or posted in places where it is not appropriate. (Monty Python, that paragon of geek taste, once did a skit with some Vikings chanting rather nonsensically about SpamŽ, to the point where it drowned out all else.)
tic "Fuck you - it's a joke" "tongue in cheek"
tla Three Letter Acronym Naturally, TLA is itself a TLA. This is an example of recursion, which is something computer programmers tend to think is pretty cool.
troll "I'm too grown up to flame you for that asinine comment." You troll for fish by dragging a line behind a boat, in front of the fish's mouths. You troll for amusing flames by posting flamebait in likely groups.
WWW Netscape. A huge and anarchic collection of sophomoric humor and bad graphics; see waste of bandwidth.

Copyright © 1996, Imho, Otoh, and Bozo - - March 12, 1996