Group Identity in MUDs


The Main Page - A Review

Governance Structures Found in Several Different Text-Based Online Communities

Ethical and Social Problems that Arise in Online Communities

Identities and Social Interactions in MUDs

Online Gaming Communities and Their Governance Structures

The primary purpose of muds and mmogs is social – to play games and chat with friends online. The group-focused nature of muds and mmogs facilitates the development of a group identity, which is reinforced by objects (bits of code that perform various functions in the mud), and by an emphasis on repetition. For example, rooms in muds often include BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), which are permanent objects that record players’ postings on various topics, or jokes. These boards help to give a sense of “group membership in a common place,” a sense of belonging to a group, because its members share certain knowledge unique to the space.  There is also a large emphasis on repetition in muds, which also help to reinforce the group identity and shared experience. For example, participants in the mud BlueSky often participate in “quote fests,” in which players will quote other players out of context, with results that are intended to be funny and often sexually suggestive. These quote fests occur often enough that regular members are familiar with them, and to be quoted often in such a quote fest is considered to be a sort of status-indicator; someone who is commonly quoted is generally someone well-liked in the group, and is considered to be funny or witty.  


Kendall, Lori. Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. p. 6

Kendall, Lori. p 70.