Identities and Social Interactions 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

One of the first and most important uses of the Internet was communication. Instead of making expensive phone calls to friends and relatives, those with access to a computer and an Internet connection could make contact with loved ones via email and chat programs. As the medium matured, communication took on a meaning that included social forums as well: places to play games, meet people, and participate in activities and conversations. The social world of MUDs and MMOGs (Multi-User Dungeons and Massively Multi-Player Online Games) is particularly fascinating, and has a number of interesting effects on our perceptions of identity, groups, gender, friendship and trust.

Introduction and Background

MUDs have their historical origins in Dungeons and Dragons-themed multi-player games, hence their name, the Multi-User Dungeon. As MUDs have grown older, and the themes and interactions no longer necessarily share a connection with this role-playing gaming culture, the acronym has been reinterpreted to mean “Multi-User Domains” or “Multi-User Dimensions.” There are also different subsets of muds, one of the most notable being the MOO, or MUD-Object-Oriented, a type of mud that is constructed in such a way as to focus on the use of objects in the online space (objects will be described later). Some have abandoned the acronym and capitalization entirely, in order to de-emphasize the historical connections to role-playing games. In its non-acronym form, the term mud is often used in verb and noun forms, such as “mudders,” those who use muds, and “mudding,” the act of mudding.


Kendall, Lori. Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. p 5.