Advantages Great program
Disadvantages Unpleasant visitors
"I LIKE SEX""HOT VIRGINS ARE MY SCENE"
"YOU UNITED SCUM SHOULD BE BRUTALLY MAIMED"Oh dear, dave27 has gone absolutely mental and is trying to offend as many minorities (yes, United fans are still in the minority) as possible in the space of three lines, what's he on?
Well, actually it ain't me, and if you've spent even five minutes in the shadowy world of Internet chat forums, you'll doubtless identify the above witty repartee as being fairly typical of the intellectual stimulation and challenge which awaits your pleasure when you log into this sort of program.Like them or not, chat programs and chat rooms are a core part of the Internet and not to be ignored. They've also had to bear an extraordinary amount of bad press over the last few years for the satanic activities associated with them. Recognise, however, that like guns, it's not the chat rooms that are evil, but the people who use them for the wrong reasons. Of course, Internet chat facilities are ideal for people who wish others wrong because they hide one's identity, allow one to present oneself as a saint and give one easy access to all sorts of impressionable minds. But enough of me and Mrs D...
There are an awful lot of different chat programs out there, but among the best are the facilities that our friendly little bods at Yahoo offer for nowt.Yahoo, in fact, run loads and loads of really ace progs, all accessed via their portal/home page, and their chat facilities are every bit as good as the E-mail, Clubs, Calendars, Classified Ads and all the rest.
There are a couple of options provided by Yahoo if you want to chat. They're both basically the same, although one is an awful lot safer than the other.The standard prog, which you can access via http://chat.yahoo.com/ operates in much the same way as another. As long as you're a Yahoo member you can enter any of the myriad of rooms you can find on the site and they cover all manner of interests, including Business & Finance, Computers & Internet, Cultures & Community, Entertainment & Arts, Movies, Television, Family & Home, Games, Government & Politics, Health & Wellness, Hobbies & Crafts, Music, Recreation & Sports, Regional, Religion & Beliefs, Romance and Science.
All you do is click on the relevant chat room to enter and the Yahoo software logs you in to the system. The screen includes a big message board in the middle, a pane to the right showing which other Yahoo members are pointing at the room (called Chatters), with some tools and facilities at the bottom.A series of messages from the members present comes up in real time and you just type in your own message to take part. You can also have private conversations with any of the members by clicking on their name and clicking the 'PM' button which opens a small messageboard which only you and the other member can see. In this way, you can have one to one conversations or dip your toe into the open chaos of a packed chat room where anything goes.
You can also listen in on voiced messages and speak your own messages using a mike, although I've not tried that yet. Sounds a bit scary if you ask me.You can also drop in items from a range of emoticons provided, but be warned, chat is an unforgiving medium and it's easy to get misunderstood. You can't read body language or hear the nuances of tone and it's easy to get your messages mistakenly assumed to be an insult, so be very clear about what you are trying to say.
Whenever I've chanced it in one of these free for all arenas, I've never come across anything of any use or which is particularly enjoyable, as most of the time there are some fairly undesirable creatures abroad, who just want to swear, utter profanities or give you a hard time. You can get into some pretty dangerous and horrible conversations if you encounter some of these racist, sexist, misogynistic, hateful dudes and the best advice I can give is stay away.What is a much more refined, friendly, controlled experience is the chat facility you find on each of the various Groups you can join at http://groups.yahoo.com/ which operate using the same program as the free for all chat rooms, except that the participants are limited to members of that particular group, so in general they're less unpleasant, better known and more helpful, although the counter to that is that there tend to be less people around.
Last night, for the first time I tried out the chat room at the Ciao UK group at about eleven and had an hour or so on there with Connoisseur Haggler, Excelle, Peter Smyth and Dizz and after I'd got the hang of the way things worked, found it quite a pleasant experience. If you get more than three people in there at any one time, it can get quite complicated trying to work out who's talking to who, but with a combination of the PM facility and the open message board, you can get some decent threads going and a chart room in full swing is a remarkable thing.I'm going to be going there regularly from now on with the wonderful community of Ciao-ers and I'll be trying out the facility with some of the other groups I belong to, although you can only be in one chat room at any one time.
When you get a decent set of people, who have even the modicum of decency and self restraint, then a chat room is a lovely, friendly, lively, interesting place, but take my advice and steer clear of the free for all version of Yahoo, because it tends to be overflowing with troglodyte adolescents who have just learned some marvellous new swear words and long to share the experience.My biggest fear is to get shut in one of these rooms with any of the multitude of churners and abuse merchants that you encounter at Ciao and Dooyoo, and I'm fairly certain things could get very nasty in that case. If there's that many nasty pieces of work on opinion sites which normally demand at least some intelligence, think what demons could be lurking in the dark recesses of chat room land, with their clubs held aloft and their hairy toes poking out of their sandals while they pick their teeth and try another one:
"HA HA HA HA, SCUM SUCKER, I'M GOING TO EAT YER GONADS FER BREKKY...."Good evening, Uncle Herbert, and how are you this fair evening?
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