back home messageboard all the other stuff


Internet friends
Snippets from the ebenezer messageboard.


A professional person has a much more limited toolbox than a friend (a physical friend). How is the situation with Internet friends?


If you miss me when I'm gone, I am your Internet friend even if you had been a lurker only. But is a lurker/lurkeress my Internet friend if I don't know him or her?


Woaaa, friends. Where to get some?

" a friend someone who i do not know ?"
Bad question. Divides people. But Shall be Asked.

Some people presume everybody is an enemy until they get to know her or him.
Some people assume everybody is a friend until they get to know her or him.

Now if self-ask me in this direction...
I am switching between these two extremes all the time. I assume all people are good unless i have to do something with them when they become bad until the prove the opposite. Uh, no, i'm lying. Other way around... No,no, it is iterative. Like a sine wave, going up and down, plus and minus. With centred around the zero (eh, depends on the people, could be abit above, or below)... Narrowing the amplitude, and eventualy moving the centering line of the average middle, further above or below zero.

if it is zero, it is "u don't care".
if it is below, more enemy than friend
if it is above, more friend than enemy.
Now it may take all the run you can do to keep that sine high above the zero, so even in the negative half-period it still positive. Or it may require nothing...

So it's all about trust. Again.
Do you trust me?
*Yes? Then i Might become your friend. From your point of view. Whether You will be mine (from my point of view) is a separate question.
*No? noway, then. Curtain falls.

This above is a deadlock situation. Until you trust me i do not or cannot trust you, and vice-versa.
One of the sides has to sacrify something. Risk wins or risk loses. If no risk, then do Nothing. Die secured. Living thombstone. Even trees risk.
But, Eh, why this sacrificer always happens to be me (you)?
Did i look so untrustworthy? Dangerous? Gonna kill ye if ye do not treat me an icecream? In the proper place (ahem, mc'donalds is no-no)
Or because i am pretty stupid little girl that can't wait an year for sum'hing to happen?

hey, anyone copyng out this stuff? When i retire it would be good to have a reading to my grandchildren instead of inventing it again (and making it much more cynical, and full of if-and-buts)

(ipanema girl)

The first installment was about what I would now consider the simplest and easiest Internet friendship: The unilateral one. It can, when I think about it, be somewhat similar to the relationship between a musician and a listener, or an author and the reader. There is a one-way stream of emotion and thought and action (except for the ones in the front seats of the concert hall, where there is some reciprocity).

I think the Internet variety is more like a real-world friendship, though, because the friendship is nourished more than once. The reader will have to read several posts, and will sooner or later get to know the poster or author (or the role that the author or poster chooses to play. But that's the same in real life as well. My friends see the role I decide to play. Maybe that's the way I really am - or perhaps I'm really Josed Stalin or Idi Amin disguised. Well disguised. You will never know, I hope.).

This was a little back and forth. Finally I have decided what I think: The second stage of Internet friendship is present when two persons interact on an intellectual level. I could be almost anyone - and so could dom. No amount of searching - even by Sir Humphrey and Marquis Le Faf - would result in the finding of a real person. Anonymity or lack of knowledge about the real-world person is a mandatory element of the Stage II Web friendship.

I would say that public communication on a message board is a typical stage II Internet friendship - at least on this board. My communication with dom here - yes. If we had a private E-mail conversation, say about Carl Barks' Gladstone, and I revealed some personal detail - like age - it might perhaps be a stage IIb.


An Internet friendship of the easy type is a quite fragile one, depending on the stability of handles, interests, technology and the like. Because no real person is involved, the friend can disappear suddenly at will, stop using a handle, stop visiting the usual places, delete or stop using E-mail addresses - thus highlighting the assymmetry of the relationship.

For real persons it is always possible to look up the name in the telephone directory, and to send a Christmas card. But nobody can find the person behind a handle that is no longer used.


I'm sorry my writing tends toward the prosaic, nevertheless I would like to respond to your inquiry (concerning internet friendships). I would like to know if there is a way of defining internet friendship by excluding the term virtual (perhaps we can say that what is virtual lacks a factual or material substance; is this an adequte definition?)

In any event (to begin from your post -Internet friends? Chapter Two-). I am not clear what you mean by a unilateral friendship. What is a friendship/relationship that is not reciprocal; is it truly a friendship?
You cite a few examples such as between a piece of music and a listener, but I would extend the meaning to hold inanimate objects as well. The question is do I consider whether there is a possibility to speak about an inanimate object in terms of friendship (or the sharing of a common good; which I consider to be the essential quality of friendship). I would agree that listening to a piece of music can be pleasurable, but is this pleasure any different than the pleasure of drinking wine? Does one speak about wine in terms of friendship?

To continue: you add that internet friendship is much like a real-world friendship by virtue of writing, i.e., that through a messageboard (for instance) one can begin to know a certain avatar (by his writing patterns etc.)... but then you mention the inherent difficulty in such a "knowing about" since an avatar is not only disposable, but quite possibily the playing out of an empty role (such as you find in popular magazine articles on how to pick up women in pubs, i.e., pretending to be what you are not). As I suggested before on another mb, this medium tends not to be very honest given the ability to eliminate chance from writing, CF artifice.

I do not deny that there is not the potential to learn from "conversing" with avatar's, but am not certain whether this constitutes genuine friendship.


I would agree that listening to a piece of music can be pleasurable, but is this pleasure any different than the pleasure of drinking wine? Does one speak about wine in terms of friendship?

In my opinion: Yes. I see the manufacture of wine - or food - (or any other good) as a contract between the maker and the consumer. If the product is "good" - if the maker has put heart and love and effort in it (and not _only_ done it to make a living), then I consider the making an act of friendship. I can say to the master cook in the restaurant: "This was a marvellous meal - how did you get those mushrooms?" - and he will smile proudly and tell about his contacts with the local Mushroom Society. Isn't that friendship - on a short-term basis, surely. But the mutual recognition of pleasure and pride belongs to the friendship zone, not the business zone. I have the notion that trading stocks or currency (not that I have any practical experience) does not involve friendship as much as goods or services that belong to the biological sphere of life. The basic one.


It appears that you have changed the question of my post into a new idea. I was asking about the possibility of a human-being having a friendship with an inanimate object using wine as an example (in speaking about what you called a unilateral friendship).

Actually, It appears that you have responded to my post in two distinct ways:

1) by arguing that friendship is the contract between artisan and purchaser. Thus dealing with the initial question about unilateral friendships.

2) by qualifying what I called (a common good) to mean goods such as wine. Thus implying that this is what it means to share a common good (such as between a wine maker, and a wine purchaser/drinker).

Allow me to ask: can we speak about a common good in terms of privitized pleasures? Drinking wine is a pleasure of the body, and the body is NOT a common good. Perhaps we might make a distinction between pleasure, and the good?

You Said:

In my opinion: Yes. I see the manufacture of wine - or food - (or any other good) as a contract between the maker and the consumer. If the product is "good" - if the maker has put heart and love and effort in it (and not _only_ done it to make a living), then I consider the making an act of friendship.

Allow me to suggest (imo): that a friendship based on a contract (those concerning the transaction of products for money) necessarily points to the initial question concerning unilateral friendships. The wine maker's art is wine making. (Considering what you've said): such a short-term friendship is explicitly about the end of the craft (in this case the wine). The essence of this "friendship" is based on the utility of the artisan, and the wealth of the purchaser. What happens when the wine maker ceases to make 'good' wine, or ceases to make wine at all? What happens when the purchaser no longer has the money to purchase the wine? Does the friendship cease to exist, since the contract cannot be established? Stated differently if the wine purchaser is concerned about the quality of the wine, then he is concerned not about the wine maker... rather the utility of the wine maker. Is this a full account of friendship? Or is there an account of friendship which is based on the friend for who he is, not for his ability to fulfill a transient desire, i.e., desires change from week to week. In any event, if the short-termed friendship rests on the utility of another then what is most important is (in our example) the wine. Perhaps we are back to the initial question?

Are we saying that friendship's highest end can be lowered, and raised? Is the higest aim of friendship the same as the end of any art (such as wine making?) i.e., private pleasures of the body?

You said:

But the mutual recognition of pleasure and pride belongs to the friendship zone, not the business zone. I have the notion that trading stocks or currency (not that I have any practical experience) does not involve friendship as much as goods or services that belong to the biological sphere of life. The basic one.

Allow me to suggest (imo): that your suggestion about contracts does extend to all matters of business (even those concerning as you say the bilogical sphere of life), i.e., such contracts necessarily imply the transaction of money. The only difference that I can see is that there is no illusion about it for those that trade stocks or currency. Yet, there are other subtle differences I think, and we might discuss these further?


I believe there is such a thing as limited and short-term friendships. If the wine maker starts making bad or too expensive wine, that may end the friendship. The contract is unspoken, but nevertheless a contract. Similarly: If I go bankrupt, my relationship with the wine merchant ends - so the friendship will eventually fade into nothingness.

The wine maker's art is wine making.
Yes, but he is also a human being. I can discern the maker's pride through some products that I sometimes can afford to buy. So the wine maker is not only a wine maker. My grocer is not only a grocer. My bike shop keeper is not only a bike shop keeper. My fishmonger etc.

These are commodities that are close to me emotionally and physically. It's not like that with cars or the huge tools supermarkets or (shudder) IKEA.

So what do you think a human being is? In my view the information/the mind bit is what I go for. Those are the only ones that do not bore me. Internet friends have what I seek the most in the real world. Looks may mean something in the beginning. I don't look too good myself. But I'm sure you haven't noticed.


A deeply involved participant in an Internet friendship is more vulnerable than in the real world. With the DenialOfService on ITW yesterday I felt really hard hit, as dom can testify. I recovered a little when I got the idea of contacting ITW support and had their answer within minutes.

So I think the frequency of emotional swings may be higher: The sorrows come more quickly; the flames burn more deeply. But so does recovery. Or doesn't it?

I'm thinking about some simple way of backing up the board. svd's scripts are beyond me; E-mail downloads (with the "deep" command resulted in 235 error messages.) How about de-compressing the board (manager privilege) and downloading the entire sheet in one piece?


See 2 points here.
ah, and 2 arcs and dash.

1. vulnerability
Yes internet "friends" are vulnerable (as any other unsure things). They rely on a chain of unsure things - i'net connection, avatar, character-simulation, ... And These "mediators" are also very *fast*, and easy-changeable. (compare to handwritten letter, 1 month there, 1 month back; compare changeing hand-writing style vs changing avatar or "dialect")

It's like driving with 100km/h vs driving with 20. If a tree hits you in Former one, you got pair of wings, or horns and tail eventualy. In later case - nothing happens.

It is easier to fell into such "friendship" and it's harder to believe that it is Gone. You always tend to blame the "mediators" - or that someone hijacked the avatar - ... etsetera.
It's all because it is not ReaLife, where freindship is built for years - there are rather too many things to consider; while in i-net, what you can see? Some Times 10pt, with or without mistakes, with or without content, and that's near all you have to rely on for making decision.
Less things to decide on - easier the decision.
Especialy if one feels lonely in the ReaLife, Any substitute is better.
Which makes the shock bigger and worse - when the virtual function Friend() points to zero in the RealLife.

or me think so.

2. anonimous contacts are not exactly alienation; alienation is when the contacts are "not the real thing", immitation.
**Is the wine maker your friend?**
Is the Thing maker your friend? (replace thing with shoes, tools, beer, herbs (selling herbs is also Making - making knowledge Which herbs to combine, and How)...

Yes s/he is, IF you have personal contact with him/her. Or with her/him production. Once the thing goes Through a proxy (monie, just-to-pass-the-time, and political stuff), it's not anymore.

If one is fixing some crappy thing because s/he feels obliged to do it (professional honour) Regardless of does it Really needs fixing, then such person can be your friend. If s/he puts hir "soul" into it.

If s/he makes it up just for the money or to pass the time or for some other asslicking/asskicking reason, then it's a bad substitute of the real thing.

Eh, it is all alienating vs keeping personal contacts. Going to the shop and getting something that is there just to be sold is not much of a relation ship. But, if it's a special shop, then the seller may become your "virtual" friend, since he has picked proper goods for sale. So services also can be a Thing that connects people..

Now if i have no monie, will the wine maker give me wine? This is the opposite direction. It maight be another unilateral friendship, if he's using me as tester, for example.

HEh, two unilateral friendships DO NOT make one Normal one. (was that about 1 shitting is alike 1/2 fuck, but more shittings can not make it better ;-) oh, pretty fouly language, that is, I may chase away somebody. or attract?


A more intimate Internet friendship than those of chapter 1&2 is more closed and more confidential. More personal details are exchanged - too private and too delicate for all to be shown. It could be real opinions, real E-mail adresses, real nationalities, adresses and names. Freedom is greater, but less as well. Vulnerabilities are different. I might discuss marriage in general on an open message board under a suitable handle. I would hardly ever do it under my real name to anyone. Or perhaps I would. But I could launch the strongest attacks on for example former bosses - under the protection of confidence and friendship. On an open message board it would give me away to all who know the institution and give a skewed impression of me.

Once reality has been introduced, the "Internet" qualification to the friendship may not apply any more (I'm not certain about that). But still misunderstandings may occur because of the instability and fragility of the contact. An Internet friend cannot be easily invited home for a drink or for dinner or for a walk in the mountains to clear things up and reinforce the friendship.

I think bozichko summed up very nicely - much better than I could. The speeding analogy was a very illuminating one.


What do you think is at work here, if it is not the concept of "friendship?"
Humphrey P
i think, hump is a clever boy, is'nt he ? the great vulnerability, yes that's true. here on this mb, somebody (the name has loose me) talked noisy about nelly sachs and hurts some feelings, it is so fast and easy. should we try to define that concept, one thing could named 'not to be fast and easy'. what's about the dirty 'sonnets', we've here 1 female avatar ?


{Originally, there were two distinct posts, but dom cited most of what HP said, so I just took the answering post and inserted empty lines where I felt it was appropriate. gs.}
Don't you think the things we say about the opposite sex, is just a mirror of what we say about the opposite of the world?

Our "dirty 'sonnets'" might hurt some feelings?
feelings, no, but teached emeotions

Talk with the boys makes us uneasy when it's in front of the girls.
Talk with the girls makes them uneasy when it's overheard by the boys?

i'm not interested in anythink a boy or a girl could say, think or live

What do you think is going on, here?
i don't know

Cause she will talk about you, and yet she will get ready, and go home with you.
She talks about things you can't easily talk about together?
And what about you? You don't even feel bad, talking about her?

i fear, i don't get you here

Everybody has a backside. And no one is transparent. That's likely to be true!
NO, i scream (not too loud). most of the people, i meet, are flat. no dark side of the moon. and no need to be transparent. There never was the "littlest angel." and I bet you thought you were that once... But you weren't either, for very long. why do you tell me that ? what i was searching some ages ago was an 'anima' (c.g.jung>h.r.haggard)

Kinski on stage. Is that a friendship? An ambition? A persuasion? A quirk? An arrogance? An obsession? An act?
i've never see him on stage, i was not in the right age, no friendship, (if i am on a place, than there is surely no obsession) , no to the rest

Is charisma friendship?

("Is presumptiousness forgiveable," (no) is what I should be asking. ;-)
Don't you have friends, whose opinions you loathe, but you like them because, otherwise, they're a decent human being?

no, there are only beings, it doesn't matter if they are human or animal or the others ( i don't believe in anything like 'krone der schoepfung'

Is friendship ethical? yes
Or conformal? no
Or, too loose a concept? depends on the concept
Or an ideal? doesn't matter
Or a momentary action? i don't know
Or a dependence? might be a good idea

Some times, when my feelings are hurt, I learn a lot... (Although I might "hate" it. (Why are we avoiding that word?))
maybe, but what do you learn, when somebody (can't remember) outed such an opinion about sachs ? you hate it, because it hurt your feeling, no problem with that word.

We could say something about our hurt feelings, instead of acquiescing in that silence that goes with going home together... yes, we should
Are we too much of an illusion to withstand that kind of democracy?


Or maybe we should just let it rest? Disagreeable as it was, I don't want to encourage more of it?

(Humphrey P [italic] / dom [regular])

Everyone has a part of their heart that is enshrouded in a cloud. Sometimes it is buried so deep even they do not know it's ex(ist)tent, sometimes it lies just under the surface, partially visible even to a stranger. With some people it is pitch black, and so malevolent that to see its face would demoralize the person that owns it. With others it is more of a dirty dishwater grey. More embarassing than evil.
Everyone has this part. But to judge people by their worst would be a mistake.


I think that friends (at the very least) live together in a real community. Friendship ideally appears to be the marriage of the lowest instincts, and highest potential of politics (implying philosophy imo). Besides which the desire to preserve a way of life is not an abstraction. Men who live together, and love each other as friends share a common way of life. But who cares about my opinion... Ask yourself what is friendship, what is a friend?


what you've said is true about the 'real-life-friends' (i like the i-girl's descriptions [sinus+amplitude] too), but how even define an internet-friend ? surely not one of the few, who knows your real (secret) mail-address, who knows your identity. no, is there a possibility for 'virtuale' friendship ? everybody here may call himself dom or e, we've always different IP-addresses, and i'm, in the most cases, not able to recognice somebody by his/her language/words. hope i could explain, what i mean !


I will state (quite simply) that (imo) there is not such a thing as a virtual friendship; where friendship suffers the modifier virtual. I've not seen an argument that convinces me otherwise.


Why can't you have a virtual friendship? The only friendship is flesh and blood? But every "friendship" has been less than that between you and your mother.

I think "friendship" can be stretched to the theatre, to the tv, to the telephone, to the internet, to the "virtual."

You seem to mean that there is less confirmation in the virtual form. Yet we've all tallied alliances, and made observations, and leaped to conclusions. We've all been lead by "benevolence," and been turned away by scathing words... What do you think is at work here, if it is not the concept of "friendship?"

(Humphrey P)

An illusion.


let's pick these scenarios.

-a) girl. writing under girlish nickname.
-b) boy. writing under girlish nickname.
-c) girl. writing under boyish nickname.
-d) boy. writing under boyish nickname.
(girl, boy... any age ;-)

now which pairs will be successful?
at what time they should reveal their real gender? or should they?

coz' it's more or less easy to pretend to be anything on the web, even a trunk.

not that i care much about this above, but it is a hint to someone;
and i think there's too much gender-oriented attitude on the web. usualy Male, i mean. especialy in these dark and misty fields of ours...


one we say programmer, it imposes male. when we say cracker/hacker, same. software engineer? same.
near anything related to computers is more associated with males than females.

long time ago, heavy/hard work (blacksmith) was/is still associated with men, tedious (e.g. knitting) with women.
some things have changed since then, e.g. police(wo)men, warriors etc.

now i won't say progarmming etc keyboard-breaking stuff is heavy work. But again, it imposes male. Not only that, the statistics gives similar results (e.g. 70/30, or sort of) and selfimposes back same trend. I mean, when somwething is considered male stuff, and IS defacto male, it sort of keeps the status quo.

so, my question is: how much this status quo is because of real reluctance, and how much is because of biasing the public opinion?

Especialy in "braindead" societies, where still the "best" (as most valued from the "peasantry") education is in a monk-like style (dull-brown skirt, dull-brown shirt, dull-brown knee-high long socks, dull and brown shoes, dull-brown hair-clips... i see them everyday, thank you.

i remember we had strikes at some time to break out of dull-blue from the top to bottom... we succeeded then. Now some people (friends) from that same time want same crap to go on their children - oh it is so godd wheren everyone is IDENTICAL). Bulls hit.