Before the captchas arrived in 2007 (which did little in any case), Yahoo battled the bots by obfuscating the login protocol. Rinse and repeat - by the end, the protocol had grown to outrageous complexity.
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Here are three funny stories from the Yahoo chat protocol.
But they had a good run, operating for a decade and a half, an Internet eternity.
We may argue that this is the same today, and in some respects it is, but with the rapid standardization of browsers, the decline of homepages, the progress of mobile networking, and success of a few number of social networking platforms there can be no doubt that over the last decade our network has significantly changed our interactions and therefore personal identities.
Instead, today in the electric age as foretold by Marshall Mc Luhan, we mostly get lost in one another’s information because “electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a village” in which we are “eager to have things and people declare their beings totally.” But it is clear that this “declaration of being” may be less about a deep faith in the “ultimate harmony of all being,” and something closer to narcissism, voyeurism, and/or the most blatant example of the commoditization of one’s own identity.
Stepping outside the walls of this global village, in search of a return to the individual, nomadic cyber surfers of an earlier networked era seems counter intuitive to the branding and marketing of our digital , but with the eruption of online spaces which facilitate anonymity, or the stranger, and an increase in privacy concerns, it appears that more and more users are experiencing an identity crisis –but which one? Chat, once a thriving enclave, is like a living monument to another era, a ghost town overrun not by chatters per se, but by chatbots.
Whole rooms exist with various themes, topics, sub-topics, and subject matter with rarely a living human in sight.
I remember a time when the Internet of the ‘90s was filled with various spaces of sociality, catering to specialized categories and celebrities, likes and dislikes, somewhat chaotic and inundated with an overuse of graphics and early animation –it was a space to get lost in.
Users created and maintained identities with meaningful usernames and chat handles, or pseudonyms.
Somewhat romantically, these purveyors of, almost always, pornography are stuck in the language of a pre-social web, using presently dead styles, like “kewl.” Ironically, their language is either a caricature of netspeak, or their grammar is too proper, too proper to be human. pornography: videos, camgirls, with all requiring “free” credit-card registration (just to verify age, of course).
The goal of bots is to promote and link users to certain content. With the number of bots proliferating in the rooms, there can be no doubt that at some point we failed the Turing Test.
It is for the best, for the spam had spread everywhere.