1994-02-10 - MOO: on the virtual meeting

Header Data

From: hughes@ah.com (Eric Hughes)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: fdc2f25ab87cbecc1725a22a5873e3619264d5259061c93351c532d8ac8048ad
Message ID: <9402102038.AA08134@ah.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-02-10 20:50:21 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 10 Feb 94 12:50:21 PST

Raw message

From: hughes@ah.com (Eric Hughes)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 94 12:50:21 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: MOO: on the virtual meeting
Message-ID: <9402102038.AA08134@ah.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I didn't get a chance to get to the virtual meeting proper last night,
but I did stop by afterwards for a while.  This morning I got a chance
to see some what was on the videotape which was left in the camera in
the meeting hall.

My praise to Arthur Chandler for setting this up.  Definitely a
worthwhile experience, expecially given the topic of the Bay Area
meeting this weekend.  I've a few comments for now, though.

-- Client software.

A must-use.  telnet is really annoying.  I point this out because
unimportant technical considerations make huge differences in

-- Speech.

A lot more people talk in the MOO than on the mailing list.  And you
thought the mailing list was loud.  People get up to speed much more
quickly on overall structure, but it's still not very good for quickly
explaining detail.

-- Time Zones.

One never forgets that real people are behind the pseudonyms because
the entering and exiting is based upon clock of bodily origin.  A
surprising intrusion into the abstract environment.

Might I suggest that some future v-meetings happen at morning hours
Pacific time, in order to allow those to the east of the Atlantic to
participate?  I heard from a dear old friend who's living in Cambridge
that he was thinking about showing up, but it was 4am local time.
A noon Pacific time meeting is 8 p.m. London time, for example.

-- Names.

A number of people were logged on, as guests, with their real names,
including me.  The authentication of guest names here, though, was
even lower than email addresses.  I was logged on as Eric_Hughes, but
anybody else could have done so as well.

A small proposal.  It would be convenient for meetings in the future,
which might be held at different locations, to have persistent
identity across MOO's.  A cryptographic identification scheme seems

We can't use a global naming space, since that doesn't scale.  We can,
however, nicely use a hierarchical naming space since MOO names are
assigned on a per-MOO basis.  So, for example, we could have Haakon of
Lambda or Blast of Bay.  We can also resolve conflicting common names
by the old custom of place-naming as differentiation.

Each MOO would have an identity-signing key, which would be use to
attest that a particular key was the possession of a name on that MOO.
The MOO's could distribute keys amongst themselves or use a central
signature source to sign MOO keys.

This technique would allow characters to visit other MOO's, even as
guests, and retain their identity.  These pseudonyms need not even be
issued only by MOO's.  IRC seems another source of pseudonyms, as does
the cypherpunks list.  Xenon of Cypherpunks, for example.  This same
segmentation could be used to determine the origin of objects, as in,
"This vcr is of bay-arean make."

Finally, this hierarchy could be distributed with DNS, e.g.

	bay.moo		MOO		<MOO public key>
	bay.moo		ADDRESS		mud.crl.com 8888
	blast.bay.moo	PERSON		<public key, signed>
			DESCRIPTION	"He's bald.  Very bald."

(Acknowledgements to Carl Ellison.  Here the identity is the key, and
enforced by software.)