The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

10:11am on Wednesday, 16th February, 2005:

Fact Checking


I've started reading a book, Hello World: travels in virtuality by Sue Thomas. Here's what it says at the bottom of page 23:

The code for a MOO was developed by Pavel Curtis at Xerox Parc in Palo Alto, California, from the code for a MUD, first developed in 1979 by Roy Trubshaw at the University of Reading, England.

It's PARC, not Parc ("Palo Alto Research Centre").
It (LambdaMOO) was written from the first MOO code, not MUD code.
The first MOO was written by Stephen White.
Roy first developed MUD in 1978.
It was the University of Essex, not the University of Reading.

How am I going to be able to trust anything else factual in the book, knowing that this one sentence contains so many errors?

Sue Thomas doesn't seem to be aware that I exist, or at least if she is she doesn't feel I merit a mention regarding MUD1. OK, that's fair enough, but if she had got in touch with me to check her facts I could have told her that the first gender-bending player in any virtual world went by the name of Sue Thomas. This might have had some resonance, because the book has a lot to say about gender and identity, to the extent it uses the intensely irritating Spivak form of gender-neutral pronouns. Gender-neutral, agenda-positive if you ask me... Personally, I go with my Yorkshire dialect and use the singular they.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).