Conversation and Community is an examination of the speech community in an Internet 'virtual community'. Based on ethnographic research on a community of users of a MUD, or 'multi-user dimension', the book describes a close-knit community united in features of their language use, shared history, and relationships to other online communities. The author invokes the notion of register, or the variety of speech adapted to the communication situation, in her discussion of how users overcome the limitations of the typed, text medium and exploit its affordances for comfortable communication. Routines, conventional vocabulary and abbreviations, syntactic and semantic phenomena, and special turn-taking and repair strategies distinguish the MUD community's register. Because the MUD is programmable, commands may be added which reflect, alter, or reinforce the linguistic practices and culture of the community; competent speakers must also know the commands that produce the correct linguistic forms.
1. Introduction to MUDs and MOOs; 2. Introduction to ElseMOO community; 3. Register features; 4. Turn-taking and other channel effects; 5. Use of emotes; 6. Community and crisis; 7. Conclusion; Appendices: ethics and methods; Glossary; Online help documents.