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ON-LINE CHAT'S NEW LANGUAGE.

One of the biggest attractions of the Internet is chatting with one or more computer users in real time. You can do this in places on the Internet itself, but you often need a specific program.

Many of the most popular on-line services have special ``chat'' rooms or auditoriums in which people can interact with each other as fast as they can type.

This can be a very scary place for newbies (first-time users), who will find themselves having to learn a whole new language.

The Daily News conducted a brief survey of some on-line chatters to put together a beginners' glossary to chatting on the net. Here are some of the basics:

(NOTE: We found that TYPING IN CAPITALS was considered yelling and, therefore, was impolite.)

LOL - contrary to popular belief this means ``laughing out loud'' not lots of love, a frequent mistake by newbies.

ROTFL - ``Rolling on the floor laughing.'' The next level up from LOL.

:) - denotes a happy face. :( is the opposite.

;) - when you want to wink at someone.

J/K - means ``just kidding'' which we most certainly are not.

=== - denotes an arrow, usually meant to say something about the person speaking. As in === writes for a newspaper.

:::: (insert word here) :::: - placing a series of colons on either side of a word denotes an action. ::::kissing:::: means you mean to kiss someone.

- also denotes kissing.

- means to hug someone.

((( word ))) - putting a word between brackets is a way of denoting a sound. Special files called ``waves'' can actually make sounds on your computer if you have the proper programs to run them.

BRB - means ``be right back.''

AFK - means ``away from keyboard,'' which is used for those times when you are on line and have to walk the dog.

GIF - means Graphics Interchange Format, usually a photo of a member and his/her kids, dog, etc., that can be transmitted to your e-mail address where you can download it. It often comes up in conversation as follows: ``Do you have a GIF to trade?'' Now you know the answer.

Net etiquette Cyber junkies are very serious about proper behavior, particularly within chat rooms, which, as with any other place where there are lots of people vying for attention, can be very dicey.

Virtually all of the on-line services have staff that try to watch over chat rooms to prevent abuses like YELLING TOO MUCH. Sorry.

Here's a list culled from talking with several members of various on-line providers on how to avoid being an on-line jerk.

Attacking other members or escalating ``flame wars'' (heated arguments on line that dissolve into name-calling and/or other impolite behavior) is considered a definite no-no.

Scrolling, which is drawing pictures on line or otherwise mucking up the screen by sending repeated messages, is also considered bad manners.

Calling people names or using racial epithets or any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise.

Using a chat room for a purpose other than that for which it was created.

Harassment, mass-mailing and junk e-mail (yes, it does exist) - chain letters and fraud and misrepresentation not only are unacceptable on the Internet, but can be illegal. So are certain forms of pornography in certain jurisdictions. Be sure you know what is acceptable and legal in your area.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 21, 1996
Words:543
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