[MUD-Dev] Who Killed Miss Norway?

Richard A. Bartle richard at mud.co.uk
Fri May 2 13:37:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On 30th April 2003, Raph Koster wrote:

> Probably the biggest factor that led to belief was that when she
> departed, it occurred after two months of disappearance. There was
> no dramatic exit at the time--rather, it was two months of absence
> that led people to go looking. This is of course similar to the
> case on the Well, but most hoaxes I have seen since have involved
> a tipoff so that the whole community would turn its attention to
> the event--an email reporting "so and so has died," or the like.

Yes, this is unusual. Normally, people who are looking to burn their
bridges so they can't go back will want to make sure that everyone
knows. It's not that they want to go out in a blaze of glory, but
rather that they want to ensure they can't return even though the
temptation is there. In Karyn's case, I'd guess that the player
behind Karyn was unexpectedly prevented from playing for some reason
(found a SO, computer died, broken collar bones - whatever) and that
when they did get access again they decided to execute the persona.

> I doubt that at the time any of us had experienced a hoax that
> elaborate--and in fact, I haven't seen one since, either, and I
> have come across a half dozen faked deaths since.

I've encountered more elaborate hoaxes (if "hoax" is the right word;
it has connotations of mockery which are rarely intended by the
perpetrators). Some people construct entire artificial identities,
build web sites (with photos), post to Usenet and otherwise give
themselves a history 6 months to a year BEFORE they start to play in
their target virtual world. Then, when suspicious players check up
on them, well gee, they must exist because think of the lengths
someone would have to go to for them NOT to be real...


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