On many role-playing MUDs, you may see the terms OOC and IC quite often. The stand for Out-Of-Character and In-Character, respectively. They're used by players to note when they're really roleplaying, or not. In the Gathering system, you hold your finger in the air. This has the interesting psychological effect of making OOC players look foolish, thus it is discouraging.

It can also be chat room shorthand for "Out of Curiosity...", it can be used when you don't mean to be rude, you just want to know the details.

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