The story of a nodeshell and how it changed untold scores of young people's lives.

NB: This write-up won't make much sense unless you keep in mind that I did not create this node.

I play a game called Counter-Strike. As of this writing, it's the most popular online game there is. It generates almost as many weekly viewer-minutes as the sitcom Friends. Because the game is very non-exclusive, the players are a rather diverse bunch. Some are witty. Some are tetchy. Some are considerate. Some are socially inept boors.

I have a problem typing messages to other players in Counter-Strike (and many other older games). This is because I use a software activated Dvorak keyboard. Counter-Strike ignores Windows' keyboard configuration, and assumes that you are using a Qwerty layout. The end result is that the letters I hit on the keyboard have nothing to do with the letters that appear on the screen.

As a workaround, I bind certain keys to automatically say certain essential phrases. For example, 1 on my keypad says "Yes.", 2 says "I don't even have an opinion.", and 3 says "No." I have a huge number of these binds (which have evolved over a long period of time) that allow me to express more abstract things. It's not quite up to the level of Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer, but performs well enough.

I'll get to the point shortly. I promise.

Aside from practical statements and questions, I also have a collection of "Radar Jamming" binds, which just spew out silly things for shits and giggles. As E2 is an excellent source of silly shit, most of those binds are taken from E2 node titles. Examples:

Hilarity ensues. While digging around for these, I stumbled across this (then) empty node. I'm not sure if it ever had a write-up in it before, or what the tone of that write-up might have been. I included its title in my collection of binds.

On game servers, there is usually a server administrator in charge of the gameplay. They generally don't take kindly to things like racial slurs, or other offensive messages. When a player says something that's unpalatable to the admin (or indeed, if the other players kvetch), the admin may take action. She can punish them by booting them off the server for a set period of time. She can banish them from that particular server permanently. She can slap them (the offender hears a "whap", gets thrown a meter or so, and loses a small bit of their health). She can turn them into a chicken or glue their combat boots to the floor. This chastisement isn't doled out according to any galactic standard set of rules; it's all at the discretion of the admin.

In multiplayer online games, the word "gay" is often used in that annoying, school-yardish, derogatory way. It can even be used as a verb ("omfg i got gayed"). This noder certainly takes offence to those usages of the word "gay." I think it's stupid and thoughtless. Typically, admins don't care if you call something or someone "gay."

That's when I use the handy-dandy statement, "Jesus loves everyone except homosexuals and non-believers."1

This is a rather confusing statement in the middle of a simulated counter-terrorist assault mission. It's confusing by design. Often, this elicits a discussion between the players about the topic. Although I will sometimes get flamed2, I've been delighted to see some unanticipated non-flame responses:

  • "What do I care what Jesus thinks?"
  • "I guess Jesus doesn't love me either!"
  • "No, Jesus loves gays too."
I'm trying to wheedle the other players (mostly kids) to think about what they're saying. Their words might be hurting someone who's too afraid speak up. This action may serve to firm up a concept in the player's mind, forcing them to pick a side on the issue. The statement is really a question: "Is it morally right to promote hatred of gays?" Most, if given opportunity to think about it, will answer "no."

1 I'm not a Christian (actually, I'm a second generation lapsed Catholic), nor am I gay. I suppose that means I don't really have a position on that statement.
2There's very little point in a verbal flame war when it's perfectly acceptable to hunt down the person you're angry at, and cut them in half with an AK-47.