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A Brief History of the Out of Character Chats

“Out of Character” (“OOC” for short) refers to all interactions between players when they are not pretending to be their characters. It includes Banter1), most Distractions, most of the Enquirer, and most off-Island2) communication.

The Beginning

Back when the Island started in 2008, there was no Banter. It was back in this primordial soup of a game that the slang “to wall”, meaning “to leave the Island for a brief period”3), was formed. It came from “breaking the 4th wall” by abruptly having to end or pause a scene without writing oneself out in some way. There may have been Distractions4) at this time5), and possibly The Place Behind the Fourth Wall. This place, also known as Location 4 (officially), Loc4, or L4, was just a regular room, but with text at the top indicating that the text in the room was OOC. Much like the Common Ground, it was available from every Outpost.


In 2009, CMJ added Natter to the island.

The Birth of Banter

The first dual channel commentary came to the Island in June 2010. The first banter spaces were confined to each individual outpost. The Island then voted on their feelings about the existence of Banter, and whether it should be Global or Local. This eventually led to the creation of 'Radio Banter' which resembles the current day Global Banter, but it was in a separate pop-out window.6).

One True Banter

In September 2012, CMJ decided to merge all the Banters channel into one. In the process, Radio Banter was removed 7)8). Radio Banter will return in Season 3.

's Player

For a brief period, Banter looked like '[character name]'s player says, “Whatever”'. Then it returned to normal. This foreshadowed a change that was about to occur, The Great Cleavening9).

Two True Banters

In order to… something or other, Banter was split into Player Chat and Character Chat. Player Chat had the aforementioned “'s player” suffix activated, and emoting10) was disabled.

A couple months after the split, a level requirement was added to Character Chat; players had to have reached level 6 at least once in order to use it. There was a good deal of discussion about whether or not this was a good idea.11)

Location 4 Removed

Years later,12) Loc4 was removed, silently, due to a lack of usage. Near the end, contestants were using it as a place to track what Down Below was like, and other such things. CMJ said the removal was because Player Banter served the original purpose of Loc4: to be a global ooc space where new players could get advice.

Two True Banters For All

In July 2018, the level requirement for Character Chat was removed and Character Chat was made the default chat for new players.

The Banter Question

The question remains, and is sometimes discussed: what exactly should Banter be like? How should it be organized? How should it be used? For answers to these questions and more, tune in next time to Improbable Island: OOC!13)

What's a good namespace for player-to-player communication? gameplay:concepts?
similar to “AFK” or “BRB”
Fun fact: at one point, CMJ declared in chat that Distractions were carried from one character to another by carrier pigeon
citation needed
Per CMJ, it was not really popular at the time - certainly not to the extent of today's iteration
I think it was removed before this, but memory! –Snow Gray
I used Radio Banter a lot, and it was definitely removed around the same time, possibly slightly afterwards. IIRC, Radio Banter– at the end– was still not hooked into One True Banter, so it was a separate little globally-available pool. But again, memory! Years ago! Who knows?! –FML
note: no one has ever called the splitting of Banter “The Great Cleavening” anywhere outside this wiki page
starting your comment with a colon so as to not have it surrounded by quotation marks with “says ” prepended
Note that that forum thread mistakenly says that characters must be level 5, when in fact they must be above level 5, which is to say, level 6.
so, quite quickly, in Island dev years
Coming SOON whenever we rejigger this part to include the chat rework of 2023. - cd
meta/history/ooc.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/05 04:03 by clarissadunst