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February 21, 2005



0ld m4/\/z w4|2 is teh r0><><0r, d00dz!!!! I 4m 1337!!

Oh, don't mind me. I'm just trying to hang with the kids and, you know, speak teh language.

(For those of you completely out in the dark, the number "1337" -- which is the Amazon ranking in the picture above -- is an analogue for "leet," which is short for "elite," in "leetspeek," a kind of replacement code that gamers and others use for actual letters. It stopped being cool, oh, roughly the same time I started writing this entry. The first line of this entry, then, reads: "Old Man's War is the rock! I am leet!"

Please bear in mind that I am, in fact, not making any real representation of Old Man's War being the rock, or of me being, in fact, leet. The sentence in question is merely to be appreciate for the ironic value of a 35-year old man using the slang of 15 year olds. Please, go about your life.)

Posted by john at February 21, 2005 11:57 AM

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Kevin Q | February 21, 2005 01:18 PM

I've never understood the attractiveness of "1337-speak." It seems to take so much more effort than just typing. I think it's the computer nerd equivalent wearing your jeans below your boxers. It's saying "I'm so cool, I can spend all this time /."

The only one I understand is "teh," since, for some reason, I accidentally type that one all teh time.

Ah, youth culture - a way to look ignorant in numbers.


Kevin Q | February 21, 2005 01:58 PM

Hmmm, that's interesting. If you put anything in angled-brackets, the browser considers it HTML, and it gets lost.

The last sentence of the first paragraph was to read:
"I'm so cool, I can spend all this time (hoisting my pants up) / (typing things that are hard to read).


Tripp | February 21, 2005 02:03 PM

I think "teh" should be t3h, but what do I know. I like "pron" as well.

Leet is not much different than any other jargon. It is a way to identify group aliance.


Mer Haskell | February 21, 2005 02:31 PM

The classic "Does anyone here speek L33t?" cartoon on Megatokyo (http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=9)was written by someone who is at least your age, John.

Also, the teh/t3h divide (much like the L33t/1337 issue) is just the difference between regular and advanced 133t (I prefer a mid-grade version)--as evidenced by this l33t generator, which offers to translate into both:

Ben | February 21, 2005 02:42 PM

Kevin Q: When I read your original post, I thought you were referring to slashdot, the website and thinking, "I'm so cool, I can spend all this time (reading) slashdot"


Had to get that out

Bowler | February 21, 2005 02:59 PM

According to the rules of Parody, 1337speak is offically dead:


Mary | February 21, 2005 04:13 PM

And when it was alive, it was written "pr0n" rather than "pron". Of course, once middle aged Canadian women know that, it's a given that leet is SO over.

Ken | February 21, 2005 04:30 PM

The funny thing is that leetspeek has now become so self-referential and self-mocking -- you are as likely to see "OMG WTF!11!eleven!!" as "OMG WTF !11!!!111!!"

Brian | February 21, 2005 06:31 PM

Assorted HTML codes for symbols (apologies to those who already know this):

> -- &gt;
< -- &lt;
& -- &amp;

Type the whole thing, ampersand through semicolon. You can do lots of other stuff, too...

é -- &eacute;
ò -- &ograve;


Andrew Wade | February 21, 2005 09:42 PM

> The funny thing is that leetspeek has now become so self-referential and self-mocking
It had to evolve, the age of BBSes is over.
I have it on good authority[1] that the constructions that leetspeek is mocking started as a way to get around censorship on bulletin-board systems. If the word "hacker" was censored, everyone would simply talk about "haxors" or "h4x0rs" or something.
[1] I read it on the internet somewhere.

PiscusFiche | February 21, 2005 11:46 PM

I actually talk in leet speak--that's how much an inside joke it became with me and my friends. I once said, "Roxor my soxors!" at work, and got several raised eyebrows. My brother and I say "teh" instead of "the". And "heart" as in "I heart poutine" or "I heart the interweb". I haven't quite progressed to saying "less-than-3" but give it time. (For those of you blinking right now, less-than-three is

(I am now afraid to admit my age, but it's probably closer to John's than to some of those net-kiddies.)

All my verbal manglings aside, it drives me insane when folks get too 1337 in their online chats, and I WILL stereotype people based on their use of shorthand. A LOL, a smilie, or the self-referential ironic use here and there isn't so bad, but I'll be playing World of Warcraft, and seeing six kinds of alphabet soup floating by in guild chat.

PiscusFiche | February 21, 2005 11:48 PM

Grrr. Part of my post seems to have disappeared--right where I was explaining less-than-three. (But I bet most of you can figure it out easily enough, if you aren't already acquainted with it.)

Squid | February 22, 2005 01:22 AM

For those of you blinking right now, less-than-three is

My friends and I insist on calling that glyph a buttcone.

Squid | February 22, 2005 01:26 AM

Funny, my buttcone got eaten too ... oh, because I previewed the post, and the < entity turned into an actual < when I wasn't looking.

PiscusFiche | February 22, 2005 07:10 AM

Guess I should have typed it out the long way: <3

gary gibson | February 22, 2005 09:32 AM

not sure if you've seen this, but there's a couple of articles floating around out there which make guesses about how amazon ranking works (amazon themselves aren't telling). it's interesting if you're as ridiculously obsessive about amazon ranking as i am. er, sometimes.




John Scalzi | February 22, 2005 11:18 AM

Thanks, Gary.

I am curious about the methodology of the rankings, although I'm not so obsessed by the rankings that I believe they have some sort of direct relation to reality (outside, of course, Amazon itself). As an example, the first "Book of the Dumb" never got higher than the Amazon ranking of about 2,000 (right around Christmastime), but it's sold somewhere in the area of 50,000 copies, many (if not most) of those through places like Sam's Club. The vast majority of its sales simply don't go through the online world.

"Old Man's War" has consistently outranked "Book of the Dumb" -- and "BotD 2" -- in the Amazon rankings, but if it sold even half as well as Book of the Dumb (in hardcover, at least), I think we all -- Me, Patrick and possibly Tom Doherty -- would fall out giggling from our seats.

Lesson: Amazon rankings are NOT consistent with overall reality. Take them too seriously at your own risk. I mean, it's fun and all to watch them move. But I know enough not to actually think that a low Amazon ranking automatically means bad sales in the outside world, or vice-versa.

nelson | February 25, 2005 04:17 PM

Half of the popularity of leet in World of Warcraft is the whole inter-faction "talking over the yell channel" thing. This requires strict leet-speak (as in, NO letters) to avoid the scrambling that happens to text.

I swear that some days I could plug my Ironforge spam into a perl script and it would run.

chris | September 18, 2006 11:37 AM

if anyone has a good leet translating html(or java) please E-mail it to me. thanks. 7/-/47 \/\/0/_/1/> 120x012z! 7/-/4/\//

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