[Ads-l] lurker (1983)

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 11 15:54:06 EST 2022


Good observation there, Laurence.

MAM

On Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 4:50 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

> I wonder if the negative connotations of the non-electronic uses of the
> verb “lurk” are creeping back in. In the early generative semantics
> literature of the late 60s and early 70s, it was observed (by J. R. “Haj”
> Ross, if I remember correctly) that first person uses of “lurk” are odd—you
> can accuse others of lurking in a culvert, but you wouldn’t describe
> yourself that way. (This was related to an argument for abstract levels of
> structure I won’t go into here.) So the pejorative nature of lurking would
> be hard-wired into the verb, and by extension the agentive nominal, even if
> they were bleached out in the early online usage.
>
> LH
>
> > On Jan 9, 2022, at 4:43 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
> >
> > It’s interesting to see that this was originally a pejorative term.
> When I first started going online in the early 1990s (starting specifically
> with CompuServe), the conventional wisdom was that, in spite of its
> seemingly negative connotations, “lurking” was an entirely neutral
> description and there was no opprobrium whatever associated with being a
> lurker.
> >
> >
> > John Baker
> >
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of
> Ben Zimmer
> > Sent: Saturday, January 8, 2022 11:12 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: lurker (1983)
> >
> > External Email - Think Before You Click
> >
> >
> > OED's entry for "lurker" (Aug. 2001 draft addition) has the sense in
> > computing slang ("A person who reads communications to an electronic
> > network without actively contributing") from 1984. Here are a few cites
> > from 1983 -- all of them (like OED's 1984 cite) refer to CompuServe CB
> > Simulator, an early online chat service.
> >
> > ---
> > https://archive.org/details/softside-magazine-56/page/n14/mode/1up<
> https://archive.org/details/softside-magazine-56/page/n14/mode/1up>
> > _Softside_, #41, Vol. 6, No. 8, June 1983, p. 11
> > "World Connection" by Tim Knight
> > A "lurker" is a person on CB who just sits and types nothing, which is
> > pretty frustrating to the other users who want as much action as
> possible.
> > ---
> > https://archive.org/details/worldconnection00knig/page/51/mode/1up<
> https://archive.org/details/worldconnection00knig/page/51/mode/1up>
> > _The World Connection_ by Timothy Orr Knight (1983)
> > For example, a "lurker" is someone who says absolutely nothing on CB, but
> > just sits at his or her terminal and watches what is going on. Lurkers
> are
> > aggravating, since users would like everyone to get in on the
> conversation.
> > ---
> > https://archive.org/details/computerphoneboo0000cane/page/56/mode/1up<
> https://archive.org/details/computerphoneboo0000cane/page/56/mode/1up>
> > _The Computer Phone Book_ by Mike Cane (1983)
> > At the bottom of the list, in this example, is your lurker: a user with
> the
> > handle "Pardner." You can now tell Pardner that he or she should join in
> > the conversation and not be shy.
> > ---
> >
> > --bgz
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<
> http://www.americandialect.org>
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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