As Walt blogged about, the Library Society of the World Meebo room got attacked by guerrila spambots on Thursday afternoon. I was at work and had a meeting to go to, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. I quickly posted on the Meebo forums, then suggested to the people in the chat room that they abandon ship for the moment. In the aftermath of the pr0nbot bombing, I’ve made the room accessible only by password. I’m not all that happy with the solution; a number of the LSW room regulars are people who stumbled into the room, found it to be a welcoming environment, and stayed. I don’t see that happening as much now, although we’ve made the password as easy to find out as we could. (Hint: it’s the same as the LSW wiki.)
In another sense, though, it’s awfully nifty the room was attacked at all. During the attack, people checked other rooms and found that the only ones getting hit were the popular rooms, the rooms with lots of people in them. And the LSW room has been consistently popular. You can usually find at least one or two people there, frequently a lot more than that. You can even find it hopping on a Saturday night (which maybe says as much about us library folks as it does about Meebo chat rooms). I love hanging out there, especially when there are a lot of people in the room. Conservation ranges from food (a topic that seems to emerge with the slightest provocation) to “what do we like and dislike about ALA” to “can someone help me with the reference question?” to “can someone give me professional advice about being a librarian?”
I know why the room is so popular: the people who hang out there are friendly, approachable, funny, and smart. But I honestly don’t know how it became so popular. I’d love to take credit for it. Often, when I log into the room, someone will make a joke about “our leader has arrived!” But I’m not their leader, I’m not the primary influence on the room. I creeated the room, I perform the rare administrative function for the room, but it’s the people in the room who make it what it is. I’ve never invited anyone to the room, I don’t drop links to the room anywhere (except once on Twitter and here on my blog), and yet a really good group of people have come to the room, and they keep coming back to interact with each other.
An example of the great social dynamic going on: when I told everyone to flee in the face of the pr0nbot invasion, LSW member Rikhei immediately created a backup room, password-protected, and people spread the word. I came back from my work meeting to find a whole new LSW room where people were congregating. Soon after, I made the original LSW room password-protected. Again, the word was spread, and everyone flocked back to the original room.
Whatever the reasons, I’m pleased as all get-out the LSW Meebo room has attracted such a great group of people. I’m not solely responsible for it, but I’m thrilled to be a part of it. It’s now one of my favorite hang-outs. It’s a place I can go where everybody knows my name.