I don't know why but I find myself often saying w00t or calling the inexperienced n00bs. Probably because three of my good friends are nerds. Not your bespeckled uncomfortable anti-social kind of nerds but gamers or technophiles or pop culture vultures who taught me just enough to prove that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. They taught me some l33t.
l33t, 1337 or Leet . . is hacker "5p34K" for elite. Originating from 31337 "eleet", the UDP port used by Dead Cow Cult, a hacker group, to access Windows 95 using Back Orifice, a notorious hacking program. Or so says Wikipedia, I'm prepared to be challenged by my resident nerds.
Lost yet? 1337 spread within bulletin board systems in the 1980s, where having "elite" status on a BBS allowed a user access to file folders, games, and special chat rooms. One theory is that it was developed to defeat text filters created by BBS or Internet Relay Chat system operators for message boards to discourage the discussion of forbidden topics, like cracking and hacking.
However, creative misspellings and ASCII-art-derived words were also a way to attempt to indicate one was knowledgeable about the culture of computer users. Mistypings such as 'teh' for the . .took over and 1337 took on a life of it's own. Mingled with keyboard code such as "QQ" to indicate 'crying eyes with tears' it's now a language of it's own.
Once the reserve of hackers, crackers, and script kiddies, leet has since entered the mainstream. It is now also used to mock n00bs, newbies, or newcomers, on web sites, or in gaming communities. "I pwned da n00bs". Some consider emoticons and ASCII art, like smiley faces, to be leet, while others maintain that l33t consists of only symbolic word encryption. Totally pwned yet?
More obscure forms of l33t, involving the use of symbol combinations and almost no letters or numbers, continue to be used for its original purpose of encrypted communication. It is also sometimes used as a script language.
One of the hallmarks of l33t is its unique approach to orthography, using substitutions of other characters, letters or otherwise, to represent a letter or letters in a word. For more casual use of l33t, the primary strategy is to use homoglyphs, symbols that closely resemble (to varying degrees) the letters for which they stand.
The symbol chosen is flexible—anything that the reader can make sense of is valid. However, this practice is not extensively used in regular l33t; more often it is seen in situations where the argot (i.e., "secret language") characteristics of the system are required, either to exclude newbies or outsiders in general.
Some examples of l33t include: B1FF and n00b, a term for the stereotypical newbie; the l33t programming language or pwned a mistyping of 'owned' which is often used by gamers. I'm not even going to tell you about 'rape' . . .which certainly doesn't mean what it does in the real world.
Since languages, even silly one's aren't my forte, I sought the assistance of a translator:
CrISPY, D4mi@n AND PAdU4n . . .+hanK j00 pH0r 1NTrODUc1NG mE To 4 L4n9u@93 whICh 1 dON't UNd3Rs+4nd bu+ wh1CH Actu4lLy PeRME4+E$ mY cOnvER$4TION5 A l1+tl3 M0RE thAn 1+ $HOUld. 1 C4N'+ 0p3r@+3 4 con$0LE Bu+ I'D 90 WILd Ph0r A Nerdy t sh1r+ wiTh the l33t$p33k 0n IT . . . r0FLm4COP+3r
So if you're an old fart, non gamer like me and want to impress the nerd in your family . . . have a go at this.
Haha! I'm a nerd gone wild! Total w00tage! Consider yourselves pwned, n00bs!
n0w tr0T AloN9 +o T3h +Hem3 +HUrsD4Y CoNTr18Ut0R$ 4ND 5ee WH4+ 0TH3r nerD5 haV3 90ne w1lD!
OR in plain English:
Now trot along to the Theme Thursday contributors and see what other
Nerds have gone wild!
Nerds have gone wild!