Talk:Mob (gaming)/Archive 1

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Orphaned 2005 comment

Is that link relevant? It's merely an example of the usage of the term. Wouter Lievens 19:15, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This page needs serious work.

I'm going to BE BOLD, as it were, and correct the various errors with this page I see, namely:

1. "Another suggestion is that "mob" is simply a corrupted form of "mop" in which consonantal transformation has occurred. The term "mop" was heavily used in the game Lineage to refer to all monsters. "MOP" is short for "machine operated player" according to the website. Groups of mops, as they are often hunted, were referred to as "mobs." It is possible that the term "mop" was corrupted and turned into "mob" by foreign players who did not understand the difference between the English "mob" (group of monsters) and "mop" (single monster). Then it made its way back into English parlance when those players migrated from Lineage to Everquest where the term "mob" suddenly came into heavy use to describe even single monsters. The term was then carried over to World of Warcraft as players from Everquest migrated from one game to another." - This is unsourced, and there are documented usages of "mob" in a similar context long before Lineage was even developed in 1998.

2. "At least one contrarian maintains that MOB stands for "Mean Old Bastard", and was "prettied up" to "Mobile OBject" when a student needed to turn in a formal paper and was required by a professor to explain the references to "MOB" in the code and documentation." - The source for this statement is the comment below. Original research is not permitted on Wikipedia.

-tommy.rousse (talk) 02:04, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Excellent. But why did you not cut the other unsourced statements? Changes well worth making... but I don't think you went far enough. sinneed (talk) 02:55, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I might look this over again in a few days and see if I can't add constructively to it after another vigorous pruning. Feel free to cut more content yourself. -tommy.rousse (talk)

Due to long squabbles involving emails, board postings, edit wars, revert wars, much pouting and general verbal sparring, I am only really willing to make changes I can back up with sourcing on this one. Sadly, as with a lot of online slang, sourcing is staggeringly difficult. In the 1970s, there was no email, little online activity at all. I remember when ARPANET (to be DARPANET and then later the Internet) 1st arrived at our university. But documents? Possibly the student papers at the time would have them. But I am in no way tempted to try to go to the archives there and try to find undergraduate and graduate papers that may never have been written.  ;0)~ Even with newer slang like "nerf", the problem is almost insurmountable. Thank you for your work on the article. Sadly, what I perceive as the fact behind this term will live only on the discussion page. :) I do fully support its cutting, but ... *shrug*.sinneed (talk) 13:31, 16 July 2008 (UTC)


In a 1996 article on MUDs expanding on a 1990 article, the term "mobiles" for "mobs" is used several times. Is THIS perhaps the origin of the term? - BalthCat 04:58, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Right, and here's the URL. Oops! - BalthCat 05:00, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Dr. Richard Bartle, who co-wrote the original MUD, actually writes in his book Designing Virtual Worlds that he called them mobiles because they meandered randomly, like a hanging Mobile (Footnote 30 on page 102). 07:49, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Richard Bartle did not co-write the original MUD. By 1996 the term Mob/Mobiles had been around for quite a few years.

    • Dr. Bartle most kindly recalled 1st using this term in 1980: "In terms of date, this would be 1980." in response to my request for a date. The 1996 date given by the above anon editor was the date of an update to a 1990 article about the early MUD history. Sinneed (talk) 20:27, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

The link being dead, here is a current one Sinneed (talk) 00:54, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

In support of this I asked Richard in email

<further snip by Sinneed (talk) 20:07, 16 April 2008 (UTC)> <snip>

A little debate came up on the origin of the game term MOB. Some say it means "man or beast" some say it is Mobil OBject.

It's more like the latter than the former, but isn't that either. When I took over programming MUD1, all objects except player characters were static, ie. they didn't move. I wanted some objects that did move, so I could use them for monsters etc.. I needed a name, for programming reasons if nothing else (the variable names, the record structure name). I didn't want to call them "monsters", though, because I could see their being used for non-monsters, eg. helpful humans. I decided to go with "mobiles" as a familiar form of "mobile objects", and because of the happy coincidence of the name's existing use for a those hang-from-the- ceiling secorations that consist of a bunch of seemingly independent entities moving withing predefined constraints. Thus, mobiles were born. The name was passed down through generations of subsequent virtual worlds, until in the late 90s people started shortening it to "mobs". Thus, mob doesn't stand for Mobile OBject, it's a shortened form of "mobile", which in turn is the quick name I gave to mobile objects in MUD1. "Man Or Beast" is a retro-fit. Hope this helps. Richard —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

    • I followed up and got a wealth of other information, including a date of 1980 for the first use of "mobile" in this context. I will continue to investigate seeking 1970's information.Sinneed (talk) 20:07, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I think this page needs updating.

There are now a large number of computer games in which the term "mobs" is literal - it refers to large groups of monsters. Magnate

I would view that as the designers simply using the word "mob" literally, not a new use of the word, and so it doesn't need to be included. "A mob of monsters" = "A mob", etc. - BalthCat 16:48, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

? But the article starts with "a mob is a type of NPC", which is just not correct for a number of modern games. So at the very least it could start with "apart from where the word is used in its literal sense, a mob is ..." - or something. I agree we don't need a big exposition of what a literal mob is! - Magnate

Shall we add "When not referring to actual war machines, a Tank is ..." to tank? "When not referring to the fairy-like creatures..." to Sprite? Both things occur in computer gaming, in both forms. We might have to change an awful lot of articles where homonyms (er, I forget what "identically spelled" words are called... my bad) occur in the same situations. It seems unnecessary to me. A disambiguation link at the top might be best. - BalthCat 00:58, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I see your point. I guess it's not that important. I just felt that someone might come to this article thinking it was about dealing with large groups of enemies, only to find that it refers to something decades older. Never mind. Magnate 10:53, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I had to read the discussion page to find out that it wasn't a mistake or something. =/ (talk) 15:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


I always thought a 'mob' was a kind of monster that hangs out in large groups.

I'm pretty sure that's just "a mob". - BalthCat 19:41, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

It seems a common mistake, possibly due to the use of the term 'the mob' in reference to Roman citizens. As most MUD and MMORPGs are fantasy based it seems an easy conclusion to jump to.

I was against the use of mob short for mobile. Im on record saying it sounds funny to me. However someone clued me into the etymology

Mob: 1688, "disorderly part of the population, rabble," slang shortening of mobile, mobility "common people, populace, rabble" (1676), from L. mobile vulgus "fickle common people" (1600), from mobile, neut. of mobilis "fickle, movable, mobile," from movere "to move" (see move). In Australia and N.Z., used without disparagement for "a crowd." Meaning "gang of criminals working together" is from 1839, originally of thieves or pick-pockets; Amer.Eng. sense of "organized crime in general" is from 1927. The verb meaning "to attack in a mob" is attested from 1709. Mobster is first attested 1917. Mob scene "crowded place" first recorded 1922. Mobocracy "mob rule" is attested from 1754.

So while it is short for mobile, it wasnt coined in 1970s MUD era. It originated in Latin. If anything the etymology on the page is inaccurate and needs changing.

Above comment was unsigned.

The usage of the word mob you've quoted above does not share a common etymology with the usage this page concerns, which is short for mobile. It is not related to the use of the term "mob" meaning a group of people. The above is merely a homonym of the topic discussed on this page. (talk) 21:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

It did mention 'slang shortening of mobile'. the problem as I see it is that the two usages are the same word, short for the same word, allegedly unrelated. This just makes it that much more confusing for anyone who has always seen 'mob' associated with 'group of baddies' in the same genre of games. (talk) 15:09, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I have a different perspective.

Back in my youth, MOB meant "Mean Old Bastard", and was used by some (perhaps very few) of us who wrote and played very early computer games (1970s).

Someone was writing about his game for a paper to turn in for credit. He (I recall it was a male, and I am unsure about the school - I think it was a California USA university) needed a socially acceptable meaning for "MOB", which appeared in a great deal of discussion, internal documentation, and variable names. The "Mobile OBject" or "MOBile object" or "MObile oBject" was suggested by someone, somewhere, and used. I graduated, went into industry, and years later (25ish) in 1999 I was introduced to MMORPGs. I greeted the "Mobile OBject" story with great laughter, and I fear I offended a few of my fellows who thought I was making fun of their newfound hobby.

So, bad news, NO, MOB does NOT mean "MObile oBject" or "Mobile OBject". That is a "prettying up" like "SLUF" being "Short Little Ugly Fellow" and "BUFF" meaning "Big Ugly Fat Fellow".

I haven't decided where, or even if, this is worth putting into the "face" of the article. I have no citations, have contact with no one else from those days, and certainly no notes.

Nevertheless, this is what I remember from the days of or before "Rogue" and "Hack" and "Colossal Cave" and "Empire" and many many other old games.


I decided to put it in, and welcome comment. If you take it out, please be ready to explain why, or I will put it back in. Thank you. :)

And yes I used "site" instead of "cite". I apologize.

Sinneed (talk) 04:53, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Removal of "mob skill"

A quick Internet search for "maplestory mob skill" shows some usage, despite the anonymous deleting editor not having heard the term. I debate whether or not the deletion was a good idea. At the moment I think the deletion seems OK. Other thoughts? sinneed (talk) 12:10, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

MOBs vs. NPCs, Hostile or not.

Consider WoW: to an Alliance player, Horde NPCs are MOBs. The reverse is also true. Consider EQ, Velious expansion: If one is on Giant faction, the Dragons are MOBs. Again, the reverse is also true.

Many MOBs are not hostile. They may even be friendly. In DAoC, EQ, WoW, Conan, and other MMORPGs there are MOBs that will fight back if attacked, but which will not attack otherwise. sinneed (talk) 13:15, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

An older EQ example: Some who played Druids argued that Druids should not kill most animals, since the animals were friendly to Druid class PCs. The animals were still MOBs, and would attack any other class... the wolves and bears just liked Druids. sinneed (talk) 13:34, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

On a related point, all MOBs are NPCs (Non-Player Character). NPCs are not all MOBs. Some NPCs can't attack and can't be attacked. sinneed (talk) 16:17, 9 September 2008 (UTC)


I cut out some more of the unsourced and unrelated.sinneed (talk) 08:36, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Dr. Bartle did use MOBILE ...

However, that does not mean that is where MOB comes from. Among other theories, the "mobile" or "sprite" used in graphics may have been the source. And no, even if Dr. Bartle did claim in his book that his use of MOBILE was the source of the neologism MOB in computer gaming, that would only mean it was a nicely documented theory.sinneed (talk) 06:02, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Removing unsourced vs. adding more.

I don't oppose hacking out every single unsourced bit... but adding more is just no good. Stating the most popular theory as fact is no good, without an independent source. I and other editors have corresponded with Dr. Bartle, and his thoughts are quite interesting, his knowledge of the history quite deep. But we can't use any of that.sinneed (talk) 06:05, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Why leave in the bit about emitters and such?

"Other MUDs and MUD-like software use a variety of terms to describe these as objects, emitters, and actors." The reason I did not kill it in the unsourced-stuff-killing was that it strengthens the proposal that the "mobile" was the source of current usage of "mob". It is unsourced and certainly killable, but... are you challenging it?sinneed (talk) 06:28, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, page 102, footnote

This conflicts with the use of the book to cover the part about mobiles in the MUD subsection. I *knew* I had read that somewhere.sinneed (talk) 06:33, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Further, I can't find the quote in the book.
"an incredibly beautiful analogy to those hanging toys, which appear to move around randomly as if alive, while in fact being composed of mechanical parts and operating in accordance with fixed scientific laws"
sinneed (talk) 06:36, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I dug back, and that citation was added in Dec 2007, removing a fact-flag from Feb. I think we can take Dr. Bartle's word for it from page 102, and eliminate that story. I will cut it out and block quote it here.sinneed (talk) 06:51, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

The term "mobile" was used by Richard Bartle in a paper describing an early MUD which was being constructed as a research project at the University of Essex. In the paper, he used it to refer to an object that could move, as opposed to one that could not. One reviewer of the paper misunderstood the term to be a reference to the classic children's toy or sculpture of the same name, and referred to it as "an incredibly beautiful analogy to those hanging toys, which appear to move around randomly as if alive, while in fact being composed of mechanical parts and operating in accordance with fixed scientific laws". Bartle stated that he was also impressed by the analogy, and wished he had thought of it. what I cut.sinneed (talk) 06:57, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons)

Dr. Bartle states in "Designing Virtual Worlds" that he first called virtual creatures "mobile objects" in MUD1. ref name="bartle1"/

Other MUDs and MUD-like software use a variety of terms to describe these as objects, emitters, and actors.

Well, I had readded what he actually said in the book... but it substantially duplicates the earlier text... I don't want to lose those early editors' work, but I am not sure how this fits in the article now, so I cut and paste it here for future editors to ignore or use.sinneed (talk) 07:06, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Monster versus monster (MvM)

"Monster versus monster (MvM) battles also take place in some games." Does this belong at all, right now? MvM seems to me to be used only for story-line, quests, and events. It is going to be complex to expand, I should think. It isn't rare, though... at least not in WoW.sinneed (talk) 07:22, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Citation concern.

I added a citation for the Diku/EQ link...but it concerned me that it would seem to cover the 1st part of the sentence. I am not fact-flagging that to show doubt... only to show the later citation doesn't cover it.sinneed (talk) 07:53, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

== Objection to the aggressive mob statement? ==

Why kill it?sinneed (talk) 07:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC) Nevermind... it was there. Sorry.  :(sinneed (talk) 07:57, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

DikuMUD uses the term 'mobile' in the source code (verifiable), which is what the text originally referred to. Your sprite claim really has no place in Wikipedia. I'm sure monsters have been given a variety of names, and 'mobile' aka 'mob' by Bartle is the one that stuck. So even if your claim is correct it's irrelevant for an encyclopedic article, all primary and secondary sources point toward MUD1. --Scandum (talk) 15:53, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
  • "claim" - no. However, it does not have a source, and I am, as I said, happy to see any of the unsourced stuff cut, hopefully with a note that says something like "flagged for a year, cutting unsourced", rather than a number of edits with no edit summary.
  • " the one that stuck..." - no independent source. Dr. Bartle is an expert on what he did, not on whether or not the term he used is the source for the current slang. Surely his source is good enough to leave the possibility in. It certainly is not enough to turn the possibility into a fact. That would need an independent source.sinneed (talk) 16:18, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I added a link to the Diku source code to provide backing for the source claim and reworded it a bit to hopefully reduce ambiguity. Kylotan (talk) 14:29, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I liked the source addition, but I don't think the change clarified things. I put in new proposed wording.- sinneed (talk) 19:32, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

MOB (sprite) cut

"Another suggestion is that the gaming usage is related to Movable Object Block (MOB), a synonym of sprite."

This was originally cut without comment. It is challenged above, and is without a source. Article as a whole has been tagged for sourcing. Cutsinneed (talk) 16:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Bacronyms - leave in or kill?

"Backronyms for "MOB" include "monster or beast" and "mere ordinary beast", among others."

Does it belong?

sinneed (talk) 16:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Removed first hand source cut

In Dr. Bartle's words:

When I took over programming MUD1, all objects except player characters were static, ie. they didn't move. I wanted some objects that did move, so I could use them for monsters etc.. I needed a name, for programming reasons if nothing else (the variable names, the record structure name). I didn't want to call them "monsters", though, because I could see their being used for non-monsters, eg. helpful humans.

I decided to go with "mobiles" as a familiar form of "mobile objects", and because of the happy coincidence of the name's existing use for a those hang-from-the-ceiling [d]ecorations that consist of a bunch of seemingly independent entities moving within predefined constraints.

Thus, mobiles were born. The name was passed down through generations of subsequent virtual worlds, until in the late 90s people started shortening it to "mobs". Thus, mob doesn't stand for Mobile OBject, it's a shortened form of "mobile", which in turn is the quick name I gave to mobile objects in MUD1. "Man Or Beast" is a retro-fit.

<ref>Email conversation between Richard Bartle and Erik Anderson April 14th 2008</ref> —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:35, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Edited to show the source with nowiki/nowiki tags. - no content change. WP uses secondary sources, rather than primary.- sinneed (talk) 15:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC)


I have not heard the term MOB before reading it hear, I can accept it is used and that I have just never come across it. The term I have always known is "enemy" and seems to be virtually the same thing as the article describes. As I would describe it of the top of my head: An enemy is a character or unit in a video game that can harm or kill the player character(s) or player's units. Or a character or team the player competes against, in games that are not "kill" based. In one player games enemies are computer controlled and may have simple patterns of movement or varying levels of artificial intelligent. In multiplayer or online games enemies can also be computer controlled but may also be characters, teams or units that are controlled by other human players competing against each other and oneself. The term enemy would suggest that in the world of the game the thing called an enemy is or contains a character or animate being as opposed to to an inanimate obstacle, trap, or hazard that may just happen to harm the player character on contact. I think "enemy" should be mentioned as a term I am sure it very widely used with simular meaning but to find sources I have never looked, maybe easy to find maybe hard. I wouldn't be sure at creating another article at "Enemy (gaming)" as it is so similar and if I wrote it would be very short, there are already many gaming terms here on Wiki such as "Boss" and "level". I would think just to mention the term in this article. What are your thoughts about Mob and/or Enemy and how to put them in here Carlwev (talk) 05:47, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps, if there is notability, a new article called "Enemy (video games)" - I would not think it would belong here, except as a "see also".- sinneed (talk) 13:38, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Enemy is not really a specific gaming term. Mob may not be universal in use, but "enemy" is just an enemy, basic English. A mob is a particular type of entity, whereas "enemy" is just an adversary. Basic competition/challenge dynamic. The universal term for non-player entities that aren't necessarily mobs is "NPC" (which already exists) rather than "enemy". - BalthCat (talk) 22:56, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Enemy already used in Wikipedia

Done properly we should find source(s) using the term enemy (as well as mob for here) before including the term here. However I would like to point out Wikipedia itself already has these lists which use the term enemy in their title an text, enemy seems widely used for nintendo games (but officially?)

plus we had previously more lists that were deleted or merged, due to notability or game guide issues but seemed to have little or no problem with the term enemy.

Interestingly we have List of characters in the Kirby series which has protagonists and enemies in it. but we also have Recurring characters in the Mario series and Recurring characters in The Legend of Zelda series as separate articles to the enemy lists mentioned above. The assumed use I think is an enemy is a type of creature or being that there can be many of where as a character is an individual that there is only one of and maybe friendly/neutral or maybe hostile/an enemy. Bosses like Ganon/Ganondorf and Bowser appear on both enemy and character lists as they are enemies but individual ones as opposed to a type of creature. We are also using the term monster for some games like Character design of Final Fantasy#Monsters

My point is it would not be proper to state what the term means with no reference(s). But we are already using the term in articles and article titles with an assumed meaning which seems odd. Carlwev (talk) 01:04, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

It's an English word, "enemy", I'm not sure why you have to source it. Mob, you do, because its use would be unexpected or difficult to understand. "List of mobs in Mario" would make people think that there were either crime gang mobs, or large unruly group mobs. - BalthCat (talk) 05:56, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

What about from the Zelda series? Enemies were called MOBlins. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:20, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Monster on board

Anecdote: In EverQuest, in the Ocean of Tears, there are Cyclops monsters. One day, long after MOB had entered the jargon, a bug allowed 2 Cyclops to get onto the boat, and they could not path off. The global chat of "MOB! MONSTER ON BOARD IN OOT!" was just a humorous bit about the situation. I am sure it has been used elsewhere, but it remains a non-notable backronym.- Sinneed 19:19, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed move

... to Mob (Video gaming) - an editor argues that the term "video gaming" is broader than computer gaming.

As the meaning of computer gaming has slowly come to mean desktop computer, rather than computer-in-general, this argument may have merit. However, computer gaming includes computer gaming for the blind (rare), and all other computer-based games, whether PC, Mac, mainframe, pager, handheld.

I oppose this move, somewhat weakly. - Sinneed 14:44, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


So what do we need to do in order to get us to the point where we can remove the refimprove from this article? —chaos5023 (talk) 02:10, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Find sources for the unsourced bits?- Sinneed 02:16, 18 March 2010 (UTC)


While it is clear that Dr. Bartle believes his usage was the 1st, and claims so in his book, he would be a primary source. WP relies on secondary sources.- Sinneed 02:18, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

POV restored with "not helpful; point of the sentence is to illustrate where the term came from, not state a naked fact" - Well, that is what we do here. We don't get to infer. The readers get to do that. We get to state the things that appear in generally wp:reliable sources. Leaving this in briefly, tagging article and the POV bits.- Sinneed 02:22, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not drawing an inference, it's restating what the source says. I'm dubious that it has to be POV-tagged because it's a primary source saying it, but I guess I have to research that. —chaos5023 (talk) 02:25, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
So we can say then that "Kaelin, Mark" - came up with that usage, rather than Dr. Bartle? I am dubious. I defer to your strongly held opinion.- Sinneed 02:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. Mark Kaelin isn't actually asserting the "Mobile OBject" version, but another backronym, "mobile object block". The "Mobile OBject" thing is, in origin, just one of those things that comes out of the wilds of the Internet, and I don't think we'd ever find an RS for where it actually started, just for its existence and its inaccuracy. —chaos5023 (talk) 02:37, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
At least 3 theories "Mobile" - from Dr. Bartle's usage, strongest because of the clear MUD>>DikuMUD>>EQ path + Dr. Bartle's opinion. Mobile Object Block from graphics usage (where I learned it). Mobile Object, again very likely from Dr. Bartle's work, though not from his personal usage. Thus, the compromise wording you have removed and replaced with POV wording.- Sinneed 02:44, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Well, I'm not sure how we can describe Bartle's statements as theory or opinion, because he's not talking about where he thinks it comes from, he's asserting to have personally originated the term, he's credible in this matter and as far as I know there is no one contradicting him. I don't see how we could be interpreted as doing OR in relying on him, though that may be a failing on my part. On the other hand, we don't have a source for the graphics usage, have a weak source for "mobile object block" in general MMORPG usage that makes no pretense of overriding Bartle, and have no source for "Mobile OBject" that isn't talking about how it's inaccurate. At first blush, it seems to me like these alternate "theories" would need a lot more RS substantiation to really call for compromise language. —chaos5023 (talk) 02:52, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Incidentally, I'm having a copy of Designing Virtual Worlds shipped to me so I can research this better. Wikipedia sure makes me buy a lot of books. —chaos5023 (talk) 02:53, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
You need not wait. The full book is available online.- Sinneed 02:56, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I found the relevant quote, added it, and removed the mistaken-Mobile-OBject-derivation statement entirely because it turns out that it's not even sourced right now. I don't suppose that helps? —chaos5023 (talk) 03:20, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Dr. Bartle is indeed a reliable source that he used the term in 1980. He is not, however, a reliable source about why people in a small town in North America use the term. Thus, the need to stick to the facts: The term is used to mean "mobile object block" in one source "mobile" in another. The history of Dr. Bartle using the term "mobile" in MUD. The usage of "MOB" and mobile in its descendents. The usage in modern gaming slang. Then we let the readers decide. You have decided for them. POV.- Sinneed 02:56, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Isn't that pretty much what WP:NPOV is talking about when it discusses assigning false parity?
In attributing competing views, it is necessary to ensure that the attribution adequately reflects the relative levels of support for those views, and that it does not give a false impression of parity. For example, to state that "according to Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust was a program of extermination of the Jewish people in Germany, but David Irving disputes this analysis" would be to give apparent parity between the supermajority view and a tiny minority view by assigning each to a single activist in the field.
The credibility of the techrepublic article isn't even in the same ballpark as Bartle or even Shah/Romine, and I can't really see how treating it as if its version of the term is equally valid is at all appropriate. I've basically been treating it as a valid source for the general meaning of the term, and for the existence of the "mobile object block" backronym, and not much else, which seems to me the right thing. Giving it parity with Bartle would be like giving Irving parity with Wiesenthal, without the moral repugnance. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:08, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
wp:talk please - content, not point-scoring. We could present the theory that we both accept, as a theory, leaving the sources in the body so that interested readers can see them, and move on.- Sinneed 03:21, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand how "wp:talk please - content, not point-scoring" is relevant to anything I'm doing. I'm not trying to score points, I'm trying to make the article correct and verifiably so. I don't see how giving WP:Undue weight to the techrepublic article helps that. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:25, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
OK. Please reread the text as it was, and then read it as it is. While we both accept that Dr. Bartle's opinion has great weight, and the reasoning path he follows and we follow, outlined in the article and supported by the sources, it is theory and opinion. There are other theories. No, we need not give them all. No we did not give them enough weight at the moment before you began editing to even include them. But we do not get to assign them to the dustbin, as you have done.- Sinneed 03:34, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, that's not really true. As editors, we do assign all sorts of things to the dustbin when we make judgments about what's an RS. I guess the "mobile object block" derivation is an alternate explanation, that we do have a source for (if a weak one), and it's conceivable that that form may have arisen by parallel evolution or something. I'll attempt to restore NPOV to your satisfaction; please see momentarily forthcoming edit. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:39, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Edit made. I don't suppose you have any references for "mobile object block"'s currency in graphics programming? It'd be nice to be able to say something about that. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:45, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) I oppose the added sentence, and the POV changes above it. You don't have a source for that.- Sinneed 03:48, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Propose to delete

wp:OR - "A parallel derivation of the term as an acronym for "mobile object block" may have taken place." That is not what the source says.- Sinneed 03:49, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Propose to, as before, simply have that source attached to the "most reliable" bit, so that interested readers can see that we are not making it up... that there really are other theories.- Sinneed 03:51, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Huh. Okay. That seems to me to be almost burying that "theory" of the term's derivation, but if it satisfies you, I'm down. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:53, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Movable object block - sorry, that was 30 years ago. Not mobile... movable.- Sinneed 03:55, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Ahh, that helps. Too bad that article's description of the term is unsourced! Gives us nothing to work with. Oh, well. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Why do we need it? It would be one more nebulous bit of inference.- Sinneed 04:07, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
If there's a chance that theory is correct that the term "mob" has some roots in Movable Object Block, it'd be nice if people had something to look at for purposes of evaluating that besides an Internet article that seems to be using a version of the term that's already been hybridized with the MUD-derived usage. RS for that link is probably a lost cause though. —chaos5023 (talk) 04:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It *IS* burying it, without throwing it away.- Sinneed 03:55, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, gotcha. Are we cool, then? —chaos5023 (talk) 03:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
No idea. I'll look it over after it stabilizes.- Sinneed 04:07, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I have no more edits I'm presently planning to make. —chaos5023 (talk) 04:11, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Movable Object Blocks in Java:So what’s the big fuss about movable object blocks (MOBs)?
Computer Graphics during the 8-bit Computer Game Era"Sprites or MOBs (moveable object blocks) are small graphic elements of fixed width and height that may be positioned independently of the main screen and were provided for the implementation of moving characters in games."
But so what? There is no chain as we have for Bartle's use.- Sinneed 04:28, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Right, that's what I mean about an RS for the link being a lost cause. It seems apparent to me that "mobile object block" came about through confusion of "movable object block" with the usage of "mob" coming in via MUD->EQ/etc, but I have no RS for that and little hope of finding one. —chaos5023 (talk) 04:31, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
We have no wp:RS for any link. We have a chain of inference and opinion.- Sinneed 04:34, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, then maybe we should note that MOB stands for Movable Object Block in graphics programming, cite one of the above sources, and let the chains of inference and opinion run wild. —chaos5023 (talk) 04:38, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Still OR

"The most reliable known derivation..." - I think that. You think that. Dr. Bartle thinks that. WP doesn't think. I don't see a source saying that. I see sources asserting the derivation. While we should avoid weaselwords, I still think the caveat of "Perhaps" was a good way to get the point across. To be clear, "Movable Object Block", and "Mean Old Bastard" both seem to predate Dr. Bartle's "mobile". However, it seems clear to me that there is no chain of causation... people call MOBs "MOBs" because of Dr. Bartle's use of "mobile" in MUD.- Sinneed 14:22, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Arrrrgh. Okay, there are two enormous considerations that you do not appear to be taking into account, and are not reflected in the article. #1 is that Bartle's usage is the only one that has the same meaning as the term as it exists in MMORPGs; Movable Object Block has a meaning that could conceivably be tangentially related, while the term as Bartle explains it is the same term. #2 is that the term exists in more than MMORPGs. There is no "chain of causation" to take into account when identifying the derivation of the term as it exists in MUDs; Bartle's explanation is simply and unequivocally correct and authoritative for that usage. Please let me know if either of these factors affect your thinking. Right now I'm pondering how the article should reflect them in general. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:26, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, restructured. I have some hope that this version will be much more satisfactory to you, since it's a lot clearer about what's known and what's inference. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Structure and wording. Thoughts? - Sinneed 16:16, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Not greatly pleased. I feel like your aggressive focus on sourcing and NPOV is taking us to a place where the article is made of choppy, disconnected sentences with poor style and no flow, because choppy disconnected sentences are all that can be absolutely locked down to a merciless interpretation of WP standards. But style and readability are WP standards too. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:23, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Enh, forget it. My endurance is failing rapidly. If it gets us out of neutrality-conflict land, I'm all for it. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:27, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree about the choppy disjointedness, it needs more work. "aggressive focus on sourcing and NPOV" isn't what is taking us there... it is extreme caution. I am not going to sink a few hours of work into this to have it I expect to work slowly through, then expand if possible.- Sinneed 16:43, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough. Is there anything I can do to help with the NPOV? —chaos5023 (talk) 16:48, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
As it is now, I think we avoid the NPOV, and could safely remove the tag. Thoughts?- Sinneed 17:48, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree. I'll nix it, then. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:25, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Overemphasis on Dr. Bartle's thoughts

I can't see how the statement I had introduced was incorrect. I do understand it is not focused on Dr. Bartle. Perhaps you could explain how it was incorrect? I do understand his statements are broader... but this is about MOB, not Dr. Bartle. He does have an article that needs expansion, but... wp:BLP, sources are hard to come by.- Sinneed 00:59, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

You edited so as to restrict all mention of 'mob' in MUDs to its occurrence in source code, which implies that this is the only MUD-related context where it has currency. This is incorrect, is not what Bartle is saying, and is not what Shah/Romine are saying. And this whole process is getting extremely ridiculous. Some kind of priority needs to be restored to the article being correct and accurate rather than screwing it up to supposedly improve RSing. —chaos5023 (talk) 01:10, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I am not going to war with you over this. Tagged. Perhaps someone else will take an interest.- Sinneed 01:21, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Whatever. At some point I'll rewrite the article to actually say what happened for this term to come about, instead of being a bunch of nonsensical minimalistic hedged sentences that the reader has to perform a research project on in order to actually derive meaningful knowledge from. —chaos5023 (talk) 01:26, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I'll look forward to it. In the meantime:"Perhaps you could explain how it was incorrect?" - a quote where someone other than Dr. Bartle says this derives from his usage. Or I'll pull the wp:OR after a while.- Sinneed 03:30, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think your behavior is helpful for improving the article Sinneed, looks like an odd case of WP:OWN to me. Your first contribution to this article was adding that you invented the term MOB in the 70s and that it stood for 'Mean Old Bastard', which has been removed as there are no sources for it. Nowadays it seems that given your preferred WP:POV cannot be added you're simply making life difficult for anyone trying to edit this article, whether that's your intention or not. I'd suggest unwatching this article and moving on to something more productive and less frustrating. --Scandum (talk) 03:57, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
"you invented the term MOB" - False. Did not state, did not imply. If you inferred, you erred. If you review, you will find I supported the removal.- Sinneed 15:03, 22 March 2010 (UTC) And... perhaps you should... but I see no reason to think so.- Sinneed 15:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, well that bloody explains everything, doesn't it. —chaos5023 (talk) 14:39, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Language. And no.- Sinneed 15:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
You have a COI and you're wikilawyering the bejezus out of good edits because of it. Desist. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:10, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
wp:AGF, and no, I don't. wp:wikilawyering, I am not.- Sinneed 15:18, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I did AGF, and this is where it got us. And yes, you have a COI, believing as you do that you coined the term and that the actual derivation is "just a theory". Wikilawyering, yes you certainly are, with endlessly picking at nits and screaming POV at the slightest deviation from exact wording of sources. I thought you said you weren't going to war over this, and were going to come back in a period of some months? Sounded great to me. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:30, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Your changes are in the article. I have, as I said, not removed them. You have edit warred the flags out. Stop now. Leave the flags in until there is consensus. If no one else fixes the flagged problem of time, I will. And: wp:PA - worth reading. Stop now.- Sinneed 15:33, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, God, I'm sure you have a WP-space article to throw at me every two minutes, and all I have is a desire to see the article reflect reality, which ensures that I will lose in the long run. So tedious. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:46, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

POV flag removal, CN for POV

2 issues:

We do not have any source for the origin of the term. We have its usage. We have a good chain of reasoning from Dr. Bartle's usage to modern usage. I believe we need to put the facts we can cite in, and let the readers make the inference. We should not do it for them, as now. Now that we have another interested editor, is there wp:consensus to remove the tag? - Sinneed 15:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Further, is there wp:consensus to drop the CN for the statement "The term mob as it is used in MUDs is derived from mobile" which is cited to "One of the major types of objects that you will encounter on a Mud is the mobile. A mob (pronounced MOHb, not MAWb), or mobile, is a computer controlled creature." which does not mention derivation, only usage.- Sinneed 15:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

"the source does not have to have an exact quote saying "MOB IS DERIVED FROM MOBILE" for us to be able to refer to it" - adding editor, in removing the CN flag, left this remark. It seems clear that this is a wp:OR edit.- Sinneed 15:24, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
It is not OR. The most you could call it is synthesis, and it isn't even that, as it's obvious that it speaks to the derivation, to any reasonable person who isn't editing with a COI. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:32, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
wp:SYNTH is a shortcut to wp:NOR - Wikipedia:No original research#Synthesis of published material that advances a position - And yes, your statement is an excellent example of Synthesis as used in WP.- Sinneed
I don't really think so. If we draw the direct line from Bartle/MUD1->DikuMUD->EQ->MMORPGs (y'know, what actually occurred), that would be synthesis, I'm afraid. Much to my annoyance. But taking a source that indicates mob as an alternate form of mobile to indicate that mob is short for mobile, and therefore derived from mobile, is just reading comprehension. —chaos5023 (talk) 15:54, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Excellent, then it won't be a problem to use the wording supported by the source, since our readers are smart and able to comprehend: we don't need to do their thinking for them.- Sinneed 15:57, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Not for nothin', but this is an interesting assertion. Is it that you believe that Wikipedia is only for smart people, or that everybody is smart? —chaos5023 (talk) 16:19, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
(drifting from the topic) It is part of the wp:five pillars. WP gives the information, and lets the readers do the conclusion-drawing, or states the conclusions given in generally wp:reliable sources.- Sinneed 16:25, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Argument for removal, we have:

  • a primary source for its usage by Dr. Bartle in about 1980, in MUD
  • sources forusage in later MUD source code
  • sources for its usage in MUD jargon
  • sources for its usage in DikuMUD source code
  • sources for the influence of DikuMUD on EQ development
  • sources for the usage in MMOG jargon
  • ..and we have this for no other theory

Argument against removal:

  • The above was the reasoning behind the "most likely" (or whatever) wording compromised into the article in, as I recall, 2008. It was wp:OR and weasel-worded, but it seemed not-terribly-misleading. We cut all the other theories.
  • no source that discusses the etymology of this neologism

Proposed edit - restore the simple caveat wording - weasel words are to be avoided but presently the article is misleading.- Sinneed 15:46, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

What "simple caveat wording" do you mean? —chaos5023 (talk) 15:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
You might review the wording you removed. But just as an idea "is short for mobile,". This would allow the readers to make their own inferences, and stay to the source.- Sinneed 15:54, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Being short for something is derivation. If FOO is short for FOOBAR, FOO is derived from FOOBAR. "Short for" seems fine, but it's not avoiding making a statement about derivation. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Foo is a cleanup of FU in FUBAR, and stands for the verb form of a crudity. The UBAR bit is an acronym for Up Beyond All Recognition(or Repair/etc., as may be). This is an excellent example of why using "derived" is misleading here. This points up an interesting idea: the last time I checked the OED available at our library it had no etymology of MOB. This may have changed.- Sinneed 16:14, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Yer killin' me. For the record, I was using FOO and FOOBAR in their usages as generic placeholders. I guess I should have written "if X is short for XYZ". I'd be awfully surprised if the OED had caught up to the existence of this word, but color me impressed if they have. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:18, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure you noticed, but I edited for the "short for" version. Are you, by any remote chance, happy now? —chaos5023 (talk) 16:22, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
... inserted/changed a number of other bits. I'll read it all another day: too much danger of "reading" what I have already read 100 times, rather than what is there.- Sinneed 16:27, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
"both forms having been used by Richard Bartle for objects that were self-mobile in MUD1 in 1980" - do you have a source for this? The 1980 bit is from an email, above, and will fail wp:V... I argue that it is harmless and true, so if no one objects we should be good. But the MOB bit is from his 2003 book. The original usage is "mobile". Please correct, and hew to the sources.- Sinneed 18:33, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
He talks about both forms in DVW, in the quote cited. That sourcing does seem to need to be improved. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:57, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
2003 DVW <> 1980 MUD1. I do think that is clear. This isn't even wp:OR is just wrong. The 1980 usage, per Dr. Bartle, is "mobile". the mob usage is 2003.- Sinneed 19:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) Does anyone else support removal of the POV flag at this time? Restoring if not.- Sinneed 02:23, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Here's an idea: if you aren't actually asserting that it's incorrect, leave it alone until someone who actually wants to contradict it shows up. Wouldn't that be fun? —chaos5023 (talk) 16:45, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
wp:sarcasm, another good read, also wp:dispute resolution. Please focus on the content of the article, and proposals to improve it.
Restoring the tags this afternoon unless another editor supports their removal. The current text is in fact in error, and I will also fact-flag it when restoring the POV flag. Unlike the POV-statement tag, the new text is simply wrong, rather than POVish, according to the sources.- Sinneed 16:50, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I have edited to cleave to sources with great fidelity. I earnestly hope that you will agree that this restores both accuracy-to-source and NPOV. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:56, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
DESPITE THE DAMAGE IT DOES TO ACTUAL ACCURACY GAAAAAAH. Okay, done now. —chaos5023 (talk) 17:04, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) Now:

  • "The term mob as it is used in MUDs is short for mobile.[4][1] The term "mobile object" was used by Richard Bartle for objects that were self-mobile in MUD1"

How about

  • The term mob as it is used in MUDs is short for 'mobile',[4][1] which was used by Richard Bartle for objects that were self-mobile in MUD1."

I think this has the same information, without any synthesis, and flows more smoothly.- Sinneed 17:29, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Okay, sounds good. —chaos5023 (talk) 17:32, 23 March 2010 (UTC)