I was chatting with Shiny and was regaling her with tales of “The Yepper”, and she said I needed to submit it as a guest post. So what the hell, I wrote a story.
There is a horror lurking within your chat box. A timeless, inevitable terror. Even guilds with small numbers of people are subject to eventual victimization. There is no refuge where it cannot find you, except perhaps that of complete isolation. If you never come across it, consider yourself lucky… but odds are – whether you recognized it or not – you have already encountered it at least once in your MMO career. For those who have escaped contact thus far, it may only be a matter of time before they run into…
The Yepper is a curious creature. It may seem harmless at first, skulking in the shadows of your guild chat. You may notice it and even interact with it without realizing exactly what it is. Some Yeppers actually arrive in an advanced state of growth – ready to begin their assault the minute they touch your chat channels – but in most cases there seems to be a period where it may be undetectable. Inevitably The Yepper will anchor its roots and begin to blossom. Once The Yepper is comfortable and prepared, it will begin.
From this point forth, no matter what question is asked in chat, no matter how simple or complicated that question may be, no matter who it is addressed to, and no matter how eloquently it is answered by the person it is addressed to… The Yepper will contribute.
As an example of this phenomenon, let us imagine a scenario where someone has become disoriented in the city of Dalaran:
[Player1]: “Hey, where is the bank in Dalaran??”
[Player 2]: “There’s two of them, one north and one south.”
It is almost as if The Yepper has evolved such a sense of self importance that it feels every question must be either addressed to it directly, or in need of personally delivered verification to assure everyone that the answers provided are indeed accurate. Sometimes mere confirmation is not adequate, and The Yepper will expound on the answer. Sometimes the extra information is actually useful to the inquisitive party, but in extreme cases of Yepper infestation it is as if The Yepper is compelled to seek out and add loosely related tidbits of information which have absolutely no bearing on the original question, just so it can become involved in the conversation.
In its most advanced stages of growth, The Yepper will expand its assault to mere comments that some hapless victim drops in chat. Even the most innocent and whimsical remarks can trigger it.
In its final flourishing growth form, chat is all but completely rendered useless. Any single comment can result in everyone being subjected to hours of most likely pointless trivia and observations, all cheerfully provided by The Yepper. Rhetorical questions will always be answered, and no joke will be left with its punchline unexamined. This is where The Yepper life cycle begins to wither, for at this stage, it is only a matter of time before everyone either stops using the channel, or leaves. Starved of nourishment, it is presumed that The Yepper retreats to an earlier stage in its life cycle until it has rooted itself in a new chat channel, where no one has it on ignore. With a fresh supply of questions and comments to validate, The Yepper cycle can continue.
It is very rare to find a chat channel which is free of Yepper infestation. The Yepper has been found in guilds with as few as people, and the odds of finding them improve exponentially as the population of a chat channel increases. Given how common this phenomenon is, it seems prudent that those who feel they have never encountered The Yepper should ask themselves one simple question:
Are you The Yepper?