I Just Became A Statistic In A Social Experiment

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by on 12-08-2008

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So I’m sitting here tonight minding my own business on the internet and I randomly get an IM that says, “hi”.  The name isn’t familiar, but since I have my screen names available on a number of social sites I belong to I go ahead and respond.  What followed was baffling, but at least the user on the other end was understanding.  The conversation went as follows:

RelayedCoho: Hi!
Mike Wilton: hi
RelayedCoho: please identify yourself
Mike Wilton: You IM’d me…shouldn’t YOU identify yourself
RelayedCoho: you IMed me first
RelayedCoho: [20:57:48] NucularCoho: Hey.
[20:57:56] Gbcue: hi
Mike Wilton: Hmm, not me.  Not even my screen name
RelayedCoho: your screen name is NucularCoho, correct?
Mike Wilton: No
Mike Wilton: It’s mwilton13
RelayedCoho: strange
Mike Wilton: That’s what I’m thinking, since the IM I got from you says your screen name is RelayedCoho
RelayedCoho: what IM did you get from me?
RelayedCoho: this is so weird
Mike Wilton: Hi came through on my AIM screen name.
RelayedCoho: this is too weird
RelayedCoho: anyway, good night
Mike Wilton: that’s what I’m saying
RelayedCoho: *poof* this never happened
Mike Wilton: And your screen name isn’t RelayedCoho I take it?
RelayedCoho: no
RelayedCoho: it’s Gbcue
Mike Wilton: odd..well this makes for an interesting story I guess.  Sorry for whatever it is that happened.  LoL
RelayedCoho: yeah lol, good night!
Mike Wilton: Yep, night!

The odd thing about this is that I totally expected to get a follow up from that IM asking me to go look at porn, but then when the follow up was someone just as confused as I was I decided to look into it further.  I looked up “AIM Coho” in Google and discovered that a number of people had experienced similar incidents, but in their situations the recipient on the other end wasn’t as understanding.  Usually this resulted in insults and vulgarity.

In doing some further research I found out that these messages were generated by a bot.  This type of bot started with an AIM bot called TheGreatHatsby.  Since then there has been the Salmon bots, Trout bots, and now Coho bots.  The bot basically crawls sites like LiveJournal and sometimes DeviantArt or Xanga and get screennames of AIM users and then pair them up by sending an IM to each of them.  In my case I was told my messenger was RelayedCoho and he was told my screen name was NucularCoho.  We both got different greetings and both had no idea who one another were.

Apparently these bots are a continued work of a group called Project Upstream.  I’m not sure I see the purpose of these bots; some called it a social experiment I call it an annoying way to turn two very confused people against each other.  My thanks to Leanne Heller’s Guide To World Domination and morouxshi.com for more information on the bot.  Both had some good resources including the Wikipedia article on TheGreatHatsby as well as how to opt out of the problem.

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