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The Surreal World of Chatroulette

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the lick-you-elbow dept.

Social Networks 151

Hugh Pickens writes "The New York Times reports that Chatroulette, the social Web site created by a 17-year-old Russian named Andrey Ternovskiy, drops you into an unnerving world where you are connected through webcams to a random, fathomless succession of strangers from across the globe. The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click 'start' you're suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they're staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click 'next,' instantly calling up someone else. Entering Chatroulette is akin to speed-dating tens of thousands of perfect strangers — some clothed, some not. You see them, they see you. You talk to them, they talk to you. 'It's very strange, and not just because you are parachuting into someone else's life (and they yours), a kind of invited crasher,' writes Nick Bilton. 'It is also the eerie thrill of true randomness — who, or what, will show up next?' The Web has long allowed anonymous conversations among strangers. Text-based chat rooms are rife with deceit — people pretending they are someone else. Video makes this harder — even if you're wearing a mask. 'From my experience on the site, echoed by those I've spoken to, it seems as if 90 percent of users are genuinely looking for novel and unexpected conversation,' add Bilton. 'The rest — well, let's just say they have debauchery in mind.'"

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151 comments

Hum. (5, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217850)

While this sounds interesting, I believe that somebody has finally found an even more useless form of social networking. A standing ovation for him indeed.

Re:Hum. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218034)

I might actually try a few rounds later to completely numb my sense of social anxiety. It sounds like a hell hole of the internet, but I figure I'll come out either a post traumatic vet or completely cured!

Re:Hum. (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220210)

I wouldn't. The /b/-tards over on 4chan have known about chatroulette for a while and frequently abuse it.

Re:Hum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31220992)

I know you're joking, but I wouldn't. Social anxiety doesn't respond well to "flooding" - you need to work at it gradually.

Re:Hum. (5, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218162)

I'm always curious by people talking about "useless forms of social networking". I mean, what's the supposed purpose of social networking sites? Is there a fixed goal? A constitution? Should we measure a social networking site by how many jobs it fills, or how many dates are had through it?

As I see it, there are people, and they chat. That's social. That's the essence of humanity.

How can you get any more, or any less, useful than that?

In summary: what forms of social networking do you consider "useful", and why?

Re:Hum. (5, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218214)

I'm always curious by people talking about "useless forms of social networking". I mean, what's the supposed purpose of social networking sites? Is there a fixed goal? A constitution? Should we measure a social networking site by how many jobs it fills, or how many dates are had through it?

As I see it, there are people, and they chat. That's social. That's the essence of humanity.

How can you get any more, or any less, useful than that?

In summary: what forms of social networking do you consider "useful", and why?

The types where actual interaction occurs between two or more human beings with a common understanding of some sort. My understanding of social networking involves some kind of game of watching your number of friends increment.

Basically, I feel social networking destroys the essence of communication: a wall of text, with a photo next to it, passing comment of amusement about a "how long is your dong" survey and seemingly nothing more. I find it hard to believe a real relationship can develop through such a medium.

Re:Hum. (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218264)

I find it hard to believe a real relationship can develop through such a medium.

And yet, it happens all the time.

Re:Hum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31221028)

hmm...

I don't think it does. What I think you are referring to is an eventual 'curiosity' a 'what if' or 'i wonder' which requires the interaction that you don't get from social networking. I think you would probably find (and I have no empirical evidence - hey this is Slashdot right?) that those 'relationships' that do spawn have to start from a point the OP was probably meaning by 'interaction'.

Unless you can show me someone who managed to have and maintain a relationship (in what I think the OP is saying) by social networking alone?

You could argue that any kind of pin board in a common room or notice board on a street corner is a form of making relationships in that case. Hell I could be socially interacting with YOU right now based on that logic?

There is a point where you have to step over/past/around (whatever) the perceived interaction and actually err...interact before you get a relationship. For me this is the fundamental misunderstanding on what 'social networking' means.

Re:Hum. (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218286)

I actually married with a girl I've found on fotolog.net six years ago.

We divorced, and I had a two-year relationship with somenone I found at orkut.

And I'll marry again with the first one.

I find even more strange to find someone in a night club, a dance club, whatever, w, where you cannot see nor hear really much. How are ideas exchanged in those places?

Re:Hum. (4, Interesting)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218504)

I actually married with a girl I've found on fotolog.net six years ago.

We divorced, and I had a two-year relationship with somenone I found at orkut.

And I'll marry again with the first one.

I find even more strange to find someone in a night club, a dance club, whatever, w, where you cannot see nor hear really much. How are ideas exchanged in those places?

I don't think you fully understood my comment, nor your own. I stated that I believe a real relationship cannot flourish on a social networking site. I didn't say you couldn't meet somebody on such a site and get to know them on another medium. I see social networking sites as nothing more than a directory, and apparently, so do you.

Re:Hum. (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218660)

My understanding of social networking involves some kind of game of watching your number of friends increment.

Back when Friendster was in its heyday, half my friends precisely avoided doing that. I guess they had matured past that stage.

What are you doing befriending teenagers??

Re:Hum. (1)

Alvare (1430099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218686)

I find it hard to believe a real relationship can develop through such a medium.

I think we are gonna have to redefine the meaning of "relationship" in a few years.

Re:Hum. (5, Interesting)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218806)

I make "off-label" use of social networking sites:

When live.yahoo.com was up (basically you broadcast a webcam to whoever comes into your channel), I used it to practice several dozen voices, dialects and accents - everything from something simple like a "public school british" accent to insane cartoon voices. I did this by reading books aloud in those voices. I think I had something like 400 people in my channel once when I was reading Mein Kampf doing on the fly translation to pig-latin with an elmer fudd voice. Another time I got over 1000 hits when it was just me staring at the screen (in fact, I was reading on another monitor but people couldn't see that) while drinking beer. What could possibly interest 1000 people in that? Call it performance art.

On facebook, I use that ONLY for work related people and don't friend anyone who isn't related to work, even if they are friends of mine in real life. It's interesting, to me, to see just how much personal shit people at work are willing to share with me despite our not having a "real" friendship.

With linked in I do exactly the opposite - I only make links to people I don't work with.

With chat roulette, it's fantastic as a way to try out different kinds of things. I've done things like pretended my microphone couldn't pick up my voice despite it having no problem picking up the music in the background and a friend off-camera talking to me (most people don't get it - they just think my mic is broken when it obviously isn't), or I just ask questions of people that I would never ask of someone else - usually about bodily functions, their income, things like picking their nose - and it's interesting the responses I get.

Of course, I also use some of these things (with alternate accounts) in the way that they are intended - as a way to meet and stay in touch with friends - but I think I have more fun being strange than I do otherwise.

Re:Hum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219222)

Mein Kampf in pig Latin with Elmer Fudd's voice? 10000 internets for you, good sir.

Re:Hum. (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218824)

The types where actual interaction occurs between two or more human beings with a common understanding of some sort.

This does seem to exactly describe the site, though.

Re:Hum. (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218936)

...My understanding of social networking involves some kind of game of watching your number of friends increment...

What are these 'friends' you speak of? Are they a theoretical mental construct like this 'outside' I sometimes hear about? Or are they more like irrational numbers, useful to certain academic persuits but useless to most people?

Re:Hum. (1)

catd77 (1743104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218312)

Actually stuff like this has been around for years. Just look at AOL or 4chan /b/.

Re:Hum. (4, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218728)

I wouldn't say so. An application like Manycam lets you put anything you want into that video feed. Let's just say that the folks over at 4chan have found Chatroulette to be one of the best kinds of trolling as they can not only rape the eyes of their victims, but actually see the reaction for themselves.

too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31217858)

This has already been attacked by SomethingAwful and 4chan. Fear the goatse.

Cue the spam (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217860)

"Hey you! I got cheap Viagra for you! And I don't even have to spell it in funny ways!"

"Hey sweety, I'm naked. Yes even from my waist down. Can't see it? Come to my website and you can, you can even buy these panties I just took off (swirls panties around finger)"

And I'm pretty sure the pennystock- and late-president's-ransom spammers might come up with something really cool where you get to see a quick action movie and the last words of someone being shot right in front of you is the stock to buy or someone you PLEASE contact quickly.

Re:Cue the spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218240)

Too late [youtube.com] .

Not spam (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218356)

As much as I hate spam, that's not spam. As the "marketer" can only talk to one person at a time, there is no "bulk", so no spam.

If someone hacked it so that they could answer hundreds (or thousands) of connections simultaneously (maybe with a recorded message), then it would be spam.

OK, I just gave spammers an idea. I'm going to hell.

Re:Not spam (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218820)

OK, I just gave spammers an idea.

I think most spammers don't bother reading Slashdot - they'll have to spend 3 hours reading our posts to get 1 good idea. After all, half our posts are the usual - we make jokes, praise Apple products, complain about Apple fanboys, thank NYCL, flame NYCL, and sometimes write long and insightful posts which even the rest of us sometimes skip reading.

I'm going to hell.

Stop making jokes like this - it's worrying poor Alsee (515537). He's concerned about the dismal minimum requirements for entry. He said, "Oh jeez. They're letting everybody in these days."

Children? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218646)

What about children getting on this naked?

Is every person who gets randomly connected to them automatically guilty of possession of child porn?

Re:Cue the spam (2, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219172)

Pff, Goatse will have a field day with that site! Until he finds the love of his life: Tubgirl.
4Chan even more so. Only they will hunt for children while wearing pedobear masks.

Obligatory: (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217868)

'The rest well, let's just say they have debauchery in mind.'

"I put on my robe and wizard hat"

--
BMO

Re:Obligatory: (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218346)

What the f*ck, I told you not to message me again.

4Chan Members (1)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217872)

I can't wait to see what the pranksters at 4chan are planning.

Re:4Chan Members (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31217904)

They're already bored of it.

No joke. Plenty of rickrolling, disturbing pornography and "gore" spammed over the visual feed with the use of a virtual webcam application. The flood of threads where 4chan showed the reactions of the other person has seemed to wane and the fad is.... over just before the rest of the internet can realize what has happened.

Re:4Chan Members (1)

catd77 (1743104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218318)

I remember seeing that on /b/ when it first came out. It was pretty funny actually.

Re:4Chan Members (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217914)

I'm not the 14 year old with the Nazi flag in the background, the Red Army greatcoat, Red Army officer's hat (with Nazi SS skull), Douglas-McArthur style sunglasses and pipe, but I wish I was.

--
BMO

Re:4Chan Members (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31217936)

Least it's a bit more innocent than the latest 4chan creation: www.fapmastery.com
At least chatroulette seems to have honest intentions to start with!

Re:4Chan Members (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31220044)

Way ahead of you. [boingboing.net]

I don't know how to say this but ... (4, Funny)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217874)

... you've got something stuck between your teeth.

WTF! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217878)

The site says you have to be at least 16. As if I don't already have enough problems with my kids.Gee, thanks for giving this site publicity.

Re:WTF! (-1, Troll)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217974)

What goes on with the Internet is the least of your worries, Pops. I don't know about you, but in my idyllic suburban high school in the 1980's, finding drugs was not a problem. I suspect that the situation today is largely the same.

Also, they already know about chatroulette. They also know about http://netsex.on.nimp.org/ [nimp.org] (click that without knowing what you're doing and you get what you deserve).

--
BMO

Re:WTF! (0, Flamebait)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218012)

My concern is about pedophiles.

Re:WTF! (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218028)

>My concern is about pedophiles

Then you're looking in the wrong direction.

Most child abusers are directly related.

Pedophiles that are a thousand miles away are not the problem.

--
BMO

Re:WTF! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218104)

Hey, a parent looks in all directions!

Re:WTF! (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218168)

I have the sneaking suspicion that you are a troll instead of simply misinformed, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

"To Catch A Predator" is not informative. It's not reality. It's a skewed picture of reality, because sensationalism sells.

Date rape is more prevalent.
Sexual abuse by those with "power" over kids is more prevalent, c.f., Boston Diocese and Irish Catholic Church sex scandals (and that's just the tip of the iceberg).
Abuse by a relative is more likely than you think.

But the last bit never gets much play in the news, because it gets hidden away, because nobody listens to the kids it happens to.

But hey, what do I know. Go ask a social worker or child advocate. Stop watching so much Teevee. It's bad for your brain.

--
BMO

Re:WTF! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218682)

Hey, it was a knee jerk reaction on my part. I just didn't expect to find this here. I vented before I thought about it. Living in Alaska kind of messes with your perspective. Read this and maybe you can see why. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10841687 [ktuu.com] and to quote, "Another alarming snapshot is the age of sexual assault victims in rural Alaska. Seventy-five percent are younger than 18 and more than half are between 6 and 15 years old,." No, the internet is not a baby sitter, but I am the one who showed them slashdot.

Re:WTF! (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219044)

>No, the internet is not a baby sitter, but I am the one who showed them slashdot.

Let me clue you into something:

If it's in the New York Times and it's Internet related, it's no longer news. Associating the any internet phenomena with sexual assault is not helpful, because even in your own article you just posted, I will bet you that the *vast* majority of those sexual assaults are between people who know each other in real life and would have happened with or without the Internet.

You cannot "protect" your kids from the Internet. They will see stuff you don't approve of at friends' houses. They will see stuff you don't approve of while at the Library. They will see and do stuff in real life that you don't approve of. The only thing you can do is to teach common sense, and better yet, maybe even enroll them into a self-defense or martial arts course if Alaska is the "rape capital of the US."

Enrollment in a self defense course is useful. Getting all excited over perceived threats is not.

If you wrap your kids in a cocoon, you are doing nothing but harming them. The kids who grow up that way do not learn any coping skills whatsoever.

--
BMO

Re:WTF! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218244)

Most of the child abusers abuse a child that is related to them or at least already knows them (teacher, priest, ...). This would be more convenient with less risks, for example:

1. The kid probably already trusts the abuser, so the kid may not tell his/her parents about the abuse.
2. The abusers does not need to go grab a random kid off a street where (s)he could be seen.
3. The abuser does not risk that the "kid" online may be a police officer in reality. He already knows the kid and his parents so it is easier to choose the victim (for example, kid is very trusting of others, the parents are alcoholics/drug addicts and care only about the booze/dope and not their kid).

Well, child abusers sometimes do grab a kid off a street, but they are usually promptly found and put in prison. On the other hand, abuse within the family can last a long time.

Re:WTF! (3, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219080)

you son of a bitch! i lost some precious tabs because of that. (porn, mostly. but still, i worked very hard to find them...)

Re:WTF! (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217994)

And this makes a difference, how? Btw. your kids are reading Slashdot?

Re:WTF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218014)

Hey! I'm 17 and I read slashdot, got a problem with that?

Re:WTF! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218042)

Not at all, but don't you think it's my place to protect my kids?

Re:WTF! (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218110)

>Not at all, but don't you think it's my place to protect my kids?

1. You cannot "protect" them.
2. You can only teach them to use their heads. This is a teaching moment.
3. They know more about what's going on than you think.
4. The Internet is not a baby sitter.
5. I'll say that again....
6. The Internet is not a baby sitter.

--
BMO

Re:WTF! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218128)

I'm confused. Two posts earlier, you were claiming it was Slashdot's place to protect your kids by not linking to a site that might potentially allow a pedophile thousands of miles away to see pictures of them. Now you think it's your place. Make up your mind: either take responsibility for your children or put them up for adoption.

Re:WTF! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218060)

Yeah my kids read slashdot, and they use fedora too.

Re:WTF! (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218948)

Hate to break it to you but Slashdot is behind the trend on this one. If this is a big surprise for you, then at least Slashdot posting about it clued YOU in. It may be old news to your kids.

99% Debauched (4, Informative)

sofayam (582239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217884)

... is what I saw. Had a short chat with a guy from Brazil - short because we did not share a language - other than that just a flashing sequence of monkey spanking exhíbitionists.

Re:99% Debauched (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218358)

Hahah, guess what. They teach English in Brazilian schools. I've had lengthy conversations with several Brazilians on Omegle.

Re:99% Debauched (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218446)

Hahah, guess what. They teach English in Brazilian schools. I've had lengthy conversations with several Brazilians on Omegle.

As a Brazilian, I can assure you that even though they teach English at Brazilian schools, the vast amount of Brazilians (90%+) don't come out of it with enough knowledge to say anything more complicated than "the apple is red."

If you're wondering, I leaned my English from my American parents.

Re:99% Debauched (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218708)

In high school, a Brazilian by the name of Diego (go Diego, go!) came to America via the foreign exchange program and started at our high school. He didn't speak much English when he got there, but by the end of the first year, he was throwing insults and having all most complete conversations. Just goes to show that complete immersion into a culture is the best way to learn it's language. No, I don't know if he learned any English before he came to the U.S.

Re:99% Debauched (1)

yuriks (1089091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220530)

I've been on the internet since a early age (8 years old or so) and learned most of my English from browsing forums and other websites in English. I've got to the point where I actually prefer English rather than Portuguese for most of my tasks that don't involve communicating with others and most people online or on IRC compliment me on my English, saying I'm barely distinguishable from a native user of the language. That extends to a certain point to spoken conversation too, I can understand and speak fluently, though pronunciation of words is still off. Goes to show that culture immersion really works for learning languages.

Re:99% Debauched (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218776)

Well, they DID just get linked on slashdot...

Seems more of an Interesting idea than the usual (1)

HNS-I (1119771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217892)

Of course this opens up a can of worms though. Advertisements, flashers and such. Atleast this should have some categorisation like: random, comedy normal talk, different age and sex groups etc. The rating system is pretty straightforwars, people that keep getting clicked away in a certain category just don't get presented to people in that category.

Experience Chatroulette w/o "exposing" yourself! (4, Informative)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217900)

If you want to get a feeling of Chatroulette without "exposing" yourself (or getting exposed to some pretty shocking imagery) you might want to check out this blog:

http://chatroulette.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com]

He's been collecting dozens (hundreds) of screencaptures that people have been e-mailing him. While you'll still see some disturbing things at least you'll know this isn't happening to YOU, LIVE and hopefully the lack of immediacy will dull the shock a bit. If you can take that, then by all means take the plunge!

(I'm too chicken and have not). By the way, I got this link from TechCrunch, so just wanted to give them credit.

This is nothing (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218044)

I read the web site, and I saw nothing which was remotely even scratching the depth of perversity. Maybe I am "hardened" by years of browsing and stumbling onto distrubing stuff.

You want disturbing ? Try google sepuku Google Sepuku [encycloped...matica.com]

Re:This is nothing (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218164)

I tried, but either I don't know any good kanji to enter or I end up with fairly normal shit. Well, normal by my standards.

I've been on the 'net for almost two decades. There is nothing left that could even remotely gross me out.

Re:This is nothing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218236)

You sure? I said the same thing until I stupidly saw videos posted by these guys:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnepropetrovsk_maniacs

Nearly vomited.
(link isn't clickable on purpose)

Re:This is nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219502)

A word of warning, I opened and read that link with elinks, just to be safe.

It turns out, the wording and description of the events is the terribly disturbing part...

Re:Experience Chatroulette w/o "exposing" yourself (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218066)

Thanks, I was thinking of fixing a snack until I saw that guy holding his gut in the air.

Re:Experience Chatroulette w/o "exposing" yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218256)

Oh, I get it, it's just like TV!

Re:Experience Chatroulette w/o "exposing" yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218290)

The Hitler one wins.

God-damned French (1)

hadhad69 (1003533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219004)

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON i get about 50 submissions a day on this thing - and recently at least 10 a day are just RANDOM FUCKING IMAGES - like a picture of a rainbow, a cartoon, a photo of some dude DJingand nearly all of them are from french people. dear french, WHY THE FUCK are you submitting random unrelated images to this blog? it is pretty fucking obvious what it is about, please stop wasting my time.

lol

Absolute Nonsense (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217924)

Text-based chat rooms are rife with deceit — people pretending they are someone else. Video makes this harder — even if you're wearing a mask

You can lie just as effectively in video chat and in text chat about everything except your appearance. All this quote tells us is that the person who wrote it considers physical appearance to be the most important attribute. I think this says a lot more about the writer than the text chats. The person on the end of a video chat can still be lying about their occupation, hobbies, age, even location. If they're wearing a mask, as he suggests, they can be lying about just about anything except their weight (and possibly even that if it's a close-up).

Re:Absolute Nonsense (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217980)

welcome to the modern world. Heck, kennedy won thanks to tv.

Re:Absolute Nonsense (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218140)

Don't forget that the guy he beat, turned out to be a sneaky weasel. You take your communication where you find it -- written, audio, video, it's all prepared for, tweaked, filtered, selected, and edited.

Re:Absolute Nonsense (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218086)

> You can lie just as effectively in video chat and in text chat about
> everything except your appearance.

Of course you can lie about your appearance. You can send out whatever video you think might be amusing.

Debauchery (1)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217966)

Debauchery makes the world go 'round. Who knew?

Is randomness the antidote to group think? (5, Interesting)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31217968)

As people have pointed out before, this system may have already been co-opted by spammers and such, but I like the idea of being connected to people at random. The internet was supposed to have broadened everyone's horizons by allowing communication between people of different countries, backgrounds, etc. But then everyone just found the people who reinforce their pre-existing opinions. So sure, I'm talking with someone around the world, but we're both, say, talking about linux wifi drivers and complaining about the same company. It's arguably worse for political thought, where either corporations control mainstream thought, and/or conspiracy theorists only pay attention to the one blog with the same conspiracies.

People need more opportunities for true randomness, where they actually do sample evenly from the world's population and interact with someone.

Re:Is randomness the antidote to group think? (1)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218778)

If you are looking to meet random people from around the world, try http://www.flork.com/ [flork.com]

I've had some fun conversations with people from england, kyrgyzstan, brazil, new york city, etc. I don't recall ever seeing spam or anything like that.

-b

"You see them, they see you." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218056)

Only if you have a camera and it is turned on and pointed at you. It would be trivial to arrange for them to see whatever you want them to see.

A mixed bag... (1)

Fuzi719 (1107665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218098)

Of course I've seen the bizarre and depraved on Chatroulette, but I've also met and chatted with a couple of people that have turned out to be very nice guys. We've added each other to our Live Messenger friends and now chat on a daily basis, sharing pictures of our hometowns (Lisbon, Istanbul, Atlanta) and learning about each other's cultures and daily lives. What a great way to spend a few minutes each day.

Is this really that revolutionary? (1)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218118)

Is anyone really surprised someone finally offers this service? It's basically omegle with webcams. It's not a real stretch to go from anonymous chatroom to random chatroom to random webchat.

Re:Is this really that revolutionary? (0, Troll)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218146)

"webcam chat" not "webchat"

NY Times? (1)

Kanel (1105463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218142)

Something has changed in the world, if our source for the latest internet phenomenas is the New York Times. It's as if I've become my parents, learning of hackers via a botched newspaper report or this here "Internet Chat" thingy from watching Ally McBeal.

Re:NY Times? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219100)

True. Once it hits the NYT, it's no longer innovative and news for nerds.

It's been a long time since Slashdot actually had stories ahead of the NYT.

--
BMO

yeah thanks for that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218156)

First image was of some dudes unit, and that will be the end of that service for me.

Re:yeah thanks for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218194)

Wife just gave it a try and got three "banana men" in a row. nasty, I think she puked in her mouth a little from the look on her face.

All I see are young men and cocks being stroked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218294)

It's a lovely idea, but oh my goodness there are so many cocks on display! It's a bit of a silly waste of time ...

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218874)

Mac users will love it!

How did you know I use a Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219136)

Fucker.

rerun (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218480)

In 2006, this was called "Serendipitous Chat", which also had it's amusing moments.

A.

Omegle + Video (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31218556)

Is that basically it?

Around the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218828)

Ah just what I wanted to see first thing Sunday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31218946)

A naked fat Korean man in clown make up masturbating.

90%? No way (3, Informative)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219050)

I read an article about chatroulette and decided to try it out for myself.
I'd say 75% of people were not interested in conversation of any kind. And maybe 10% were interested in trying to shock you in some way.
The system is open for scamming from people who will beam your webcams output back at you, or pics of goatse.cx or shock pages from encyclopedia dramatica. It might have been a fun conversing tool when there was less than 5000 people on it. But once the crowd from 4chan heard of it, it's too polluted to be fun. (Think Usenet before and after AOL came online)

Re:90%? No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31220466)

I disagree. The thing you call "pollution" is the only real fun to be had on there.

That being said, in 10hrs or being on the site, I've had one real conversation (and it was only ~10 mins). Oh, and I aired a Lost episode on there for a Lost fan from Germany.

Trolling is the only thing the site is truly good for.
People aren't there to talk, at all. People are there to see boobs/dick and to pretend they're funny/on tv. It is a truly useless site and is proof that we are doomed.

The only people who make it entertaining in the least are the trolls.

 

Awesome, this is linked from slashdot (1)

1155 (538047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219682)

I was already seeing naked guys:naked girls at a ratio of 1000:1 on chatrt.

Now that slashdot has linked it (multiple times I believe) it's going to increase to 10000000:1. Thanks for ruining yet another decent portion of the internet! First gopher, now chatrt. What's next?

Re:Awesome, this is linked from slashdot (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220996)

Wait...so, 1000:1 was a good ratio?

Sounds like fun... (1)

KingTank (631646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219720)

...until you realize you'll spend most of your time talking to nude men and people who want to sell you something.

Re:Sounds like fun... (2, Interesting)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220204)

Andy Grove said, 'is Thomas Edison such an overachiever for inventing the lightbulb? ...Because if if he didn't do it, it was inevitably going to be invented by someone.'

Personally, I haven't been paying attention, but I thought Skype already made this possible, and clearly I was wrong.

Wiring up random videocams with each other was bound to happen sooner or later. Duh. This is like basic Darwinian smut technology.

Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain; in this case it seems to be a pretty cool 17 year old kid who is just as amazed as you or I would be. Good for you kid!

And the global anonymous internet, once given random-video-chat-technology? Well, what were you expecting?

Reputation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31220722)

I cannot help but think that a site like this could *REALLY* use a good reputation system.

Tried it, wasn't too disappointing (2, Informative)

NiteMair (309303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220850)

I tried it... after seeing a lot of naked "boy" chests (clearly a lot of high school or college kids showing off their "six pack") it finally stopped on a guy that looked reasonable to chat with.

Chatted with him for about 10-15 mins, just exchanging some random questions and info. Wasn't too bad, except he was from China and his english wasn't so great :)

Overall, definitely has potential for some random social interaction if you have nothing better to do.

Live music (2, Interesting)

simpleguy (5686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31220932)

Among all the guys who were showing their wang, one of my strangers was from France and playing the accordion live. I brought my 4 month old baby to listen and enjoy and we had some nice conversation after that. That alone compensated for the idiocy of the rest.

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