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People harken back tototo … not bad! Wrong, but not bad. Boing Boing links to an essay by David McRaney which links to the Wikipedia article which then links to this article by Anthony Mitchell.
In it, he basically pulls a theory out of thin air: The cultural attitudes and some of the early slang behind leet can be traced to the s and early s, the heyday of the phone phreak era.
During that era, individuals and informal groups sought to explore the public telephone system in the U. The most proficient individuals in the phone phreak subculture received recognition and status that enabled them to become cultural bellwethers.
When computer bulletin board systems BBSs became available in the s, phone phreak culture gained a written medium in the online exchanges that were often so slow and clumsy that users would shorten words or phrases to be able to send messages more conveniently.
The popularity of leetish truncations on SMS is driven by the keyboard designs on most mobile phones.
While computer users have access to full QWERTY keyboards, on most mobile phone keypads each button is shared by three letters. Little keypads encourage leet. Uses of leet that substitute numbers and punctuation marks for letters can be traced to the s when bulletin board administrators sought to discourage the use of BBSs for the storage and distribution of pornography and stolen software.
Enduring relics from that era are the leet terms pr n and pr0n, which signify pornography.
Another relic is the translation of the word hacker, which was banned by some BBS administrators. Crap-ass ideas like trying to regulate your users to that level are spotty at best in BBS history.
I found the specific place it came from. No, but it exploits along the same lines of pseudo-infantile language portraying complicated and not so complicated concepts in a messed-up manner. And done right, that shit is funny! And you can cite that! The point is, primary materials abound.
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