On Thursday, sometime in the afternoon, I logged on to Whyville
looking to meet some new people at WhySquare. Destination -- scroll down --
Upon realizing that the picture of my face in the bus and the model of my
house weren't there, I looked at the screen ... and no one's face had appeared.
It was eerily empty.
I thought my computer might be slow, so I tried typing
something. "Look... no one's here," I said.
Then I saw someone say "YES THERE
"Hey, I can't see you!" I said as I watched their speech bubble float toward
Dr. Leila's house and disappear.
Then two more speech bubbles appeared that said, "Me either!"
Soon there were as least five people conversing, people whose faces I still
could not see. As we gathered around with nothing but a white box and a few
words, we resembled a bunch of ghosts!
I began to think, what if Whyville was always this way? What if we
never saw each others' faces? What if we didn't have preconceived notions of
each other before we began a conversation? Would Whyville be a better place? How
would you feel?
It was rather fun talking to citizens this way, and I began to imagine what
each of their faces might look like. Who knows if I was right? Maybe it was
better that way -- not knowing.
Within about two minutes, we suddenly saw a dozen people enter WhySquare with
full and complete faces. Confused as I had ever been, I clicked "Refresh" and I
returned to WhySquare as the old me.
It was a regular Thursday afternoon on Whyville. Everyone was just doing their
regular thing. I was at Tiki Tours, participating in a Beauty Contest... well, a
beauty contest where everyone had left... and then, suddenly there was a talking
bubble, but no face.
I couldn't figure it out at first. Was it a person with a clear head? Was it
a City Worker trying to fool us? CW Mark does stuff like that a lot after Trivia Night,
though I've never seen him create chat bubbles out of nowhere. Then
the person said their screen name, and I thought, 'How is this possible!??'
I realized the entrance box we enter a room through in the top-hand corner
didn't go away as it usually does. It was just like an open portal. More
Whyvillians came into the room, everyone saying things like "COOL, I'M INVISIBLE!" and whatnot, but all we could see was their bubbles.
I was intrigued. So I exited Tiki Tours for a moment and then entered the
room again. I also became invisible. This was great! I pretended to be a talking Tiki Tours sign, and a talking portal. It was great fun.
I soon learned that if I moused over other Whyvillians' chat bubbles, they would
have a red outline -- that's the new feature explained in earlier Times articles. I could see that Whyvillian's screen name at the top of the screen. This could tell
me who was talking! I tried to tell others around me about this discovery, but I think they weren't really listening.
Then I wanted to know if it was just Tiki Tours that was experiencing this
'technicality', or if it was the rest of Whyville, too. As it turned out, it was
happening to the rest of Whyville, too. I went to Dr. Leila's Pool Party, still invisible. I went to the
beach, where many people were in a panic, screaming 'Where is my face???' -- meaning it was
there, too. Then I went to the Greek Theater. More invisible people. It was like the
portal-like entrances of rooms weren't transforming our faces at all!!!
Being "invisible" was a great experience for me, and I'm sure it was also for many others.
It may have been caused by server error, but that was
made up by all the fun that citizens had.