Since its invention in 1988, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has been a premier method of interpersonal communication on the Internet. Although IRC is a somewhat dated method of communication, it remains popular for a number of reasons, such as its ease of use and low tax on computer resources. Although IRC has been portrayed in various media as a “Hangout for Hackers and Cyberbullies”, the truth is that it is simply one of many mediums of communication over an Interconnected Network. Due to the widespread usage of Internet Relay Chat, it has become an important part of the IRC ‘Culture’ for a chat server or channel to have a dedicated group of Moderators. The duties of a moderator include disconnecting users that are inhibiting the functions of the channel through disruptive text or other means, and cultivating the conversational atmosphere of the channel. One of the ways a moderator is able to cultivate this aforementioned atmosphere is through the use of Voice. When Voice (+V) is granted to an IRC user, it is an indication that they are in reasonably good standing, or even respected by the Channel Moderators. Having a +v designation means that a User has a few talking privileges that others may not be party to. For example, a Channel Moderator, Administrator, or Owner may decide to set a channel to “moderated” (m) status. In this case, only users who have a +v designation or moderator status will be allowed to talk. Essentially, this means that a +v user is trusted enough to remain a constructive conversationalist even in the event that their IRC channel is flooded with disruptive, off topic, or deconstructive behavior. Voice status can be used as a way of encouraging behavior and participation that a Moderator sees as a positive influence on their IRC channel. It is one of the closest things the Internet has to a “Badge of Honor”. In the context of the #ed IRC channel, +v, though used somewhat sparingly, still serves its purpose quite well. One of the unfortunate side effects of Encyclopedia Dramatica’s culture is that it is attractive to a number of individuals that could be best described as “Annoying Douchebags who need to shut the hell up”. Although this is typically a minor inconvenience, or even, at times, instrumental to the development of the ED Wiki, it is more often than not a deconstructive influence on the IRC channel. Because of this, it is beneficial to single out users who go out of their way to avoid falling into this aforesaid category of people. On #ed, +v also serves as a way of indicating users that tend to be more active than their peers. For whatever reason, there are a large number of “idlers” (people who are not participating in any way on the channel, or who may not even be at their computers) logged onto the channel at any given time. +v status shows that a user is an active participant, rather than an idler. +v status on the #ed channel is primarily assigned for its prestige value, as Moderated (m) channel status is rarely used. Though the utilitarian value is dubious at best in this case, voice status indicates a certain amount of standing in the ED community. Despite outward appearances, the core of the Encyclopedia Dramatica userbase consists of reasonably intelligent individuals, who are worth gaining the respect, or at the very least, the notice of. Bibliography "Moderated ( M) IRC FAQ | DSLReports.com, ISP Information." DSLReports Home : Broadband ISP Reviews News Tools and Forums. Web. 02 Mar. 2012. <http://www.dslreports.com/faq/8018>. Lo, Joseph. "An IRC Tutorial." Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Help. Web. 02 Mar. 2012. <http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/irctutorial.html>.