n00bl3ss3 0bl1ghey is a French term meaning "Allow the n00bs their mistakes". Although the term itself is relatively recent, the ideal which it illustrates is found in almost every culture throughout history, with the exception of French culture, which is believed to have managed without it by upsetting everyone on general principles.
The first ruler of Babylon, Hammurabi, is credited with having created a systematic set of rules for governing and maintaining peace within his kingdom and it's dependencies, placing them in a sticky thread so that all the people, newcomers and old hands alike, would know both how to behave and what to expect in the event that they broke the rules. An excerpt from the Code of Hammurabi:
Hammurabi has developed a body of policies and guidelines which have helped him over the years to work toward his singular goal of running a quiet, friendly and informal "kingdom".
While he tries to respect consensus, Babylon is not a democracy, and its governance can be brutal. Hence there is disagreement between those who believe rules should be explicitly stated and those who feel that written rules are inherently inadequate to cover every possible variation of problematic or disruptive behavior. In either case, a user who acts against the spirit of Hammurabi's written policies may be banninated, even if technically no rule has been violated.
The rules themselves quickly became quite extensive, and were constantly updated, modified and extended to cover all manner of frankly unlikely events as well as the common offenses. A selection of the rules follows.
- No flaming - settle it mano y mano or don't log in.
- No l33t sp34k3rs.
- Porn goes in the porn forum. No animal, kiddy or scat. Previews with your posts.
- I don't care about Iraq and neither does anyone who posts here.
- If a sockpuppet strikes its owner, the owner's ear will be cut off.
- If a poster posts a new topic, and constructs it well, s/he gets 2 karma for every response.
- If a poster bumps an old topic without a reason, ban.
- If a hacker breaks through the server firewall in an attempt to rob it and is caught, his punishment will be to become sealed up inside the server as a security patch.
In Judaism the concept of n00bl3ss3 obl1ghey is found throughout the endless meshuggenah kvetching of Moses, even after he stopped going on about "wilderness this" and "wilderness that" and started getting to the good parts about the Ten Commandments and more general rules for everyday conduct. There are certain similarities between these general rules and the rules for conduct in Babylon, for example:
- No children should be flamed.
Obviously this bears a striking resemblance to near-contemporary Babylonian law, both protecting the inexperienced whilst placing an effective ban on flame wars. Other notable portions of the Mosaic code of conduct include:
- Demanding the death penalty for evangelists.
- Prohibiting wives from making a groin attack on their husband's adversary.
- InstaBanTM for link whoring.
The tradition is firmly entrenched in Christianity, which of course has its foundations in Judaism, and n00bl3ss3 obl1ghey is a guiding principle of many of the books of the New Testament. Witness the following from The Gospel of Mark, verses 23-39:
MLCHR_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: sup h3r0d
h3r0d: sup bitch
MLCHR_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: were iz da n00b?
*7eh_j!zzlah: has entered the game*
7eh_j!zzlah: yo p33ps
MLCHR_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: LOL he iz the k1ng of k1ngz!!!!!!!11111
h3r0d: STFU MLCHR
Fr3ndl33t_g0st_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: pwned ^_^
7eh_j!zzlah: OMG mi base iz ful of cow! help plz?
h3r0d: RTFM n00b
Fr3ndl33t_g0st_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: cow duz 0 damages l1tel d00d
h3r0d: hey j!zzlah the nailgun iz on Golgotha Hill
B4lth4zz4r_[K1NG5K1NG5K1NG5]: dont go l1tl3 d00d itz a trap
During the Dark Ages, following the fall of the Roman Empire and the fracturing of Europe into a series of bizarrely named and hard-to-remember states, social and economic pressures led to the co-opting of higher principles in order to allow for the crusades, a dark time when it was not only acceptable to be a hateful, trolling flamer, but also a time when it was not merely acceptable but virtually mandatory to be in someone's base and killing his d00ds.
After the installation of the Sergius III server-side admin software in 904, for example, pornographic content on the VAXtican GeoCities server increased tenfold, accompanied by a similar rise in accusations of admin corruption, something not even the Billy Dee patch could fix.
Further strife ensued when an edit war erupted over at the Jerusalem server, with various groups claiming ownership of the hosted sites and taking control either by straight denial-of-service "siege" attacks or by entering via backdoors: in either case, the end result would usually be a change of admin rights and resetting of passwords.
Occasional, with scattered outbreaks on Battlefield 2 servers when someone is needed to fly the C-130. Formerly an unofficial rule when a new President takes office, now superseded by accusations of vote tampering, total incompetence, massive corruption and being totally pwned by the shape-shifting lizard people. As if.