The online succubus

By Sue Thomas

By Salon Staff
July 19, 2000 11:28PM (UTC)
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Let me get this straight. Sue Thomas willingly carried on a relationship with a married man, and was surprised that he'd been lying about leaving his wife for her? This is almost as laughable as Thomas's claimed ignorance that people online might have more than one character, gender or personality. She should be grateful that this "succubus" didn't stalk her, threaten her with suicide or murder, or bilk her out of thousands of dollars, as has happened to some of my unluckier online acquaintances. Most of us in online communities (which, by the way, are tired of every news story being about LambdaMOO) learned long ago that people can be just as untruthful and manipulative online as they can be in real life. The only way to protect yourself is to be smart, something Thomas clearly has a problem with.

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-- Erin Flachsbart

The real succubus in the English lady's story is herself. She intended to invade the Net to exploit the people there for her stories so she could make money off of them.

She latched onto a man who is a literary replicator and he plugged her into a cheesy romance novel which she then tried unsuccessfully to peddle.

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All denizens of the Net should be forewarned about this predatory female and steer clear of her.

-- Elaine Supkis

I have been communicating with people on TinyMUDS and variations (MUSHes, MUX, MOOs) for 10 years. Never have I seen an article on the phenomenon as pathetic as Sue Thomas' apologia for being a mark for a "cybersuccubus." It takes the typical user about a week to figure out that female characters with names like "Cindi" are males, even when other clues (too-descriptive descriptions, mention of chest size, etc.) don't exist. It takes the typical user about two weeks to figure out that some people play multiple characters. Why did it take her four years?

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Additionally, her piece is full of class-baiting rhetoric of the type found among the most backward reaches of the British middle class. Bourgie eggheads like Sue Thomas are what people in the carny biz call "marks." So confident in their ability to traverse their little worlds, they have no clue that anyone else in the world could possibly get one over on them. Luckily for MUDs/MOOs, etc., most players are college-age or slightly older and younger. The "life of the mind" hasn't stripped away their common sense and replaced it with overbearing pretension yet.

-- Nick Mamatas

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Another article about an "other woman" betrayed by the man she's helping to betray his wife. Only this one is special because it took place mostly online?

Oh, come on. Don't over-dramatize the world's oldest sin. The guy was a garden-variety cad; the "victim" was a typically trite approval-seeker who thinks adultery means he really loves her. All the online element adds is the question: You went to all that trouble, changed your life, spent all that money on long-distance calls and transatlantic flights, broke up a marriage ... and hardly got any actual sex? As for him being a succubus, let's be real. He was a cheat and got caught, and like most cheats who get caught, he ran as soon as it got too difficult. This doesn't constitute emotional vampirism.

If the author is going to engage in illicit relationships, maybe she should grow up a little and accept some responsibility when they fail. Instead, she's telling herself that she's the victim not of her own foolishness and immorality, but of some larger-than-life monster.

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-- Meg Roland


Salon Staff

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