I get it. It's the second day in private beta and this questions shows up out of nowhere. I understand this question might be slightly early, but this is a question in the real essential questions for private beta and our chatroom name could use some spicing up. I mean, let's see some cool ones:

  • "Root Access" for Super User
  • "The DMZ" for Security
  • "The Renderfarm" for Blender
  • "The Litter Box" for Pets
  • "The Hangar" for Aviation
  • "You Are Here" for Travel

Thus a cool chatroom names is not only attractive to users but stands us out from other chatrooms as well (add diversity). Only one name per answer and the answer at the top will win! This ends {insert date here}...

  • 1
    The name of the chat program on an ancient operating system — some ancestor of Unix's talk. Apr 20, 2016 at 1:24
  • You could post that as an answer, just with the actual proposed name] Apr 20, 2016 at 1:37
  • I don't know what ancestors talk has, that's why I didn't post an answer. Apr 20, 2016 at 1:38
  • Propose Talk. It's great. Or an amusing variation. Apr 20, 2016 at 4:13
  • On MULTICS, I think it was just referred as "talk". Or, rather, there was a chat thing built in that was just part of the OS, if I remember correctly.
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:27
  • 3
    As a suggestion, after your {insert date here} cutoff, create a poll containing some number of the top voted choices... this will put all those choices on an even footing for selection. The problem with "most upvoted wins" in a StackExchange Q/A format is that the earliest answers tend to have an excess advantage.
    – Dave Ruske
    Apr 28, 2016 at 18:38

18 Answers 18



Predictable, huh? But you'll have to agree it's very retro, and is probably more relevant to a wider range of people than "talk", though it doesn't go back as far.

  • Or the name of one of the early famous BBS or BBS precursors, like "Community Memory" or "PLATO".
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:06
  • 1
    How about naming it "The Wall"? This both memorializes one of the all-time great online service/BBS systems, but also is reminiscent of the "wall" as in a place to have discussions ala Facebook. Apr 20, 2016 at 20:27
  • @EricShepherd: Sure, submit that as an answer. I submitted "The Ward" in a similar vein as a generic BBS-sounding name that also pays homage to Ward Christensen, but it's been down-voted a fair bit. ; - ) Apr 20, 2016 at 22:31
  • 1
    @EricShepherd, I've never heard of The Wall. I'm curious if you intended "The WELL".
    – user12
    Apr 22, 2016 at 17:36
  • Well, of course I meant "The Well." Good lord, my memory is failing me. :) Apr 22, 2016 at 22:18
  • @EricShepherd The Wall/Well might be better than The WELL: "The WELL® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of The Well Group, Inc." ; - ) Apr 22, 2016 at 22:27
  • I really like Community Memory. It's a perfect callback and it does what it says on the tin.
    – tcv
    May 16, 2016 at 17:04
  • Eh on further thought, a chat room isn't a Memory, per se. The Well is great.
    – tcv
    May 16, 2016 at 17:10
  • It must absolutely be some sort of BBS-themed name. Not a fan of all these American names you talk about though, they mean absolutely nothing to me as a European..
    – pipe
    May 22, 2016 at 15:37
  • BBS! BBS! BBS! BBS! Sorry, it's just GOT to be BBS! I wrote a bit-banger serial driver for my CoCo in 6809 so that I could talk through my acoustically coupled modem to a BBS I wanted to chat on... The serial driver worked great! Never did finish the rest of it though Jun 17, 2016 at 14:32

The Mainframe

This comes as an allusion to former systems such as IBM (and other's) mainframes. Here's a few bullet points for support:

  • Mainframes came about in the 1950's (that's pretty retro, right?).

  • Mainframes contain some really cool stuff, just like our chatrooms.

  • Mainframes were, originally,

    the large cabinets [...] that housed the central processing unit and main memory

    The CPU and memory are each an important piece of the system, just like a chatroom is to its parent site.

  • Mainframes are meant to be strong, reliable systems for constant operations; any chatroom should be just as dedicated (to retrocomputing, in our case).

  • 1
    One consideration is that modern mainframes are still being developed on and in daily use. Those folks don't feel very "retro" at all!
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 2:45
  • @jdv: Fair point (and certainly something to consider), but in colloquial usage, I can't imagine anything other than these guys coming to mind.
    – Zach Gates
    Apr 20, 2016 at 2:48
  • I might be biased, because I've worked with many companies that use big iron, and even wrote and ported software for them. They are just a regular platform to me. I get why the term sounds anachronistic (which is part of what you are going for, I think). However the golden age of computing was only partially driven by business and mainframes, and only early and briefly. To some extent, the computer systems we remember most fondly were a direct rejection of mainframe hegemony.
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:48
  • Most of your points are true for lots and lots of things, for example old cars and building. The chat room is hardly the "backbone" of stackexchange, and there's very little that "really cool" about internet arguments too long for comments.
    – pipe
    May 22, 2016 at 15:24


Arguably the first standard Unix chat system.

(Since Gilles didn't get around to submitting this.)

  • 1
    I didn't submit this because Unix isn't retro, I meant some ancestor of it. Admittedly, talk is somewhat retro. Apr 21, 2016 at 11:34

In keeping with the fun options, and similar to "Mainframe", I submit:

Master Control Program

Or, even better, based on comments:


"That's a big door."

Seriously, how awesome would it be to "move this over to The MCP"?

  • Shorten it to MCP - I like it as a reference to TRON. Apr 21, 2016 at 18:35
  • You got it! And I like your idea.
    – user12
    Apr 21, 2016 at 19:13
  • I think "The MCP" is more useful than "MCP" as a name for a chat room, but either works I suppose.
    – knghtbrd
    May 28, 2016 at 22:36
  • 1
    I assumed we'd be using a name with a definite article.
    – user12
    May 28, 2016 at 22:41

The Cartridge

A notable amount of retro computers used cartridges. This might be a good and understandable reference to them.

  • 1
    Maybe "Cartridge Blowers", in reference to nintendo cartridges?
    – ave
    Apr 20, 2016 at 21:15
  • 2
    Oh please, no. Nothing with "blowers" in it.
    – user12
    Apr 21, 2016 at 4:14
  • @jdv that was semi-intended.
    – ave
    Apr 21, 2016 at 11:54
  • 1
    A cartridge was typically a ROM. Connecting that with a chat room does not make any sense.
    – pipe
    May 22, 2016 at 15:17

The Tube

You all know, the grandfathers of our computers today were not made of silicon chips, but of - vacuum tubes! And as "tube" has several meanings in English, some of them even describing places where people could meet (synonym for underground train), this could serve well as chatroom name.

  • For that olde tyme feel, why not "valve"?
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:52
  • Could be an option as well... Apr 20, 2016 at 12:53
  • Though, I have to admit, my first thought was that it means "television". The Tube is or was common NA English slang for television.
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:08
  • @jdv Not to mention it means "subway" or "underground railway" in europe
    – cat
    Apr 22, 2016 at 23:34
  • @cat, that was my other thought, but I admit I assumed that was only London. But a fair point.
    – user12
    Apr 23, 2016 at 0:52

The Museum

Alternatively: The {Computer/Technology/Electronics/...} Museum

Where do we find people discussing about stuff made in earlier days? Right, in a museum!

  • A museum is where you look at dead things.
    – pipe
    May 22, 2016 at 15:20

Time Sharing System

Because it's where we share our time.


I propose "The Wall."

It's both a nod to a classic online service we retro types used, plus a nod to the notion of a "wall" as a place for sharing, as in how Facebook uses the term.


The Teletype

This group's emerging charter embraces a pretty broad definition of "retro," but my idea of early computing involves a Model 33 teletype loudly banging out uppercase characters at an astounding 10 characters per second.


The Serial Bowl

It invokes the retro aesthetic, is communication related, isn't specific to any particular computer or system, and its a little bit playful. Plus a play on words never hurts.


I'm going to throw another proposal into the mix, and see how it goes.

The Executive

Back in the day, what we might today term the operating system kernel was often referred to as the "executive". It was code written to ensure the smooth operation of the computer and any software running on it, and on large systems did things like job control, process scheduling and so on. This rhymes well with what chat does; it's a way to ensure the smooth functioning of the site, and work out issues that aren't really fit for either comments or for Meta.


The antiquer's Bay/Corner

Antiquer - a person who takes a special interest in antiques; a collector of antiquities; antiquary.

  • 2
    I like the idea. The Collector's Cove perhaps? Apr 21, 2016 at 2:23

A Maze of Twisty Passages

Maybe too narrow in it's age relevance though


Could go totally retro and reference a classic computer movie: WOPR-Chat

Or the obvious one that stands out to me is: Retro-Chat

  • I was trying to remember that movie reference. I sort of like WOPR.
    – user12
    Apr 22, 2016 at 17:33

The Old School

(or Old Skool if you want to be more l33t)

Not that I'm implying that our target audience is a little more, ahem, mature ;)

  • The trouble is that Old School is now Old School, and may be a bit played out. Also, to me it has more to do with music history than anything else.
    – user12
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:09
  • 4
    Alternative spelling: "Old's cool" :) Apr 22, 2016 at 5:41

This is an interesting question, if only because it raises the real question, which is what is an appropriate term that encompasses the notion of 'chat' across the whole or majority of what most consider 'retrocomputing'.

So, for example, I tend to not like the terms that encompass all of computing, either in a modern or historical sense. Or those terms that refer to some specific or nostalgic technology or hardware.

So, what makes a good term? What should it satisfy? To me:

  • It should be easy and obvious to get for the majority of members. Rare or inside jokes, or terms only from a specific narrow era are less good.

  • It should be a little fun; otherwise what's the point?

There are probably others, but this is my approach.

To this end, I can come up with a list, but the one I sort of liked the more I saw it was:

The Pennywhistle

Why? It might not even satisfy my fancy list, but I like the idea of a piece of hobbyist hardware becoming a de facto standard so that people could use one of the first mainframe based BBS style services in the early days of modern multi-user computing.

For reference.

  • I specifically said one name per answer because who knows which one is the best out of this list Apr 20, 2016 at 1:36

The Ward

This my attempt at a more amusing version of "The BBS", and an attribution to one of the founding fathers of the first BBS.

It's also where those of us with retrocomputing obsessions might wind up - according to our wives.

Perhaps a bit tangential, but the more the merrier.

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