Chatroulette Chess? No Thanks!
Chatroulette is the latest internet craze that's become widely reported in the mainstream media.
If you haven't already heard about it, the idea is simplicity itself - users are randomly paired for a video chat on their webcam. That's it. Once you are finished chatting, you go on to another randomly selected person. It's chat-roulette.
The best ideas are usually simple ones, and it doesn't get much simpler than that. But of course, the huge downside is that the site has proved very popular with errr...how can I put this...predominantly male exhibitionists attracted by the site's face-to-face video and anonymity.
Current estimates suggest that over 10% of users are breaking the site's rules about no nudity.
So what has this got to do with chess? Well, the site's founder is considering adding 'channels', so that users can choose to be paired on the basis of some common interest. And one of the first channels the 17 year-old Russian founder Andrei Turnovskiy has tried out is for chess*.
The proposed interface in action (picture from Twitpic)
As yet the idea of channels is just that - an idea. The hope is that you are less likely to encounter inappropriate behaviour from someone who has opted for the same channel as you. Whether that actually works in practice remains to be seen...
Until the site cleans up its act and finds a way to exclude the flashers and onanists, my personal view is to stay well away!
*News source here.