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In internet culture, a lurker is an individual known to be part of an online community and who consumes discussion and other community outputs, but does not contribute or make themselves known to the community. Reasons for this behavior may be varied and complex, and may include (but are not limited to):

  • shyness
  • a perceived real or potential indifference or hostility to the individual from others in fandom, should they make themselves known
  • privacy issues
  • lack of knowledge of fandom and its conventions and/or lack of emotional investment in fandom, etc.

Much is imputed to lurkers, but by definition they are difficult to document. Once a lurker identifies themselves (delurks), they cease to be a lurker.[1] Many people lurk for some period before their active engagement in fandom. Newbies who display a lack of knowledge of fannish conventions are sometimes encouraged to "lurk moar".

JMS named the underclass of Babylon 5 "lurkers" after the lurkers of the various GEnie, CompuServe, and Usenet communities centred around Babylon 5[2].



  1. ^ Fictualities discussed the difficulty of discussing lurking in the essay The sound of one hand clapping: a lurker's manifesto, Jan. 16, 2006. Accessed Oct. 25, 2008.
  2. ^ The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 1993, Accessed 21st November 2008