I just wrote the word “chatter”, but then, googling it, I found no definition in the direction of “one who participates in a computer based chat”. Can the role of such a person be called a “chatter”? If not, then what?

Example usage:

With a Turing test anything that would place the computer at even more of a disadvantage than it already is, is strictly forbidden. Hence the text only chat communication with the skeptics/critics/judges (whatever). One doesn’t want an observant skeptic noting, say, that one chatter is metallic with a lot of electric wires, while the other one looks and sounds very much like a human female, has a glass of water at her side, and even wears a nice perfume.

  • Aren't they all subjects? I.e., test subjects that are being evaluated.
    – Jim
    May 29, 2015 at 6:13
  • Chatter is taken -- it has both colloquial as well as technical usage -- so it is not an option at all.
    – Kris
    May 29, 2015 at 6:29
  • 1
    Given that the Turing Test long antedates the modern chat room, I am impelled to ask what word Turing himself used. "Interlocutor" probably. But this affects only the (IMO) rather dumb quote, not the OP's question. (Rather dumb because the original Turing Test involved pretending to be the opposite gender, so the human female with a nice perfume would be a no-go anyway.)
    – David Pugh
    May 29, 2015 at 7:38
  • 1
    @DavidPugh: Turing used the words “player”.and “interrogator” in the Turing test paper. His terminology was evidently influenced by WWII. May 29, 2015 at 8:22
  • Just reading the title, I thought of texter. If you think that email is a word now, it may be time for echat, thus an echatter.
    – jxh
    May 29, 2015 at 19:26

8 Answers 8


The old school way is to refer to them as "chat users" or "chat room users"

Google provides the proof

"chat user" 411,000 results
"chat member" 235,000 results

"Please follow the rules when communicating with other chat room users."

If you google users with "chat room" , you will find 7,000,000 results. The first results will show popular companies referring to "chat room users" on their websites.

  • This is well worth knowing. But for the specific use case in the question I think the persons/entitites participating in the test are not "users". Or? May 29, 2015 at 7:10
  • 2
    Yes, persons or entities using a computer are called "users" by definition. May 29, 2015 at 7:14
  • it's a good point that "chat room users" is common. nice work.
    – Fattie
    May 29, 2015 at 7:16
  • Just to add, for me, it is not a stretch to think of an "AI user." Since it is just another "intelligence" logged in as a "user". May 29, 2015 at 7:22

My take is the proper and correct word is chatter, and that any ambiguity created by other, parallel, meanings of that word will be resolved by context, just like everything else.

Having said that, if you're really in need of an alternative, you may consider interlocutor.

From Collins:

interlocutor: a person who takes part in a conversation.

And again from Wikipedia:

In linguistics, discourse analysis, and related fields an interlocutor is a person involved in a conversation or dialogue.

Edit: Just noticed @DavidPugh previously suggested this in the comments under the question. Credit where it's due!

  • Just wanted to throw in my vociferous agreement that interlocutor is probably the most precise and appropriate term for this asker's example.
    – recognizer
    May 29, 2015 at 15:36

In common sense 'chat users' is the way to go - going vice versa , few foreign languages I know all use a local analog of it . In the Turing test case though, as it is more of an experiment I'd say 'participant' .

  • +1 for participant, though it needs context to introduce it. User on its own would also work given context.
    – Chris H
    May 29, 2015 at 13:22
  • 'chat participant', then (@ChrisH)
    – smci
    May 29, 2015 at 22:00

I think that a common definition is:

  • chat member

From The Internet Encyclopedia:

  • This type of implementation tends to be significantly slower at distributing messages to chat members.

From Writing and Digital Media

  • IC contributions are usually sent to the server for distribution to the other chat members only when the writer presses the RETURN key to dispatch what is usually a line of text, though in some systems like Hotline the limit may be as much as ...

From www.computerworld.com:

  • Anonymous member arrested during online chat after threat against FBI
  • 4
    you know, I'd probably just say a "chat participant". "member" makes me thing more of "have an account"/
    – Fattie
    May 29, 2015 at 6:21
  • 1
    @JoeBlow - to participate in a chat you must be registered somehow, and be a member of the chat: ning.com/help/?p=905
    – user66974
    May 29, 2015 at 7:14
  • 2
    (1) that's my point. you can be registered as a user or whatever, but not actually "in the chat room". (2) note that you do not, at all, in many way, have to be registered to participate in many chats, these days. very often you just click to bring up a chat box, with no registration or membership required
    – Fattie
    May 29, 2015 at 7:16
  • 1
    @JoeBlow - we are all registered one way or the other, and referring to regular, popular chat rooms, member is a term commonly used.computerworld.com/article/2492516/cybercrime-hacking/…
    – user66974
    May 29, 2015 at 7:24
  • @Josh61 "Anonymous member" means a member of Anonymous, the hacking psuedo-group. "Member" is not referring to being part of the chat. Further, you can be a member of a chat and in the chatroom without doing any chatting yourself. May 29, 2015 at 17:32

On IRC, one of the oldest chat networks, participants in a chat were simply called : "user".

  • 1
    Yeah but this was in the generic sense, and it only works when the context is clear: the context of being in a chat room. I guess this question is: "what is the specific word for users where users are users of a chat system?" May 29, 2015 at 16:29

"mudders" or "spods"

A mid-80's technology that is the ancestor to both modern MMORPGs and to what we know as internet chat today was the old Telnet client "multiple user dungeons" or "multiple user domains", called MUDs. Users were called "mudders", and chat-only MUDs with game elements removed, known as "talkers", had users called "spods"


spod (plural spods) 1.(Internet) one who uses talkers


talker (plural talkers) ... 5.(Internet) A stripped-down version of a MUD which is designed for talking, that predates instant messengers; a kind of early chat room.

  • That's very arcane jargon for what a subset of them (MUD users) used to be called, 30 years ago. It doesn't answer the question of what they are (generically) called, today.
    – smci
    May 29, 2015 at 22:02

Other answers cover the most appropriate terms, but I'd like to add one more option:

Since your question seeks to describe participants in a Turing test, you might call these participants test candidates, or just candidates (in other words, they are "competing" for candidacy of the status of "most humanlike" in the eyes of the test administrators).


Since you've already used "person" and "participant" in the question itself, you're obviously looking for more specific terms. Chatter in the sense of "one who chats" is not defined in any dictionary I have found. As already mentioned, an interlocutor is "a person who takes part in a conversation or dialogue." This is accurate, but it's a five-syllable mouthful. "Conversationalist" and "dialogist" are equally accurate but cumbersome. "Talker" and "Speaker" are only two syllables each, but the idea of chatting back and forth is lost.

To discover or create a more specific term for “one who participates in a computer based chat” it may be helpful to specifically define "computer based chat" or give it a richer context.

Services such as AIM, Skype, Facebook Chat and Hangouts havse uers.
Chat rooms and forums, usually classify their users as moderators, members, and guests, indicating role permissions in the environment.
Meetings (online or otherwise) typically have one or more hosts, presenters,speakers, participants, attendees, listeners, or observers. Similarly, a talk show usually has a host, staff, guests, and an audience.

So many terms, but none of them unambiguously referring to chat users. I'm not sure there is a one-word solution without supporting context.

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