The moof monster is an Internet legend that people may refer to when they are using Internet relay chat (IRC) channels. Though there are now many ways to communicate in real time via the Internet, IRC remains popular especially among longtime users, and there are IRC channels available for virtually every operating system. Similar to a MOO (multi-user domains), IRCs are more specific and people can talk (write) either one-on-one on channels or in large groups. Clients supporting IRCs can sometimes drop or disconnect a user for no apparent reason, during the middle of a chat.
When you’re dropped, you’ve become victim of the moof monster. There’s no reason, at least an easily definable one, why you were suddenly dropped from the IRC. Hence these disconnects are credited to the moof monster, and people returning to the chat after being disconnected might write, “Sorry, got moofed.” If you happen to be on an IRC, and you hear a reference to moofing or the moof monster, you now know what it means.
The moof monster is not, as some believe, the dogcow symbol that is a trademark of Apple Computers®. Even though Clarus the dogcow says “moof!” and this is actually also a trademark, the moof monster isn’t supposedly connected. Actually, moof may be an acronym for mobile, out of office, or telecommuting. So you might hear reference to the moof monster when people get disconnected from their work if they’re on the go and working from cellphones or PDAS.
Moofers can be simply office workers who take their laptops out of work so they can get work done in quiet or more comfortable circumstances. Alternately it may describe the many people who now have job flexibility by working from home at least part of the time, via Internet connection. Many envy the life of the moofer, since he or she may be able to break free of the cubicle for some of the workweek and work under a tree or at a local coffee shop instead.
Yet all Internet connection is subject to becoming prey of the moof monster, especially when connectivity isn’t available in all locations. As more cities and Internet companies expand wireless Internet, though, the moof monster may claim fewer victims.