Planes of Existence (talker)
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The Planes of Existence also called POE, PoE, planes, or referencing one of its 10 talkers (see below) was a Multiple Worlds NUTS talker that operated from October 1996 to May 2003. It was based on NUTS 3 code, modified by Paul (1996), ThePhoenix (1996-1997), Cat (1997-1998) and Kiwi (1998-2003). The creator of the talker was Cat with ideas from the 10 founding members, especially ThePhoenix. It was owned by Cat and Sootie from 1996-1998, briefly by Ashke and Rani in late 1998, then by Kiwi, Sabrina and Vamp from 1998-2003. It was hosted on http://www.talker.com/ from October 1996 to October 1998, on http://www.skinart.com/ from October 1998 - 28 November 1998, and on http://www.planes.org/ (hosted by http://www.betterbox.net/) from 28 November 1998 - May 2003.
It had a peak of 150 users online at the same time on one plane, shared between Lust, Animals and Darkness, in 1997-1998, and a peak of 300 users online at the same time on the 10 planes combined in 1998, with over 15,000 active users in total.
Basis of The Planes of Existence
The planes of existence talker was inspired by lintilla, as an adult-oriented multiple worlds talker and Envirochat|Envirochat, for its human rights elements. The idea to use the name "plane" was based on the use of the word spod, as popularised by ew-too talkers such as Surfers and Resort to refer to the different people. It used the concept of the planes of existence, as inspiration for why there were multiple worlds, and, like Surfers, used ports starting with 42 in partial reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything) (and also to represent infinity hence meaning "there is an infinite amount that you can do here"). The Planes of Existence differed from other multiple-worlds talkers like lintilla, Sleepy's multiple worlds and Fantasia's multiple worlds in that not all of the planes were "adult". The Planes of Existence had a human rights element for each plane, and from 1997-98 included links to the environmental activist talker Envirochat as part of its activism. The Planes of Existence acted as a micronation in having its own political system that prevented any chance of corruption, which was partially based on the Ancient Greek political system. This political system was then used by a large number of internet communities and micronations (and allegedly by actual countries) to form the basis of their own political systems.
The 10 "planes" in the planes of existence talker
See: Multiple worlds for an explanation of what a "plane" is.
- The Plane of Wisdom, held on port 4201 - primarily used for meetings and to discuss philosophy. The creator of PoE, Cat, called this his home. Another original founder, Rashkae was briefly the God of Wisdom. Closed under new ownership in Dec 1998.
- The Plane of Magic, later (briefly) called Magick, later again called "The Plane of Magic and Religion" and then later still Mysticism (Myst), held on port 4202, later port 4206 - the most popular "all ages" plane from 1999-2003. One of the original founders, Hellefire was the original God of Magic. Was later unofficially run by Godys, before eventually being unofficially run by one of the new owners, Vamp. It included large sections devoted to vampires. 
- The Plane of Madness, held on port 4203 - the most popular "all ages" plane until it was closed under new ownership in Dec 1998. Was run by one of the original founders, Guardian. Operated in a similar way to a MUSH, and was largely influenced by Discworld MUD. 
- The Plane of Love, held on port 4204 - primarily used for weddings. 
- The Plane of Extroversion (briefly), later called Lust (POL), held on port 4205 - used for public sex scenes - usually the most popular plane. It was originally run by one of the original founders, Erotica, later by Cheryl and Schoolgirl, before being home to Sabrina, one of the owners of Planes from 1999-2003. 
- The Plane of Animals (POA), held on port 4206 and later port 4208 - the most popular zoophile talker from 1997-1998. Had no God initially, but later had Bar running it, and then original founder Rashkae as God of Animals, before eventually being run by Horse. Had a spinoff in 1998, "The Plain of Animals". 
- The Plane of Women (POW), later called Wymyn, and later still Fyre & Ice, held on port 4207 and later port 4201. Originally had nobody running it, but was later run by Shyy before Qui took over as Goddess of Women - had some influence on feminist culture. 
- The Plane of Men (POM), held on port 4208 and later port 4202. Was run by original founder Ashke. Closed under new ownership in Dec 1998. 
- The Plane of Peace (POP), later called Dolphins (POD), on port 4209 - as "Plane of Peace" was used for meetings with Envirochat members. Originally had nobody running it before being run by Dolfin. Closed under new ownership in Dec 1998. Split in to its own site "The Place of Dolphins" on 22 Sep 1998. 
- The Plane of Darkness (POD), held on port 4210, and later port 4213 - one of the most popular BDSM talkers in the world. Originally had nobody running it, before it was run by Godys briefly, before co-owner Vamp took it over shortly before taking over ownership of the talker as a whole from 1999-2003. .
Creation of the planes of existence
The original plans were complex, and Cat approached Yahoo! directly asking them to host the talker on their service, but they refused. Cat had honestly believed that they would, and that PoE would not only be the biggest talker in the history of the world, but that it would exceed the Geocities web-based chat programs and make a major impact on the rest of the world.
After disappointment at the rejection, Cat was convinced by ThePhoenix to put the contents of his proposal to Yahoo! up on a web page, which he put on Angelfire, fearing that Geocities may not want the page there as it might compete with their web-based chats. Cat received a large amount of interest in the project in the early days of its production, and soon had 10 people available who were willing to take on administrative positions, all but Xerya and Rashkae holding God level positions (and hence there is some dispute whether Xerya and Rashkae should really be considered to be co-founders).
News of the plan spread throughout talker users everywhere, including the big 3 ew-too talkers, and virtually every NUTS talker in operation. After suggestions from Neil Robertson, the creator of NUTS, as well as the influential talker owner from Ancient Realms, Cat was directed to Brecktown, an all-ages talker used by Alisa, who had her own plans, to possibly create a talker hosting company.
During their discussion, Alisa was not sure whether the company would really go ahead, as they did not yet have sufficient interest to warrant it being opened, so Cat suggested that he would help to advertise talker.com in exchange for discounted rates for the 10 talkers. It was agreed, and as a result talker.com opened 2 months ahead of schedule, and all of the first talkers got their first 2 months free as part of the deal, including Planes of Existence.
During its early stages, in spite of having lots of administrators, Planes of Existence was not as popular as had been anticipated, with a lot of early visitors coming along expecting for there to be hundreds of people online and being disappointed at seeing just 10 or 20. In part, this was due to it opening 2 months ahead of schedule.
The first plane to pick up was the Plane of Animals, when Bar was recruited to run the talker, and 3 of the 10 founders, ThePhoenix, Moonie and Rashkae regularly visited. Within a month or two, it offered genuine competition for the established zoo talkers on Sleepy's and Lintilla.
When Sootie was tasked with recruiting someone to run the plane of women, and found Shyy, the plane of women picked up in user levels, and soon had a good user level of 15-20 users. This also had the effect of increasing user levels to the plane of love, while Guardian's efforts ensured a few visitors to the plane of madness, mostly people from his favourite MUD, Discworld.
Ashke was tasked with recruiting someone to run the plane of darkness, and found Godys, and eventually the plane of darkness had occasional high user numbers, although this was not consistent.
The Planes of Existence struggled in its early days to consistently have high user levels across all 10 talkers. However, when Cheryl started to do public sex scenes on the plane of love, it attracted a lot of users, and the previously unpopular plane of extroversion really boomed.
Cheryl was quickly promoted to Goddess of Extroversion, and soon changed the name to Plane of Lust, which created an even bigger influx of users, as the planes of existence was the only talker that permitted public sex scenes in the main room, something which attracted a lot of users.
During this boom, both Plane of Animals and Plane of Darkness similarly increased in users. On one night, the popularity of the Plane of Animals tripled, as both Sleepy's zoo port and Lintilla's zoo ports were down for a 24 hour period. This acted effectively as an introduction to many users of the existence and wonder of Planes of Existence, particularly the Plane of Animals, which thereafter surpassed all other zoo talkers in popularity.
After Godys left the plane of darkness, after a short adjustment period, the plane of darkness popularity really picked up. As the code was developed to become increasingly unique, and the introduction of games and shards to play some games (such as buying drinks or personal rooms or engaging in some auctions or other silly things) on some of the planes meant that users to all planes were increasing.
Decrease in popularity
When controversy struck, it hurt the talker significantly, with each major controversy taking with it many users, some permanently. By September 1998, the creator of planes, Cat, was so frustrated with the controversy surrounding the talker that he suggested that he didn't want to run it anymore, and wanted someone else to run it. However, when the talker was given to Ashke and Rani it created even more controversy and hurt user levels again.
After the talkers were eventually given to Sabrina, who shared ownership with her room-mates Vamp and Kiwi, the talker would never be the same again. With only 6 planes in existence, the popularity would never again be what it once was, and it struggled to reach 100 users on all of the planes combined at a time.
Constant dispute in relation to the original creator Cat being banned from the talker and the right for new owners to do so led to many more disputes within the talker, culminating in an incident in 2000 which all but killed the talker.
By 2002, the last dregs of the talker remained, with the owners deciding that they no longer wanted to pay the registration fees on the planes.org domain name, and by 2003 they removed their membership to betterbox.net and the talkers closed forever.
The Planes of Existence was the first talker in relation to many things. These include:
- The first "multiple worlds" talker to have its own unique name for each world - a "plane" of existence.
- The first adult-orientated talker to also have all-ages talkers. 
- The first "multiple worlds" talker to use the NUTS 3 portal code to link the talkers together.
- Opened up the day that the first ever talker hosting place, http://www.talker.com/, opened, along with a few other talkers.
Influence on internet culture
- The code for The Planes of Existence was publicly downloadable from mid 1997 - November 1998. It partially influenced NUTS fork, Amnuts.
- Livejournal's abuse team had the same vision statement as PoE, which was almost certainly based in some way on PoE.
- Zoo code, created by 2 Planes of Existence users, Acteon and Hobbes in 1996 referenced "Planes of Animals" as a sign that you were a zoophile. 
- The Astral Plane of Magick, October 1997.
- The Plain of Animals, July 1998.
- The Place of Dolphins, 22 September 1998
Old talker lists listing the Planes of Existence
- Janet's Mindless Chatline Listing, last updated May 27, 1997
- Under the Canopy talker listing
- Omniseek - only lists Plane of Magic, meta list - listed under "FUNFUNFUN"
- Archive of Fantasia's talker listing
Note: It is unclear what the following external links are for. Some of these links are inactive, but this is where the information was sourced from (possibly self referenced article)
- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1040/planes/ - creator's designs for chat site, stored here from January 1996 until June 2000, when deleted by geocities for inactivity.
- Planes of Existence founder Cat's history of the Planes of Existence talker
- (archive link as at November 30, 1998 Planes of Existence's founder Cat talks about their first coder in 1996 and holes in NUTS 3 code)
- (archive link as at November 30, 1998 Planes of Existence founder Cat talks about PoE being hacked in November 1997)
- (archive link as at November 30, 1998 Planes of Existence founder Cat talks about losing the talker to Sabrina in November 1998)
- talker.com - original host of planes of existence
- http://www.talker.com/planes/ - where the original web site was held, from July 1996 - mid 1998
- (archive link of page as at October 16, 1998 )
- http://www.skinart.com/~planes/ - second site, from mid 1998 - January 1999
- http://www.planes.org/ - third web site, from January 1999 - mid 2002, when deleted by a court order
- Discussion about the death of talkers on 13 Mar 2002.