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When you join, e.g., a Discord server, but end up not actively participating in the discussions taking place and instead just reading them, you are said to be a "lurker", or to be "lurking" in the server.

What are ways to express this idea in Japanese, and how do they compare?

For instance, I've heard the terms ロムってる, 覗き見, and 眺める tend to be used in such contexts, but don't know:

  1. How to use them;
  2. What the applicable context is for each;
  3. How polite/impolite or formal/informal they are;
  4. What the differences in nuance are between them.
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    Lurker は「ROM専」って言うんですね。「見る専」「読み専」とはまた違うんでしょうか
    – chocolate
    Sep 13, 2023 at 0:37
  • @Chocolate その単語は知りませんでした、教えてくれてありがとうございます! Sep 13, 2023 at 1:03

1 Answer 1

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  • ロムる (from "ROM; read-only member/memory") is a piece of internet slang that is never used in formal settings. It's one of the "2ch用語" that are not commonly seen these days. Most people in their 30s or 40s would understand it, but people from other generations might not even know the term itself. ROM専 seems very redundant at least to me, but those who have forgotten the etymology may use it. 読み専 is also slangy, but its meaning is much more straightforward :)

  • 眺める ("to take a quick look") is a one-time action. It's generally not used to refer to a silent member who stays for months, but you can make a descriptive phrase like 眺めているだけの人. It's a very plain verb that is neither formal nor informal.

  • 覗き見する ("to peep") is like 眺める, but has the added nuance of doing something bad. It is more appropriate than 眺める when secretly viewing a private site, but it does not imply remaining a silent member for an extended period, anyway.

  • If you want a safe word for lurker that can be used in any situation, how about 無言メンバー?

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  • Thank you so much for the detailed explanation, as well as for suggesting 無言メンバー, it looks like a wonderful choice! Sep 13, 2023 at 1:53

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