Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Operator Symbol


(Picture by Compulsory Basket, who I would like to thank for taking my overactive imagination and giving it form)


If the Mythos has to end, this is how it should end.

Operator Symbols

The Operator Symbol, a circle with an X through it, (X), has become the calling sign of the Mythos. The symbol first appeared in Marble Hornets, where its appearance usually signaled that Slendy fun times were nearby. In the first season, no explanation for what the Operator Symbol was or did was ever given. Now that season 2 is being made, we might get an explanation for its purpose in the Marble Hornets continuity, or they may just keep it a mystery.

Because of its distinct appearance, and the mysteriousness behind it, the Operator Symbol quickly spread to other stories. It is now often used as a sign that a blog is a Slender Man blog; sure, events in the blog may be going normally, but then suddenly you see a little circle X, and you know what you’re going to be in for. The amount of attention that has been given to this single symbol has resulted in many stories using the symbol in their own ways, or making their own explanation for it. Since this is the Slender Man Mythos, we aren’t going to get anything near a real consensus, but that’s what makes studying this so much fun.

M’s Rules, Again

Once more, we go over a hypothesis proposed by M, the great crafter of the rules. His is the theory of (X) acting as Slender repellant. In accordance with his claim that Slender Man cannot Slenderwalk while being observed, the Operator Symbol acts as a giant eye, or a face, making Slender Man think he is being watched. This effect is only a temporary defense, not a permanent one; even if you cover every corner of your room with Operator Symbols, Slender Man will eventually be able to break through.

While this doesn’t work 100% of the time (as will be explained below), Operator Symbols acting as a defensive measure is very common, largely due to the popularity of M’s blog. So if you’re a runner, this is the most likely effect of the Operator Symbol. It’s still a good idea to find out early on, before Slender Man starts acting aggressive, whether this is the case or not; you don’t want to be accidentally drawing him towards you by drawing symbols all over the place, thinking they will protect you.

Slender Man’s Symbol

This was the previously dominant idea about the Operator Symbol, before M came forward with the idea of using it as a defense. No single blog ever came up with a detailed explanation for the symbol, but it was assumed that it was somehow connected to Mr. Thin. Often it was treated as his mark, or a way to draw him to someone. People whose minds were breaking under Slender Man’s all pervasive influence would start drawing it frantically, unable to stop this mad compulsion. Page after page of notebooks or sketchpads would be filled with the (X), putting it in the place of faces, O’s, eyes, anything circular in shape. Slender Man’s proxies would leave the symbol as their mark, signing off their cryptic messages with an ominously simple character, leaving behind only the dread and mystery which follows their dark master….

Sorry. I (Scribe) see to have been infected with a case of the purple prose there. XD
(I’ve always wanted to say I (Scribe). Just never had an excuse to do so until now.)

While this usage is no longer as common as it once was, the Operator Symbol is still occasionally put to the purpose of acting as a mark for Slender Man, or a symbol of power. Slenderproxies who post online have a habit of putting it in their messages; in that way, it acts like a sign that they are a proxy, and not just another victim who just happens to be unusually belligerent. It can also still be used as a sign of insanity; even if we were to accept that the (X) was a defense, we still would view someone who covered a page with the symbol, as well as the occasional “SEES ME” as not the most mentally well balanced individual amongst us.

An interesting way to look at this would be to still make the claim that the Operator Symbol is defensive, and the reason Slenderproxies use it is because part of their mind is rebelling against Slender Man’s influence. I’m sure most proxies would vehemently disagree with that claim, but I find the idea to be something worth thinking over for at least some time.

A’s Memetic Weapon

This is an extremely interesting and unique take on the Operator Symbol, so it gets its own section, despite being another variation of “Slender Man’s Symbol”. This hypothesis was created by A, of the blog Defining?
So here we have a creature whose existence is owed and powered by our belief in him. Thus, thoughts about him would increase his power. Now, scroll up to the top of this post, and look at the Operator Symbol I posted. Imagine that the picture was shown to you independent of the blog; that you have no idea it was part of a discussion about Slender Man. What’s the first thing that would come to anyone familiar with the Mythos’s mind upon seeing this circle and X?

Now go outside. Look around you. See all those circle X’s? The two lines painted over the manhole? The railroad crossing sign? What do you think when you see those?

We’ve been trained to think of Slender Man every time we see the symbol.

And once the symbol becomes engraved in your mind, you’ll see it everywhere. Every time you’re walking about, whenever you see an X that just happens to go over a circle, you’ll think of the Operator Symbol, and therefore think of Slender Man. Even when what you’re seeing has absolutely no connection with him.

According to A, the symbol is Slender Man’s way of strengthening belief. He created a symbol which was linked to him, and then let things run from there. He barely needs to interfere, beyond having proxies posting it, since we’re currently spreading the symbol on our own. Runners surround themselves with the symbol as a way to defend themselves, but in doing so, they also cause themselves to think of him all the time. I still have the symbol on the back of my hoodie, and now whenever I put it on because it’s cold outside, I think of him.

It’s interesting to consider this, because if it’s true, it means that a runner’s greatest defense is also serving to strengthen their hunter.

Other Symbols

The Operator Symbol isn’t the only one used in the Slender Man Mythos, even if it is the most common. Some other stories have created their own symbols, which have various meanings. Here’s a few of some of them.

This was a reoccurring symbol in the blog “In My Head”. Not much information on it; I don’t believe it was given a name, or any significance beyond its appearance.

From Searching For Angels. Looks to be a Slender Man symbol, due to the tentacle like squiggly lines coming out from the blank circle. Currently not much beyond that.

H(a)unting and Scared have also mentioned another symbol, that of ///Slenderman///. It’s described as a regular Operator Symbol, but with the lines bent. No image for this one, as a picture of it hasn’t been uploaded on either site.

EDIT: This one's from TribeTwelve. Not much known right now, since it just was revealed, though the fandom has given it the nickname "The Observer Symbol".

Useful Links
The Tutorial (‘What the hell is (x)?’):
Defining? (Symbols/Faith II):


  1. I feel inadequate about my sketches now. ^///^ We'll see how awesome/not they are when I post my first of many.

    Good lesson, Omega(Scribe). I only have one (X) in my room, on the door, which happens to be facing the window--just in case there's any merit to the idea that it will slow him down.

  2. Cool picture at the beginning, Omega, and thanks for the info. As for that second symbol, the one you said was from "In My Head," I believe I've seen it from somewhere else before. Think I'll be paying that blog a visit...

  3. Okay, as stated earlier, I have a couple of things to say.

    When I first encountered the symbol while watching Marble Hornets and the crew found the huge-ass OS near the red tower my first thought was this:
    "Easy. This is the symbol of having no face."

    Regarding the drawing: I kind of thought that the knife Noah is using is Robert(Guardian)'s. Would be awesome.

    And I see you like your title, makes me proud of myself.
    Until I read The Tutorial I always thought it was a sign of his presence, or territory. Sort of a quarantine marker.

    The memetic weapon theory holds true to some degree, what with some roadsigns looking like that. I took one of those for the man himself, I shit you not.

    Also, regarding the anti-Slenderman theory, it could also be some kind of rejection mechanism of the mind/soul/brain/whatever, like mental vomiting.

  4. Okay, if there's one thing I hate about Slenderman, it's glamour failure, makes me double-post. Basically the end of my message was cut off.

    I also wrote, that when I saw Noah using a knife in the picture, I immediately thought of Robert(Guardian)'s /weapon/. Would be awesome.

    And I'm glad to see you like your title, makes me proud of myself.

  5. Hey, that WOULD be awesome, Maduin(Sage). Of course, I'm all for anyone willing to step up and Fight.

    Heh, Omega(Scribe)'s title is particularly apt. I like it.

  6. And you thought you didn't have a fan base.

    Nice end to the story.

    If we all survive it!

    (Which we will)

    A Keeper

  7. I've been talking about gathering bloggers up for a while now, in emails only. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this needs to be the way.

    I love the picture...just a hair disappointed that I didn't see myself in it, but heck I'm nowhere near as known as the other guys are, that's perfectly alright, they've had greater troubles than I, it's better they're considered more of ...heroes. Heh

    The Solstice is going to be a big day, who will stand to fight the madness again?

  8. I don't recognise the girl in the picture...she might be Damsel from Can You See The Words?

    I don't know, who in the slenderdom is female and has light-coloured hair?

    On the topic of the post, that was quite definitive. Especially the memetic thing. Since Slendy does seem to use all methods possible to get inside your head.

  9. Wait, what's going on on the solstice?

    Anyway, I've never entirely gotten why it's called the Operator Symbol, or why the MH Slendy is called the Operator, for that matter. The only thing I've found on it (thanks, "Just Bugs Me" on TV Tropes!) is that it's the "tensor product symbol." That sounds completely unimportant, but evidently it signifies the most general bilinear OPERATION (thanks, Wikipedia!). That's the only reference to the term "operator symbol" that I've found. I don't know if this is at all relevant, since that's a level of mathematics that's way beyond me, but it's a place to start. Here's the Wikipedia link:

    Also, dang. Yet another subject you've beat me to. Oh well. I think I had two or three more subjects before that anyway.

    1. The solstice is when the world is supposed to end, or when slenderman becomes all powerful. -.- I'm kinda suffering from Slendersickness. And I haven't slept in 59 hours plus I have had almost 27 nose bleeds. Goodluck

    2. He was referring to the 2011 solstice, which is when a bunch of crazy shit went down.

  10. @Genevieve: The girl isn't anyone in specific. Noah recently put out a tweet asking his viewers if anyone could let him stay over for Thanksgiving; the girl in the picture is supposed to be a hypothetical viewer who agreed to.

    @slenderbloggins: The solstice is, according to the Core Theory presented by Robert on White Elephants, the day where Slender Man is at his weakest.
    And thanks for the wiki link; I've been trying and trying to find out exactly what mathematical symbol is was supposed to be, but never could.
    I'm not completely sure why MH used the symbol, or why they call their Slender Man the Operator. We might find out in season 2. Maybe.

  11. I talked with one of my friends about the mathematics on that wiki page slenderbloggins linked to, and this is what I got out of him:
    "Know Linear Algebra? It's like a bunch of matrix multiplication rules.

    I'm not 100% clear on the precise definition, but it's something similar to an operation symbol (+, -, *, /, ^, etc.) but with vectors and the need to preserve directions into it. (3 miles north + 4 miles east =/= 7 miles northeast, but rather 5 miles northeastish)"

    He also gave me another wiki link:

    Not sure if that really adds anything, but it's a bit more information on the symbol that I didn't know before.

  12. Omega, did you know you're mentioned on TVTropes now?

    # Crowning Moment Of Funny: a Black Ops agent exterminating runners is attacked and gets a single clue - a piece of paper with the word "Lusk". He asks his readers for help on the matter. He gets linked to an article about Clayton Lusk and treated to the following gem:
    Omega: Obviously you are being hunted by an undead senator.

  13. Yeah, I noticed. The joy I had was the joy of someone who has accomplished their goal in life. Everything that comes from now on is just an added bonus.

  14. Aww, nobody added me into that picture to fight the horde. My feelings are hurt. Heh...

  15. Aww, Zeke, I'll make a badass picture for you!

    Provided I survive the Solstice, that is.

  16. VI was actually going to draw my own interpretation of the featured art but with Zeke in it, except I've no idea what the man looks like. If I don't find out, I guess I could just draw in some fat guy in as a placeholder until I get the necessary information to correctly illustrate Strahm.

    Kind of off-topic, but I always liked the EverymanHYBRID guys. Even despite the slendercrap going on in ther vids and the semi-lame stuff they actually wanted to put in I still learned some things from them, like exercising and such. I watched the videos because I came to see Mr. Expression, but I got eduated in the face. Does anyone even know what happened to them, or am I the only one who doesn't?

  17. Hahahahaha, I'm kidding, no need to jump to the sketchbooks yet, kids.

    As much as A pisses me off, his idea does make a bit of sense. Whenever it appears, he appears.

  18. Zeke posted not just once, but twice on my blog? Am I allowed to fanboy out now, or would that be bad form?

    @Grey: The HYBRID boys are still out there. Not sure whether to say things are going good or bad for them; they're in a pretty screwed up situation, but they're being far more proactive about it than most others tend to be.

  19. To Zeke: If you don't want to be in it, that's fine. I'm going to continue with it.

    To Omega: Good to hear they're still alive, thanks for letting me know. Hey, could you do me a favor? Could you link me to any information you find of them, recent within a week starting now? You will? Why, thank you! You're such a nice guy. You don't have to actively search for info, just let me know if anything pops up.

  20. @Grey It''s sort of called "YouTube." There's this nifty thing they've got where you can subscribe to people, and you'll be notified whenever they make a new video....

    But on a less snarky note, it's good to see you again, Zeke, and I'm sure we're all rooting for you, but what's up with that police report? I mean, I know we can't trust Fisk, but...damn, man, I don't know if I can trust you either anymore.

  21. Thank you, Omega. And slenderbloggins, I've already watched the videos but thanks anyways.

  22. Anyone know how to contact Zeke I need to warn him about the shit going down tonight.

  23. Also Omega I know think this shit fake and all, but please please be carfull tonight. Shit.

  24. Merlin's pants, Omega(Scribe)... Tell me you're getting all of this. How the Agents all went berserk a couple days ago, how at least 4 people were trapped in labyrinths, and how bleeding epic it was that the combined efforts of my friends and Greenlight was enough to bring me back from the brink.

    Also, I've realized my full potential as Herald. I command freaking armies, now. It was awesome, let me tell you.

  25. "how at least 4 people were trapped in labyrinths"?

    Four? Who?

  26. Me, Vieve, and two of her friends. Vieve's out, the others not. As far as I can tell.

    Because it definitely takes a full hour to cross the street in normal time. Right.

  27. Ah, correction, that was Jean. I always get the Latin blogs mixed up.

  28. TribeTwelve new symbol probably important.

  29. Yup; I'm about to edit it into the post.

  30. 1 Your blog rocks. I'm taking my sweet time with the youtubers, can't believe how you soak up all of them plus the million of blogs.

    2 GOD! THTA PIC! I got such a "FUCK YEAH!" feeling from the HYBRIDS, imagining them saying something like "Ok, the joke's over!" or something else from the video after they find slendy.



  32. R, the episode was entitled "The Idiot's Lantern," and the observer symbol is nowhere in it.

    Noah may not be the best actor or the most original slendervlogger, but he's published more than I have, and has more fans, so he must have something going on.

  33. Use it was look at the tvs you idiot

  34. And look I don't hate tribe twelve personally I love his slender man show but ether he stole it from doctor who or his observer stalker is a doctor who fan

    Ether way don't saying its not there it is you have to actually look for it and watch it

    It's on the tvs in the background of the shop

  35. I am surprised that this thing actually works, maybe the whole tulpa theory isn't totally fake.

  36. Wow. Noah's kinda screwed in that knife fight, huh.
    I mean, c'mon! Slender Man has TWO knives.
    That's just unfair.

  37. Hello? This thing still on?

    Stumbled into your blog and Slenderverse recently and have been reading materials about it like a kid in a candy store. Except with writing, not candy. And with reading, not eating. Yeah, that simile went nowhere.

    For me, the "Operator-Symbol-as-Defense" line of theory makes some sense, since the symbol is reminiscent of the Native American Medicine Wheel:

    The article about it:

  38. For those curious: the Observer symbol from Tribe Twelve is (for lack of a better word) a rune that allows the person drawing it to seize control of whatever it's drawn on(i.e, cars, accounts, people).