There's a pretty big round of crazy going on in the free software/open
source IRC sphere of late. I won't get into the specifics here - it's
all over Hacker News and whatnot. (If you find this post years from
now, you should check out HN's "past" feature. It'll help with
context. Hint: "freenode".)
It's fortunate that I have no involvement with the goings-on of the past
few weeks. My own chat situations happily do not intersect with where
all of the drama has been happening.
I have only one piece of unrequested advice for anyone who thinks about
running (or owning, I guess) an IRC network and/or *using* an IRC
network: pick one or the other, but never both.
If you run the servers, don't hang out on channels and chat.
If you hang out in channels and chat, don't run the servers.
Otherwise, there's a good chance you will end up in some kind of
squeeze, whether from other people, or inflicted by yourself (and ON
yourself) in some fit of prideful stupidity.
I know this sounds bizarre, but it's been my experience that the
best-run non-corporate IRC situations happened when the server and/or
bot owners (depending on what the scope was at the time) were at least
aloof and not "plugged in" to the day to day circumstances of the people
and personalities on the channel(s). They just ran the stuff, and the
"more involved" people used that stuff to do whatever they did.
Basically, the last thing you want is to have that kind of
all-encompassing power, where you can pull the plug, drop the banhammer,
or do other really terrible things... and then go and DO that stuff
based on some pissing contest you got into with other people.
So, you know how OpenBSD pioneered
A page in memory is writable or executable, but never both? Try doing
that with your chat networks, if it applies to you. Run 'em or use 'em,
but don't try to juggle both.
I know, I don't think anyone will be able to actually accomplish this.
But, I figured I'd say it anyway, in case someone out there with
a fantastic sense of restraint is out there and can benefit from it.
Take it from someone who did dumb things as a kid. Okay? Okay.
Side note: I said "non-corporate" because situations where you're on the
company IRC server don't work this way, unless your company is somehow
super-duper screwed up. There should *never* be any question about how
a channel runs in that kind of world. There should not be any need for
"ops" powers, aside from fixing stupid things caused by dumb programs.
The benefit of "this IRC network == only company X employees" is that
there's a framework _outside_ the network for managing things. That
means the network itself disappears into the background and is just like
any other utility you assume will be there, like the lights, water, or
Of course, if your company has somehow managed to turn its IRC system
(or let's face it, any other chat backend) into the kind of
shit-flinging jungle that the world at large can become at times, you
have much much bigger problems.