Jo-Erlend Schinstad joerlend.schinstad at
Tue Apr 29 05:44:14 UTC 2008

2008/4/29 Sarah Hobbs <hobbsee at>:

> Freenode has become very lax with regards to trolls that are people, and
> not bots.  Consequently, some of us are quite unhappy with this, and are
> reconsidering being a part of this environment, where the trolls are
> respected and listened to more than the IRC operators, by freenode staff.

Seems it might be contagious after all. Well, I'll try to provide some
mental antivirus for this absurd discussion,
but let's make sure we're talking about the same things first. IRC Operators
are just that; operators on the IRC
network. I suspect you're talking about chanops, which is something else
entirely. Otherwise, that would indicate
that IRC Operators aren't part of the network staff, which would certainly
be chaotic. I'm not splitting hairs,
simply pointing out that chanops and IRC Operators are two very different
things, and there is a reason why that's
important in this context.

> This applies to many trolls going around on freenode, including ones that
> harass others in multiple channel namespaces, which really should be a
> network issue.

Right, here we go. First of all, an IRC network is an infrastructure. It
enables users to chat among themselves, or send
messages to and subscribe to messages sent to a channel. Servers also have
to communicate among themselves in
order to keep the network synchronized and so forth.

Let's first look have a look at the technical side of what you're
suggesting, which as I understand it, is for the network
staff to interfere when users are being naughty in more than one channel.
I'm wondering if you have any idea of the
the number of between users, channels and staff members on Freenode? How
should the Freenode staff act when
someone sais that someone said something in a channel that they didn't feel
was nice? Should they step in and try to
negotiate between those parties? It's easy to see how impossible that would
be. It is also unreasonable. If a couple has
an argument via the phone, should they expect the respective phone companies
to mediate between them?

That brings me onto the non-technical side of what you're suggesting. As I
said before, an IRC network is an infrastructure
for text-based telecommunications. It's easy to visualize an IRC network as
something resembling a small WWW.
Actually, that concept is used in irc links like irc://network:port/channel
and you referred to a channel as a namespace
yourself. If a user spreads lies about you on two different message boards
on two different domains, who should you
contact? IETF? W3C? Perhaps you should, if you feel that the lies are a
consequence of a technical flaw in the network.
If you don't, then I'd suggest you first go to the administrator of the
bulletin board and ask them to make the required
changes. If they refuse to listen, contact the server administrator if
that's someone else and ask them to take action, and
so forth. Does this sound reasonable to you? Well, if it does, then you've
just realised that you're wrong before. You see,
in this case the message board is an IRC channel, and chanops are the admins
who has the power to exclude users who
misbehave. They even have the power to define what kind of behaviour is
acceptable. The users of thiese channels have
the power to silence the users they don't like. The fact that a user
misbehaves in several channels simply means that
thiese channels operators must learn to cooperate, and if necessary find a
technical solution of their own, such as
inter-channel bots.

I can't believe anyone in the Ubuntu Community would actually suggest that
the network staff should define and enforce
some global set of rules for what users can and cannot say on the network.
Those kinds of rules are for channels only,
and the responsibility of keeping channels nice lays on the chanops only,
and not the network staff.

I'll leave you with a thought; what would you say if someone proposed to
establish a network wide internet police to shut
down all websites containing statements that are politically incorrect in
some countries?

> Thanks for taking action, Seveas.  I suspect you'll be the first of many.
> Hobbsee

You're still connected I see, Hobbsee. Isn't that just a little bit
hypocritial you think, maybe?

Best regards

Jo-Erlend Schinstad
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