Interesting experience with #Ubuntu chanops.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad joerlend.schinstad at
Sat Mar 8 15:23:40 UTC 2008

Hello everyone.

Today, I've had a very interesting, though not exactly positive, experience
with some of #Ubuntu's channel operators. I was going to ask a question in
#Ubuntu when I discovered that I'd been banned. You see, yesterday, I was in
a hurry and needed to get the precise time. I didn't have ntp installed, and
there was no way for me to quickly install it. Since I was already on IRC,
and had my client right in front of me, sending a CTCP TIME message to
#ubuntu-no seemed like a quick and easy way of solving the "problem", so I
did. This is a channel with ~20 idle users, which is sufficient to tell
which ones are using ntp and few enough to avoid being flooded by CTCP
replies. Since everyone there is in my timezone, it answered my question
very quickly. Well, xchat uses a different tab completion strategy than
mIRC, which I also use alot, and so the CTCP was sent to #Ubuntu instead,
which is a very large channel filled with users that aren't even in my
timezone. Clearly a mistake on my part, since the only effect was to flood
myself with useless messages.

So, I joined #Ubuntu-ops, apologized for my mistake, said it wouldn't happen
again and asked to be unbanned. I also said I think it would be nice if
people got a warning before they were banned and kicked out of the channel
for such a, from my point of view, innocent mistake. The response was not
nice at all. I was told I am stupid, a jerk, have no common sense, etc. I am
a bit surprised by this behaviour. I respect the rules for the channels I'm
part of, of course, and I always read topics and guidelines before using a
channel to make sure I don't violate any. When I'm on IRC, I'm helpful and
polite and I really don't think I deserve that kind of verbal abuse just
because I happen to disagree with the unwritten rules. Don't get me wrong.
If I knew that sending CTCPs were considered unacceptable on #ubuntu-*
channels, I wouldn't have done so.

And why is a single CTCP command considered such an awful offence anyway? If
someone sends me a CTCP message, that doesn't annoy me at all, at least not
more than a normal message containing the same question. Actually, I'd
prefer it if they just asked my client instead of requiring me to respond
manually. Paul O'Malley argued that asking someone what time it is where
they are, is an invasion of their privacy. I don't understand that point at
all. As Jonathan Patrick Davies and Travis Watkins both pointed out, a user
who doesn't wish to receive CTCPs from fellow users, can just set usermode

So, I still disagree when it comes to CTCP messages. Unlike Dennis
Kaarsemaker, I think CTCPs are very useful, whether you're inviting someone
to download a file, asking them if the client has a certain feature (like
whether or not it's capable of handling apturls) or what timezone they're
in. But do I feel that users who disagree are stupid? No, I don't. Would I
tell them if I did? No, I wouldn't. As long as users are asked to refrain
from using expressions such as rtfm, stfw, rafb, etc, I don't think the
operators should either.

Kindest regards,

Jo-Erlend Schinstad
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