Request for the removal of IRSEEK bot from all ubuntu channels.

Lorenzo J. Lucchini ljlbox at
Wed Mar 12 15:32:54 UTC 2008

On Wednesday 12 March 2008 02:57:42 Sarah Hobbs wrote:
> Hi there,
> I'd like to request the removal of IRSEEK from all ubuntu channels that
> it is currently in.
> The reasons for this are as follows:
> *  Various people have expressed views about privacy, and not wanting
> their content being used for profit.
>     - While i do not think this is valid - companies can still wget from
>, i see the privacy point.

Where is the privacy policy stated on our own official logs site? Do we 
provide a mechanism to remove content on the originator's request?
IRSeek states (see the FAQ at that they will 
remove content on request, and they seem to be in the process of creating 
further automated protection mechanisms, so I suspect the lack of clear 
policies and mechanisms may be temporary.

As for "content being used for profit", I think the same guidelines that apply 
to open source software (which is at the core of Ubuntu) should arguably 
apply to support given in IRC channels: people shouldn't be stopped to use it 
for profit, as long as non-profit use remains possible.

The idea itself that IRC chats are protected by copyright is debatable, 
although IANAL and I won't try to get into the specifics.

> * We seem to be getting very little gain (in fact, none), from IRSEEK.
> Again, if people wish to grep the entire irc logs, they'll wget them
> from, then grep locally.

That is certainly much more cumbersome, both to the user and to the logs 
server (imagine... poor server!), than a search engine like IRSeek is.

Furthermore, our own logs obviously only cover Ubuntu channels. If you wanted 
to make a comprehensive search on a certain topic, you'd have to track down 
every logs source you are potentially interested in - something completely 
impractical (as the complexity of the WWW easily shows), and the entire 
reason why the "search engine" concept has become popular on the Internet.

How do you measure the gain we have or have not had?
On top of my head, a working definition of "gain", for our purposes, may be 
thee number of Ubuntu support problems solved.
Assuming you agree with this little definition, do you have any positive 
evidence that we haven't "gained", or have gainned little, from IRSeek?
There might potentially be a large amount of users whose support problems were 
solved by searching IRSeek - just as (I think nothing disputes that) very 
many support problems are solved by searching Google, or the forums.

> * No one has disputed the logs from, therefore people
> appear to trust that it has not been tampered with, which suggests that
> we don't need another public mass-logging bot

That only follows from the premise if your idea of the usefulness of logs is 
to have something that wasn't tampered with.
Clearly, the IRSeek people think differently, and I think I have explained 
their likely rationale above.

> which appears to have no 
> privacy policy, or policy saying what it does with the data it collects.

I've discussed the privacy issues in the first paragraph.

About what data it collects... well, for all intents and purposes, it only 
collects the data it shows, no?
It may certainly collect more data than it currently shows, but then so may 
any user in any Ubuntu channel, at any time, and you cannot exclude that 
they've being doing so  for years and that some day they will put everything 
on a site or use them in unwanted ways.

I think it's a case when it really makes little sense to debate what "may" be 
collected. Everything can be collected, and there's nothing we can do to stop 

>   In the event that someone *does* seriously dispute the validity of
>, then it makes sense to look at additional bots again.

I'm sure that will not be the case; however, IRSeek simply tries to achieve 
something *else* than

by LjL
ljl at
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