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Logging IRC From Self-Hosted and From Third Party (But Very Large) IRC Networks

Posted in Site News at 7:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Instead of fighting one another we encourage people to foster a healthier dialogue and, if possible, also take control of their IRC channels (those can in turn be connected to larger networks using bridges)

NOW that we are self-hosting IRC and feel confident about the bridging (to networks outside our own) we thought it would be worthwhile limiting the logging to just one network, as the video above explains. At least 3 people have already complained (out in the open) that there are duplicate entries/messages in the logs — an issue we’re aware of. It was meant to ensure we don’t just drop or lose some messages because at various phases 3 networks were joined or cobbled together.

“A lot of IRC, especially the topology, became like social control media or clown computing — basically leaning towards centralisation with the so-called ‘network effect’ (it can be hard to leave an existing network because of all the people who are there and only there).”Waging cross-network wars isn’t productive. It’s actually harmful for a number or reasons that we’ve mentioned before. A lot of the trouble can be avoided or at least mitigated when there’s no single point of failure, especially when there’s something self-hosted that one can control. A lot of IRC, especially the topology, became like social control media or clown computing — basically leaning towards centralisation with the so-called ‘network effect’ (it can be hard to leave an existing network because of all the people who are there and only there).

Fediverse logoIn order to make IRC stronger (as a protocol, community and so on) it would be wise to advise self-hosting where possible, then federating with large networks. The former gives governance advantages (privacy, free speech etc.) whereas the latter gives access to a large number of people, akin to what happens in the Fediverse sans the disk space and bandwidth overhead (a simple one-user instance can take up a lot of resources and become a pain to maintain/secure in the long run).

As we’ve said right from the very start (nearly a month ago), hostile cliques can form inside networks, in effect using their power over those networks (or misusing privileges, e.g. banning users, spying on users) to promote some personal agenda.

Being difficult to censor and/or spy on is a great strength. The EPO has been trying to cancel and deplatform us for more than 7 years; Benoît Battistelli prevented all the EPO workers (about 7,000 at the time) accessing Techrights from work and António Campinos maintains that ban for no reason other than it’s embarrassing to the management (albeit perfectly true; leaks don’t lie). In order to achieve something, e.g. in the fight against European software patents, we must also combat censorship. Taking control of our means of communication is an important step towards that.

Putin Popcorn: IRC infighting? I like!The video above focuses on how we publish logs and the fact that this morning we’ve finally tackled duplicates. More observations are made along the way. The main reason we stay on Freenode is that we’ve there for over 13 years (no preference or choice per se; it was just “the place to be” back then*). But we hope that over time more people will recognise the advantages envisioned for the self-hosted network and move over to that. No pressure, no rush.
* And it’s not going away, it is here to stay because the dust has mostly settled (see weekly chart). It has many servers in many places. The Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) is also doing reasonably well with nearly 20,000 channels. Stop fighting, start organising, add more IRC networks to tackle oligopolies. IRC as a whole is stronger when there’s no single point of failure.

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