Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Need for Reliable Governance at Freenode

Video download link

Summary: Why the current and high-profile (albeit somewhat covert) owner of the network, who seems to care about Free software (it has made him very wealthy), should put the whole thing in reliable hands and not attempt to 'monetise' it in any way

EARLIER this month we wrote about issues at Freenode. This was about censorship and conflict of interest, not so much about privacy (as one might expect from a communication channel). See, Freenode is owned by a firm that we have no reason to believe dislikes privacy, but as we noted this morning, there are other reasons for fracturing. Some people resign and set up alternatives.

"Expect many more articles to come about Freenode and IRC, mostly due to a state of flux."Freenode was never "one happy family" (there are bound to be disagreements), but things deteriorated further lately. We have overwhelming evidence of that. In the video above I explain why the conclusion I've reached, based on a lot of reading (hours long), is that Mr. Andrew Lee needs to help set up a governance structure that facilitates free speech and isn't beholden/indebted to the legal owner of Freenode (i.e. to him or Ted Kim, CEO of its parent company, London Trust Media, Inc.).

Freenode should not be run like a business. This neutrality of Freenode is the reason the network flourished for a very long time, especially among Free software development communities, sometimes users as well. I've used many means of communication over the year (I was an early IRC adopter), but I always come back to things like Freenode because it feels welcoming and the amount of abuse there is relatively low.

Techrights needs a fair and just Freenode in order to remain in Freenode (we considered self-hosting IRC several times over the years, but downsides were foreseen). We've never had any major issues with Freenode (in over 13 years!) and we hope it will stay that way. We'll observe very closely the developments to come (there's assurance some big things will happen, like legal disputes and even lawsuits). Expect many more articles to come about Freenode and IRC, mostly due to a state of flux.

Free IRC
Free. Keep it free. As in free speech, too.

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