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Understanding How Freenode (IRC) Works -- or Doesn't Work -- in 2021

Free nightchat
Many of us grew up on IRC

Summary: There is a conflict going on behind the scenes at Freenode, but there are also sincere and well-meaning attempts to undo the damage and get back to normal

THIS subject would certainly interest many Free software projects. I originally planned to make this a multi-part series, but time is of the essence and it seems important enough to shed light on the current situation as soon as possible. We need to cut to the chase and suggest constructive ways forward. Of utmost importance? Keeping Freenode going. I spoke to several people and some of them made information public. As of 4 hours ago, Ariadne Conill posted (publicly) the following logs. We're just reproducing here what she posted:

[22:52:17] <nirvana> yo, sorry the servers for ircx went down. the certs expired and i got so fucking mad at our sysadmin guy i wiped them ;x [22:52:37] <nirvana> you in the know of whats happening? [22:52:55] <Ariadne> everyone kinda split off one by one [22:52:58] <Ariadne> so i assume people got bored [22:53:01] <Ariadne> and cancelled the hub :P [22:53:10] <nirvana> yeah i just .. i prefer ircx [22:53:12] <Ariadne> i'm busy with work anyway [22:53:18] <nirvana> i just deleted it i couldn't handle any more irc [22:53:38] <nirvana> anyways let the past be the past with freenode, you're welcome to rejoin if you let that stuff go [22:53:53] <nirvana> the staff that is [22:54:06] <nirvana> these conspiring assholes did nothing for years [22:54:39] <nirvana> and then they have it all wrong [22:58:09] <Ariadne> i have no interest in being a freenode staffer [22:58:24] <nirvana> me neither [22:58:32] <nirvana> figured you may want to come back in some fashion tho [22:58:35] <Ariadne> my only interest is having an IRC network the alpine community can actually depend on. [22:58:35] <nirvana> you made the place [22:59:52] <nirvana> thats certainly a goal, from me speaking to andrew he doesnt and never wanted to fuck this up; all he tried to do since christel stepped down was get his inhouse sysadmin access to everything; a business should have access to its assets [23:00:08] <nirvana> now theres this mega bullshit going on and nobody cares. [23:00:32] <Ariadne> so, i think that freenode should not be a "business" [23:01:16] <Ariadne> thusly, i cannot in good consience lend legitimacy to any effort that continues freenode as a "business" [23:01:25] <nirvana> needs to be for him to pump money in to FOSS [23:01:32] <nirvana> and whatever else he had in mind as far as helping [23:01:50] <Ariadne> i do not follow [23:02:22] <nirvana> its only a business to legally have a board and directors and officers; thats needed for events like freenode live and some other stuff planned behind the scenes [23:02:23] <nirvana> the chat network [23:02:30] <nirvana> that has nothing to do with what andrew wants [23:02:34] <nirvana> he was going to leave it as is [23:02:45] <Ariadne> ah. [23:02:47] <nirvana> for something called FOSSter [23:02:52] <nirvana> he just gave (from freenode) [23:02:54] <nirvana> 100k to a project [23:02:57] <nirvana> i cant say which but [23:02:59] <nirvana> he did [23:03:25] <nirvana> so the secrecy is maybe ... probably causing people to wig out and think a corp is taking over [23:03:28] <nirvana> but it isnt like that [23:04:05] <Ariadne> oh lord, this is the pleroma foundation all over again [23:04:13] <nirvana> beats me [23:04:19] <nirvana> i just want those cancerous opers out of there [23:04:28] <nirvana> tomaw straight up said to andrew that he fucking hates me [23:04:30] <nirvana> bitch [23:04:36] <nirvana> ive never EVER spoken to or met tomaw [23:04:39] <nirvana> and he hates me [23:04:54] <nirvana> I want to see all of them deopered. [23:05:06] <nirvana> useless assholes. [23:05:11] <Ariadne> well, your boy controls the freenode domain [23:05:18] <Ariadne> i'm sure there is a path to achieving that. [23:05:24] <nirvana> yeah but why go that path [23:05:31] <nirvana> then if we split the network over [23:05:35] <nirvana> we 1) have no services db [23:05:45] <nirvana> if he splits the network over [23:05:45] <Ariadne> i feel my involvement in won't really be terribly helpful or convincing [23:05:49] <nirvana> no services db [23:05:58] <nirvana> all the users still connected to these servers [23:06:08] <nirvana> and the opers will just /wallops and global notice their new network [23:07:35] <Ariadne> i mean, i have important work to do. dealing with an IRC network is not really something i want to be doing this decade outside of fucking around for fun with IRCX [23:07:51] <Ariadne> i have code running on two planets [23:07:53] <nirvana> but [23:07:57] <nirvana> you can ban your enemies. [23:08:01] <nirvana> im turning tomaw [23:08:01] <Ariadne> i don't have enemies [23:08:07] <nirvana> and jess in to a bot. [23:08:22] <nirvana> i know you don't, we're older now [23:08:25] <nirvana> more mature [23:08:31] <nirvana> i was just trying to make you laugh [23:08:52] <nirvana> dont tell me that sweet revenge of a kline /fuckyou - just ONE to those people who dissed on charybdis [23:08:59] <nirvana> wouldn't make you feel good [23:09:01] <Ariadne> i don't really care [23:09:14] <nirvana> i think about it, i wouldn't do it though [23:09:18] <nirvana> have to walk the higher path [23:09:29] <nirvana> im still banned from snoonet lol [23:10:58] <Ariadne> your employer owns snoonet [23:11:45] <nirvana> i actually dont work for ltm [23:11:50] <nirvana> still [23:12:06] <nirvana> i work for his brother though [23:12:09] <nirvana> alex lee [23:12:48] <nirvana> i help where i can but im too busy at the office to do much else [23:12:53] <nirvana> like have a girlfriend, mine left me ;/ [23:13:19] <nirvana> and actually i think its just prawnsalad that owns snoonet now [23:13:21] <nirvana> i could be wrong tho [23:15:44] <Ariadne> anyway, i think i've contributed as much as i can to the topic of IRC network governance with the charybdis and atheme software packages as well as the atheme operator workflow (of which freenode still uses to this day for training) [23:16:07] <Ariadne> having an o:line means additional work for me. it is a distraction. [23:16:37] <nirvana> ill make sure you get +oO in #freenode [23:16:40] <nirvana> so you can kick people [23:16:44] <Ariadne> why the hell do i want that [23:16:45] <nirvana> my gift to you pal [23:16:56] <Ariadne> stop trying to bribe me [23:16:59] <Ariadne> this is just pathetic [23:17:05] <nirvana> might even give you flags +f [23:17:08] <nirvana> so your friends cna join in [23:17:35] <nirvana> i'd have to read up on the atheme flags [23:17:39] <nirvana> know anybody that could help me? [23:18:00] <nirvana> perfectly coded... well written... completed project... [23:18:13] <Ariadne> why not talk to ilbelkyr, who i handed atheme maintainership to [23:18:15] <nirvana> damn what was that nerd stuff you were talking about, decentralized auth [23:18:23] <nirvana> hhMMMmM [23:18:24] <Ariadne> i assume she would be a domain expert [23:18:26] <nirvana> this gives me ides [23:18:37] <nirvana> ideas* [23:18:48] <nirvana> we could network hop with the same auth [23:18:54] <nirvana> across different platforms ;o [23:19:03] <Ariadne> yes, that was kind of the idea with ophion [23:19:09] <nirvana> I KNOW [23:19:22] -*- nirvana pats freenode on the hood [23:19:42] <Ariadne> unfortunately, i have pre-existing full-time commitment as alpine's security team chair [23:19:55] <Ariadne> which is another reason i do not wish to have an o:line [23:19:55] <nirvana> they let you be chair? [23:20:01] <Ariadne> yes [23:20:08] <Ariadne> i'm not sure why that surprises you [23:20:19] <nirvana> i didnt say it surprised me [23:20:28] <nirvana> i was actually about to type a compliment [23:20:31] <nirvana> 'good because you're smart.' [23:20:50] <nirvana> we're working with manjaro [23:20:51] <nirvana> (well did) [23:21:00] <nirvana> Shells is on KDE page, Manjaro [23:21:08] <nirvana> Nitrux coming, Open SuSE announcement (in 4 hours) [23:21:16] <nirvana> I'd love to work with alpine linux [23:21:20] <Ariadne> anyway, if you want my support, produce actual documentation outlining a governance structure [23:21:25] <nirvana> we're trying to close the digital divide [23:21:36] <Ariadne> your product is bullshit :) [23:21:36] <nirvana> and push forth linux desktop computing [23:21:50] <nirvana> hey man but its my job and what i believe in [23:21:54] <Ariadne> it is literally VPS [23:22:04] <Ariadne> with remote desktop access enabled [23:22:18] <nirvana> with Spice and QEMU yeah [23:22:20] <Ariadne> seems designed to be a loss leader [23:22:24] <Ariadne> for tax writeoffs [23:22:40] <nirvana> eh [23:22:42] <nirvana> well [23:22:46] <nirvana> [23:23:07] <nirvana> vps sells :p [23:23:36] <Ariadne> i see [23:23:50] <Ariadne> so what i have learned here is that the stability of freenode is in the hands of a VPS company [23:23:54] <nirvana> this hasn't launched yet, and actually should have a coming soon splash [23:23:57] <Ariadne> this is not confidence inspiring [23:24:58] <Ariadne> anyway, i do not know why you bother to offer bribes of o:lines, flags +oOf whatever [23:25:55] <Ariadne> i don't bring any value to your attempt to seize control of the network [23:25:55] <nirvana> im not [23:26:01] <nirvana> honestly i just kind of missed talking to you [23:26:09] <nirvana> wanted to see your thoughts on the whole situastion [23:26:16] <Ariadne> my thoughts remain unchanged [23:26:23] <Ariadne> i want to see a network that is accountable to its community [23:26:50] <Ariadne> i will support whatever brings that about [23:26:52] <nirvana> i want to see a network thats proactive and works with its communities [23:26:58] <nirvana> and isn't boring as shit [23:27:10] <Ariadne> you can have both [23:27:48] <Ariadne> what i care about is three things [23:27:52] <Ariadne> 1. stability of the network [23:27:57] <Ariadne> 2. freedom of the network [23:28:09] <Ariadne> 3. lack of corruption in the operations of the network [23:28:45] <Ariadne> anything past that is a value-add [23:29:36] <Ariadne> projects entrust freenode for their IRC requirements because they believe freenode is trustworthy. those who have been around longer are more cynical, but you, rasengan, tomaw, everyone, has responsibility to those projects. [23:29:52] <Ariadne> and in your dickwaving contest, all of you are throwing them aside. [23:30:25] <Ariadne> so, if you want me actively involved, hereis how we are going to do this [23:30:44] <Ariadne> we are going to dissolve freenode limited and transfer the freenode assets to either the software freedom conservancy or linux foundation [23:31:29] <Ariadne> we will then form a steering committee to collect user feedback regarding the direction of the network [23:31:41] <Ariadne> we will then formulate a governance plan based on that feedback [23:32:09] <nirvana> seems like a solid idea [23:32:19] <Ariadne> freenode is an IRC network, it is not a mechanism for donating money to FOSS [23:32:31] <Ariadne> that is some goddamn epstein shit [23:34:17] <Ariadne> you want to prove it's going to be different -- that's how you prove it's going to be different [23:34:26] <Ariadne> anything less is a waste of my time [23:36:46] <nirvana> word [23:36:49] <nirvana> you still in WI or what [23:38:28] <Ariadne> i'm in WY yes [23:38:33] <Ariadne> i am about to move to seattle tho [23:38:42] <Ariadne> the alpaca farm is SHUTTING DOWN [23:38:48] <nirvana> hahah [23:38:59] <nirvana> why seattle? work? [23:39:29] <Ariadne> yeah something like that [23:39:55] <nirvana> prob found yourself a sub [23:40:20] <Ariadne> wow u been browsing my fetlife profile huh [23:40:25] <Ariadne> you guys are intense [23:40:33] <nirvana> shit you're on there too? [23:42:37] <Ariadne> no comment [23:44:00] <Ariadne> anyway, i'm down to actually fix freenode [23:44:05] <Ariadne> but to actually fix freenode [23:44:12] <Ariadne> the governance needs to look a lot different than it does today [23:44:26] <nirvana> thats basically what andrew said [23:44:31] <nirvana> he also came up with a decentralized governence [23:44:38] <nirvana> which made sense as he explained it [23:44:42] <Ariadne> i'm interested, but i need to see some docs [23:44:47] <nirvana> you two might like discussing that higher minded shit [23:44:55] <nirvana> hm let me see if i have one [23:45:00] <nirvana> there was an idea floating around [23:45:08] <nirvana> i think tomaw was like nOOOOoo i WnaNNnNAn be in charge [23:45:13] <nirvana> then took the domainf rom andrew [23:46:13] <Ariadne> well if that is what happened, then i am disappointed in tomaw [23:47:12] <nirvana> that is what happened [23:47:30] <nirvana> and then he tried to make oftc and freenode go to solanum when andrew said hey lets chat first [23:47:36] <nirvana> just to see what tomaw was doing [23:47:41] <nirvana> then tomaw went batshit [23:47:53] <Ariadne> to be honest, solanum is not a good ircd [23:47:58] <nirvana> made a post on the website the next day [23:48:01] <nirvana> bro i shut that shit down [23:48:05] <Ariadne> i have found several technical issues [23:48:08] <nirvana> no way was this all going to solanum [23:48:20] <nirvana> anyways, he pulled access from andrew, made that post on the direction of freenode [23:48:23] <nirvana> making himself head of staff [23:48:26] <Ariadne> well, charybdis is dead now [23:48:27] <nirvana> then ignored us [23:48:52] <nirvana> so then andrew lawyered up cuz [23:48:58] <nirvana> that breaks a LOT of laws and stuff [23:49:17] <nirvana> now everybodys accusing him of wanting to seize operations and shit [23:49:21] <nirvana> it was never like that [23:49:36] <nirvana> so he gave domain back, but not fully.... [23:49:49] <nirvana> made the sysadmin a manager of the domain, but that leaves tom in control of it [23:49:55] <nirvana> as an owner [23:50:18] <nirvana> but. the domain's whois [23:50:21] <nirvana> Freenode Limited. [23:50:46] <nirvana> so it doesnt matter in the long run, rasengan will get freenode. he's even offering tomaw a second chance [23:50:57] <nirvana> he was going to change freenode over to everything he wanted it to be [23:51:04] <nirvana> they forced christel out [23:51:18] <nirvana> not andrew and them, but the freenode staff [23:51:26] <nirvana> poor lady [23:51:29] <Ariadne> forcing christel out does not seem like a large accomplishment [23:51:36] <Ariadne> she was pretty much hands off anyway [23:51:41] <nirvana> yeah [23:51:52] <nirvana> so anyways me and andrew months ago we didnt hear from christel [23:52:00] <nirvana> or anybody so we came and asked tomaw what was going on [23:52:06] <nirvana> he said she was healthy just taking a break [23:52:10] <nirvana> we got back in contact [23:52:28] <nirvana> then christel i guess had a kid or something [23:52:36] <Ariadne> okay well anyway i am only interested in burning it all to the ground and implementing real governance [23:52:44] <nirvana> have to focus on that, had to resign [23:52:48] -*- nirvana hands ariadne a lighter [23:52:52] <nirvana> im telling a story here shut the fuck up [23:53:05] <nirvana> oh [23:53:09] <nirvana> anyways then tomaw took the throne [23:53:35] <nirvana> the page revert was a "We didn't agree on any of that. Stop making decisions on your own" [23:53:41] <nirvana> you see everybody's quit letters? [23:53:59] <nirvana> [23:54:26] <nirvana> at the bottom of that one is the others [23:55:05] <Ariadne> ah, so this is the thing [23:55:17] <nirvana> i guess i mean [23:55:21] <nirvana> i didnt know it existed until last night [23:55:35] <nirvana> so apparently they mde this back in april before anything [23:55:39] <nirvana> so what were they planning x_X [23:57:35] <Ariadne> i see [23:57:40] <Ariadne> but is unlikely to succeed [23:57:46] <nirvana> pfft bro we know [23:57:54] <nirvana> it's 2021 [23:58:10] <nirvana> i dont know who likes those fuckers anyways [23:58:18] <nirvana> like did you ever know those people to be a crew on irc [23:58:24] <nirvana> besides ircops on freenode? [23:58:27] <Ariadne> many of the are/were friends of mine [23:58:29] <nirvana> like did they ever do anything [23:58:34] <nirvana> i dont remember them [23:58:49] <Ariadne> i do. many of them "grew up" in the atheme community. [00:00:00] - {Day changed to Thursday, May 13, 2021} [00:00:08] <nirvana> word well thats good [00:00:27] <Ariadne> their intentions are good, and their reaction is understandable. [00:00:40] <nirvana> yeah i can see it from their point of view [00:00:44] <Ariadne> you see it as an attack against freenode, when in reality, they are boycotting both you and tomaw. [00:00:45] <nirvana> but i see both sides of the fence [00:00:55] <nirvana> oh shit [00:00:59] <nirvana> they dont like tomaw either? [00:01:21] <Ariadne> i would assume not. [00:01:25] <nirvana> and you as in Freenode Limited right? [00:01:31] <Ariadne> he is not there. [00:01:33] <nirvana> I have nothing to do with this freenode stuff i wont even be an oper here [00:01:54] <nirvana> i just know all the behind the curtains stuff [00:02:06] <Ariadne> i am willing to provide an advisory role, but have zero interest in operational details or "punishing" enemies [00:02:13] <nirvana> hahahah [00:02:14] <Ariadne> i try to be happy [00:02:30] <nirvana> if i could /kill ANYBODY I think. [00:02:34] <nirvana> it'd be idahodude [00:09:10] <Ariadne> if i could /kill anybody it would be nobody because i've spent the majority of my life fighting against this crap [00:09:36] <nirvana> you have great honor [00:09:39] <nirvana> you are awesome ariadne :) [00:10:13] <Ariadne> no, i'm not [00:13:28] <Ariadne> i am just a fucked up person like most people [00:14:09] <Ariadne> but for the most part, the only people i have ever /killed were people violating network policy or bots [00:14:25] <Ariadne> i cannot think of any exception to that other than birthday kills [00:14:48] <Ariadne> i would not want somebody who fantasizes about using /kill as an oper on a network where a /kline can be career-effecting [00:15:15] <Ariadne> and, the fact that freenode staff can singlehandedly damage a person's FOSS career with zero accountability, is why i do not trust any of you [00:17:31] <nirvana> ;x [00:17:37] <nirvana> im sorry again for the banhammer [00:17:51] <nirvana> <3 [00:17:56] <nirvana> its k now, karma ban hammered meeeee [00:19:15] <Ariadne> i don't trust myself with freenode either [00:19:22] <Ariadne> just to be clear [00:26:28] <nirvana> hahahah [00:26:34] <nirvana> one bottle of whiskey [00:26:42] <nirvana> and its godzilla stomping through tokyo bay [00:27:27] <nirvana> its always the same shit though [00:27:36] <nirvana> nobody sticks with the plan [00:27:38] <nirvana> then they get all emo [00:27:42] <nirvana> blah blAh BlAHHHHHHHH [00:36:50] <Ariadne> i mean, you do understand i am going to ask what their side of this story is, right? [00:37:05] <Ariadne> ultimately, i have to recommend to alpine core team what is best for alpine [00:44:18] <nirvana> seek the truth be at peace yo [00:44:47] <nirvana> just saying they have it wrong and when they see what he's doing with the "Freenode Limited" they may still have objections [00:45:19] <nirvana> why cant freenode do something nice until other structures are worked out internally [00:45:23] <nirvana> not one of them opers tho [00:45:38] <nirvana> messaged him to say even hello, hi how are you [00:45:47] <nirvana> strike up a convo ask him his intentions themselves [00:45:48] <nirvana> not 1 [00:46:28] <nirvana> its so political in their minds that it infuriates them [00:46:59] <nirvana> I even said, listen if the opers leave and make their own shit as long as they dont spam it or are total assholes about it, I think thats a good thing. then they have a home, and their peoples can be there with them [00:47:05] <Ariadne> i'm sorry, were they expected to lick his boots? [00:47:08] <nirvana> theres no hate for the libera chat [00:47:11] <nirvana> i dont know [00:47:18] <nirvana> at least have a convo with the dude [00:47:38] <Ariadne> in their mind, andrew bought and took over the network. that's how it looks to me, too. [00:48:01] <nirvana> took it over how we didnt change the ircds or website or anything [00:49:07] <nirvana> what if that shit started getting FBI letters AGAIN, when he lawyered everybody up etc when that one fucker was attacking the staff [00:49:15] <nirvana> and he cant do anything because they dont even know who he is on IRC [00:49:23] <nirvana> that was a huge thing it made a lot of people quit i guess [00:50:26] <nirvana> hes just one of us that codes shit and wants to decentralize things and make things fair then people judge right off the bat [00:50:38] <Ariadne> that ended because i contacted zeekill's probation officer [00:50:44] <Ariadne> don't revise history :) [00:50:51] <nirvana> what [00:50:56] <nirvana> back in like 2017/2018? [00:51:13] <nirvana> thats all i remember [00:52:06] <Ariadne> it was 2019 [00:56:13] <nirvana> ah [00:56:22] <nirvana> same thing, my memory isnt so good [00:56:29] <nirvana> i dont know the whole situation so i wont speak on it [00:58:55] <Ariadne> and zeekill is back again harassing freenode staff again.

I spoke to "nirvana" last night. There seems to be a true desire to set things right and sincere intention to correct the mistakes.

Miss Conill wrote some hours ago in Twitter: "why would you publish an irc log of me attempting to bribe you with money and staff privileges on freenode [...] gee i have no idea [...] attempting to bribe me with money and privilege is not going to convince me that your plans are good for the FOSS community. quite the opposite, really. [...] anyway it’s time to ditch freenode. use alternatives for your projects like OFTC. host your own mattermost instance. maybe try matrix if that floats your boat. [...] at this point i am wholly convinced that freenode would be best off in the hands of a trusted organization like SFC or LF or whatever. this is definitely not ok. [...] anyway these two conversations happened as a result of asking questions about freenode’s reliability, as the information of mass staff resignation and possible freenode domain seizure were concerning to the alpine project."

"There seems to be a true desire to set things right and sincere intention to correct the mistakes."Then came the 'logdrops' (some people worried that those tweets [1, 2] or pages would vanish but they're still online at the moment); "the first conversation is with Andrew Lee, owner of London Trust Media and Freenode Limited [...] it is the more tame of the two. [...] during that conversation his associate contacted me. in that one, several bribes of staff privilege and money donation to alpine were offered. [...] i encourage everyone to read these logs for themselves and draw their own conclusions. [...] as for alpine, we thankfully have alpineconf coming up, so there will be an emergency discussion session on sunday at alpineconf to determine what chat platform we use going forward."

Miss Conill later stated: "yeah basically the people who actually kept freenode running quit..."

We should stress that "nirvana" does not work directly on Freenode and therefore whatever "nirvana" says should not be mistaken for what it is not (or does not represent). In fact, "nirvana" sought to clarify this to me last night.

One might think that Miss Conill is just being combative and rude, but actually some Freenode insiders/volunteers back her on this.

"Our goal is to keep the network robust and inclusive of all sorts of speech, even potentially 'offensive' speech. We don't do the 'blasphemy' spiel...""None of the current freenode operational circle are participants," one person told us anonymously, "but they might give a bit of insight about the current threats to the network. In light of your article, it strikes me as important for projects using the freenode IRC not to panic, and to resist these attempts at incursion and abusive moderation."

Our goal is to keep the network robust and inclusive of all sorts of speech, even potentially 'offensive' speech. We don't do the 'blasphemy' spiel...

As "nirvana" insists there's no capacity to represent the position of Andrew Lee himself, it's better to go by the words of Andrew Lee himself (and that sounds mostly reasonable):

[14:30:27] * Starting query with rasengan (Andrew Lee) [14:30:47] <Ariadne> what exactly is going on with freenode? [14:35:50] <Andrew Lee> Was this in relation to the post I made or something different? [14:36:40] <Andrew Lee> If it's about the post it's just about what I explained in the message. [14:38:57] <Andrew Lee> (But if there is something specific Iâ€Ã¢â€žÂ¢m more than happy to answer!) [14:41:54] <Ariadne> who owns the freenode domain? [14:42:36] <Ariadne> if that winds up being you, why should my projects trust you with ownership of it given the public messages you posted earlier? [14:43:30] <Ariadne> one can ask the same question of tomaw, of course, so please don't take that personally :) [14:44:36] <Ariadne> until today, i did not know or care who owns the domain. this incident forces me to have to think about this, because i have projects both large and small depending on freenode for their IRC needs. [14:45:19] <Ariadne> if rash behavior could result in disruption of DNS service on the domain, it would negatively impact said projects. [14:46:05] <Ariadne> ultimately, it comes down to a question of trust in whoever winds up owning the domain. [21:15:44] <Andrew Lee> Absolutely. So let me try to clear that up for you, sorry I was away from the computer. [21:16:42] <Andrew Lee> Freenode Limited owns the domain. The company has been in control for some time. Recently, a volunteer locked us out of the account. We attempted to get back in, and we received quite awful messages in response (extortionary). We attempted to then contact through a mediator to no avail since tomaw wasn't willing to stick to things. [21:18:30] <Andrew Lee> I chose the rash behavior route as a final show of goodwill, believe it or not, in order to secure Freenode Limited again and make sure its safe and focused on its mission it's always been until now, because the only next available option will have consequence for tomaw and I certainly don't wish for it to go that far (e.g., legal). [21:19:49] <Andrew Lee> As for the service itself, I don't think that I've been a poor custodian thus far and don't have any reason to believe that I will be in the future. FOSS is as important to me as it is everyone on this network, and I do think my actions thus far as it relates to my involvement have only reflected as much. [21:23:15] <Andrew Lee> I could say a lot about the actions of tomaw and his team, if you really look at everything (e.g., "libera chat", and so forth), but I'll leave that to you to make your own opinion. [21:26:01] <Andrew Lee> In terms of your projects - should you choose to continue to make freenode its choice of irc home, I can assure you that freenode will continue to strive to do everything it has always done. There won't be disruption. [22:44:00] <Ariadne> in my opinion, it seems more appropriate that freenode be managed by a reputable organization such as software freedom conservancy or linux foundation [22:45:25] <Ariadne> i can certainly get both you and tomaw in touch with folks at either organization to resolve this governance issue [22:47:49] <Andrew Lee> Originally, that's what I suggested to tomaw as prawnsalad knows since we were trying to speak to him. Obviously, things didn't move in that direction and since we've been doing everything we can just to get access. Afterward, I have a proper governance structure that several in the space that I trust have reviewed it and felt it addresses things [22:47:49] <Andrew Lee> properly. [22:47:55] <Ariadne> running an IRC network clearly involves politics, but freenode has historically suffered from a vacuum of effective governance. perhaps more preconditions should have been required before handing the network over to christel but that was the choice which preserved the status quo. [22:50:09] <Ariadne> can you elaborate on this proposed new governance structure? [22:50:19] <Andrew Lee> Your interest and knowledge about the network and its space piques my interest. I'd love to hear more about the projects youre involved in and, also, later on explore if you're interested in volunteering! [22:50:36] <Ariadne> i used to be a freenode staffer lol [22:50:47] <Andrew Lee> really? [22:50:49] <Ariadne> yes [22:50:52] <Ariadne> i wrote the damn ircd [22:51:04] <Andrew Lee> Ah! [22:51:08] <Ariadne> don't you remember, you were on a dev net with me and nirvana (rdv) experimenting with IRCX [22:51:26] <Andrew Lee> That's true! [22:53:30] <Ariadne> as for volunteering, i do not think that is appropriate. i have several conflicts of interest. [22:55:21] <Ariadne> what i would like is an outcome where freenode is stable and dependable. as somebody who i do recognize invested a lot of money into rebuilding IRC's infrastructure, i am sure you agree. [22:55:42] <Andrew Lee> Ah, thanks for being forthcoming about that. If it's personal conflicts, I understand. If it's something like conflicts with another (irc) network, I don't imagine a policy exists nor would exist that will have anything against that at all so long as everyone is pro freenode and greater FOSS on freenode itself. [22:56:22] <Ariadne> but i do not think a governance scenario where there is a benevolent dictator solves anything [22:56:35] <Andrew Lee> That's what I'm trying to solve! ;) [22:56:50] <Ariadne> you? tomaw? christel? lilo? it's always been this way [22:57:19] <Ariadne> the reason why OFTC is more stable (and increasingly the network of choice for projects) is because it has a governance structure that people can actually believe in [22:57:29] <Andrew Lee> It's all drafted out in a separate document dated April 8, but it basically describes a structure wherein each cohort of constituents with stakes within the existence and future of the network would be able to elect a representative. [22:57:37] <Ariadne> freenode is as "traditional IRC" as the networks it has historically derided :) [23:02:12] <Andrew Lee> (to be clear, yes this has been going on since before April 8). [23:02:29] <Andrew Lee> Just to give a timeline in so far as the 'rash' action may not appear as rash when more context is provided. ;) [23:03:26] <Ariadne> i mean in general. it seems to me that both sides are operating in ways that are not helpful to the network community itself. [23:06:16] <Ariadne> i agree in spirit with you, but [23:06:36] <Ariadne> i need to know more details about the proposed governance structure to say whether or not i could support it :p [23:06:45] <Ariadne> actual documentation would help [23:07:50] <Andrew Lee> I like you. ;) [23:08:11] <Andrew Lee> That's very appropriate what you're saying and makes absolute sense, and if you agreed before further was presented/discussed/PUT IN ACTION, I'd think less. ;p [23:09:56] <Andrew Lee> actual documentation will be presented to all at some point. There was a lot in the pipeline to be announced which all actually got paused cuz of this fiasco -_-; [23:10:08] <Ariadne> i think freenode is a very flawed network. trying to fix it from the inside did not help, but i do think charybdis and the atheme workflow were valuable contributions to the topic of IRC network governanc [23:10:10] <Ariadne> e [23:11:39] <Andrew Lee> I have heard bits and pieces of the drama relating to all of this, I can't really make any opinion or comment as it relates to all that as I don't have any depth. That said, any decisions like that should involve the greater network as a whole and absolutely not be left to any 'benevalont dictator' or whatever you had called it earlier [23:12:11] <Andrew Lee> I think one net you oughtt o checkout is DALnet. Very awesome governance structure [23:13:10] <Ariadne> funny you mention DALnet, the design of charybdis and atheme, as well as the atheme workflow were worked on by myself and other ex-DALnet people including dalvenjah himself [23:13:50] <Ariadne> we had a working network, StaticBox, where many of the freenode staffers (including tomaw) were trained in the atheme workflow [23:17:10] <Andrew Lee> Interesting! [23:17:28] <Andrew Lee> Is the atheme workflow documented anywhere? [23:17:48] <Ariadne> in the charybdis operator manual :) [23:18:48] <Andrew Lee> ah xD [23:45:07] <Ariadne> anyway, if you have this governance doc that i can read, i can make some suggestions [23:45:25] <Ariadne> i can't promise support. myself and tomaw go back a long way, in general, i do trust him. [23:45:49] <Ariadne> but in the greater scheme of things, it is good governance that i want to see an that is what i will support [23:46:21] <Andrew Lee> Sounds good, and hopefully once things are settled we can get that sorted as first priority. [23:53:32] <Ariadne> okay [23:53:42] <Ariadne> well, i have alpineconf to deal with this weekend anyway :)

Long story short, Mr. Lee says (about "good governance") that "hopefully once things are settled we can get that sorted as first priority."

"I've been on IRC for something like 26 years; we have no intention of moving to something more bloated or complex."We certainly hope that Mr. Lee recognises the huge importance the network plays in the decision-making, technical work, and general communications (people's relationship) of many thousands of active projects. More communications with pertinent people and projects would likely bring about an amicable resolution, which is much needed and definitely attainable. The person whom we assumed would quit/resign has since then changed his mind (he messaged me to say that). Mr. Lee needs to invest some time to better communicate (directly, not via other people) the situation and the future of the network. I've been on IRC for something like 26 years; we have no intention of moving to something more bloated or complex. Bloat may introduce more problems, in due course, than it purported to tackle in the first place.

In my experience, Matrix users in Freenode/IRC are what Google Groups users do to USENET/Newsgroups. Or what top-posting Microsoft Outlook users do to people who know how to actually use E-mail. It's now reported in the media that 85% of people who relied on Microsoft for E-mail had their accounts compromised (this means also data sent to them, not just from them, i.e. data of people who reject Microsoft too).

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