back to article Freenode IRC staff resign en masse, unhappy about new management

Most of the volunteer staff of Freenode, an internet relay chat (IRC) network dating back to 1995, have resigned in protest over what they describe as a hostile takeover of the chat service. And many have launched an alternative service, Libera Chat. Freenode, which has focused on serving as a real-time communication channel …

  1. joepie91

    Lee is outright lying. The infrastructure for Freenode was provided by sponsors, not by him, and there were no expenses to finance.

    When Lee says that he was putting money "into Freenode", what he really means is that he was putting money into Freenode Limited, a company which he *also* owns and controls, and which had no operational relationship with the IRC network - it was used for organizing a conference.

    Until recently, he had - despite his claims to the contrary - no access to the infrastructure at all.

    1. martyn.hare

      Looks like I will be dumping PIA then..

      I chose them as a VPN provider because of their support for Freenode. So they can consider me an ex-customer because despite historical controversies, I know who I’d trust more... If Christel chose to back out, it would have been nothing to do with tomaw or any of the other staffers putting pressure on her; it would have been as a canary in the coal mine warning.

      With all that said, while I fully support folks moving away from Freenode to Libera, there is another long-standing option (OFTC) which is also devoid of all the historical dirty laundry. Perhaps the ex-Freenode staff should negotiate with them to find a way to rapidly onboard existing projects there instead. It has the infrastructure and it has staff who will probably welcome the additional volunteers and promotion with open arms. All OFTC needs to become a truly suitable home is a bit of persuading to allow more kinds of off-topic channels and its golden!

      1. TrevorH

        Re: Looks like I will be dumping PIA then..

        I don't think they need to merge with OFTC. According to is already the 6th largest IRC presence on the internet and scheduled to pass OFTC in the next few days. Effectively libera is freenode by another name since it has the same staff and many of the same sponsors have already given them new servers.

  2. Andrew Williams

    Well, May Freenode resurrect itself, and get back to being decent.

    Slack btw, is not nearly as much use as irc bot wars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I used to love IRC. The user base got so toxic though for some reason.

      I made loads of friends on IRC in the late 90s in various different communities.

      It starting getting a bit shitty towards 2005 though as a lot of communities started filling up with trolls and arseholes.

      1. Dabooka

        ^ What he said

        Been that long ago I had forgotten how big a deal it was.

      2. chuBb.

        Im sure its coincidental that a load of torrent sites went dark via www, and hooked their db's to bots in that time frame...

        how i miss the cries of "netsplit", and poking about leech servers, although everything streamed is more legal than it ever was, its no where near as much fun, and their is no replacement for the ripped bootleg tapes you could get back then on streaming platforms.....

        Usenet inspite of its bearly detectable pulse im happy to report is still rife with good old fashioned flame wars....

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        I made loads of friends on IRC in the late 90s in various different communities.

        It starting getting a bit shitty towards 2005 though as a lot of communities started filling up with trolls and arseholes.

        I think all communities on the internet started having the same problem at the same time to be frank.

        I suspect that's mostly due to kids getting online as their parents upgraded to DSL for the entire house instead of a dial up connection for the parents only in the first years of the millennium.

  3. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    I still monitor my IRC account and still conduct some business with it. It is very good at what it was originally used for. I guess that makes me old..

  4. El blissett

    .... an IRC service still had staff?

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      You need people to conduct server maintenance, apply patches, keep services operational.

      You also need people to enforce server and network rules, deal with spammers and other abusive users, moderate conversations and protect users from bad actors.

      A quarter of a million people make a lot of noise, even if they're all behaving. Not all will be behaving.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a link to the twitter thread of a freenode staffer that includes links to the logs of them trying to bribe her. I somehow doubt Lee's characterisation of events.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      I think you've mischaracterised those two logs. I thought Lee came across well, as did Ariadne.

      I did like "I have code running on two planets". It's shameless self promotion and yet unanswerably cool.

      1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

        It's more that it reads like a childhood spat over a Minecraft server (analogy stolen from, appropriately, an IRC chat), not a service that thousands of projects professionally depend on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The characterization came from the one that got offered the bribes herself.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          I read them too - the guy who went by the handle "nirvana". Wrote like a 14yo trying desperately to befriend an adult, but turns out to be this guy:

    2. James 47

      I wonder if posting these confidential chats is a violation of GDPR

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        GDPR @James 47

        Why would this be violation of GDPR?

        I live in a GDPR covered country, and you're free to share any personal chat/recording or e-mail as long as you have been taking part in it - and if it's not business / state secrets for example.

        Eavesdropping or reading other peoples' email is not allowed, and that's not the case in this IRC log.

        Perhaps the laws in England don't allow airing your correspondence but I doubt it.

        1. martyn.hare

          Re: GDPR @James 47

          IANAL but I did look this up a while ago for my own reasons.

          You’re free to keep conversations for individual, personal use without a warning, even if they’re covertly recorded telephone conversations, provided it’s your own personal phone/computer in your own home. What your probably won’t be able to do is use it as evidence in court as it could be deemed unlawful but not illegal depending on the circumstances.. but that’s not a real-world issue for airing dirty laundry like this. What it definitely won’t do is make you a criminal, as household data processing isn’t covered by GDPR or by RIPA. If it was, everyone would technically become a dirty crim the moment they launched the Facebook app due to “covertly” sharing the PII of their phone contacts without consent.

          There is also the fact that IRC logging is a default/common practice, as well as multiple warnings about this within the software itself. Finally, for the nerds among us, public channel messages and user-to-user messages are all sent using PRIVMSG under the hood, further indicating that there is no real privacy to be had!

          I would say she’s well within her rights to do what she wants, even in jolly old England.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Death to Kings!

    All monarchies are parasites on our planet.

    1. Aoyagi Aichou

      Re: Death to Kings!

      All humans are.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was a oper

    I was a oper for a while, after being in for about 10 years.

    Made alot of friends from all over the world and met alot of them irl as well. Many treated it as a pick up join, I was there to make contacts and friends. Even had some business dealings with people I met in

    Sis married someone she met in as well. And I am married to a friend of another friend as well.

    I have visited many IRC networks over the many years of IRC experience including freenode.

    It's been over 10 years since I was last active in IRC. But am still in touch with many friends I made in

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smallminded people and their little fiefdoms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better to replace them by a money-making kingdom, heh?

  9. Ordinary Donkey

    Interesting timing, what with PIA's connections to Israel and all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    User Ratio

    "76,000 users and 42,000 chat rooms"

    That doesn't seem like a very good ratio - 1.8 users per chat room assuming each user is only in 1 room (which I know they won't be). Even with most users in multiple rooms it doesn't sound like its a thriving community. All the open source projects I am involved in have moved to other platforms (mostly slack, despite its non-open credentials). I imagine most of these 42000 chat rooms already have alternative platforms available and its just a few old dinosaurs still there.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: User Ratio

      "1.8 users per chat room"

      Easy advertising opportunity - online meet and greet for introverts.

    2. John Geek

      Re: User Ratio

      FWIW (about $0.02), the freenode chans I lurk on have 1000 users, 500, 280, and 100. the first three are the semi-official peer support channels of various open source projects, and the latter is a social channel for an obscure hobby. all are pretty active

    3. Aoyagi Aichou

      Re: User Ratio

      I'd suggest Freenode has plenty of very healthy communities -

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: User Ratio

      These dinosaurs make the world go around, so get your head out of your arse.

  11. Blackjack Silver badge

    Puppy Linux already has a chat room on libera, unfortunately the server is still lacking some stuff since is so new.

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Oh happy joy joy

    It seems Freenode ran a bot that closes down chatrooms that mention alternative chatroom providers. So if you're chatroom were wondering if they should move or not they've effectively been forced to. I'm guessing Lee hasnt got a fucking clue what he's doing.

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