Due to excessive spam in the IRC channel lately, we've had to block unregistered users from joining the channel for an indefinite period of time. We hate to do this, but we're getting way too many troublemakers in the channel recently.
This problem generally stems from the fact that our IRC channel is located on freenode, and the freenode IRC network is very large, and large networks tend to harbor a lot of trolls. freenode also has, from a technical standpoint, a number of issues, such as their IRC software generally being outdated (They're generally afraid of doing server restarts, although that's understandable, given their size and the amount of disruption that would cause). Having our channel on freenode gives us many benefits, but many disadvantages at the same time.
Forcing all users to register for a freenode account is an extreme measure of preventing spam, but it will inevitably prevent some legitimate users from joining as well, as not everyone wants to register for a new account. The restriction on our freenode channel may be lifted someday, but until then, I want to have a non-Wikia chat alternative for our users.
MrBenC, our latest SuperOp, is the most experienced user on our channel, and he is an operator on a number of other networks. He even runs his own network, titled ChatLounge, and this is where I suggest that we create an alternate channel, located on the ChatLounge network. To be fair, the channel on ChatLounge has already been created in anticipation of such a proposal like this one, so this discussion will mostly be about whether or not we should use that channel.
The reason why I suggest we use ChatLounge is that, since it is a smaller network, problems encountered by larger networks are generally easily dealt with, or are non-existent. It also means that, since Ben operates the network (so he has more than just channel access) it is easier for him to deal with trolls, and thus better for everyone as a whole. Plus, Ben develops his own IRC software, and his network runs an updated and maintained IRC daemon (software that runs IRC) and IRC services, so his network will have features not present on freenode. It also means that bugs in the software can be fixed and implemented quickly and relatively painlessly.
You can join our ChatLounge channel now by pointing your favorite IRC client to irc.chatlounge.net and joining the channel #TheSimsWiki. Alternatively, if you do not wish to install additional software, you can access the channel right from your web browser using Kiwi IRC.
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that we shut down the old channel and forcefully move everyone to ChatLounge. This proposal is about creating a second channel, not replacing the first, so that users who do not wish to sign up for an account can use ChatLounge in the event we have to lockdown our freenode channel. In normal circumstances, both channels will be open for all to use.
- It's worth noting that the ChatLounge IRC channel was just struck by the first and probably not the last drive-by spammer. 1358 (Talk) 19:27, July 15, 2016 (UTC)
- I think it's always worth keeping in mind that spam on IRC, just like on the wiki, can't be completely prevented without putting heavier restrictions in place. Since we've decided that to add these restrictions is detrimental, we have to be willing to accept some spam as an unfortunate reality. -- LiR talk • blog • contribs 02:30, July 16, 2016 (UTC)
- Well this discussion grew stale quickly, but I'd like to note that, so far, the channel on ChatLounge has received considerably less spam than the one on freenode. Unfortunately we've had to block unregistered webchat users, but other than spam is more easily managed on ChatLounge, largely because we have the network owner in the channel. Of course, both channels are not spam-free, and both channels run anti-spam bots to deal with the spammer when they show up. —k6ka (Talk · Contributions) 14:06, August 2, 2016 (UTC)
- Disclaimer: I'm the founder and CEO/President of ChatLounge. But I will try to avoid bias.
- By and large I'm in favor of this. Certain things have been observed (I don't want to elaborate here, but folks can ask me on IRC). There is of course the benefit of how I work on adding features, whereas Freenode seems to avoid it almost like the plague. I'm also concerned with the direction in which Freenode seems headed, but the reasons may be somewhat off-topic for this thread.
- Another practical concern has been brought up; channel ban limits. Historically, channel bans were intended for keeping users on the network outside of the channel. By and large, channel management is free to run the channel as they see fit, if it's in compliance with network rules. However, the channel ban limit breaks down and becomes even punitive when it starts to be used for purposes that network bans are intended to be used for, reducing the channel's ability to use bans for their intended purpose. The prohibited behavior that has been observed is generally against the rules of any even halfway well run network (including Freenode, incidentally). However, I don't know if it's because of poor customer service or more likely, understaffing but they have not demonstrated they are really concerned about this issue at all, if they even understand the extent of it.
- The latest result of this lack of attentiveness is the draconian measure, the "nuclear solution" of permanent +m, which requires users to have voice. While all vetted regular users are voiced, and it's in fact very easy for a normal user to get voice on a temporary or permanent basis, I am also concerned that otherwise new users may receive the wrong impression that the channel is somehow a private club with exclusive membership.
- By having the channel on ChatLounge, in addition to the benefits I highlighted in the first paragraph, channels enjoy higher ban limits even without staff approval for an even larger list (#TheSimsWiki on ChatLounge has already been granted the higher limits), and a bot is available and present that will automatically k-line users who engage in certain behaviors, which will reduce wasted ban list space.