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I think this is important enough to have a thread about in lobsters. It seems like Freenode is preventing channels from mentioning libera.chat in their topic, and nuked a whole bunch of channels which did yesterday.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the affected channels, #go-nuts:

11:20 <mort> Wait, just yesterday this channel had the libera channel in its topic
11:21 <mort> what happened?
11:21 <@danderson> freenode staff nuked all channels that had the word "libera" in their topic.
11:21 <@danderson> which includes 700+ OSS projects.
11:21 <@danderson> including #go-nuts :)

For me, this confirms that what happened was just a hostile take-over of Freenode. I was in a “wait and see”-mode until now, but we now know that Freenode is just a malicious IRC network, IMO.

Andrew Lee sent this message to everyone on the network:

06:15 -rasengan- [Global Notice] In the recent policy enforcement, some channels were erroneously included. We greatly apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact us in #freenode-services or contact-us@freenode.net. Thanks for your patience and choosing freenode!

I’m not buying it. You don’t “accidentally” shut down every channel with libera.chat in the topic, including hundreds of channels for FOSS projects.

EDIT: Here’s kline talking about it: https://mastodon.sdf.org/@kline/106299403921451814

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    It seems like it’s now straight up Freenode policy to prevent people from migrating away from Freenode. Andrew Lee has set this as the topic in the #freenode channel:

    We’d like to thank you for your support and patience. If your channel was closed due to some reason, and you’d like to have it back please join us in #freenode-services and we will try our best to help you. Remember, we do not support spamming or advertising other networks in channels topics or in other forms. Apologies for the inconvenience that may have caused. Thank you.

    Keep in mind that “advertising other networks in channel topics” has always been how IRC channel migrations have been handled, on Freenode and elsewhere.

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      HardenedBSD’s channel was taken over by Freenode last night: https://twitter.com/HardenedBSD/status/1397516575561879557

      What a wonderful thing to wake up to.

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        Sorry Shawn. That sucks.

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        What a mess. I founded #riemann for discussion and support of a monitoring system about ten years ago. Tentatively moved to libera after the whole mess last week, but because so much extant infrastructure mentions the Freenode channel, I left a note in the topic that we’d moved. Freenode nuked the #riemann channel; it now forwards to ##riemann, and the topic is gone. This has got to be a huge hassle for projects with logging and bot integration.

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          Due to these actions from Mr. Lee and friends, we’ve made an official statement from Atheme.org (The folks behind the NickServ/ChanServ/etc. software used on Libera and freenode) as an open letter: https://atheme.github.io/atheme-open-letter/

          The gist being that we definitely do not approve of how rasengan’s been operating.

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            Heh, they did it for #ocaml. The channel is almost 18 years old. And I didn’t even say the channel was migrated but that it was merely available on irc.libera.chat because a) I wasn’t completely sure which network should be used (or at least I couldn’t justify it completely properly to others), b) there is no matrix bridge yet on libera, c) the discord bot has not been changed yet.

            They just made a) clear and c) easier (no need to think about the bot handling two networks at once).

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              I also had two of my channels destroyed which only mentioned libera and had not moved over yet. It certainly hastened my departure.

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              It’s already mentioned in relationship to this site: https://lobste.rs/s/1z77ly/libera_chat#c_9niydc

              The only channel I was active in was a small, invite-only single-hash channel that was grandfathered in long ago. I had set the topic to mention the channel was on Libera, but also said that no move had been decided. This morning the channel was nuked, and I was informed I could join a queue of 700+ other much bigger ones to get it reinstated.

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                I could join a queue of 700+ other much bigger ones to get it reinstated.

                I honestly doubt many other channels are interested in getting reinstated. Even if the channel takeovers were due to an honest mistake, this move made it clear that the network is not being run by competent operators.

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                  All the ~dozen denizens of that channel were reached in PM and informed what had happened. We’re on Libera now and I’m honestly glad to be rid of Freenode, on balance.

                  Edit IRC is purely social for me. I’m in that specific channel, an old channel that critiques cryptocurrencies, and the lobste.rs channels. It’s been a long time since I joined a channel to ask a specific technical question.

                  A lot of people are saying this whole affair will be the end of IRC - I don’t think so personally, if only because the decline set in a long time ago.

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                  Same here. they wouldn’t give us our channel back because it violates their policy, a policy they just came up with and didn’t tell anyone about. The staff of Freenode are absolutely worthless.

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                    The current staff.

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                  You don’t “accidentally” shut down every channel with libera.chat in the topic

                  Either they didn’t do their command with a dry-run first, in which case they are inept, or they knew exactly what it would do and are just malicious.

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                    My guess is both.

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                    In response, I updated Wikimedia’s channel closing guidance to no longer mention “Libera” by name and use a short URL to obfuscate the link. Of course, we don’t actually have control over our channels anymore…

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                      I’m wondering where the gain is. Surely a move like this was bound to be a bad idea and scare people away. So after a takeover, the new operator started scaring people away almost immediately. This will end with everyone going away, and then what? What’s the use of operating an irc network that’s empty?

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                        I’ve been wondering about this too. I would honestly have expected Freenode staff to lay low for a while, let the dust settle, present more of their bullshit about how it’s actually the fault of the old Freenode staff who were bad, and let their sheer size carry them through it. They would be left with a network that’s smaller than the old Freenode, but with quite a lot of concurrent users. I bet some of the projects who decided to leave would’ve come back, seeing as a lot of their community was left in the Freenode channel. Other projects would’ve decided to have a split community, with both the Libera and the Freenode channels as their “official” channels. A lot of projects was in a “wait and see” mode where they would basically decide to stick with Freenode at least for a while and see how it turned out; if nothing happened for a while, those would’ve stayed as well.

                        In the end, Lee would’ve ended up in charge of one of the biggest IRC networks. He could then have started monetizing the users, or felt good about being the king of IRC or whatever he’s LARPing as. But instead he decided to burn it all down. Why? Is he just a sad narcissist who went mad from the idea that people weren’t worshiping him? Or is it some scheme to make money? Is there a way to “bet against” the continued existence of Freenode and make money off of everyone who thought it wouldn’t go down in flames? Or does he actually have no idea how IRC works and genuinely thought that forcibly taking control over channels and preventing people from mentioning Libera in their topic was the best way to keep projects at Freenode?

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                          It’s fascinating, and it’s why I’m obsessively following this drama for pure entertainment purposes.

                          I think Lee is not as practiced a businessman as he’s making himself out to be. Such a person would dispassionately have surveyed the situation, and realized that time and inertia was on their side. The mass of users would be on Freenode, and they could advocate, passively or otherwise, for staying where they were. Libera could presumably flare up, sputter, and then fade away.

                          Instead Lee reacted as an IRC op. He saw the loss of channels and users as a personal affront and as an immediate threat, and moved to stop it. (I honestly believe that the mass-takeover of 700+ channels was a mistake - but it’s a mistake that’s easy to make under stress). Coupled with an obvious internalization of the current culture war outlook, he could easily convince himself that the other side was the enemy, employing all sorts of dirty tricks, and feel that his reaction was justified.

                          Like I mentioned, the small channel I was part of was not interested in moving, even if I knew most of the members were personally against the kind of network Lee was creating, and the ops he was inviting. But having our access forcibly removed sure made the decision easier for everyone.

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                            Considering the reported attempts to bribe existing staff with the ability to k-line their “enemies”, I think Lee just has very poor understanding of people who are unlike himself, nor any ability to read them or empathise with them. If you read the chat logs, it’s evident that he thought they would all jump at the chance – in fact exactly zero of them did, as evident by the unanimity of the staff’s mass resignation.

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                          I also noticed that my /part messages were being suppressed if they mentioned libera.chat.

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                            I think this is important enough to have a thread about in lobsters.

                            As gerikson already pointed out, we’ve already had a thread about this. FOSS drama without any technical content just isn’t on-topic (please correct me if I’m wrong).

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                              My view of it is that this is a new development. We’ve had a thread about how Lee took control over Freenode, but this is about Lee forcibly removing control of Freenode channels from the channel operators and changing channel topics to prevent any mention of other networks. I think that’s significant enough to warrant a thread.

                              But I may be wrong. Feel free to mark as spam or off topic if you think this shouldn’t be its own thread.

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                                Yeah, there were plenty of people who saw the original news and said “wait and see; maybe the new owner will be reasonable”.

                                This new development is the opposite of that. It went from “it’d be a good idea to at least have a plan to move off freenode even if you don’t leave immediately” to “it’s over and done”.

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                                  But I may be wrong. Feel free to mark as spam or off topic if you think this shouldn’t be its own thread.

                                  I personally think it should be merged into the other topic as well, since I’m tired of Lobsters becoming the FOSS drama discussion spot. Moreover I’m pretty unhappy about everything that happened yesterday and I’d like to be able to tune this out for a while I regain some emotional fortitude.

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                                Which network will host the lobsters irc channel in the future?

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                                2. 6

                                  If there were channels that weren’t planning on moving before, they’re moving now! Here’s hoping Libera scales up appropriately and communities find their footing.

                                  Libera hit 19k users a short while ago. I don’t think anybody wants to grovel at Lee’s feet to get their channel “reinstated”.

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                                    I’ll be keeping an eye on the users, channels, and reporting server stats to see how things change over the upcoming months and years:

                                    Also the “top 10” at https://netsplit.de/networks/top10.php as well.

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                                      Another site tracking Freenode vs. Libera.Chat servers, channels, and users:


                                    2. 5

                                      The Django project already moved its official channels to Libera, but now apparently Freenode has taken over the previous Django channels.

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                                        Is everything ok with lobste.rs showing this page correctly? I see in the header that there are 78 comments, yet on this page I can only find 7.

                                        1. 19

                                          I screwed up merging another story (q40rxc) into this one (vvciyk) by accidentally giving the id for last week’s roundup (1z77ly). In undoing it I merged last week’s (1z77ly) into this one’s. Too many tabs, too little coffee. It should be all sorted out now.

                                          This will be this week’s thread. Please post new links as comments rather than submit them as top-level stories.

                                        2. 0

                                          Gosh, all this drama makes me wish this game was a reality: Nuke ’em — ha, maybe it already is.