I was born in the 90s so I never used IRC outside work. I used it for work on a daily basis until a couple weeks ago, and I hate it with passion. The vpn drops and you miss messages. You are offline you miss messages, don't want to miss messages? set up a relay (seriously?!).
Now I'm on a team which uses slack, and I miss how lightweight hexchat is, but in terms of being able to use it my phone and having something that just works without any additional effort it only has advantages.
It's funny for me to see some people are still advocating Slack's "convenience". I mean I get it, Internet Chat because accessible without actually learning what a client or server is. And I'm myself in at least 3 slack groups professionally out of a total of 20...
But I just know nobody, from a variety of OSes, who doesn't experience the "bug where slack completely looses where you are in time" and then you have to scroll for a while because the "Jump to new messages" doesn't work well. I came to the point where I wonder if anybody here doesn't have that bug at all ...
A bug that kills UX like that and that we can do nothing about, not even contribute a fix, and still it seems Slack is the best product people can find, meh, I run Mattermost in my company and we're all very happy with it and don't experience as much problems as we do with Slack.
Never really been anywhere but in tech channels on IRC,
I had a few years without going back but I'm back and I love it.
I'm not a big fan of Slack for a long list of reasons, but at least I don't have to muck about with finicky undocumented (or semi-documented at best) software just to get a basic usable connection which won't drop any messages.
I think just that goes a long way.
Mattermost might be good (never used it), but being self-hosted means it's a lot harder to set up than just subscribing to Slack. I talked about this before on HN: I think providing a simple hosted SaaS should be a key part of the strategy to displace shitty closed-source products like Slack.
Not that hard, if you don't care about two things:
- Typing latency
- Access from mobile devices
Many people don't care about those things; good for them. Unfortunately for me, I do.
I can (and do) use a bouncer, which theoretically solves both problems: text entry is handled by my local IRC client rather than every keystroke going through a server, and I can run an IRC client on my phone. Unfortunately, bouncers are a rather poor approximation of true cross-device history/state synchronization; e.g. they don't sync unread messages. And they're generally slow and fiddly for various silly reasons. For example, most bouncers require you to make a separate connection for each IRC network, which is slower, and requires configuring each client device for each network, annoying if you have a lot of networks. Also, long backlogs can overload slow IRC clients, but typically the alternative to long backlogs is losing history, since there's no standard mechanism for clients to request history on demand.
There are also some IRC clients that do "true" state synchronization, like Quassel or Weechat's relay mode, but none with a tolerable iPhone version, last I checked.
I haven’t used The Lounge; it looks well-designed, but I try to avoid web-based clients as they have a lot of overhead. It also doesn’t seem like The Lounge has any solution for push notifications on iOS.
(Alas, most ‘native’ IRC clients for macOS have web views inside anyway, so avoiding web-based stuff may be a lost cause. But then I’m in no position to complain about Slack or Discord using Electron…)
You still need a VPS or server of some kind, but if the "screen with irssi/weechat" concept sounds too much like 80s UNIX, there is quassel.
It's like a relay/proxy/bouncer but actually uses its own protocol between the GUI and core, so you get infinite backscroll, proper sync when running multiple GUI instances at the same time etc. Oh and there is a decent Android client called quasseldroid.
>You are offline you miss messages, don't want to miss messages? set up a relay (seriously?!).
...Yeah. From installing znc from your favourite package manager to having it set up and running in your client is all of ten minutes, with SSL, auto-joins, channel history and all. Is it a barrier? Yeah. Is it so much of a barrier that it would push someone concerned about centralized services and proprietary software to just give up and use Slack? I don't think so.
Not really. Aside from the warez and books and a few tech channels, I found it really really difficult to make any meaningful connections or even have social conversations there. You go into one of the larger channels and its a hundred people spewing into the channel and its very difficult to even understand what threads are occurring or if they are just talking past each other, let alone actually get a conversation going.
Then you go the smaller channels, and everyone is idling/afk.
Then there were the very specific channels, and any talk of anything other than Pokeman in #pokeman will get you kicked.
The tech channels were reasonably good, but it was mostly business there too.
Occasionally you find a decent room with people talking and looking to just kind of shoot the shit, but I found more often than not, it was someone entirely across the globe- and while that is interesting in its own way, my jaw was on the floor when I first chatted with someone from Singapore in the 90s (long distance was dollars a minute then), I quickly realized that we really had almost no shared cultural context and after "so what is life like in $yourcountry" we didn't have much to talk about.
I was op on a few tech channels on efnet back in the day, and learned some interesting things and gave (and received) a lot of good help, but as far as using it to just chat about the weather and meet people, I found it not very useful- especially compared to AOL chatrooms.
I miss the kind strangers who genuinely cared about helping others without being abrasive jerks. I learned a lot on IRC; made many new friends. This was back in 1994–98 when I was growing up in Turkey. The scene was rather small yet still full of kind enthusiasts. Sure there was some passingly “oh you’re a n00b” messing but it wasn’t toxic. EFNet and DalNet were a bit more different. Maybe less kind but still full of helpful people. If you weren’t grossly stepping out of boundaries of netiquette, you’d get treated with reciprocal dignity.
Honestly, I used to see a lot more abrasive jerks on the IRC of old.
Lots of RTFM and refusing to answer direct technical questions because "why would you want to do that?"
Some channels, like #politics on efnet were true cesspools.
In contrast, my later experience with FreeNode has been consistently helpful on virtually every channel I've been to, except for #paludis, which really was full of jerks. I've seen trolls maybe once every year or two on FreeNode and they've been swiftly dealt with, rarely to be seen again.
I guess your mileage will vary depending on which channels and networks you visit, though.
You should check out chicken scheme's IRC channel. They taught me scheme and answered all my inane questions with patience. I even found a bug once! Hanging out there has made me a more humble person, really.
Addendum: kichimi on rizon.\#rice has just reached out in response to this comment:
2020-02-15 06:55:32 kichimi that post
2020-02-15 06:55:35 kichimi was made by you
2020-02-15 06:55:40 kichimi and i wanted to say hi
2020-02-15 06:55:45 Seirdy hai
2020-02-15 06:55:51 kichimi because i love seeing rizon repped
2020-02-15 06:56:00 kichimi but you didnt put a disclaimer in your post saying rizon was the most toxic network on the internet
I do, but more so the era in which I heavily used it. I started a local IRC channel for my high school. Word spread and eventually we had 100-200 people on it every single night, which was a non trivial % population of the entire school. Not just nerds... everyone from all groups was on it. People are school were asking the more tech friendly folks: "How do I get mIRC on my computer??"
There were so many people on it that there was a legit problem identifying who was who (i.e. nicknames != real names). I eventually made a page linking IRC nicknames to profiles.
Looking back on it now, if I had had more vision, in a parallel universe, I would have replicated this experience to other areas schools in the region.. then state, then country then....?
This is what exactly i am looking for. To chat with passionate people who can not be approached easily. The entry bar is a bit high(setting up IRC to run it 24/7). Can you post the irc channels you are in.
This experience still exists, but you have to find smaller channels where people come to know one another as regulars. The smaller networks and channels still exist and they have a good community vibe.
Of course, it's hard to find out about these channels. IME it takes time to find the small channels (or the small networks, there are many networks tiny enough for nobody to know about unless they've been invited). Try starting with a large channel and eventually you'll find out about smaller and smaller channels. Some larger projects on Freenode are also big enough to have -offtopic channels, which can easily become their own communities.
Keep in mind that a 24/7 connection is basically essential, get a bouncer or use something like IRCCloud.
I don't, because I'm still using it! Me and a few internet friends have a cozy little community, and usually hang out there daily. IRC isn't really dead at all as far as I'm concerned, just not as popular anymore. It's the same as with people who complain that there's no good music anymore, it's there, they just haven't found it.
I don't miss IRC much -- I actually miss the paragraphs-level chat systems with lightweight categories, like MIT Zephyr and Gale. They really encouraged deeper thought, in the way that an HN comment is often deeper than an IRC one, just by virtue of having more time to collect your thoughts and then getting to attach them to the right place. It's surprising that nothing like those systems lasted.
I also miss ytalk, which shared each character you typed as you typed it. I used ytalk with my spouse a lot while we were dating.
You can find very similar communities on Discord today. You may argue that Discord is a totally different vibe, full of kids, spam, memes, and rude people. And you would right, but that's pretty much what most IRC channels, especially those related to gaming, were in the early days as well. You have to go around and look hard to find channels that are different, but they exist.
So, maybe the reason that you don't feel it's the same vibe is not only because technology has changed, but also because you have changed. I also have fond memories of my IRC time in the 90s, but I believe I'm looking at them with rose-colored glasses and not everything was as amazing as I remember it to be.
I miss the feeling you had using it and the fun bots people made in some channels. I do not miss the difficulty of getting less technical users onto it and it's lack of portability with out some work. New tools these days make the portability aspect easy and barrier to entry low for less technical users which expands the user base of a lot of platforms today.
On the other hand, even if the barrier is a bit higher, nice things will eventually be used by everyone even if it evolves some research and learning - or seeking help from others. The most difficult thing about IRC is probably picking a unique user name or even registering one. But yeah, especially non-tech channels had a fun vibe, something I completely miss from Slack or Facebook.
IRC in 1991, until maybe 1999... I don't think anything like that will ever come back. There were some vandals with their scripts, but mostly it was way more civilized than you ever see these days. Had a lot of enjoyable conversations, lots of fun.
I miss the culture that came with small distributed IRC networks. I miss the technical people that chose to use the networks. Those people moved to where they could reach more of their friends and family members.
I do not miss patching the IRC servers and upgrading / rewriting configurations (Unreal IRCD 2.x 3.x 4.x and now 5.x) and Anope services. Certainly not when we went from thousands, to hundreds, to dozens of users. Too much work for too few people making use of it.
I still use it daily after nearly 30 years, though the main channel I'm on has dwindled from hundreds active during its prime to just a handful.
While I miss the people that has moved on over time, I must say Discord feels like a fine replacement for me in terms of functionality. I use Discord for a few technically oriented things and those places give me the same vibe IRC did back in the day.
I miss some channels, but not necessarily IRC as a whole.
I still believe that #csharp on freenode is the main reason why I pursued .NET as a career choice. As far as channels go, they were by far the most helpful when starting out, and they never made me feel like an idiot for not knowing something. Most importantly, the channel was alive. There are so many channels out there with hundreds of users online and zero conversation.
The other day I tried to join a Rails IRC channel to ask about Action Mailbox, and when I saw the quiet channel I decided to ask a question and lurk. In 24 hours, the only messages sent were from people looking for help, and then leaving.
What I miss above anything else is helpful people. It's what drew me to IRC, it's what initially drew me to Stack Overflow, and I'd wager that it's what drew many people to HN. IMO, the medium itself isn't anywhere near as important as the people.
I miss the anonymity, the freedom you had to join a random channel and talk to whoever without being afraid of that being linked to your real persona. In today's internet I tend to watch everything I comment or do, because it can later come back to hunt me.
I can't say I miss IRC particularly. It does have a nice simplicity to it but the fact that connections are stateful and fragile is a real downer - I don't love that closing my laptop and wandering off somewhere onto a new network causes me to disappear from the network entirely.
Bouncers like ZNC rely on having somewhere reliable to host one and are additional maintenance overheads. Leaving irssi or weechat open in a screen/tmux session on a remote host leads to a terrible mobile experience.
I now just find it easier to interact with IRC users using Matrix bridges that other people maintain instead.
twitter took that "vibe" and Eternal September-ed the idea for many people. IRC was already suffering from "if you're not from the right network you're nobody" and fragmentation of user experience with services etc; which didn't help either.
When I reminisce about IRC im usually thinking about the few channels I actually used, which were in my case smaller groups of geek tangentially spawned from a larger channel (everybody met on #slashdot but had other channels for real discussion). That kind of small group text chat is doable on discord now.
I don't miss IRC, since I still use it, but I miss certain channels. I swear every linux related channel I go into is full of a bunch of a-holes. 20 years ago I got a lot of help (and I hope provided a lot of assistance myself) in #linux and others, but now it feels like I'm offending a channel when asking for help.
yeah I joined the bitcoin channel and asked something and I started getting really hostile treatment, I received the explanation that alot of new bad characters had joined recently and were causing trouble. i dont know but yes the positive vibe has gone a bit.
I still use IRC (and NNTP, which I actually only started using it recently). Unfortunately, many people don't use it, but some people do. Please continue to use IRC and NNTP and plain text and so on, which are better than Discord.
I miss having it as a resource though I use it every day. You used to be able to find kernel devs and contributors on #kernelnewbies, now I ask an actual question that isn't a simple Google and I get flatline response.
I do still use it for some communities, our LUG, a few Foss projects and the catv people
Netsplits still suck, nickserv constantly forgets me, but overall it works.
And yes, irssi is still the worst and only irc client I use
Most bounce problems can be fixed with a screen session on your VPS you already use to host stuff.
Upsides include great logging, idle chitchat and a chance to real time communicate ideas and hash ideas out when a ML doesn't work
I was born at the tail-end of the 90s, so never experienced the original 90s IRC "vibe".
However, I'm part of ArchiveTeam, and we use IRC pretty much exclusively for all our projects. Sure, we have a wiki for permanent notes, but all of the discussion, decisions, etc.. happen over on IRC.
Right now quite a few of the channels used by ArchiveTeam are migrating away from EFNet to hackint, due to connection issues with EFNet. Although migration to a different communication platform was brought up, it was almost immediately discounted.
Hugely. Years back we used it at work before switching to Slack. Wish we could switch back I am sick of stupid GIFs, pointless reactions and the rest of Slacks bullshit (terrible client, buggy "editor", etc).
One good thing? I've discovered Ripcord , which is an alternative slack client that has great IRC like vibes :)
Yes, totally. Nowadays IRC is mostly a thing I use very passively to stay in various open source project channels. Back in the day it was a place where other folks who were internet savvy would convene to discuss just about anything. I was in lots of tightly knit small channels and met plenty of friends I still have.
I didn’t use IRC until the mid 2000s, but in my opinion until around ~2012 it was still quite active for many communities.
No. I was the right age and I’m totally of the right mindset but IRC never clicked with me. I went through phases of using it but it has always been more hassle than it’s worth.
I do think Slack and Discord are overengineered for most teams’ needs. They are attempting to justify their existence and solve all the problems. I’d be happy with a simple text chat I could use from my terminal. But IRC is nothing like “simple”.
A bit. A gaming channel that I've been hanging around in since 2003 made the bittersweet move of migrating to Discord as more and more people stopped using IRC.
Given that a lot of InfoSec teams I'm in also use Discord I didn't mind the shift. But my paranoia makes me think that maybe our new home may have a higher chance of imploding due to factors out of our control than when we just stuck on GameSurge.
How can I miss it? I'm still on IRC all day every day. There are amazing little communities out there. You can use netsplit.de to find some of them. And of course there are the larger communities that sort of exist like all the people on Freenode that crossover on many channels.
IRC is very much alive and well. It's just that it didn't grow as fast as all the commercial web.
For everyone saying it's hard to set up a relay, if you use something like The Lounge, deployed by something like HomelabOS, it's pretty much a one-liner to deploy it, then you have a fantastic mobile and web interface accessible from anywhere. I've been using this setup for a while and it's been great.
It's certainly not the same as it was in 1999 when I begun using IRC, but I don't entirely miss anything. I realize that most of the "feeling" is just me being nostalgic. I'm happy with what IRC is and offers today, and I use still use it daily, ever since 1999.
Not particularly, but I’m also not enamored of Slack, either. IRC had easy discoverability that was free for the joining, whereas Slack has a better look and feel and no entire afternoons of channel greetings with nothing accomplished.
Neither one is a strong improvement over the other.
We still have IRC channels with 300 people on a slow hour and over a thousand when busy. I don't think it's gone. As much as I hate discord, it still does it better, but IRC is by far the best place to meet strangers.
If you miss the vibe of a small community of mostly intelligent, supportive beings, you might find some of that in the tildeverse.
It's a "loose association of like-minded tilde communities", which exist on shared *nix systems, usually glued together with an IRC network. As an example, tilde.team is "a shared system that provides an inclusive, non-commercial space for teaching, learning, practicing and enjoying the social medium of unix."
Some tildes have specific focuses like gopher or writing science fiction. I've found the community to be mostly positive and accepting and it definitely has some of that ~Olde Internet~ vibe for me. I sometimes worry about the community growing too large and losing some of that, so maybe I should be keeping my mouth shut? Then again, share the love right? It is that certain day, after all. <3
I avoid those public groups now. Completely biased view, other than the tech channels - I found a lot of pedos on IRC. Same for open source alternatives to IRC like matrix where you had literal channel for sharing CP, a trans community with minors dating adults and sharing ehh questionable pics.
That was a quick delete. I am not motivated to try another FOSS chat for a while, at least the public instance.
For IRC, add a limiting interface, no feedback, bots, hassle with setting up your client because most default web ones suck and bouncer. It's not really worth it for me.
I forgot another thing, weird religious people, lot of people talking in the dark without anyone replying for hours and cryptonites...