Goodbye Freenode

Sunday 13 June 2021

For the last month or so, the IRC world has been embroiled in drama over the new ownership of Freenode. For me, it culminated yesterday when I was banned from Freenode.

I’m not going to try to recap what happened in detail, but I can give you my overall perspective on it. The new owners started on the wrong foot, and then mishandled every subsequent interaction. At every turn, people feared the new owners and staff were going to do something malicious. Then something bad would happen, people would say, “look: malice!,” and the new staff would say, “it wasn’t malice, it was a mistake!” Then it would happen again.

A month ago, when the new trends were becoming clear, the operators of the #python channel (including me) decided to move #python to the new Libera.chat network being run by the old Freenode staff. But we also stayed in the Freenode channel to let people know where everyone had gone.

Yesterday, after a heated debate in the Freenode channel where I was accused of splitting the community, I got k-lined (banned entirely from Freenode). The reason given was “spamming”, because of my recurring message about the move to Libera. Then the entire Freenode #python channel was closed. So much for caring about the community.

Was it malice or was it mistake? Does it matter? It’s not a good way to run a network. After the channel was closed, people asking staff about what happened were banned from asking. That wasn’t a mistake.

I can’t claim to know the minds of the new Freenode owners or staff. All I can do is see their actions, or I could until they banned me from Freenode. I know that some of the new staff are people we had come to know over the years as persistent disrupters in #python. The people advocating for the new Freenode staff seem to trend towards the anti-code-of-conduct, “free speech means I don’t have to care” cohort. And the new staff seems to be using force to silence people asking questions. It’s clear that transparency is not a strong value for them.

Setting aside network drama, the big picture here is that the Freenode #python community isn’t split: it’s alive and well. It’s just not on Freenode anymore, it’s on Libera.

Freenode was a good thing. But the domain name of the server was the least important part of it, just a piece of technical trivia. There’s no reason to stick with Freenode just because it is called Freenode. As with any way of bringing people together, the important part is the people. If all of the people go someplace else, follow them there, and continue.

See you on Libera.

» 15 reactions

Comments

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Steven Wilson 5:52 PM on 13 Jun 2021

May the change bring growth.

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Thanks for all your work!

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nedbat is an absolute legend in the #python freenode channel answering questions tirelessly. He helped me a lot when I was starting with python.

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nedbat is a legend and trust me, if he gets banned there's something wrong with the people banning. I've been on freenode as horribleprogram for years, even though I don't see eye to eye with cheeser, I'd say dreamreal and cheeser from java/kotlin and nedbat from python have been the most helpful admins, and the fact that they've put up with my dumb ass for years shows how lenient they are, even if I did get a couple boots lol

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We were straddling between Freenode and Libera for a while. Wiping all nicks and channel registration was the last straw. No reason to return to Freenode now.

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why did this happen and now why?

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is this the beginning of the end of freenode

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I was the one who made the decision to have nedbat removed. That decision was based on years of observing his behaviour when handling specific scenarios. It was justified and this person should not be an authority in any community.

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It's funny, because I was the one who made the decision to have Bagira removed from #python. That decision was based on years of observing his behaviour when handling specific scenarios. It was justified and this person should not be an authority in any community.

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I should also clarify that this was all part of an effort to remove serial defamers in the FOSS community to protect the users in those communities, and that the people that were removed were all involved in it. We do not need to depend on smears in the way that Yhg1s does to justify those decisions. Lynching behaviour is the new intolerance in FOSS and it will result in your removal eventually too. The days when you could band together to lie about someone to justify your misuse of your authority are over, and if you can't accept that then perhaps you should consider spending your time doing other things.

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@Bagira: You seem to be calling me a defamer, yet you are making accusations against me ("years of observing his behavior") without any evidence. You accuse Yhg1s of "smearing," yet he used precisely the same words you did. Are you also smearing?

If you like, we can each publish some logs of interactions we considered problematic, and let people decide for themselves.

Or, maybe people have already decided: Libera.chat is alive and well.

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I'm not vulnerable to your propaganda and gaslighting, and I don't think the readers are either. Nor am I prone to coercion or threats.

I don't care what you do as long you're not hurting people or in a position to hurt people in a space that I can protect people from you and your circles in.

This will be my last response as you seemed confused about the reasons for your removal. It was justified. Learn and grow from it, and become better people.

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@Bagira, relax. I have not threatened you, and am not trying to coerce you. I'm not trying to convince you of anything, so propaganda and gaslighting are also out. I was simply talking about helping people evaluate our competing claims of bad behavior. If you don't want to do that, that's also fine. People can judge for themselves.

Go in peace.

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Bagira telling people to become better people. Hmm

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@Bagira you strike me as someone who projects your own character onto innocent adversaries to defend your ego. If you had an IQ higher than about 75, you'd have hilariously doctored log files so you could follow up with the claim that you're acting out a joke about textbook sociopaths for the purpose of entertainment. Then you'd have plausible deniability on your side. But alas... where are your doctored logs? Come on, the readers want drama!

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