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Questionable Data Mining Concerns IRC Community

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the that-eliza-can't-keep-her-mouth-shut dept.

Privacy 306

jessekeys writes "Two days ago an article on TechCrunch about IRSeeK revealed to the community that a service logs conversations of public IRC channels and put them into a public searchable database. What is especially shocking for the community is that the logging bots are very hard to identify. They have human-like nicks, connect via anonymous Tor nodes and authenticate as mIRC clients. IRSeeK never asked for permission and violates the privacy terms of networks and users. A lot of chatters were deeply disturbed finding themselves on the search engine in logs which could date back to 2005. As a result, Freenode, the largest FOSS IRC network in existence, immediately banned all tor connections while the community gathered and set up a public wiki page to share knowledge and news about IRSeeK. The demands are clear: remove all existing logs and stop covert operations in our channels and networks. Right now, the IRSeeK search is unavailable as there are talks talking place with Freenode Staff."

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306 comments

It's DejaNews all over again. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552485)

When will Google buy them out?

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552499)

Whatever IRSeek were doing was obviously highly important and very profitable, as no one noticed them for nearly two years...

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553153)

Considering they revealed it two days ago, I'm not sure how that's relevant. They clearly didn't want to be noticed yet as they built up this information.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552501)

and theres nothing wrong with bash.org though? sounds kinda hypocritical.

Re:hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552525)

Bitches come, bitches go, what do you know?

IRC is still alive? (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552517)

IRC is pretty much a shadow of its-self from the good old days of perhaps 10 years ago. Does anyone really even bother with it now? Between the scams/spam/abuse, why bother?

And no, I'm not trolling, i was there in the beginning, but watched it degenerate into a virtual cesspool years ago, and got out before it hit rock bottom. Has it improved?

Re:IRC is still alive? (4, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552567)

IRC has always been about social groups. If you have one (or more), then its still good.

I think DALnet has done quite well handling abuse. We've switched our infrastructure over to an anycast model that seems to have made us fairly resilient to DOS attacks, and we have made major progress in dealing with drones and abusing bots.

Re:IRC is still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552595)

IRC is very much alive.
It's easy to lose touch with a service/community if you don't follow it. You obviously need to IRC moar.

You can find virtual cesspools if you want. Some people do. You can also find channels which interest you.

Re:IRC is still alive? (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553013)

But it's nothing like it used to be. Cesspools are everywhere. Most channels have died. Most connections are bots or idle clients. This varies from network to network but I don't know of any network that has actually grown stronger over the years, all have weakened. Freenode might be the exception just because of the amount of OSS discussions that take place there. But I know that my IRC home, Efnet, and others I visit on occasion, Undernet and Dalnet, are nothing like they used to be.

Re:IRC is still alive? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552643)

Has it improved?

I hardly use it that much, but when I do I don't use non-effnet servers but the smaller private networks that require authentification.

Re:IRC is still alive? (4, Insightful)

Minupla (62455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552761)

Strangely enough I made the same decision in about 93, so I'd say 15 years ago is when it went downhill (I remember +channels, before #channels!). I'm not sure if there's not a formula related to number of years out of college you are as to when 'IRC went downhill' :)

Min

Re:IRC is still alive? (5, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552765)

Does anyone really even bother with it now?
I use IRC daily and the amount of conversations and users have increased in my time of using IRC. And I've used IRC back when you had to dial into a BBS to use it, back when ANSI color codes were the norm (I was pretty young then, and couldn't type very coherent sentences).

And no, I'm not trolling, i was there in the beginning, but watched it degenerate into a virtual cesspool years ago, and got out before it hit rock bottom. Has it improved?
That really depends on IRC network and their channels. The places I goto haven't degenerated.

Re:IRC is still alive? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552855)

IRC is pretty much a shadow of its-self from the good old days of perhaps 10 years ago. Does anyone really even bother with it now?

Some people say that all history is a shadow, so in a way aren't you saying that anything that existed in the past can be compared negatively to its "good old days?" I think in a different social circle this might be called "old-timer's disease." IRC is just as good as it's ever been in my 15 years of using it, but I don't use it for social purposes so my experience may be different than those who always used it similarly to today's instant messaging.

Ensuring the Privacy of Internet Communication (2, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552991)

There are two types of communication on the Internet. One is broadcast communication. In it, a user sends a message to a medium, and the general public can access the medium. Examples include the SlashDot forum and a channel on IRC. A user of such media should assume that whatever she writes is readily available to the FBI, NSA, etc.

The second type of communication is peer-to-peer. A user sends a message to a specific user. Examples include e-mail, phone communication, and the like.

Anyone can ensure the privacy of peer-to-peer communcation. Consider two users who want to exchange e-mail messages. First, the users pick a reliable encryption tool (which are readily available on the Internet) and an encryption key. Then, each user encrypts a message before sending it via e-mail to the other user. Even the NSA will be unable to crack the message (if the users pick a good encryption tool).

Encryption can also be applied to voice communication. The users can use an Internet-phone software application to communicate by voice via the Internet. Each user merely needs to encrypt the data packets before sending them to the other user's computer.

If you believe that someone (e.g., a Russian spy) is wiretapping your regular (mobile or landline) phone, then do voice communication via the Internet. In Russia, most people use cell phones, so they just need to ensure that the phone has a data-communication mode in addition to the regular voice-communication mode. To ensure private communication, the user switches the mode of his phone to data-communication mode and uses his phone as a modem. He plugs the modem into his computer and then runs an Internet-phone software application to communicate via the Internet. The FSB (successor to the KGB) can record the entire session of encrypted Internet packets, but the FSB will be unable to decipher the communication.

Re:IRC is still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553007)

That's like asking is anyone really even bothers with email anymore. Except with IRC it's much easier to keep the bad out. You just need a good community with a purpose (not just idle chat), and no remorse with dealing with spammers. I know several high profile open source projects have all their development discussion happening on dedicated IRC channels. Every few weeks there'll be a script kiddie who wants to show off his botnet and be annoying, but they all get klined very swiftly and business will continue as usual with barely a hitch.

Re:IRC is still alive? (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553027)

Yes, IRC is very much alive, both for Open Source collaboration, but also for (actually usefull) conference calls.

Re:IRC is still alive? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553149)

IRC is as good as it ever was, in other words not that great anymore. The people might still be there, but basicly:

1. Netsplits - my primary hate object. Since IRC is adfree and without a corporate backer, the service levels are often poor to terrible.
2. No offline messages. Since there's no single backer, you can't send a message to someone that they'll get when they return.
3. Same goes for when you lose a conversation due to netsplits (you can DCC chat though, if you remember to use it).
4. No support for smileys/other short animations. No, it's not just teen girls using those.
5. No support for mic, webcams etc.
6. DCC sucks terribly particularly with firewalls and NAT. Who's making a connection depends on whether it's send or resume, meaning you can send a file, connection gets broken and you can't resume!?
7. You can register for a nick on most networks, but that doesn't stop someone else from taking it so messages go to the wrong people
8. Doing some of the more advanced features like sharing a folder with someone (fserve) is a lot harder than in modern chat programs.

IRC isn't bad, really it's not. But it was designed in the 1970s and the world has moved forward a bit, and with IRC being design by commitee, IRC just hasn't kept up. I guess the closest heir is Jabber, which has for the most part gone largely ignored for the seven years it's been around. I guess it mostly depends on where your friends are at, and right now most of them are on proprietary networks. The hacks to allow other clients to access those networks aren't exactly helping the uptake of an open standards backend either.

What's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

evolvearth (1187169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552527)

Our nicks on IRC provide a level of anonymity, and we know that actual people do keep logs of us. Many of our quotes even end up on http://www.bash.org./ [www.bash.org] I go onto IRC knowing that my conversation is not necessarily private, and if I ever wanted to discuss private details of myself to someone on IRC, I could simple private message him. I could even set up a private room if I have to discuss private matters to a group of people. I don't know why I'd discuss private issues with those on IRC, but some people may for whatever reasons. It's silly to expect privacy on IRC. Never say anything in public that you don't want to come back at you. If anything, just set up a passworded channel if you're planning a violent revolution.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552629)

I did not authorize anyone to redistribute my copyrighted material. All are in violation of law.

Re:What's the big deal? (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552723)

Tough shit. If you don't want your shit out there, keep it to yourself. No one is forcing you to participate. If you don't like it, go quietly freeze to death in the woods.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552867)

Oh so it's okay to pirate movies, TV shows, books, etc. because they are all publicly available? Thanks for the tip jackass.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553033)

Slight difference between the two. I am annoyed by logbots and have tended to ban anything I suspected of being one. I don't like them, I don't want to see them, I want all of them gone, but they are breaking no laws. Media pirates are breaking laws.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553103)

Oh so it's okay to pirate movies, TV shows, books, etc. because they are all publicly available?

No, it's obligatory. If you pay for them, you're part of the system of oppression, which makes you an enemy. If you're not with us, you're against us, and a part of the Axis of Evil, and no longer subject to the bounds of common morality and ethics. People who pay for media should be caned.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552891)

If you dont whant your shit(movvie, music) on bittorrent dont publish them. No one is forcing you to use a outdate buisnise model. If you don't like it, go, you too, quietly freeze to death in the woods.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552851)

I did not authorize anyone to redistribute my copyrighted material. All are in violation of law.


If your IRC text is copyrighted, then does quoting your comment in mine also count as a copyright violation?

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552687)

A level of anonymity is one thing, but given that my nickname is also linked to my real name, I'd prefer that my prospective employers can't pull up something I said in a moment of stupidity five years ago.

Many of us out there started our technical exploration on IRC. Some people get into computers and then find IRC. Some are the opposite - find IRC and then get into computers. I can credit IRC and the people on there with my entire career choice.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553035)

A level of anonymity is one thing, but given that my nickname is also linked to my real name, I'd prefer that my prospective employers can't pull up something I said in a moment of stupidity five years ago.

Five years from now you will regret that post, Mr. E. Pip Hani.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552901)

It's the difference between letting passers by see you on the street and having a 24/7 surveillance network watch you in every public moment of your life, with total search capabilities.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

evolvearth (1187169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552979)

My constitution is supposed to protect me from unnecessary search and seizures. It doesn't really protect me from logs of my anonymous antics being posted on a website. I could have easily used my real name, but I felt having my own identity, free to say whatever was on my mind without paying the consequences: embarrassment, being socially ostracized and all of that fun stuff. I'm about as paranoid as the next guy, but unless someone does very deep research on me, they could find out how sick and perverted little deviant I really am. Well, no more than the next guy, but we always seem to think that we're more capable of handing our sick little fantasies and thoughts than another possessing much of the same. I'm not afraid.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553063)

And to clarify, the constitution protects you from the government performing unnecessary search and seizure. Granted if it is performed by a non-government entity we tend to call such things breaking and entering.

Sorta (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553041)

Let me tell you my favourite "in Soviet Russia" kind of story. The story of how a handful of Party officials held some hundreds of millions of people in line.

Yes, everyone knows about Stalin's brutal mass executions and deportations. Very distasteful business, that. It also created so much resentment that it was unsustainable in the long run.

So it evolved into something more subtle: the idea that somewhere there's a dossier about you, containing a lot of the stupid things you've said in the past. You don't know exactly what or how much. (After all, they were the non-computer kind.) And you don't know when or how it will bite you in the arse later.

Maybe you can kiss any chance of traveling abroad goodbye. Maybe now your chances of promotion or of finding a better paid job, just became nil. Or maybe you're just this far from having to explain it all to the secret police and, if you're lucky, looking forward to a long career somewhere in Siberia. Or maybe it will bite your kid in the arse, if they can't get you. Etc.

In a nutshell, the idea was that you don't have an expectation of privacy. Anything you say, even nodding approvingly when comrade Piotr swears at the government at the pub, might become permanently attached to you and a factor in which way your future goes.

Worse yet, how do you know if comrade Piotr isn't an agent provocateur, trying to get you to say something you'll regret?

So people learned to think twice before opening their mouth, and avoid saying anything that might be used against them. It turned them into a mass of isolated (and thus vulnerable) individuals, because not many risked saying (or even listening to) anything that could have been the start of an organized resistance.

And now back to the topic, here's what I wonder: why the heck do we allow the same in the West, if it's done by corporate PHB's instead of the Communist Party?

The effects, way I see it, can be exactly the same: anything you ever say or do is recorded _somewhere_. Be it Google, or such recorder bots or whatever. And in an age where HR drone routinely google employees and prospective employees, it can come back to bite you in the arse.

And to get even more back on topic: even if you started a private conversation with comrade Piotr, how do you know if he's not just baiting you for something to post on Bash?

Yes, nicks are a privacy tool, but for most people it's not as unbreakable as they think. We already know that most ISPs would give away the owner of an IP address without even asking for a court order. Did you ever register that nick? Because if you did, now the IRC server has information linking that nick to an email address. If you think none can be bullied into giving it away, think twice.

Plus, are you paranoid enough to keep _all_ conversation at the level of "I'm evolvearth, you don't need to know my RL name and telephone number"? Well, kudos if you do, but most people don't. For most, online communication seems to be just an extension of RL communication. (And please don't imagine that said in a condemning tone or anything.)

So basically, all these attempts of recording everything we say or do... will they just turn us into some obedient serfs to our corporate overlords? You know, better not say anything that makes you sound like a maladjusted anarchist, because some HR drone will google you. That might be your job you're throwing away there. Better not say anything against the government too, because you don't know when your (current or future) company gets a chance at a government pork-barrel contract that requires a thorough background check. Etc.

Yes, you can password protect channels, do it all in private channels, etc, but I'd say even that might not help you much once enough people learned to just keep their mouth and fear strangers asking about certain matters.

Just some (admittedly pessimistic) stuff to think about, if you're bored enough ;)

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553145)

and we know that actual people do keep logs of us.

And you don't think that the scale is a concern? It's one thing that people keep a log, but now, even that's not necessary, just have 'bots log in.

Freenode as OSS? (2, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552543)

So what exactly makes an IRC network FOSS? Almost all the major networks have been publishing their code since their inception. Given that I've been part of the coding team for DALnet for the last seven years - and publishing Bahamut as GPL the entire time, saying that freenode is the "largest FOSS network"...

As a side note, DALnet has banned tor nodes quite a while ago, because of services abuse coming from those IP addresses.

Re:Freenode as OSS? (2, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552605)

It's that the network is dedicated to supporting and promoting FOSS, not that the networks code is FOSS (although it is).

Re:Freenode as OSS? (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552609)

"Freenode provides discussion facilities for the Free and Open Source Software communities" freenode [slashdot.org]

I think that you misinterpreted what you quoted, "FOSS network" means the network itself exists for discussing FOSS projects, not that the ircd is the largest free ircd.

Re:Freenode as OSS? (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552627)

... saying that freenode is the "largest FOSS network"...
They're not talking about Freenode as being FOSS, they're talking about how the community on Freenode is mostly composed of FOSS projects. Many FOSS projects hold their meetings or make their developers available on Freenode, I know when I'm looking for help with a particular project that Freenode is the first place I go.

There is no privacy on the internet... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552589)


If you're posting something on the internet, you should have the expectation that everyone in the whole world may someday know it was you who wrote it.

David Brin's essay on the end of privacy is probably appropriate reading here...

Copyright (-1, Troll)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552593)

Logging over IRC then reproducing my entire performance / written work violates my copyright. And I suddenly feel an urge to sue any website that contains covered material that I have released, unless they license that material from me appropriately.

It's not fair use when you log nearly 100% of what I say.

Re:Copyright (1)

remahl (698283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552839)

A conversation is typically not copyrightable.

Re:Copyright (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552931)

It is a live performance AND a written work. Easily something copyright covers.

Re:Copyright (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553081)

Good luck defending something like that in court. I think you have a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the scope of copyright or the nature of conversations.

Re:Copyright (2, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553137)

but in most states a conversation is illegal to record unless all parties expressly allow it. The owner of a bar can't just start audio recording at all the tables if they want to...(video is OK with NO audio, and audio is allowed in "general" or at a register, but recording individuals is highly unethical and probably illegal, let alone to publish that somewhere. I don't see how IRC is any different other than it's "written" because it's typed on a computer so that may change the rules.. from an oral conversation.

But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (1, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552603)

So anonymity for individual people is a privacy right of the holiest nature, but anonymity for bots is bad because then you can't discriminate against them. Hmm.

Re:But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552655)

Yeah, you can't apply human rights to computer programs you know.

Re:But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552671)

Yeah, you can't apply human rights to computer programs you know.

What about those I don't know?

Re:But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552677)

As Bots are not human, they don't have human rights.

Re:But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552875)

On the internet, no one knows you're a dog.

I'll grant you bots (at least, non-moderator-sanctioned bots) might not be entitled to any protection. But how do you know who's a bot? Turing tests notwithstanding, it's pretty hard to distinguish a well-designed bot from a person who's AFK. Should we start kicking lurkers off channels because they might be bots?

Re:But isn't anonymity a privacy right? (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553139)

My philosophy on IRC has always been an op can pretty much ban anyone for any reason. Not everyone likes that, and certain rooms have policies saying when an op can or can't ban but my general approach has always been to just ban if I think there is any reason to do so. I've been wrong at times and so the bans were lifted, but usually it turns out to be a good call. So yes, it's fine to kick lurkers off the channel because they might be bots. If they prove otherwise, sure, let them back in.

IRSeeK down? (1)

machinelou (1119861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552617)

As of 12:43pm EST, the search features of IRSeeK appeared to be down.

Re:IRSeeK down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552679)

I would imagine that would be a very hard site to operate once the packet mannies find it.

good idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552621)

How many times has someone come into a linux channel asking for help when the same question was answered 5 minutes earlier. IRSeek will be a great resource for information. I haven't used IRC in a couple of years now but I remember all the channels that I actively participated in where set so they didn't appear in /list.

Re:good idea (3, Insightful)

surgen (1145449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552715)

"How many times has someone come into a linux channel asking for help when the same question was answered 5 minutes earlier."

If that question is asked as frequently as you make it seem to be, the person asking it could have found the answer with a websearch. The fact that they didn't search the web tells you that they certainly won't use an irc search engine first either.

Re:good idea (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552791)

While it may be slightly useful in "help" channels like the ones you describe, some channels already had searchable logs online years ago.
Being in a channel dedicated to help where you are fully aware a clearly identified bot is logging all your traffic to a website is one thing...
Having a third party unconnected with the operators of the channel or the network it sits on covertly monitoring channels using intentionally hidden bots is quite different.

Re:good idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552817)

My channel has a FAQ covering all manner of subjects. The channel topic links to the FAQ and requests that everyone read it. We even got chanserv to automatically message users as they join asking them to read the FAQ. Despite all of this we still have people constantly coming in and asking questions which are answered in the FAQ. If people can't even read a channel's official FAQ after being explicitly asked to more than once, why do you think they'll check some obscure IRC search engine?

Wow... (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552623)

The three people who still use IRC are going to be *pissed!*

(Last time I used IRC was in an attempt to get support on a particular open source software package. Worst. Support. Ever. In a room with 50+ connected people, seemingly every single one was AFK for a solid 5 minutes. Of course when someone got back, they just told me I was in the wrong IRC room to ask that question, [you know, the one in the product's documentation!] and I was stupid for not knowing it. The other 49 AFK people never said a word, so I kind of wondered why the hell they even bothered to connect. Of course, maybe they were all secret IRC logging bots, heh.)

Re:Wow... (3, Informative)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552701)

I agree that IRC is an odd medium to get support for a piece of software, but I've personally had the exact opposite experience. I've been getting to know git [git.or.cz] lately. Seeing as it's a bit of a strange beast, I've run into a few problems occasionally due to using the wrong command or whatever. Twice, I decided to try popping onto freenode (using Pidgin) and had my answer within about 10 seconds.

That said, I personally don't really _expect_ "good support" for FOSS, I usually assume that it's up to me to figure it out, and otherwise, that mailing lists are usually the best place to look. I'd say that about 95% of the time someone else has previously had the same problem and I can get my answer through Google in a few minutes.

Sure, there are times where I have to browse through pages and pages of hits, but often it's a really special corner case, and then I decide to make a post so that my question and answer might be archived somewhere for someone else to find. Don't forget to check newsgroups! Google Groups in particular contains tons of answers.

Re:Wow... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552833)

It wasn't my *choice* (I didn't even have an IRC client on my computer.) The product's documentation said to go into that IRC channel for help. If IRC is the worst place to go for support, why would the documentation point me there? And assuming that IRC is the best place to go for support... well, that open source product just had really crummy support, I guess is what it comes down to either way.

For what it's worth I much, much prefer web forums to mailing lists and to IRC. I don't want to subscribe to a 500 message a week mailing list to ask a single question (then have to unsubscribe-- what a huge pain!) I don't want to have to download an IRC client and figure out how the damned thing works. If you can't do support over a bog-standard web browser, then don't bother.

Re:Wow... (1)

Xizer (794030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552709)

It's unfortunate that I'm currently in a room with 1049 users that is currently scrolling at a mile a minute, otherwise that joke might have been funny.

Re:Wow... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552881)

It's unfortunate that I'm currently in a room with 1049 users that is currently scrolling at a mile a minute, otherwise that joke might have been funny.

No, you need a sense of humor for things to be funny. Since you took my posting so literally, it's obvious that you don't have the pre-requisites in place.

Re:Wow... (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552725)

IRC is hit for miss these days. Some are really active, others you have to wait for hours for an answer, for anyone even to type anything. My feeling is, if your project has an IRC channel for support, there better be someone there ready to answer a question 24/7.

Re:Wow... (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552781)

My feeling is, if your project has an IRC channel for support, there better be someone there ready to answer a question 24/7.

I hope you're kidding. You just said "if people volunteer to help, they BETTER be volunteering around the clock. That's certainly a reasonable demand. (That last sentence is sarcasm.)

Re:Wow... (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552797)

Here's the greater point, why do people even go INTO channels if they're not going to chat? There were 50+ people in the channel I was in, and only one of them typed *anything* in 5 entire minutes. If I didn't know better, I'd just assume that IRC was a buggy POS that didn't work. (Look it says 50+ people are here but I can't see what any of them are typing!)

Re:Wow... (1)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552877)

Maybe because they are in a different timezone? Maybe because sometimes logging in a channel is just a way to signal your presence and that no one is chatting on this specific room anymore?
Nowadays, IRC is mostly a social forum and each well-established room as its own, sometimes peculiar, rules.

Re:Wow... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552935)

Maybe because they are in a different timezone?

If they're asleep, why don't they log out? Like a normal person?

Maybe because sometimes logging in a channel is just a way to signal your presence and that no one is chatting on this specific room anymore?

Then why does the room even exist? If they didn't log in and do nothing, there'd be no room, and then people like me wouldn't get confused as hell seeing a huge list of people NOT typing.

Nowadays, IRC is mostly a social forum and each well-established room as its own, sometimes peculiar, rules.

That's fine, but I still don't get why (regardless of what peculiar rules it has) you'd be logged on if you're not prepared to chat. Or not even at the keyboard.

Re:Wow... (2, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552967)

Particularly in a support environment, the stuff that happens when you are not there can be just as important as what happens when you are. I don't know if I'd call it "the norm" not to log out of irc, but it's quite common.

Re:Wow... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552989)

So you come to a room with a whole bunch of people and you have no way, whatsoever, of knowing who's actually there or not? And this is considered normal?

Re:Wow... (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553043)

For years this was considered "normal" to the people I talked to on IRC.

However, the /whois command can sometimes provide a decent answer - see the "away" and "idle" fields.

Re:Wow... (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553011)

If they're asleep, why don't they log out? Like a normal person?
With IRC it is a very common to see users stay connected to a channel even when they are not around. Call it crazy all you want but its not really going to sway many people. Thats just how IRC is.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552969)

It's pretty simple - 24/7 connections. I'm present in a few support channels, and I've set up a screen/irssi session on my home server so that my client is always connected. I get to see what issues have been brought up even while I'm not there, see the solutions offered (if any), and, if the person is still on, help. I'm only active in the channel 2 hours a day, tops.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that with free software support discussion, most people in the support channel are either users, volunteers, or both. A handful at most are directly involved in maintaining the project.

If they're not around to help you, you may have arrived when most of the channel is asleep (timezone thing, and geeks with their odd hours), or when people who know the answer to your problem aren't available. The silence could be part of channel policy - many channels have strict 'no offtopic discussion' rules.

They may be elitist bastards as well, but that's hardly the only conclusion.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552893)

Why? Are you paying for it? Of course not, you're a cheap whore. So why should anyone provide a service to you for free?

They shouldn't, of course, but I'm sure that doesn't stop you from feeling "entitled" anyway. You get what you pay for, and if you're paying nothing, don't expect much.

Re:Wow... (1)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552919)

In that case, I will immediately quit my job, divorce my wife, disown my children, and sit at my computer all day long.

All so I can tell you that the answer is in the FAQ page which is listed in the product documentation and the topic of the IRC channel.

Re:Wow... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553131)

Well you obviously don't like IRC because you've only used it for support. For those of us who use it to just chat it's fine. And guess what? We usually leave our clients connected 24/7 even when we're not there. Would you have rather joined a support channel to find it empty? Maybe they could rename #support to #peoplewhocareaboutyourproblem.

Some IRC communities are hostile towards newcomers, giving a bad impression. But if you look around enough you'll find some that are ok.

One time I joined a channel and at one point announced my mp3 script (plain-text, no colors or other annoying bits), and got accused of being a script kiddie by someone who obviously didn't know what a script kiddie was (hint: it involves black-hat hacking, not mp3 players). I told them truthfully I didn't know they didn't like mp3 scripts and I said it wasn't auto-announce and that I'd stop doing it. They still banned me. I then went to the community forums to ask about my ban and my thread was promptly closed without explanation. I decided to stick to friendly communities.

Free as in... (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552707)

So is it free or not free?

The privacy policy reads like a DRM license. Seriously. Your public chat is just that... public.

*Now* I see what the GPL controversy is all about. I wouldn't want my public speech to be released under policies as strict as those. Next thing you know, someone will be slamming Google or Yahoo! for offering cached versions of blogs.

Oh, wait...

Re:Free as in... (1)

_Qiang_ (560206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553065)

bullshit.

can i record whatever you said in a bar and restaurant and post them later on the internet, make it searchable?

if i write something on my website. i know google will index it. but i don't expect my conversation in irc to be stored and made public available. using IRSeeK, you could get all my conversations by selecting my nick. most of the big irc networks forbid bot logging. unless you asked for permission and it is opt-in, vary for different networks.

Re:Free as in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553135)

can i record whatever you said in a bar and restaurant and post them later on the internet, make it searchable?

Yes. This is 100% legal.

if i write something on my website. i know google will index it. but i don't expect my conversation in irc to be stored and made public available. using IRSeeK, you could get all my conversations by selecting my nick. most of the big irc networks forbid bot logging. unless you asked for permission and it is opt-in, vary for different networks.

Cry me a river. If you want something to be kept private, then do in in a place where privacy is expected.

Public channel chatter being made public? (1)

reverett (1095725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552711)

oh the humanity! seriously folks, if its a public channel, why do you care? IRC has +s/+p modes for a reason, if you don't want your channel public, why on earth is it set that way? I can see why they use tor, I hate networks without hostmask hiding as well, I doubt it was because they were trying to hide the fact that they were bots. As for banning tor, theres tons of other legitimate reasons to ban it, including abuse, I doubt this was the only reason they banned tor, if it was even a contributing reason.

Re:Public channel chatter being made public? (2, Informative)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552779)

Couple things here... hiding your mask is quite possible on freenode, and can be done in a few minutes time upon request. As far as irseek on efnet, they are not using tor there as far as I've seen and not attempting to hide their hostname, either. I'd say that does point towards the use of tor being an evasion tactic rather than a hostmask hiding tactic, since they haven't attempted to hide hostmasks elsewhere.

If Tor is so easy to block (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552713)

Then it doesn't seem to serve much purpose. This means the authoritarians can block it also. For the sake of accessibility, I hope they find a way around it. There are other ways of maintaining one's privacy.

Re:If Tor is so easy to block (4, Informative)

lostfayth (1184371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552955)

It's a feature.

8.4. You should hide the list of Tor relays, so people can't block the exits.

There are a few reasons we don't:

1. We can't help but make the information available, since Tor clients need to use it, so if the "blockers" want it, they can get it anyway.
2. If people want to block us, we believe that they should be allowed to do so. Obviously, we would prefer for everybody to allow Tor users to connect to them, but people have the right to decide who their services should allow connections from, and if they want to block anonymous users, they can.
3. Being blockable also has tactical advantages: it may be a persuasive response to website maintainers who feel threatened by Tor. Giving them the option may inspire them to stop and think about whether they really want to eliminate private access to their system, and if not, what other options they might have. The time they might otherwise have spent blocking Tor, they may instead spend rethinking their overall approach to privacy and anonymity.
http://wiki.noreply.org/noreply/TheOnionRouter/TorFAQ#WhyBlockable [noreply.org]

I noticed this a while ago (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552727)

I use #wikipedia on Freenode almost every day. Posting logs from that channel to the internet is strictly prohibited, and if we find someone doing it, we ban them. Now I tend to cycle through lots of nicks there, most of which had 0 google hits when I started using them. Now they get dozens of hits (like this one) and that's because of these logging bots that post to the internet.

Re:I noticed this a while ago (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552807)

You can get banned for posting #wikipeida logs on the web? Now I understand both the pro-logging side of this issue and why so many people are starting to get fed up with wikipeida.

Re:I noticed this a while ago (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552883)

I use #wikipedia on Freenode almost every day. Posting logs from that channel to the internet is strictly prohibited

Why? It's clearly not trust-building about the project (which is, after all, supposed to be an open project).
I mean I can understand that a channel for private conversation shouldn't be archived. But a channel for an open project IMHO ought not to have such restrictions.

ban me, fucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553143)

<NotACow> TheWeasel: i'll add {{fact}} to "remarkable" assertions that are likely to be challenged
<TREYWiki> NotACow: I thought you ment someone vandalised the template
<NotACow> TheWeasel: even if i believe them to be true
<TheWeasel> NotACow: That's what it's for.
<NotACow> TREYWiki: no, the article [[Wikipedia:Citation needed]]
<NotACow> which is an essay, iirc
<TheWeasel> to many it's an instrument of war.
<NotACow> TheWeasel: as is every other policy and process on wikipedia.
<TheWeasel> Obstructing someone's word by making them cite even the most obvious of banalities.
<TheWeasel> *work
<NotACow> wikipedia is the battleground on which countless wars are fought on a daily basis

I've got money... (0, Troll)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552759)

...that says the Bush administration is behind this somewhere. No stone unturned when it comes to spying on people. Follow the money and it'll lead to a no-bid DoD contract or a marriage of convenience with some gov agency.

Whether it's illegal or not is debatable. If you believe IRC is a commons, then there's no expectation of privacy in the first place. I put IRC, unencrypted email and web postings in the same category as billboards.

Re:I've got money... (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552789)

...that says the Bush administration is behind this somewhere.

Probably not. I strongly doubt they would put the logs on the web.

Re:I've got money... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553075)

I'd put IRC the same as having a conversation in a bar on Friday nite. You don't expect what you say to your companions to be "private" or "secret", but you don't expect the owner of the bar to bug the joint and post your recorded conversations on the internet so your wife, SO, Boss, etc can read what you said about them to somebody else. In most states audio recording of a "public space" is almost always illegal without express permission of EVERYBODY in the room because 2 seconds of a conversation recorded in secret can always be taken out of context or use to disrupt relationships.
I don't see how what these guys are describing is any different than recording "private" conversations in a bar or something.

DRM (1)

blackdew (1161277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552763)

This basicaly sums up to Freenode/whatever-other-network trying to place DRM on IRC chat.
IRC is a public network, and technicaly there is no chance, ever to prevent someone from loging and publishing chat logs if he can be present in your chanel.

You want your chat to remane private? make a chanell invite only or require a password to join, problem solved.

If your chanell is public - it is PUBLIC, including searchable logs generated by whomever. so stop crying like a pre-teen scoolgirl.

Easy solution. (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552915)

"The company says a channel is dropped when file sharing activity is detected and private conversations are not eavesdropped in anyway."

Well, that sounds like an easy fix... a few fake XDCC offer bots and they'll go away.

just like DejaNews (2, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552993)

USENET used to be similar to IRC, in that it was used for casual, short-lived conversations, with expiration times for articles ranging from days to a few weeks. Post-1977, those articles should be automatically copyrighted and companies should not have a right to repurpose them from their originally intended usage. Well, that didn't stop companies like DejaNews from putting everything up on-line and making it searchable. Now, this company is doing the same thing for IRC.

I'm actually all for the principle that if you put it on the web or in a chat or on the public airwaves, people should be able to copy it, archive it, and redistribute it. However, such a principle needs to be formulated and enforced uniformly; it simply isn't right for some groups to get away with ignoring copyright and others to get charged with copyright infringement.

Why does it matter? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553015)

I'm not seeing what the problem is (then again, I didn't RTFA). The summary mentions that they're going into public channels. Does anyone expect privacy in a public chat channel? I keep logs of all my IRC conversations, and many channels have a bot especially in place to log everything. And a quick google search will often turn up logs for popular channels (#gentoo, #linux, #webdev, etc.)

why are people so lunkheaded? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21553021)

why is it that people on slashdot still are beating this dead horse? you should have NO expectation of privacy in a public forum. that's what public means. get over yourselves. stop acting like your rights to privacy are being trampled when you make an ass out of yourselves in public.

"What happens online, stays online. Forever." (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21553039)

It seems very silly (at best) to expect "privacy" on a public communications channel, especially when probably a lot of the participants keep their own logs anyway.
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