Imagine an alternate reality where the only chat protocol that ever proliferated was IRC

Now how do we get to this reality...

Note to everyone telling me about their favorite thing which is not IRC: you can stay behind when I go to the IRC universe

@sir I was asking myself yesterday why I prefer Telegram to IRC. The big things that put me (as a tech-savvy person who like federated things) off IRC are awkward sign-up and auth (/msg NickServ isn't a pleasant experience), and having to be always connected to get a scroll back of messages you missed, or notified if someone pings you.

If those things put me off, I bet there's a dozen others that stop it proliferating to the mass market.

I think Twitch uses IRC for the chat function and it works like a charm.

@sir tbh, IRC is not that good a protocol. The core of it is pretty good, definitely better than a random proprietary JSON-over-websocket stuff. Bu ton top of that core, a lot of nasty things grew.
Everybody has extensions on top of RFC1459. RFC2811 contains some of those extensions, but also a lot of supposedly-standard features that never got implemented.
Then there's ISUPPORT, and some other stuff like that.
And I'm not even touching on upper layers like services or CTCP.

Basically, IRC is not standardized at all.
It's like "do whatever everyone else does".

Even the IRCv3 group (whose extensions are IMO pretty nice and well documented) didn't bother to standardize what they're extensions are built on top. They cite 1459, but that alone is not enough to get a working implementation.

I think in the IRC-dominated universe you mentioned, the protocol must've evolved in a different way.

@Wolf480pl @sir Yes, an outdated and open-ended spec based on drafts of other specs, that is in reality defined by implementation, could never become the basis of something like a social network for a near-decade. 😉
@sir in that reality would there be an option for end-to-end encryption in IRC rooms?
Is it feasible to make a double ratchet (axolotl/Signal, OMEMO, olm) protocol tolerate netsplits?

9 times out of 10, I can find a channel for exactly what I want to talk about and instantly get several people (usually experts) into a discussion (from health to software, informal chatting to gaming). Every other communication platform I've tried (besides email) seems shockingly barren in comparison, from XMPP to discord to slack.

If anything, the universe where IRC is the only chat app that has proliferated is the one we are in right now.


Teach me your ways, please! I *like* IRC, but 9 time out of 10, when I show up to an IRC channel, it seems dead/abandoned—even the ones with dozens of people signed in have few to zero responses to any given comment or question.

In contrast, even simple questions on here or a (decent) subreddit seem to get far more of a response, and frequently from people who seem pretty knowledgable. So what's the secret to getting more out of IRC

@codesections @jgkamat you've gotta stick around. It could take hours or even days but you'll probably get your question answered

@codesections @jgkamat everyone's not watching the chat all the time, so...

@sir @jgkamat

Maybe that's been my problem—I stick around for a bit, but certainly not for days. I tend to conclude that, once my question or comment is ~2 screens off the page, that it's not likely anyone will scroll back up that far to see it (and re-asking feels rude). So I tend to give up and wander off after an hour or so.

But I don't actually log out—maybe I should SSH into my WeeChat server and see if any of my questions got answered after I wandered off…

@codesections @jgkamat it's generally safe to ask again if it's been several hours and your question has fallen off the backlog

@sir @jgkamat @codesections Yes and no. Depends on the community. Some are very active on IRC. Others have since abandoned it for slack or discord or whatever

@codesections @sir As Drew said, on a low traffic channel, your best bet is to wait. If it's obscure enough, your best bet is probably E-Mail.

Sometimes, you just have to find the right channel (which may be on another network!). For example, my go-to channel for systems programming help happens to be a channel registered for a browser game. IRC lets you find that single person on earth who can unblock you the most effectively, whereas most other platforms will represent the "average person".

@sir Make IRC persistent, fix accounts to not send passwords in cleartext, have good apps instead of shitty monospace terminal emulators, make the UI for group settings not be bitmasks set by chat commands, make it safe to transfer files and have hosting for images, files, transcripts, have server-side notifications. Probably more. IRC is a primitive joke. #irc

@mdhughes most IRC servers already support SSL, so no need to do anything special for passwords there. I don't care to answer the rest of your complaints

@mdhughes yeah, I'll just go have a pity party about it with the 80,000 other people being productive and social on Freenode *right now*.

@sir OK, the hundreds of millions on more modern systems won't miss you all.

@mdhughes to be honest I guess one advantage of other chat systems is that they act like a magnet to keep morons like you off of IRC

@sir Yes, I can see the kind and welcoming culture of IRC is really going to draw them in. You're a credit to your species, whatever that is.

@mdhughes I wasn't the one who started slinging mud.

@sir I criticized an obsolete networking protocol with bad clients. Programs aren't people, IRC user.

@mdhughes @sir i don't think irc is a good protocol either but you definitely are being a self-righteous cunt here
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