Thursday, September 28, 2006

IRC is no longer The Vogue

This is my take on the #sdcolleges "drama," mostly written last night and refined this morning.

Everyone is upset that people are leaving the #sdcolleges channel ostensibly because it's all computer-talk and no fun.

Some of the false assumptions about IRC:
  1. IRC is a Social Club. Wrong.
    At some point, somebody decided that #sdcolleges would be a good idea for everyone to congregate and talk about stuff, organizing events and such. Is IRC really an appropriate venue for this kind of thing? No. Most channels on IRC are not geocentric, yet we are the anomaly. Most channels on IRC are about computer related topics, yet we strive not to be? A while ago IRC was inaccessible to all but the UNIX elite (except for those mIRC guys). Now, Colloquy and gaim make it accessible to the masses. Inevitably, it became really easy to invite the non-technical people into the channel. This had the effect of shifting channel topics and alienating the technical channel members.
  2. Everyone on IRC has a valuable opinion. Wrong.
    Every group has someone who thinks that he/she is right about everything all the time, they are arrogant. There is always someone who tries to lead the group and claim ownership. There is always someone who is a n00b. There is always someone who contributes great things. Someone who brings people together. Someone who is a catalyst for social relationships. Someone who breaks hearts. Someone who makes grandiose claims that are unrealistic. Someone who is a flake. You know who you are. I know who I am. Not one of these people can be authoritative on all subjects.
  3. People are entitled to discuss the topic of their interest. Wrong.
    Coming on the channel and starting a topic of your own when there is clearly one already is rude. Yes, I'm sure we've all done it, but it gets annoying with frequency. Enough said about that.
IRC is not the place for the group that meets for dinner. It is not a place to socialize.

I certainly do not advocate isolating people from a group, but maybe this group was not for them in the first place. The IRC channel was certainly not the place for Stephi and Hanna, but I think the other social context of dinner and social interaction was. Am I the only one who is going to admit this? I know I'm not authoritative in "the group," but I can certainly try to analyze what I see happening from my somewhat limited perspective. (Limited in the sense that I'm not always involved with the group, but I still see what's going on.)

I think [some people] have to go from the social group. And Stephi and Hanna are not included in that grouping. They brought more to the dinner parties than [some people]. This group is going to die unless [some people] leave. That likely will not happen. Only time will tell.

Also, some of us need to learn what is and is not fair. Expecting me to pay $15 for a burger is not fair. Period.


Blogger numist said...

I agree with you entirely, except on point #1.

IRC is frequently used for social groups. Start one step down from code projects to Developer Hangouts - not geocentric, but definitely nothing more than social groups. Another step: LUGS. These are both geocentric and social.

I know of at least 2 other channels that I frequent that are both geocentric, and social groups, based not around computers, but around students at a university that didnt want to lose touch as everyone moved themselves around. Both CS and non-CS folk frequent it, and one has grown to include another locality as half the group moved to Palo Alto to work at VMware.

Ebbs and flows. It was good while it lasted, lets see what happens now. I'm going to wait for a bit of dust to settle first.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Rushi said...

Nah. I think you're wrong. IRC, as much as I hate it, is a source of communication. My views on human interaction in light of technology aside, it is definitely a social place. Usually a social place with certain inherent interests in mind (ie. python, or debian, or say ucsd). The fact that its for techies is because you had to know unix to get to it. Now that its even easier with mirc, and gaim, and colloquy means they should be welcomed with open arms. Not to mention, i think its arrogant saying that its only for techies.

There will always be the group goofball, and the group jackass, etc. That can be said in any social context, so I dont think thats unique to IRC. There are people that get on your nerves. Theres a reason for /ignore.

And if I'm not able to discuss the topic of my interest, why the fuck would anyone join the channel. Someone's interest has to be talked about. Not to mention, if you've ever seen an irc channel you know there are multiple conversations going on at any given time. Why shouldn't my topic be the most important for me? When you go to a party, is there only one conversation? Thats such a silly notion, that only one thing can be talked about at any given time. Additionally, its arrogant to think that only one topic is important enough for a social environment.

Theres no reason why IRC cant be a place for Stephi or Hanna. I think they missed the point of the channel. They treated it like a dinner, where its not. But thats not their fault entirely. Normal people communicated in various fashions, and theres no sense is stereotyping the whole channel because a few people (who frequent a channel) cant communicate as such.

Theres no reason why the channel shouldnt be a place for the group that meets for dinner. Exclusion is not the right answer, it almost never is.

Also dinners are getting to the ridiculous point. I dont know whether its a question of fairness, but there are definitely things to be questioned.

This is by no means directed as insultive to you, but merely a forum of my opinions. I think the situation was handled inadequately by all parties.

12:31 AM  

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