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Footnote

A 7 minute read.

Before the darkness was the darkness, the darkness was a child. This child found themselves lost and without purpose. Life was scary. Things were changing constantly, and they found themselves at a loss. One day they were walking about the etherial network and stumbled across a meeting house.

The child looked inside and was confused. There were hundereds of rooms with even more people inside. There were rooms on every topic. There was a shower of culture and an outpouring of knowledge. Hanging out here would permanently change the course of the child's life.


Horrified by the room takeover golem, the remaining regulars had fled their former homes. This was not a home for legal reasons, but it was their social home on the etherial network. Sadness had turned to rage had turned to depression had turned to laughter. One of the former regulars was a apprentice scryer, so as a lark they decided to set up some meeting rooms to scry their way into rooms in the old meeting house. It was a one-way scry and all they could do was watch.


Historically, IRC spam has been a unique form of art. Yes, I'm serious. There have been legitimate works of art created in the desire to disrupt conversations on IRC. It sounds absurd, but it's true. One unique quality of these artworks is that in order to see them, they must be shared with others. At some level you can't view this art alone, and that makes it beautiful.

Fighting IRC spam has turned into a full time job. There are hundreds of different bot kinds and so many different ways to spam that fighting it is difficult due to the server software being very simple. Historically IRC developers have not wanted to add hooks so that people could run a bit of code on each message as it was being processed. There were legitimate fears that doing this would allow a malicious server admin to log every channel, not just the ones they have joined. IRC was created at a time where all of the admins knew eachother; but they were part of different organizations, each with their own rules and subtly different codes of conduct.

One of the best ways to fight IRC spam has been to wait until the spammer gets bored and goes off to do something else. Users are not as understanding to this method.


Someone had set up a golem-creating golem and aimed it at the meta-discussion room of the former meeting house. It did its job dutifully and continued marching on:

(pissnet) come to pissnet for cold wet chats!

The people watching the scry had never seen this brand of disruption before. By now the people watching had amassed to over a hundred and they were all bored and eager for something new. Something new was here!

(pissnet) come to pissnet for cold hard piss!

Over time, the shadowy group behind these golems became known as the urinators. These urinators became a bit of a hero to the people who watched in horror as the situation developed. The golems got discovered and ejected, and even earned the ire of the anti-golem golem. The disguise was clever, the ejections where swift, but the watchers laughed as the golems kept getting more and more creative.


The darkness was dismayed. Everything was falling apart around them. The maintainers of the maintenance golems had fled. The spellcrafters that empowered them had sworn to give no more assistance. The halls themselves were starting to show the rot that had built up over the last 20 years of them existing.

The darkness pondered amongst themselves until they pulled back a memory from the past. A memory from the child. The halls themselves had to be replaced!


The watchers looked on in horror. The scryer had given up hope and decided to move on with their life. The urinators had suceeded in shutting down the things that were fun to the watchers. The urinators won.

Some urinators created their own halls. It was an experiment in anarchy for running these types of halls. It is astounding that it managed to stay as stable as it did.


I have been completely unsure how I should broach the topic of pissnet in these articles. For people unfamiliar with IRC culture, you must think I'm making shit up or something. It is so out there that it's almost like an abstact art gallery or something. But no, pissnet happened. It started as IRC spam and then turned into this: letspiss.net. I don't really think I can suggest readers of this blog go there. It is some kind of weird anarchist IRC hackerspace, but most of the users are ircops and can see your IP address.

Like, for people that are really deep into IRC culture, the whole pissnet shitshow was so out there that they thought the people that were telling them about that were making that shit up.

But it's real.


We are moving past legacy freenode to a new fork. The new freenode is launched. You will slowly be disconnected and when you reconnect, you will be on the new freenode. We patiently await to welcome you in freedom's holdout - the freenode. If you're looking to connect now, you can already /server chat.freenode.net 6697 (ssl) or 6667 (plaintext). It's a new genesis for a new era. Thank you for using freenode, and Hello World, from the future. freenode is IRC. freenode is FOSS. When you connect, register your nickname and your channel and get started. It's a new world. We're so happy to welcome you and the millions of others.

The darkness smiled and replaced the halls where they were. The darkness hoped that millions would follow.

They didn't come.


Freenode is dead. The spirit lives on in Libera.chat.


This article was posted on M06 15 2021. Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.

Series: freenode

Tags: irc

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The art for Mara was drawn by Selicre.

The art for Cadey was drawn by ArtZora Studios.