[Status] IRC to Discord Move

Been a while since the last update, and many things have happened. This is the first of two updates, which are split because the IRC move is complete at this point, and old news to most prior participants in the IRC server or unofficial Discord communities.

IRC to Discord Move

Why not IRC

Firstly, the IRC server is finally down. There has been some discussion on why this happened, so I’d like to clear the air on this:

The #1 top reason was that I spent far too much time stressing over how to keep it online in the least disruptive way possible.

Reason #2 was I wanted make sure spam didn’t overrun the server, but IRC doesn’t give you many good options except subscribing to DNS blacklists. That would be fine…if the blacklist configuration didn’t regularly kick off IRCCloud.

Even stranger, even updating the config file and ensuring the blacklist module was loaded into the server wouldn’t work: it would mysteriously revert to an old configuration that lacked up-to-date server exemptions. I have my suspicions that this was a gnarly issue with loading the C++ module improperly but ultimately this wasn’t fixable without restarting the server - potentially multiple times.

Reason #3 was that it was hard to properly ban users, because Anope and InspIRCd had different syntaxes that on more than one occasion I mixed up and ended up banning half the server. Making this worse, there was a contingent of problematic users who regularly made adminning the server harder than it needed to be, which raised the pressure to correctly issue the proper commands, which nobody felt qualified to do but me, as the number of technical staff present dwindled.

Why Discord

It’s basically IRC, but with a lot of the rougher edges sanded off. A move was considered much earlier, but at the time there was less overall confidence that Discord would have longevity. With IRC becoming too much of a burden to maintain, and with greater confidence in Discord’s longevity, factors shifted in its favor, though not without major reservations about losing bot functionality, moving the community and community norms, inclusivity, and differences in channel moderation practices.

To address the loss of bot functionality, the migration was done slowly, with the full changeover waiting until the majority of bot functionality had been reimplemented. To establish community norms, we minimized the amount of roles and role-gated permissions. Not having voice chat was primarily about staying inclusive of the hearing-impaired, but having been recently burned by people abusing a private channel on IRC, we weren’t keen on introducing an unauditable complication to moderation. As for channel moderation practices, it’s been made much easier with the fairly standard Discord bots to help.