June 20, 2017 - 4 minutes
Why am I considering this at all you might ask? Well, recently I got banned from #gnu for making 1 joke that the admin considered “transphobic”. Regardless of your opinion on the joke, someone should not be banned for making 1 joke. After I got banned a staff member from Freenode came on #dmux saying the channel had been reported for flooding. My guess is the channel operators on #gnu falsely reported me for flooding.
Given, the intentions of the Freenode staffer were not ill, it makes me uncomfortable that someone can audit/remove my channel for behavior, even if I did not do anything. These conditions have likely been on Freenode the entire time #dmux has existed, but only now have they been brought to my attention sufficiently that I feel like action is necessary.
My full reasons for leaving
The announcement that DMUX should leave Freenode is supported by everyone in the chat so far. But where we go after we leave is undecided, to aid in the discussion this blog post was written and here are my listed reasons I want to leave:
- Staff can enter your server and audit you at any time, or even remove entire channels with no prior notice (this has happened to other channels).
- Many other free software related channels seem to be totally controlled by people with some liberal agenda, and are eager to ban/mute those who dissent. Given the community I want to build with DMUX, the overall culture of Freenode seems hostile to this; this could potentially influence the behavior of admins.
- Their guide on how to run a channel is extremely vague, and I feel like it’s potential for abuse is very high, should the freenode staff decide they dislike the conduct in #dmux.
Things I want in the new solution
Recently me and my friends tried to move from mumble to a new platform called Wire, at first Wire was great and then the central server started to not work. We ended up going back to mumble. I worry with switching IRC networks that something like this can happen, not so much functionally but with the culture of the network. I would prefer to self host a mattermost instance, some community members want to switch IRC networks. My non cultural reasons for wanting mattermost is:
- Search Engine Optimization: Having a web page publicly facing could help increase the visibility of DMUX on search engines. Having our chat show up on a search engine would be a nice advantage.
- It is very feature rich
- I would own the instance, so no one can dictate what the DMUX community should act like. People change, so owning our own instance would cement our independence.
- It has a pleasing front end, and since it is a Slack clone, it will be a familiar experience for many, the chat becomes more accessible for those who are less tech savvy, or have never heard of IRC.
- It is multi protocol, people can connect via their current IRC client, so the current community experience should be more or less the same. Others can use whatever client they want.
- Given once DMUX is fully released it will be an easy, accessible venue for people to come and ask questions/get help regarding the game. It will make a good alternative to the forums.
- Not using just IRC would broaden the possible audience, given there are few gamers in the free software world I think sticking to IRC alone has little potential.
There are other reasons but these are the major ones that come to mind immediately. The move to a new communication platform for the community is an important one, we should not fallback to freenode or move again. It is very important that we choose correctly and that we stick with that choice. To me, self hosting would give us the best longevity and once the server is operational we will be totally free for a very long time.