Saturday, May 23, 2009

Common mistakes : IRC

Today the GSoC2009 coding period officially started. During the last two months, I could get some ideas on how NOT to use IRC channels in an open source world.

1. Leaving IRC immediately after a response is given:
Some users log in to the channel, and leave the channel immediately after they got a response for their query. This is a dangerous habit. Wait for some more time, you may get some more responses too.

2. Expecting a reply promptly:
Don't forget people are not paid to answer you. Someone will eventually answer your question. Don't panic and leave the channel without getting the answer. You may have to wait for hours for an answer.

3. Demanding:
Don't try to demand the hackers. They are volunteers, and you have no moral right to do so.

4. Expecting all the hackers to be knowledgeable in the whole subject:
Some hackers know part or full of the source code. If someone says he is not sure about the issue, wait for someone else to respond to your query.

5. Avoid SMS writing:
Don't use 'u', '4 wat', and '4n'. This is IRC and not your mobile phone. Your sms writing will definitely irritate the hackers.


7. dOn'T wRiTe lIkE tHiS!!!!!!!!!!, uNlESs yOu aRe iNsAnE :) :) :).

8. Try to be in a synchronization with the ongoing discussion. If it is going with a touch of fun, you could crack some jokes too. Otherwise be serious.

9. Finally use English on the international channels. You may know someone personally, but that doesn't mean you could have a conversation in your mother tongue, unless it is a local user group.

10. Use the channel display name to refer to the people. Don't use their real names, sir, or other similar salutation.

11. Debates - Each has his/her own opinion. Avoid being religious on topics such as Richard Matthew Stallman (rms) vs Eric S. Raymond (ESR).

For further reference regarding irc and other open source communication media, refer to the book, "Producing Open Source Software - How to Run a Successful Free Software Project, by Karl Fogel".
The online version is available here.

Useful Links:
IRC guidelines from freenode.
Beginners' guide.
Information on registering a channel - [1] and [2].
Operator commands.
A nice op guide with the introduction to modes.
ChanServ commands.
ChanServ Help Page.
Freenode irc chanserv help.

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