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IRC Channel Relays Information From New Orleans

Not all of New Orleans is in chaos it seems. Somewhere on the 9th floor of a office building web-hosting company directNIC.com remains operational. With the help of generators on the same floor who kept dry they are able to relay news to the outside world in a blog.

The blog, available here, has been named the “Survival of New Orleans blog”. “In less perilous times it was simply a blog for me to talk smack and chat with friends,” the website starts. “Now this journal exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.”

The blog explains about the chaos in the city. For example the 10:12am update on Thursday, September 1st: “Can confirm: The National Guard, FEMA, the NOPD, and City authorities DO NOT have the city under control. There are live radio feeds for the National Guard comms and NOPD comms which have been circulating the web, and you can listen to the chaos and disarray for yourselves. I am not going to post the links, but I’m sure others have and will. I doubt the government’s ability to reestablish order without a full active duty military presence to crush the mob mentality. This of course will mean no civil rights and everyone being treated equally — as a criminal.”

To aid in the spreading of related news an IRC channel has been formed. The channel operator pinkish initiated the channel. “The channel was first on irc.deadjournal.com but it couldn’t keep up with our growth (that server could only hold about 200 users)”, channel operator DR explained to IRC-Junkie. The channel then got moved to #interdictor on irc.freenode.net.

At the time of IRC-Junkie’s visit, #interdictor was holding almost 1000 people and had to be set moderated to keep the channel usable. Side-channels such as #interdictor-chat are initiated where users can still interact.

The main channel is being used to relay information from a wealth of online resources, mainly non-mainstream. Also, several people who are being in various locations in the affected disaster area relay information about their specific locations. User Teriander is for example relaying information from Baton Rouge. “With bridges such as LiveJournal (the blog’s home) and wiki and blogs, IRC becomes more directed, focused … intense … More facilitation / less journalism”, channel operator hfx_ben said to IRC-Junkie.

The network staff of Freenode is helping out the channel where it can. “It’s on topic as far as we’re concerned being a public service network”, Freenode staff member ZOP said to IRC-Junkie. “Staff here are aware of the channel, and we’re accommodating the channel as much as we can. [...] We’re providing clone watches and stuff like that, same as we do any other popular channel.”

The team members of the blog itself occasionally come into the channel as well, to relay information, and have a small chat. However, as they get thousands of request for information, their time is limited.

The channel operators have launched a Wiki with more information about news resources and the channel here.

Category: IRC, Networks
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