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Small IRC Networks Unite!

Katsklaw contacted IRC-Junkie with a new initiative called Collectiveirc. “We basicly have a “core” which consists of dedicated servers and services when other entire networks link to us and the only thing the networks lose is the output in raw 005 (return of /map command, ed.) and any network rule that would cause a severe conflict with other networks core.”

Goal is to unify smaller networks to form a larger network, as well as circumventing reinventing the wheel when it comes to network identity. Katsklaw: “I am also tired of seeing 4500+ networks that claim the same thing, has the same rules etc .. I see no reason we can’t all get along and combine our resources. Think of it as 5 friends each chipping in $5 to get a extra loaded mondo sized pizza instead of each getting a child size happy meal because they only had $5 to spend.”

The networks staff is formed out of 3 admins who all have an equal say in descision making. Each network that links has a representative called NetRep. “NetReps have a major say in what rules and policies are to be in place. After all the bulk of the network is run by NetReps. Not the core staff. As a result all network must follow and enforce the same rules. So it’s not possible for a user to violate a rule on net.a without it also violating the same policy on net.b” Katsklaw explains.

After some initial friction due to having to accept strangers to have a say in the new format the acceptance seems high. “This is an expected affect and happens on any network that merges with another or even a standalone server with users when it links to a larger network.”

“Since we’ve combined our resources, we are able to offer users longevity rewards as well, such as a small website for their channel and a chat script hosted on our web server that allows channel founders to place an embedded java client in their website and drop their users directly into their channel as well as a few other rewards.”

Combining IRC networks to form one bigger network while the networks keep their own identity (domains, websites, etc.) is not something new. It has been used by networks to ‘inflate’ their usercount. For example network A with 20 users, network B with 60 users and network C with 20 would link up into a metanetwork and individually point out their network has 100 users. This can be used to rank higher on services like SearchIRC.’s webmaster Jason explains: “The concept of IRC metanetworks started in Romania. An owner of an ISP sold instant IRC network packages to young customers who dreamed of being an admin. For a small monthly fee they got a nice website, email, and an irc network complete with existing channels, services, and several servers. Cleverly, the ISP owner linked all of these irc servers together and modified the code so, depending on which server you joined, it looked like you were on a different network. If you joined you would be welcomed to Network A. When you ran /links, you would see,,, etc. If you joined you would be welcomed to Network B. When you ran /links, you would see,,, etc. Same for Network C, D, E, F, G… only ALL these “networks” were not networks at all, but servers on ONE network with shared channels and services. The server that was identified as server1.networkA was the same as server1.networkB, C, D, E, F, etc. The name was different depending on which “network” you connected to, however the channels were all the same.”

Problems start when the individual networks use the users from other networks to inflate their own usercount, while the other networks in the same metanetwork do the same and as thus not being open and fair to their users. Jason keeps the database of his service free from individual networks making one large metanetwork. “SearchIRC does not pass judgment or get involved with the internal politics of any network. We list networks of every size, number of channels, number of users, type of services, etc. If a network wants to share management and call itself by twenty different names, it is irrelevant to us. We try to treat every network the same. But a metanetwork is ONE network. Not 2. Not 20. Not 100.”

Katsklaws’ intentions are not to mislead users or services like and “Our goal is absolutely a positive one. We are creating a collaboration between smaller networks to become a bigger, unified network. Opening access to more users that otherwise would be stuck on tiny networks and at the same time consolidating networks to reduce the total number of networks on IRC. You know the whole 20 users on 10 networks thing. We simply take the 10 networks and link them into one 200 user network. I really fail to see how unifying smaller networks into a larger one is negative though. It’s really no different than taking a bunch of standalone servers and linking them into a network. You’d be doing the same thing.”

Jason concludes: “Metanetworks are attempting to redefine IRC. Perhaps they will be successful and one day SearchIRC will be listing every server as a network, no matter where it is linked or what channels it shares. The one thing about the internet is, it changes all the time. We never say never, and try to keep an open mind.”

Category: IRC, Networks
  • katsklaw says:

    Since the original comments are missing I’ll catch this up to current.

    CollectiveIRC is no longer what some consider a meta-network. We are now a singular network that allows servers and networks to link under our banner, rules etc ..

    We do not do mergers in the same fashion as most networks though, so if you are interested in linking up to a network that offers a democratic method of operations with a unique set of software and a generously open set of rules. Drop by and ask for katsklaw or visit our site at

    October 29, 2008 at 11:44 am

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