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How to: Promote an IRC network

When you started your own network this is probably the first question that came to your mind the second after everything was up and running – “Now, how do i get a few more users in here?”.

With over 5000 IRC networks in existence, chances are slim to none that someone actually stumbles over your network and sets up the channel for his users on it.

But fret not, in this post we’ll outline a few ways to attract users to your network and also talk about a few do’s and don’ts when promoting it – read on.

The first steps

So you configured your IRCd, connected the services package of your choice to it – now it’s time to invite the general public to it, right?


You should take some time to familiarize yourself with the new environment and make sure everything works as intended – it’d be pretty embarassing and off-putting to your userbase if the network crumbles into pieces right in front of them. Also, you should train your opers properly so they can provide help to your users as quickly and accurately as possible – your network and its reputation largely depends on its staff.

Of course it won’t hurt if you have a test environment where you can fiddle with settings and services to your hearts content before you introduce them on your main network – it also makes for a good training ground to simulate floods and similar things that would be disturbing on the main network.

An official website where users can turn to to look up general information about your network is helpful and will leave a professional impression for both existing and would-be users.

Indexing services

There are various services on the web that act as a public index for IRC networks and channels – if you want your network to be found, you should consider getting listed with them. IRCDriven, and (IRC-Monitor appears to be offline at the time of writing) will connect to your network, gather a listing of channels and servers and puts them on the web where they are searchable for everyone.

On some of those services you can put your network in one or more categories which will help people finding your net easier. Also, sometimes you can enter additional information about it – if that’s the case, take advantage of it.

For some IRCds there are lists of networks that use them – if you’re using InspIRCd or UnrealIRCd ask to be added to them or add it yourself where possible.

Default Server-Lists

Most IRC-clients come with a default server-list – so do webchats such as Mibbit and wsIRC – and it’s generally a good idea to get your network added to those lists.

Check the official project websites and look for a method to contact the clients author(s) and then formulate a polite inquiry to get added to the list – don’t forget vital information such as the main round-robin, ports and also include a short introduction who you and your network are.

If your network gets added – cool! If not, it’s not the end of the world and maybe it sometimes isn’t even desireable to be in these lists… But be sure to ask for the reason of the rejection so you can re-apply if you fulfill whatever criteria it was that got you denied in the first place.

Embrace Social Networks & Online Communities

If you’ve been on the internet for longer than 5 minutes, chances are you’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter and the likes or even already have an account there – use them as a tool to further network with your users.

Ask them to follow you, join your group and to retweet or share your posts – the more the merrier (but don’t over-do it). Twitter and Facebook are a nice way to communicate with your users, post smaller updates about what’s going on on your network that don’t warrant a frontpage posting on your website – or, should the worst case happen and your network is offline for whatever reason (DDoS, power outages or a zombie outbreak come to mind) you can let them know of alternative ways to connect.

If you’re already active on any kind of forum you also could add the websites URL to your profile or signature – being helpful and an active contributor in these communities is a sure way for your network to garner additional attention, especially if they are related to the niche your network belongs to.

Be unique

There’s a reason why networks like QuakeNet and freenode are among the biggest IRC networks worldwide – they’ve picked a niche they cater to and they’re good at it. They also offer a unique feature set that sets them apart from other networks which makes for a great recognition value.

What you want to offer to your users is up to you and only limited by your imagination – If you’re able to program, why not create custom features for your IRCd or services package? Statistics for channels, Eggdrop lending, a free bouncer for your network are just a few possibilities you could realize even without being able to code.

Oh and did i mention that friendly and well-trained staff won’t cost you a dime but will get you a good reputation?

Involve your users

Sure, this is your network and you probably created it to have things your way – but think about it for a minute… What is a network without users?

So, wherever possible, ask them about their view on things. Create polls and even if those don’t turn out the way you expected or wanted, you should go with the result then – otherwise you’ll lose their confidence in your network. Involve them & let them know what is going on “behind the scenes” – announce any changes you plan to make and ask them about their opinion – i’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two in the process ;)

If you’ve got to do maintenance on the network, be it updates on the server or updates to the software powering the network – let your users know about it and announce it way beforehand – you’ll avoid much frustration and moaning if the users know why your network splitted for the fifth time in 10 minutes.

Don’t annoy your users

There are a few pitfalls as well as surefire ways to expel your users from the network and never return again – lets examine a few so you don’t have to make them.

Take the usermode +W for one – if you have to use it, fine – but don’t get infuriated if users repeatedly /WHOIS you, let alone think about banning them from the network for doing so. This works the other way around too – don’t be too nosey and join channels that intentionally have been hidden – Users don’t like to be spied on!

Auto-joining users on connect to whatever channel you thought would be good for them to idle in. NEVER. EVEN. THINK. ABOUT. DOING. THAT. Got that?

Good – because they’re users and not sheep that like to be bossed around. Actually, i’m sure not even sheep like that. Gently nudging (read: announcing where it is to be found) them towards your help-channel by announcing it in the MOTD or logonnews is acceptable however. Generally speaking, your users should be doing something because they want to do it and not because you forced them to.


I hope you picked up a thing or two that you didn’t know, think of or have heard before – lets hope your network will be a success ;)

If you have used any means to promote your network that aren’t mentioned here, let us know in the comments!

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KVIrc recommends updates for freenode users

The KVIrc team has issued an update of their IRC client although it’s technically still at RC2.

The update is recommended for all users of the freenode IRC network that experience problems with “Excess Flood” disconnects from the network, mostly due to autojoining a large number of channels where the client automatically issues a series of commands (/WHO, gets channelmodes and lists of bans as well as ban and invite exemptions) – neither of those events have been rate-limited in the past.

Also, users of the psyBNC and ZNC bouncers (possibly others too) that experienced a bug with the client – searching for CAPABILITIES would hang the connection – can look forward to a fix for that in the new snapshots.

If you want to use a version from their SVN repository, you’re urged to use at least revision 3940 if you’re experiencing said “Excess Floods” and if you want to use features like quiet bans and authentication via SASL (which have been introduced lately on freenode) you should install at least revision 3959.

To retrieve KVIrc from SVN use this command:

svn co

To get an already compiled version, take a look at their snapshot directories for your OS on their FTP.

freenode migration to ircd-seven successfully completed

Just as announced, the migration away from the aged hyperion IRCd to the new ircd-seven started at 7:30am UTC – here’s a short summary of the events:

5 minutes early, christel of freenode staff announced via Global that she’s preparing the move:

-christel- [Global Notice] Good morning all! As you are aware we’re about to start the migration over to ircd-seven shortly, I am about to take a snapshot of the services database and copy across topics and channelmodes (bans, invexes etc). This means that any changes you make to channel modes or services after this point (on hyperion) will be lost. We’ll be a bit noisy as the migration goes on and will global to keep you updated. Thanks for your patience

Shortly after that she announced that a few servers will not immediately return into the main round-robin because they need upgrades:

-christel- [Server Notice] Hi, for users on calvino we would encourage you to make sure that your client is set to reconnect to main rotation ( as this server will not be immediately available after migration. Thank you!

-christel- [Global Notice] Hi all, services and channel states have now been migrated over to the new production network. We’re migrating utility bots/pseudoservers as we speak and we’re nearly ready for users. Users connected to calvino, crichton, kubrick, leguin and verne may wish to make sure they are re-connecting to as these servers will not be immediately linked on newnet as they are pending upgrades first. Thank you!

Just little over an hour later, christel posted an update via Global, declaring the switchover complete:

-christel- [Global Notice] Hi all, The migration is complete! newnet is up and running and you may now manually connect to, ports stay the same, however SSL listens on ports 7000 and 7070 if you wish to connect via SSL. We’ll be taking down hyperion servers momentarily and we shall see you on the other side! Thank you!

-christel- [Global Notice] The migration is complete and went smoothly, thank you for your patience while we transferred state from hyperion to seven, thank you to seven and charybdis developers for making ircd-seven happen and than you to freenodes infrastructure team for all getting dug in! Website FAQ is updated, as is our blog. You may wish to familiarise yourself with changes. Thanks!

The loophole that allowed users of the Firefox webbrowser to connect to the network via Javascript and spam channels has been fixed and a feature to block channel-wide CTCPs has been implemented in the new IRCd which is a major improvement and should keep the spammers at bay.

Another much-anticipated feature of the new IRCd is client- and server-side SSL which is now available on ports 7000 and 7070 network-wide. A possibly not complete list of new features and changes the new IRCd introduces can be found here, here and here.

Congratulations to the freenode staff team for the smooth migration!

freenodes ircd-seven is in the final testing stage

ircd-seven, the IRCd that is going to replace the aged hyperion IRCd currently in use on freenode, is in the final stages of testing.

After being in the public testing phase for over one year, it seems it is finally ready to go into production use on the network.

In an announcement, freenode staff write that after “extensive testing by users and staff, we are now preparing for the switch-over which is taking place at the end of this month” and that they’d like to thank “those of you who have helped test, those who have botted the testnet and in particular those who have helped us find and iron out bugs”.

Those who make use of bots on freenode are advised to “take these last couple of weeks to make sure that they work with the new ircd, so as to not experience disappointment on switch-over for the production network”.

Closing the announcement they write that if “all going well, the switch-over is scheduled for Saturday January 30th 2010″.

GameSurge celebrates 6th birthday

GameSurge, a network that is mainly catering to gamers, is celebrating its 6th birthday on the 3rd of February.

In the announcement on their homepage they write that they are “pleased to announce that on February 3, 2010, we will be celebrating our 6th birthday” and that the “continuous success of this network is all in part due to you, our loyal user base. To show our deep appreciation for your support, we will be giving away numerous prizes to lucky, random users on Friday, February 5, 2010 6PM Pacific time.”

To take part in the drawing you “MUST be at least 14 years of age and MUST be in #gamesurge on the day and time of the draw. If you are selected, you will be required to provide proof of age” so prepare to show some sort of ID if you win.

Happy 6th birthday GameSurge – all the best from IRC-Junkie :)