#freenode & #defocus: an evaluation

Donna recently posted on the move that changed #freenode-social and #tapthru to #defocus and #freenode respectively. This has involved getting the former #tapthru staff on board as our new freenode helpers, and as staff we have found them a great bunch of people to work with – thank you to you all. Yesterday we held an evaluation meeting about how the last two months had gone, with the ups and downs, and to try and set plans for the future. It was a constructive event; what follows us a brief summary of the meeting.

There are mixed feelings across the network on how the two channels have gone, but we all agreed that #freenode has been doing very well. It is a productive help channel, and has been a good way of contacting staff when methods such as /stats p are blocked by clients, or users are new to the world of IRC. It makes a lot of sense to type /join #networkname when you’re in trouble. However, there have been a few concerns raised about #defocus and so we spent a good part of the meeting trying to work these out. A major one was that staff and helpers are not actually using the channel for socialising and thus only appear to police it. We all agreed that this makes a lot of sense, but also that we are stuck in old habits – the staff channel sees a lot of social chatter going on, and it was pointed out that we are often more comfortable in rooms where we know everyone. However, we did all agree to try and make the effort to move conversations, and indeed simply saying “let’s take this to #defocus” every so often seems to be working.

Another issue is the way in which language is dealt with in the channel. It was agreed that the policy against it is sensible, but recognised that it has caused clashes in the past. Hopefully an equilibrium has been reached. It was also noted that there are a few things in the guidelines we have realised are not worded very well or perhaps need dropping as the channel has developed. These will be addressed soon.

We have always invited user feedback from our users to <[email protected]> and this remains open for your thoughts which are very welcome. It was noted at the meeting that freenode has grown by 10 000 users since October, so someone must be doing something right!

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