We’re still here!

It’s been quiet on the blog front lately, we’re mid holiday season so find ourselves somewhat lacking in active staff and this has kept most of those who are around tremendously busy. Both on freenode and with working on new stuff!

RichiH and I just got  back from Houston, TX a couple of weeks back. We flew over to deal with some PDPC business, visited the grave of Rob (lilo) and had the pleasure of meeting his wife and son. Prior to that we attended GUADEC where we got to meet a fair few users who gave us some valuable input and ideas for the network and where to go next! Thanks guys.

I was doing my early morning coffee + newspapers followed by blogs session while trying to wake up this morning and came across a couple of blog entries written by a user, they amused me, while also being somewhat accurate.. so I figured I would share. A list of annoying IRC personalities and also part 2.

Communicating with the irc Community

For most of my professional career, I worked in the international arena. I’m not sure why I have always enjoyed that so much – perhaps as a result of having lived overseas for a portion of my life. There are, as a result, a lot of things that I take for granted in dealing with others, and I’ve recently become more aware that others often don’t think or don’t realize there is a bit of an art to dealing with folks from other cultures, countries, backgrounds and who speak other languages. On irc, there are so many different people, languages, cultures, it’s important to realize the need to do things a bit differently than we normally would, even though many of the traditional issues that arise when you’re face-to-face don’t exist.

The most obvious example is, even though the vast majority of us communicate on irc in English, a good number speak a different native language. This can cause all sorts of interesting (and sometimes humorous) miscommunications. Regardless of your native language, below is listed a few things that might help you to communicate more clearly with others.

To avoid causing miscommunication:

  • try speaking in full, clear, concise sentences. Due to the nature of irc and the speed with which some time, it’s often tempting to write quickly, abbreviating, using acronyms and partial sentences. However, this can be, and is often, confusing to a non-native speaker.
  • realize that “geek speak” is confusing enough for less technical native speakers and can be impossible to decipher for non-native speakers (even if they are technically inclined)
  • remember that not all irc clients use the same commands. This is especially important if providing assistance to another user. For example, some clients will accept “/cs” for “/msg chanserv”; some will not.

To avoid misunderstanding others:

  • if you don’t understand another person, ask them to state what they said in another way. Often if they repeat themselves with different words, formatting, etc., you can decipher what they want/need/said.
  • assume the best possible meaning. Sometimes someone will say something, that might seem harsh or offensive – realize that it may be that the person simply doesn’t know the words (or syntax) to state what he/she means.
  • look at the context. By looking at the channel you are in, or the topic that was discussed when the other person started speaking, you might be able to glean what the person intended.

Finally, there are a lot of resources on freenode – many people are more than willing to translate when necessary. Ask what language the person speaks, and then try to find another who speaks the language. If all else fails, come to #freenode and ask for help or message a staffer (“/stats p” lists all staffers on duty).

The fact is, irc is a fantastic way to get to know other people and to learn more about other cultures – and at a great price! I challenge and encourage each of you to up your level of communication.

Rob Levin, a man who will be greatly missed

As previously announced last week, Rob Levin aka lilo, the father of freenode, passed away on the 16th of September. He had been in a coma after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

Many of our users and sponsors have asked how they can help Debbie and Benjamin, Rob’s wife and son, during this difficult time. We can now inform you that financial aid may be sent to his family using their personal paypal account, [email protected]

Condolences can still be sent to [email protected] and will appear both online in our book of memories as well as being professionally bound and passed on to Rob’s family.

Although for many people Rob personified freenode, we would like to assure you all that the network will continue to run. Over the years lilo built up a large body of staff members, including a wide variety of people from all backgrounds, countries and ages. We have ex-NASA employees, psychology students, ham radio enthusiasts and Debian, Gentoo and Ubuntu developers to name but some, all with their own unique qualities and skills. Combined with a passion for the FOSS community, this made them Rob’s number one choice to run the network with him, and we believe that they are also the people he would want to continue to run the network in his absence. Together we will ensure that freenode keeps running, and in a way which would ultimately have made Rob proud. We are currently working closely with the PDPC board and Rob’s family to make sure that all loose ends are tied up and that the great service you have come to know and expect will continue as normal.

Questions can as always be directed to [email protected], or feel free to /msg christel or LoRez on IRC.

[Announcement] Rob Levin has passed away

On the 12th September Rob Levin, known to many as freenode‘s lilo, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered head injuries and was in a coma. Rob was being treated at the Neuro Trauma Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital in Houston, Texas where he passed away on Sept 16th.

Our thoughts are with Rob and his family, and we ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.

Condolences can be sent to [email protected]

Open Projects is now freenode!

As of today, Open Projects Net has changed its name. We are now freenode!

This does not represent a change in philosophy or direction for the network. It will, however, provide us a short, memorable name which will help keep us in people’s minds as we continue to grow. It should be a very positive change.

For more information on the change, please take a quick look at the FAQ. Welcome to freenode!