I wrote an article for Double Dot Labs on how to join a channel on Freenode and register a username. IRC is fun. doubledot.dev/blog/2019-03-06-

It's a bit annoying to me that using IRC for anything today basically requires owning a server - which most (US) ISPs prohibit in their ToS. Freenode is a good way to make them more accessible, but "plain IRC" is still giving way to closed IRC-based services like slack/discord in most areas - with a few exceptions, of course.

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Not that IRC is losing users to discord, or even that discord should allow IRC connections to their servers (it'd be nice, but that's another matter). I just like that it isn't just some black box of data - it's a protocol, which other clients can use regardless of who made them.

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I guess it's the same reason I find mastodon & other "decentralized social networks" interesting, because not everybody has to commit to one single service with one client and one UX, and yet nothing is split up as a result. It all works together. Mostly.

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@fennifith
Not that your point needs clarification, but I really wanted to boost it because it relates to what we're working on.

As we build these tools, we have to remember that Mastodon (and the proposed 402-Receits system) is federated, not decentralized. I don't think everything can be decentralized; federation is a (important) compromise.

@fennifith Why do you need to own a server for being on IRC? I'm on IRC for the past 20 years and I haven't noticed that need, maybe I'm doing something wrong?

@gaab sorry, the point I was trying to make wasn't that it's difficult to use it without hosting, only that it's difficult for people to host. It's perfectly usable for people that just want to join in on a chat, but if you want to actually host a server yourself then it becomes a pain. I either need to buy a $200/month "business plan" from my ISP or accept that I'm violating their ToS and they can kick me off whenever I become unprofitable. Of course, this goes for things other than IRC too.

@gaab if you have a IRC server, that means there's someone that has to put up with the ordeal of hosting it. The operation of the server is dependent on a single person being there to maintain it and pay for the network plan all by themselves - and while others could contribute to it or make donations, they're still the only person that is or can do any of the work. One of the advantages of a decentralized network is that it removes this burden, allowing individuals to contribute more easily.

@gaab and as @DMN pointed out, Mastodon is not entirely "decentralized" but federated (what I said was a little misleading), so this problem still exists here (though its importance is somewhat lessened). Thanks @ashfurrow for hosting this mini-rant.

@fennifith @DMN @ashfurrow Totally agreed on whoever is willing to host such services for the community deserves a big thank you.

@fennifith Well I just my own server to host my stuff for the past 15ish years, currently paying a couple euros a month for a small VPS that happily carries all my personal things, so unless you need something nig, the hosting burden is not that horrible.

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