Hash Abnib

When I relaunched Abnib the other week (which I swear I didn’t expect to have to do, until people started complaining that I was going to let it die – this genuinely wasn’t some “marketing” stunt!), I simultaneously brought back Abnib Chat (#abnib), the IRC channel.

I blame Jen for this. She told me that she missed the long-dead #rockmonkey chat room, and wanted it (or something similar) back, so I decided to provide one. Hell; if Jen wanted it, maybe other people wanted it to? And it’s an easy thing to set up, I thought.

Personally, I thought that the chat room would be a flop. I’d give it a go, of course, but I didn’t hold up much hope for its survival. When Abnib first launched, back in 2003, the Abnibbers were all students first and foremost. Now, they’ve all got jobs, and many of those jobs aren’t of a variety compatible with sitting on an IRC channel all day. And at night? We’ve got money, nowadays, and homes, and spice, and all kinds of activities that consume our lives on an evening. Many of us get what our younger student selves would call an “early night” every day of the week, and there’s always so much to do that shooting the breeze over a laborious IRC channel simply isn’t compatible with our lives any more.

Looks like I was right. Here’s the channel activity for the first fortnight of the new Abnib Chat:

#abnib participants in June 2011

Sure, the 1st of the month was busy, but not very busy: in actual fact, many of the people who were “around” were only around briefly, and one of those – Guest1332 – didn’t even identify themselves.

We’ve all got new ways of communicating now. Some folks are using Twitter (I occasionally read the feeds of those who write in a way that I’m permitted to see, but I don’t “tweet” myself). Others use Facebook (for a given definition of “use”, anyway). Others still continue to blog (that’s the medium for me: I think I’m just a little too wordy for anything less). In any case; we’re like Abnib: The Next Generation, and we’ve got reliable transporters and replicators and all kinds of cool shit, and hanging around in an IRC channel just feels kind of… backwards.

Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Star Trek recently.

Anyway – unless people object to that, too (seriously?),  I’ll be turning off Iggy later this month: so if you’ve got something important to say to him, say it soon! I’ll leave the “Chat” button on Abnib because it’s lazier than removing it, and you never know if somebody might find a use for it, but I think it’s time to declare the channel “dead”.

IRC Doesn’t Kill People – People Do!

There’s just been an interesting debate on the RockMonkey ChatRoom (#RockMonkey on Freenode) about where the channel is going, where power should lie, and all that jazz. It’s pretty much inevitable that this kind of discussion takes place on a channel, but this is the first time I’ve seen it happen on such a small one (and at a pleasantly low temperature, too). Changing times, eh?

Among many users of the channel, I’m sure it’s no secret that there are a few… personality clashes. That’s healthy, and can leads to great debate (or blazing arguments). The concern I raised was that channel operators (effectively: moderators of the chat room) haven’t been using their wizard-like powers in a responsible manner.

Jon asked me to blog it, but I soon realised that any blog entry I wrote would inevitably sound bitchy. So instead, I’ll just provide a link to some fantastic channel guidelines which explain what Freenode think is good practice when participating on, and, particularly, running and IRC channel. It says, far more eloquently than I would, exactly how I think the channel would be better run, and why.

Igneous bMotion

I’ve set up a chatbot called Igneous on the RockMonkey ChatRoom. I installed bMotion 0.09: emotions for bots, and some conversation topics (based on the RockMonkey site itself)… and it’s coming up with some classic lines. I lifted this exchange between Sian and Igneous from the log:

<chocorifi> Are you accusing me of sexual harassment Iggy?
<Igneous> only because my toaster ran off
<chocorifi> wtf?
<Igneous> what?
<chocorifi> why did your toaster run off Iggy?
<Igneous> entropy
<chocorifi> i don’t even know what that means, waa
<chocorifi> what does entropy mean iggy?
<Igneous> cycling

It’s good to see that it learns, though. Say anything enough times and it will take it as fact. For example:

<DanHuntle> iggy, what is Bryn_S?
<Igneous> a ginger welshman i guess

More quotes on the RockMonkey ChatRoomQuotes page.