[fpc-other] I thought it was going to get better, but no

Nikolay Nikolov nickysn at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 08:40:03 CEST 2023

On 4/29/23 09:02, Steve Litt via fpc-other wrote:
> Nikolay Nikolov via fpc-other said on Fri, 28 Apr 2023 21:39:04 +0300
>> Maybe #fpc-alt will become a better unofficial IRC channel? So far,
>> I've joined the #fpc-alt channel (without leaving #fpc), to support an
>> alternative channel as well, but I'm not very impressed, not only due
>> to the lack of people (only 3 people, including me), but also due to
>> the fact that there's not even a topic.
> Today at about 7PM New York time, prompted by a suggestion on
> ##fpc-alt, I added the following /topic to #fpc-alt:
> ===============================================
> Topic for #fpc-alt is: Ontopic list for Free Pascal. Offtopic channel
> is ##fpc-alt. Rules: Treat your fellow channel inhabitants like you'd
> like to be treated.
> ===============================================
> I also created a similar /topic for ##fpc-alt , which is the offtopic
> FPC channel.
>> I know growing a channel takes
>> time,
> Yes. Also, these are the first two IRC channels I've ever managed. I've
> managed mailing lists, but never IRC channels. So I have a lot to learn.
> My first choice would be for somebody like you or Tomas to be in charge
> of #fpc. My second choice would be for somebody like you or Tomas to
> take over #fpc-alt. The only reason I registered and run #fpc-alt is
> because people who are genuinely using or thinking about using
> FreePascal need a place they can listen, ask or help without fear of
> banning. I have lots of ambitions, but believe me, being king of an IRC
> channel isn't one of them. :-)
> [snip]
>> maybe #fpc-alt will grow a large
>> community as well, and will allow a more free and welcoming to
>> newcomers environment.
> I hope so, and I hope that later somebody more invested in FreePascal
> will take over #fpc-alt.
>> And of course, there's also #lazarus, where moderation was taken up by
>> giantm (a Lazarus developer).
> Even though #lazarus has only about 20 people, they managed to give me
> some help on sound issues.

There's also a lot of documentation on the Libera Chat website:


>> So, plenty of alternative places to talk, if you're not happy about
>> #fpc.
> I wouldn't call it "plenty", because there are a few hundred on #fpc,
> and it's my opinion that a lot of them would be more forthcoming with
> help if they weren't worried about the possibility of being censured
> for giving the help using the wrong phrases.
> [snip]
>> Technically speaking, she didn't "hijack" the channel. She is the
>> channel owner, by virtue of being the first person to register it on
>> this IRC network.
> Speaking *only* of #fpc and not #pascal, my understanding of the events
> is:
> 1) Freenode's #fpc was an official FreePascal venue.

Yes, and:

1.5) In 2020, Freenode's #fpc channel was being ruined by a troll, who 
was flooding the channel with crap, offtopic links and misinformation 
about Pascal and would hijack and steer every real Pascal discussion to 
absurd topics, like, for example, whether the moon landings were faked. 
It's not like offtopic discussion was banned, but he was disrupting any 
regular and meaningful talk. It was horrible, I have described it 
several times as a burning trash can. The FPC moderators at the time 
didn't do anything, even though Joanna complained on the forums:


As a result, I was given access to the #fpc channel. Joanna was not 
given access, but I banned the troll, and things went better. However, 
Joanna would often advise me when she thinks someone is a troll and ask 
me to ban him/her. She was always suspicious of newcomers. She didn't 
like it, when a new users comes and starts lurking, etc. However, I 
would exercise my own judgement. I'll admit that, there were several 
occasions, where it looked like an overreaction, but it turned out that 
her intuition was right.

Eventually, due to real life issues, I started having less and less time 
to spend on IRC, so Joanna would contact me on the forums, if she thinks 
someone needs to be banned. I would then look at the channel logs and 
exercise my own judgement.

> 2) Freenode went bad.
> 3) Joanna registered #fpc on before anyone else.
Yes. At the time, none of the FPC developers had any time to spend on 
IRC moderation. I asked Joanna for access to the channel, and then I 
gave access to Karoly Balogh, who was also on IRC, so that we have some 
official FPC people as moderator. However, in practice, none of us had 
any time to watch the channel.
> 4) Joanna banned 42 people and, in my informed opinion, made the rules
>     all about her personal preferences.
Apparently, yes. Although I suspect some of them are legit users, who 
got banned, but there were also genuine trolls, who often use sock 
puppet accounts. So, some of these 42 accounts are actually fewer 
people. However, who is a troll and who isn't - I don't know. At this 
point, I wasn't really moderating the channel anymore. I suspect it's 
maybe 2 or 3 trolls using many sock puppet accounts and several legit 
users, but this is just guesswork. The truth is, I don't know.
> Smarter people than I could argue whether this constitutes "hijacking",
> but her taking channel name #fpc, a channel that used to be an official
> project channel, has caused, is continuing to cause, and will continue
> to cause in the future serious confusion.
Yes, but the problem is, we don't have time and we cannot trust yet 
another stranger. And, objectively, the channel right now is in a better 
shape, compared to the time in 2020, when it was effectively abandoned. 
However, there's now this vetting process that is off-putting for 
certain newcomers. Once you pass through it and gain Joanna's trust, 
you're pretty much free to talk about anything you want. Existing users 
aren't walking on eggshells and are quite happy. That's one reason I 
don't want to disrupt them. But new users are treated with too much 
> So I say to everyone, whether you're banned on #fpc or not, join us on
> #fpc-alt, and if you want, the offtopic ##fpc-alt. I'm not asking you
> to stop using #fpc, I'm just saying get on both and see which you like
> better. May the better channel win.

Yeah, I think that's fair.


> SteveT
> Steve Litt
> Autumn 2022 featured book: Thriving in Tough Times
> http://www.troubleshooters.com/bookstore/thrive.htm
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