Freenode, the IRC network that’s been around since 1998, is dealing with a hostile takeover situation that led to most of the staff members leaving the organization (and the IRC servers of course) over the past day or two.

At some point, freenode users saw this message pop up in their chat clients:

[Global Notice] Hi all. It feels like my moral responsibility to inform all users that administrative control of freenode and its user data will soon change hands, and I will be resigning from freenode staff effective immediately. It’s been an honour to help you all.

Some of the operators who left the org started up a new chat network called Libera.Chat. A few of them also posted messages (kline, Md, Fuchs) about the situation.

According to the messages, it sounds like Andrew Lee, the guy who took over the organization, doesn’t have the best intentions (I don’t really know what that means for an IRC network) for it, so if you’re on the network you might want to consider leaving. If anything just because it seems like a decent amount of people did actually switch over to the new thing (or just decided to finally use Discord or Slack instead of IRC) so I’m guessing freenode will just start dying off at this point.

I’ve seen some people on Twitter talking about being on the network (or at least having it configured in an unused IRC client) for most of their online lives so it’s just kind of a weirdly sad day for them. I’ve heard about it for a long time (back when I was messing around with Win 98 registry keys to get rid of the mIRC registration prompts) but I never really used IRC all that much to feel too bad about it.

I’ve used it a lot in the past year or two though after I decided to run my own IRC server, mostly just because I thought it would be fun to make the bot I’ve been working on live there. Feel free to join if any of this article made any sense to you.