Another Freenode Annoyance

July 16th, 2009

I regularly keep XChat windows open to both Freenode and OFTC. I prefer OFTC for a variety of reasons, but still participate in several channels on Freenode.

Recently I discovered that somebody else was using my nick. No problem, I think; just use nickserv and claim it back. Only nickserv claims I never registered the nick.

But that can’t be, I thought. I registered it at least 10 YEARS ago. Probably longer, but my logs don’t go back farther than that. I’m on with it almost every day. And I identify to nickserv when I have to — maybe every few months.

And therein lies the problem. Apparently Freenode added a policy at some point of deleting registered nicks that haven’t identified in the last 60 days. Only they never notified people of the new policy (other than perhaps sticking it on an obscure website at some point). And they don’t care if you’re ONLINE, only if you identify to nickserv.

I tried to find staff to ask on Freenode as per the instructions on their website for contacting people for help, but each time I tried, no staff was online.

So I asked in #freenode for help. I was essentially told to leave them alone, and also not to ask the person using the nick for it back. So I’m SOL, and got the distinct impression that they don’t care at all about users with this sort of problem.

OFTC doesn’t ever delete nickserv registrations.

Sigh to Freenode.

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  1. rjc

    They rarely delete nickserv registration straight after 60 days of inactivity.
    When a user wishes to use a specific nick it needs to be out of use for minimum 60 days – they’ll delete the registration information after that period of time if one requests it.
    The nick I’m currently using (I’ve been using it for years beside IRC) hasn’t been used for 3-4 months after I requested it to be “released”.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Well, I certainly didn’t request it.

    I know I identified at least as recently as April.

    And nobody else has yet registered with nickserv. I just can’t register it myself because the new user has been logged in almost continuously.

    Reply

  2. Andres Salomon

    Personally, I try to encourage channels to move over to OFTC.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Me too, but I have not net been successful for all the ones I use.

    Reply

  3. Florian

    Actually I’ve totally had forgotten about OFTC and just stumbled over it again earlier today.
    Seems all of the project that I follow seem to stick with freenode… weird

    Reply

  4. Caracal

    Actually, Freenode did a one-time clearout of “deadwood” last month, and announced it noisily several days in advance. One sample message, which I was sick of by the time they actually did the deed: “This coming Thursday (June 11th) we’ll be pruning the Services database, removing expired nicks and channels. Please make sure you IDENTIFY to NickServ to avoid disappointment.”

    Granted, Freenode hasn’t been the same since Lilo died, but to say that “they never notified people of the new policy” isn’t quite accurate. If you were logged on during the announcement period, you knew about it.

    And I’m guessing that “OFTC doesn’t ever delete nickserv registrations” should probably read “haven’t ever so far”. And that’s because they’re not big enough or old enough yet.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    I’m glad they did go to some effort to announce it. Obviously I didn’t see that notice, but it does make me feel a bit better about it.

    I don’t know if I was logged on during that period or not; even if I was, it’s possible the notice crossed my client while I was asleep. With the baby pretty close at that point, various unusual projects, and our bedtime issues with Jacob, I wasn’t on IRC much in June.

    But even given that message, I don’t think it would have triggered me to do anything. After all, I keep logging on to Freenode; why would I expire? It should have explicitly said that if you don’t IDENTIFY, you may be expired.

    Reply

    Caracal Reply:

    Actually, it did … here’s the full text of the notice:

    Jun 09 02:48:27 -christel- [Global Notice] Good morning all, in two days, we’ll be dropping expired nicks and channels. This is a semi-automated process to clear out the deadwood in the services db. Please remember to identify to NickServ and see http://bit.ly/Q6iKn for more further information. Have a good day and thank you for using freenode.

    And the linked web page gave more details.

    All that’s very well and good, but you still lost your long-time nick, which sucks. And it sounds like their response was quite substandard, which sucks much worse. Lilo was a personal friend of mine, and whenever there was an issue on Freenode, I could usually get it resolved with his help. Since his passing, nobody there knows me, so I’m just another fish in the ocean.

    Reply

    Thomas Reply:

    I know it will be no solace now that you’ve lost your nick, and I’m not a big fan myself after the Mibbit fiasco, but they do make quite a noise about the recommended way to set up your nicks. This includes setting your client to auto-identify, either by using your password as the IRC server password, or by automatically sending a message to nickserv when you log in.

    Reply

  5. Bernhard R. Link

    I think the part about OFTC never deleting nickserv is false. I know at least one case in the other direction on OFTC (where someone was able to gain a nick after enough inactivity on the other side).

    Reply

  6. MJ Ray

    Wow, that sucks. There but for the grace go I.

    @Thomas – yes, freenode have extensive instructions on how everyone should configure every client they use to work with freenode (auto-identify, recognise half-bans and so on), but that just isn’t realistic. We’re meant to be developing software, not playing obsessively with IRC clients.

    Reply

    KI Reply:

    it’s hardly “playing obsessively” to configure the software you use, to utilize a service you signed up for…

    Reply

    MJ Ray (software.coop) Reply:

    Some of the settings (half-bans) involve more than simple configuration, while others (auto-identify) require script-writing in many clients.

    Bottom line: the problem John encountered was a completely avoidable boneheaded freenode policy decision.

    Reply

  7. Ed Marshall

    A little late to the party, but I just found out the same thing happened to me when I tried to change my email address on my nick.

    Well, not my nick. Now, apparently, it’s someone else’s. Fabulous.

    All the noisiness in the world on the IRC servers themselves doesn’t help me a whit if I only log in sporadically. Why on earth did I register an email address with NickServ if they didn’t intend to use it?

    Bah. Ah well, so be it. FreeNode isn’t of much use to me at this point anyway.

    Reply

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