Common IRC Client Misfeatures
With the great variety of IRC clients out there, there are plenty which offer 'features’ that actually just annoy the rest of us. Here’s a list of the more common ones, in no particular order, along with why it’s a misfeature. (I won’t name guilty parties because, frankly, there are too many IRC clients to catch them all.)
Caveat: Most of these may not apply to small, 10-user networks.
- Public away announcements: If we actually cared whether you were present or not, we’d use the WHOIS command, which every single IRC client worth using on this entire fucking planet supports; some are even capable of showing that users are away in the nicklist. Publicly announcing your presence or lack thereof just wastes our time by marking a window or tab as having channel activity when all that’s happened is that you decided to be a jackass. It also has similar issues to AMSG, below. (Some clients even override the basic /away command for this; if you’re lucky, they have a checkbox you have to toggle manually. Do not enable this misfeature.)
- Formatting transmissions: Some IRC clients allow you to customize how your text appears. This is fine. Many of these clients also transmute that formatting into mIRC control codes and send them to IRC. This is not fine—in fact, it’s highly inconsiderate and the hallmark of the sort of person who thinks IRC is 'just another IM protocol’.
- Text encodings: There are a number of clients out there that support just ASCII or whatever the locale-specific encoding of choice is. Unfortunately, such encodings are hard to detect. (Some IRC clients also let you set your encoding, but default to something dumb.) Please, if you’re going to write an IRC client, use UTF-8 by default. It’s distinguishable from all other encodings and even mIRC supports it (albeit in a rather broken manner).
- AMSG: The ability to send a message to all channels you’re in can be useful, provided you only use it for important announcements. Otherwise, using it just annoys everyone who’s in more than one channel in common with you. It’s not clever, it’s not funny, and most importantly you’re an asshole for using it.