I really don't get the accessibility issues people claim to have with IRC.

You need a server name, a nick name and a channel name.

Three(!) settings and you're all set. Two of which (server & channel) can be encoded in a link you can simply click on. Which leaves us with: you need to pick a nick-name to partake on IRC.

So really... picking a nick-name is considered an accessibility issue these days?


There are two complaints I hear about IRC most often from non-technical users:

1) how to secure that username with a password might vary server to servr and might not be very well explained
2) if you close your client you don't see messages that happen until you open it again

the latter is normally a bigger problem - you gotta be in the room to see the chat, and that's a lot different than a lot of modern chat platforms!


That's a solved issue though: host your own server infrastructure, connect it with your existing LDAP and auth services.

The second part (and I agree it's the bigger issue) can be solved by offering a web interface like matrix or thelounge does.

I really think this is just a cop out trying to justify the move to an external service.

@fribbledom you lost me at “your existing LDAP and auth services”. That is nontrivial and not accessible to the general public. Hosting a server is a huge jump. Hosting one that depends on a bunch of other servers you should be running? That’s not something you do as a adjunct to your actual purpose.


That's nothing you would do as a user, that's for Mozilla to provide the infrastructure for - like they already do and will keep doing.

@fribbledom what are the complaints? I've never actually gotten voice entry to work for irc and can't use all the text commands without remapping them, but that's all dependent on the voice entry software and irc client in question. (I'm limited in my irc client choices, as I'm actually using it for icb, not irc...)

@fribbledom And there are plenty of web IRC clients you can embed anywhere that removes the need to know anything about IRC servers or channels. So just literally type in a name is way less work than signing up for a Discord or Slack account.

@fribbledom I think part of the problem is clients. Most people don't have an IRC client installed, and many of the "good" ones don't follow anything resembling their host GUI's conventions (many of the "good" ones aren't even GUI, and don't even have a URL handler for that irc:// link).

The mobile situation is outright dire (especially if you're on iOS, where your process gets killed early and often).

And, scrollback when you're logged out is inaccessible unless you just never log out (impossible on mobile) or run a bouncer (which needs a lot more setup than just clicking an irc:// link). (Note that this isn't even an inherent problem, IRCv3 already has the extensions to support this thanks to bouncers' needs, but there's a culture that believes that it's evil for an IRC server to store any logs, even though literally every client of any veteran IRC user, and many of the newbies, is logging anyway.)

@fribbledom Of course, the “IRC servers should never store scrollback!” argument becomes entirely ridiculous the moment you’re shutting down IRC servers and switching to Slack and Discord.

@fribbledom My biggest "accessibility" issue with IRC is the instinctive "oh my gah I do *not* want to deal with IRC culture" reaction.

(Yeah, yeah, *everybody* says "oh but this channel is different, it's really FRIENDLY" and I never know if they're right or they've just stopped noticing. 95% of the time it's the latter.)


Isn't that a problem with the people rather than a technical issue tho?

Now you move the very same people to an external service and expect them to suddenly behave differently and more welcoming?

I don't think I see that happening.

@fribbledom Yes and no. In the case of Mozilla's switch, well, Discord has some of the same (if not worse) associations as IRC, so I don't think it's gonna change much community-wise.

OTOH, if you lose the barrier of "ew, that service," you stand a better chance of having better humans joining, which eventually changes the culture. You also often have some of the cranky territorial grognards getting peeved at the *chance* the culture changes, so they get mad and don't switch, self-fulfillingly.

@fribbledom (I should specify, I have no idea what the Mozilla IRC community is like, so I'm only speaking in generalities here.)

@gamehawk @fribbledom almost like telling me to go to a reddit. Yes, I’m sure everyone in X reddit is lovely, but I’m not going to risk it.

@edebill @fribbledom Reddit was once described to me as a really fun house party where everyone in the upstairs rooms said, "Well of course you should never go into the basement, it's full of axe murderers and rapists" and looked at you funny when you questioned whether it was really a good house to hold a party at.

@gamehawk @fribbledom if a platform has such persistent problems that it gets a reputation like that, then it lacks some sort of structural tools or safeguards needed to make it safe. It seems like it is a common failing when systems that work for smaller groups try to scale up. Culture aside, a lot of the things people have done with IRC over the years seem really ripe for abuse.

@gamehawk @fribbledom I have very fond memories of using IRC in the mid- to late 90's. Everyone was on dial-up. The channel I frequented was very friendly and fun, my first experiences of talking with other like-minded people online. Those were the days. :)

D&R to add: We were just regular, non-tech people. Web 1.0 websites had simple instructions on how to enter the server name and find the channel. I remember it being quite easy. Probably there was more support because of fewer alternatives.

@leadore @gamehawk @fribbledom
Or maybe people weren't yet used to everything being single-click easy.

@gamehawk @fribbledom If the same community is on IRC and on the discord server replacing it, I don't think anything is gained on term of culture...


Technically, it is, for the illiterate. You'd need some kind of text/speech interface, in their language.

@fribbledom Oof... this is a really bad take. If someone tells you they have an accessibility issues with something, believe them.

Just because something is simple and straightforward for you does not mean it is for everyone. Especially when we're talking about niche technology like IRC.


Oh I believe it, that doesn't mean I can't be a little perplexed by it. I'm really just asking for someone to explain to me what's the actual issue they're having.

And I do get the feeling it just boils down to "I just want to open a website" because it feels more convenient. Not wanting to learn or experience new things is not an accessibility issue though.


"I believe them."

"I feel like they just don't want to learn anything new."

These are contradictory statements.

You are assuming that a person is faking an accessibility issue to cover for the fact that they just don't want to learn something. (This is probably why no one is jumping at the opportunity to explain their disability to you).

This is gaslighting and ableism and you need to stop.


I believe anyone who at least tries to explain to me what their issue is. Then I can either help them or try to improve the status quo (IRCv3).

Right now all I hear is people repeating "common opinion" and when you ask them what the issue is, it turns out they haven't even bothered to try to log on to IRC just once... "because everyone knows it's so bad and old-school".


Kept thinking about this some more and came to the conclusion I really disagree with this being either gaslighting or ableism.

You really don't require any more abilities to log on to IRC than you do to use a browser or a mail client. It's something we expect from people nowadays and can be learned in 5 minutes.

What is ableism is excluding people from your community by switching to a platform they can't use. Ask the blind people in this thread what they think of Discord.

@fribbledom I don't like using IRC because frankly all of the clients are awful.

Discord and other similar services have many advantages other than being "opening a website".


Sorry, but I really don't buy that particular argument. _All_ of them are awful? Every single one of them?

Have you tried thelounge (just to name a popular self-hosted example)? How is it any different than discord in terms of user experience and accessibility?

@fribbledom maybe with exception to which I have not tried, but I doubts my complaints would be met.

My problems with IRC all boil down to important things requiring esoteric knowledge that has no use anywhere else, and may not even be the same from server to server.

Managing and participating in a community needs to be as easy as possible or people won't do it.

@fribbledom for example, I still cannot remember how to use the IRC permissions system correctly, asking someone not used to dealing with that kind of system to do so is frankly unreasonable when better alternatives exist.

This also applies to managing accounts, which coincidently is something where DIscord's centralised nature offers them a huge advantage.

You can have one account to sign into as many communities as you'd like, and that account isn't just a claim to a specific "nickname".

It's everything, an avatar, a friends list that isn't limited to one server, and a way to receive private messages.

And it's all in one consistent interface so if someone needs to know how to do something anyone else can answer it because it's the same for them.

@fribbledom IRC may be what you're used to, the barrier for entry for you into a new community there may be quite low.

But for people new to it, eh, I think they'd rather put that time and effort into something else.

I've used IRC a lot, and I just don't anymore, I don't have the time for it. Just like mailing lists, there are better ways to communicate.

@measlytwerp @fribbledom i'd pay money for a decentralised federated equivalent without all of the extra crap they're forking out now that they've gone big


I can absolutely understand those issues, but in this particular case I don't think you would actually get in touch with them. That's something for Mozilla to run and moderate.

@fribbledom I switched to Linux from Windows 7 a few years ago. I was a 'low information tech user' as they say. I could use Word and a browser but not much else. I dove into teaching myself computers, trying to become technologically literate. I started with Xubuntu installed on a used computer FreeGeek. I had never used IRC before but since Linux people use IRC for tech help I wanted to learn how to do it. It helped that Xubuntu had Hexchat set up with the right server...

@fribbledom ...and channel, with my nick provided by my OS. But i still had problems figuring out how to register my nick, and many channels won't let you join w/ an unregistered nick at all. It was hard for me to search for other channels and other servers without knowing what was available - so discoverability was an issue. I've learned a lot since then and i like IRC and am using WeeChat on my desktop and know how to do basic searches. So initial IRC setup, client used and ...


Those are issues under Mozilla's control though. They already run their own infrastructure, so they define the rules. Nothing prevents them from integrating the IRC nick registrations with their existing auth services they already provide on the web.

@fribbledom ...clear tutorials for how to register a nick with short intro into how to use IRC are really important (including IRC culture about how to try and figure out probs on your own and that chat channels are different from tech channels. -end-


You need to register and account on Discord, too. Actually nobody's even forcing you to register on IRC.

@fribbledom In fact many channels I'd like to join do force the registration. I don't know how to register myself - and I don't use discord


That's in Mozilla's hands tho. They run their own infrastructure. They can integrate the registration with their existing auth services (web interface, yay), and they define they the rules of those channels. You can get away without registrations just fine.

@fribbledom I wouldn't mind to register my nickname if I knew how to do it. I tried with two different clients and gave up. So I don't use IRC either, which I consider too bad because is a way of communication that is being lost

@fribbledom You're leaving out the retarded nick reservation and authentication systems among a billion other missing quality of life features that have to be handled by bots and are in general a nightmarish pain to any normal user.


I'm not even seeing the regular user getting in touch with that. That's an infrastructure Mozilla hosts and has under their own control. You don't need nick registrations and you don't need to do them in your IRC clients. They already host all their auth infrastructure which they can integrate with.

@fribbledom Then create an ssl cert, register your nick with the nick big so nobody else can pose as you, etc. Then if you want persistent chat, you have to run a bouncer. Then you want to post a gif....


I'm repeating myself a lot here, but alas 😆

They don't have to require nick registrations, or they could integrate it with their existing auth infrastructure on the web.

Also there are self-hosted solutions like matrix/thelounge which they could provide to the community.

Those offer persistent chat history, a web interface and allow you to post images/videos/media just fine.

@fribbledom Oh, I totally think they should choose an OSS platform over Discord. There are lots of alternatives. But I'm addressing the argument that IRC is accessible. I've done chat since before IRC, and I've never liked it and its complexity.


the fact of lots of alternatives means all have their own fans, and none have crtical mass, aka are 'niche'

this is thirsting after what only the logic of proprietary, rapid-growth, UX-driven lock-in can give


Who is it that considers picking a nickname, server, and channel an accessibility issue? I've gotten the same kind of resistence when suggesting that folks move onto a mumble server.

I blame WhatsApp, ppls aren't used to pure text based stuff.

Personally I like irc, used to be there all the time back in the late 1990s

@Cedara @fribbledom WhatsApp can’t be blamed. Unless you start with Facebook. Which can be blamed, but isn’t really the source either.
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