Guidelines, recommendations and best practices

The following guidelines are, as the name suggests, not hard rules. We recommend people base their conduct and that communities build their channel rules on these guidelines, but, within the constraints of our Network Policies, projects are free to run their channels as they see fit.

Text based communications, intentions and misunderstandings

IRC, as a text-only method of communication, lacks many of the cues of in-person interaction. Sarcasm, humour, inside jokes and the like might not come across as intended and are easily misunderstood. People might also have a different cultural background and perceive things differently than you do. We therefore recommend that you assume good faith and, in the event of a potential misunderstanding, ask for clarification rather than accuse.

Controversial topics

Some topics are more prone to heated debates than others. These topics include, among others, politics, religion/faith and ideologies. While free / open source software, privacy, and broad licenses are often political as well, we recommend keeping unrelated politics to a minimum. In larger channels especially, experience shows that this leads to heated debates that drive people away and require op intervention. We also recommend respecting other people’s choices and views instead of evangelizing and trying to convert others to your beliefs.

Channel operators are users, too

We recommend that channel operators interact with the channel as normal users too. Therefore, we recommend that they only op up when there is a need for administrative action. Using the op status to intimidate or as a warning shot is frowned upon, as it often does not help improve outcomes. However, in order to create the desired channel atmosphere, we recommend that channel operators are even more keen on setting a positive example and acting as role models to the rest of the community.

Be mindful about sensitive content

Open channels are likely to contain people with of different age groups, backgrounds, religions, and views. People can connect from their homes, from schools, from public places or from their workplace. Be mindful of your audience before you post sensitive content.

Collaborate and support your community

As a contributor you are part of a larger community and will be collaborating with other community members, as well as with other communities and stakeholders affected by or interested in your work. We recommend that you work in an open and transparent manner, give feedback tactfully and receive it gracefully. Consider giving negative feedback in private. We also recommend that you keep your community and stakeholders informed, so they can contribute and collaborate. This avoids duplicated work and disagreements after work is already done.

Basic IRC netiquette

Users coming from different networks might be used to different IRC subcultures, but there are some basics that most people agree on. Among them are: