DALnet History

Version 1.1.5

Last revised by h () on 2017-08-07

Originally written by Dalila () on 2000-12-09

Please direct any comments or feedback about this document (only! no help requests!) to docs@dal.net. If you need help on issues not covered in this document, please see the information at http://help.dal.net.


The purpose of this document is to give a general idea of how DALnet, the IRC network on which we all spend so much time, got started and grew to what it is today. With the help of a lot of people who have donated their time and resources, DALnet has become the largest IRC network with Services today.


1 · History

IRC was originally created by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. IRCnet was the first IRC network and was a revolutionary new way for people to chat with others around the world. Eventually, due to internal conflicts, a few servers split away from IRCnet and formed a new one network: EFnet (Eris Free Network) which is currently, the oldest and largest IRC network in existence.

Due to the large number of users on EFnet (a maximum of 7,000 simultaneously online, which was considered to be a lot at the time), there were a fair number of netsplits and it became quite frustrating.

DALnet was founded on July 1994, (the exact day happens to match dalvenjah's birthday) as an alternative IRC network in order to get away from the lag, netsplits and takeovers on EFnet. Over time, it blossomed into what it is today: one of the most popular IRC networks with a steadily growing number of regular users.

DALnet took pride in its friendliness, its Services (which none of the other networks had: they were invented by DALnet) in addition to the lack of lag and netsplits. For example, a Server Administrator once rerouted his server to another hub, because he thought that two seconds of lag was too much. Everyone knew each other when there was an average of only 150 users.

Numerous factors contributed to DALnet's growth, but the most significant one was likely the emergence of a new Windows IRC client: mIRC. Back then, there weren't many IRC clients for Windows. Previous to Windows95, mostly everyone had been using UNIX clients.

mIRC contributed so much to DALnet's growth because DALnet was one of the first small networks to have its servers listed in the default server list. This list was ordered alphabetically, which placed DALnet in front of EFnet, Undernet and all the other major networks. Thus, whenever someone new to IRC would download the program, they would naturally be inclined to try the first listed server or network. This led to a flood of "mIRC newbies" coming to DALnet.

DALnet was, of course, quite happy about its increasing popularity. Efforts were made to be as friendly and helpful as possible by accommodating the newbies as much as possible. Lots of people kept coming to DALnet and well before the end of 1995, a record of 1000 simultaneous users was reached.

This was a cause for celebration, but as with all things in life, DALnet also had its low points. With this drastic increase of users, the network began to experience problems in early 1996. Lag and netsplits, which before this time were practically unheard of, made their appearance. Due to its size, DALnet was no longer the "family network" where everyone knew each other. In addition, while Services had an autokill function, there was no coordination for it. All this led to the formation of the KLine team.

Back then, whenever there was a channel found to be engaged in illegal activities, it was immediately shut down and locked. Today, this has grown unfeasible with the number of users on the network. Most policies still remain and are enforced, however, only after a careful investigation of the matter with all the required evidence. In those days, troublemakers were easily spotted since everyone knew everyone else. Today, there are lots of abusive users who just want to give others trouble. Thus it has become necessary to first make certain that the punished are really the offenders.

In the early days, when there were only 7 servers, all the major decisions were reached through a vote held by the server administrators. As the network grew, that became infeasible, which was why the Executive Board was formed: JoelKatz, Kestral, MirclMax, Sentinele, Webmaster, Aetobatus and WillRiker; with dalvenjah as CEO. Teams have been created on DALnet ever since, in order to accommodate the growing needs of the network and its users.

Little by little, piece by piece, DALnet grew in size and even helped to improve the technology used to maintain IRC servers.

The introduction of Services in 1995, based upon the idea that users should have the right to control their presence online without being afraid of getting a channel stolen or of getting harassed, have supported this growth. As already mentioned before, DALnet was the first IRC network to have Services the way we know them today.

DALnet network is divided into servers. Servers are linked together through hubs, which are a particular type of server that can handle large blocks of information, and in so, support smaller servers known as leaves. All servers linked together as a network, contain various chat rooms known as channels.

There have also been a few embarrassing moments throughout DALnet's history. In 1998, an autokill of *!*@*.* was mistakenly set on two separate occasions: once by dalvenjah and once by mittens. Even the most careful people make mistakes, but most importantly, the mistake was learned from and preventive measures were taken. Ever since then, it has been impossible to set an autokill of *!*@*.*.

Lots of people have visited DALnet, even a few celebrities. The first celebrity to publicly drop by DALnet was BB King, the jazz legend, who made an appearance to answer questions on Tuesday, January 16, 1997 at 19:30 EST in #jazzirc.

Tito Puente also held a moderated conference in #jazzirc on Tuesday, February 13th at 19:30 EST. Wes Craven, director of the popular Scream series, visited on April 20, 2000. There have been other visits and nowadays, there's an Events team to organize events such as this or general classes for DALnet users.

As the network continued growing, it was decided that a new IRCD (IRC server program) should be created and DALnet eventually switched from Dreamforge to Bahamut (known as dfhybrid at the beginning) in June 1999.

Dreamforge was having more and more difficulty being able to cope with the increasing amount of users; it had a lot of limitations. So the idea was to start using the code developed by EFnet, however with a lot of modifications that were needed for it to successfully work on DALnet. This was the birth of Bahamut. White_Dragon, lucas, Raistlin_Majere, Rakarra and a number of other important people were, and still are, heavily involved in this project. This new ircd enabled servers to handle tens of thousands of users whereas they could only normally take up to 2000 before. Further information on Bahamut is available at http://bahamut.dal.net.

On March 22nd 2000, dalvenjah turned over the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) position to taz, due to real life considerations which made it impossible for him to attend to DALnet as much as was needed. dalvenjah did a wonderful job, and taz continued the tradition. taz left in January 2003 handing it over to MirclMax with a new badge Director of Network Operations abolishing the CEO and the COO badges. On June 8th 2014, MirclMax turned over the DNO position to Ahnberg who is still the current DNO.

And here we are now, after ten years, with a user record of 140,000 simultaneous users being the highest record on this growing network while keeping intact the ideal of providing the best service and chatting environment for everyone.

2 · How it all started

Once upon a time, there was a group of friends who used to chat in the channel #StarTrek on EFnet. They were tired of the netsplits and lag that plagued the network and of not being able to get through to their friends on-line a lot of the time. They wanted a place to chat with no interruptions of any kind.

At the time, dalvenjah had a server already running for Star Trek RPGs (Role Playing Games) and SIMs: mindijari. Morpher also had a server, uncc, which was primarily used for testing bots. dalvenjah suggested that these two servers be linked, which was thought of as being a good idea by the regulars of #StarTrek. Eventually, Watchman and MirclMax also linked to this mini-network with xgw.dal.net and davis.dal.net respectively.

Many people have wondered why the network is named DALnet and not something like TrekNet. The explanation is pretty simple. Since dalvenjah first came up with the idea, whenever his group of friends referred to it, they always said "Dal's net", as in: "Let's head over to Dal's net". It was actually MirclMax who suggested that it be called DALnet. It should be noted that the correct form of writing the name is DALnet: "DAL" in capitalized letters and "net" in lowercase letters. When you name something, you want it spelled and written correctly, so please respect this.

At this time, mid-1994 (DALnet was born on July 1994), there were a couple dozen users around; but others came along running from EFnet's chaos, and well before the year ended it had grown to 80-100 users simultaneously. So the need arises: Ok, now we have a nice, pleasant, peaceful place to chat..... "Hey! How about setting up the Services we had thought about?" "Yeah! Something that can do better than just a bot!" (You had to rely on bots to control nicks or channels on any of the other networks at the time).

Morpher decided to take on the challenge by coding NickServ and ChanServ, two services that were based on the concept of a bot that MirclMax had running. On #StarTrek, MirclMax's ircII bot, RunABot, was a full-fledged channel control bot with modelock capability and access levels for operators. The founder level was added so that there would be someone to retain ultimate control over the channel. Morpher also added a number of new commands that would help run a channel smoothly and efficiently.

ChanServ was actually the first one of the DALnet services and it was born on January 19, 1995. The first channel registered was #DS9 (Deep Space 9). MirclMax used to hang out on EFnet's #StarTrek and #DS9. When he came to DALnet, those were naturally the ones he thought of registering first. MirclMax registered the first three channels: #DS9 #dragonrealm, which was set as DALnet's official hangout and help channel, and #StarTrek. The fourth registered channel was dalvenjah's #AFD (alt.fan.dragons), named after the newsgroup; #PBride (Princess Bride) came next and then there were many more.

NickServ was born a couple months later on March 1, 1995. The first registered nick was Morph but over the years he changed it from Morph to Morpher which is why the date is no longer accurate. The oldest registered nicks today are JoeBlow, WatchMan, MirclMax and dalvenjah, in that order.

Some of the regular DALnetizens those days were: Geordie, WillRiker, Jadzia, Data, Worf; you quickly got the impression there were a number of Star Trek fans around.

At that time, MirclMax, as founder of #dragonrealm, had an interesting custom. He used to set the channel's limit of users (mode +l) to whatever the total of simultaneous users on the net was. It is said that it came to reach around 250.

Services was originally connected to the server uncc.dal.net around the clock, running on the very same machine Morpher was on while working on it. When the project was completed, it was moved to mindijari.dal.net where there was a small group of people who maintained the code.

HelpServ came next. It originally contained the help files for the ircII client. For ircII, you didn't necessarily get the help files with the program as they were a separate package. Therefore, the original idea was to have a bot with the help files so you could also have the network's own help texts there.

So we are all set now! "Oh, oh! guess what, I really need to tell my friend something as soon as he gets on line, but I may not be here then." Ok, why not create a service through which we could leave a message for another user. "Great! What should it be called?" And so everyone starts giving ideas..... NoteServ, MsgServ, finally Lefler's mom came up with MemoServ and everyone liked it, so that was it.

Lefler then was the one assigned to code MemoServ. Aetobatus maintained the services code after that and later JoelKatz joined as well and made a few improvements, got rid of a lot of bugs and made Services cope with the increasing number of users, until a rewrite by taz. Services are being developed and maintained by MSofty, Kobi_S, skill and xPsycho..

Ever since then, Services have been an integral part of DALnet. They have been modified on occasion, depending on the changing needs of the network, and with time, new services have been added as well.

DALnet has come a long way to become one of the largest networks and the only large one with Services. It has always considered the well being of its users as its "prime directive". This ideology has led to the development of help systems on and off line for users who need it; (mailing lists, channels, websites and documents).

The existence of DALnet relies solidly on the good will of other. The bandwidth used for each server is donated as a service for the Internet community. All of DALnet's staff are volunteers who donate their time for the sake of the net and its users.

DALnet's future depends on these volunteers and the base of users. We believe there are plenty of great things yet to come, and hope to find you on line to share them. Thanks for flying DALnet!

Someone once said: "Beginnings of DALnet? One word: #StarTrek" Now you know why. =) Live Long and Prosper!

3 · Growth Chart.

Day	Month		Year	Number Users	Number Servers
	July		1994	25		2-4
	February	1995	100		5
	November	1995	1,000		7
	June		1996	5,000		8
	December	1996	10,000		12
	July		1997	15,000		20
26th	October		1997	20,000		30
8th	August		1998	30,000		35
19th	August		1998	40,000		Stable since
	October		1999	50,000		Stable since
1st	January		2000	60,000		Stable since
14th	October		2000	70,000		Stable since
2nd	December	2000	80,000		Stable since
	July		2001	90,000		Stable since
	January	        2002	100,000	        Stable since
	June		2002	140,000		Stable since
	October	        2002	95,000	        Stable since
	March		2003	20,000		Stable since
	July		2003	30,000		Stable since
	December	2003	35,000		Stable since
	February	2004	40,000		Stable since
15th    December        2006    30,000           41

The decline of users between October 2002 and March 2003 was caused by the Distributed Denial of Services Attacks against the network. Even then, DALnet did not lose its popularity and some users returned.

4 · Organizational Structure

The organization structure of DALnet is based on two key ideas: the cooperative chaos and the chain of responsibility.

Every DALnet staff operates voluntarily. Although there are responsibilities brought by these commitments, the fact that they volunteered to perform these tasks means that everything is a merry chaos. No DALnet staff is expected to do a task that they do not enjoy.

This "chaos," however, does not imply that DALnet is lacking in organization. DALnet's operation revolves around various teams, and the idea of having a chain of responsibility ensures that every DALnet staff has a superior, who has the responsibility and obligation to support, as well as controlling and commanding many different tasks.

Contrary to public belief, there is more than one chain of command on DALnet. Below is an overview of them.

Main Organization

IRC Operators


Help Channels

4.1 Main Organization:

The Main Organization consists of three separate positions, working together in a joint effort, while remaining in their own area at the same time. Their purpose is to maintain DALnet's structure and operations.

AOB (Administrative Oversight Board- Formerly known as Executive Board(EB))

DNO (Director of Network Operations)

The Main Organization then branches off into three different branches: the Servers, DALnet Services and User Services.

The Servers are operated by the Server Administrators and their staffs of IRC Operators. The primary function of the network is to keep the servers linked and working in harmony. Each Server Administrator is responsible for the proper functioning and internal administration of their server.

The Services, be it DALnet Services or the services for the users, teams have been created, to fulfill the need of the users and the network.

Each team has a Team Leader, who is responsible for the performance and the efficiency of his team. Some of the teams are more elaborate than the others, and therefore have sub-teams, which also have their own Leaders. These sub-teams answer to their main teams, while the main teams answer to the AOB or the DNO.

The various positions in a team are instated according to the needs of each team. Generally, you can regard the teams as a group of people with a common goal. Some of these teams require the team members to have a certain access level to Services (for example, KLine, Services Abuse and Services Root Administrators), while others (for example, Postmasters, Hostmasters, and some Help Committee sub-teams) do not. For more information on DALnet's teams, please visit:http://www.dal.net/admin/teams.php3

4.2 IRC Operators

It is commonly believed that a person who's designated as an IRCop automatically is all-mighty and powerful. The truth is not so.

IRC Operators have different responsibilities and access levels. These can be divided into three main categories. If you wish to obtain more information on this, please go to: http://docs.dal.net/docs/operinfo.html

1. Administrative Access:

DNO = Director of Network Operations

AOB = Administrative Oversight Board (Formerly known as Executive Board -EB)

2. Services Access:

SRA = Services Root Administrators

CSop = Channel Services Operator

SA = Services Administrator

3. Network Access:

Server Admins

Global Opers

Local Opers

4.3 Channels

Each channel on DALnet is a self-supported organism within the big organization. The moment that a channel gets registered through ChanServ, it is automatically acknowledged by all servers on the network, as standing with its Founder. The founder of each channel (the person who registered it), has total control and authority over it, as well as responsibility. The Founders and their staffs of channel operators are expected to abide by DALnet's general rules.

The main structure of channels, as we know, includes the Founder, the SOps and the AOps.

Each channel is free to set its own rules, regulations, language, topic, and any other preference. All users with registered nicknames are free to register channels with ChanServ.

4.4 Help Channels

This is an area that shouldn't be separately listed as far as DALnet's structure is concerned. Yet, this was done so to clarify a common misunderstanding.

One of DALnet's Teams, the Help Committee (HC), is responsible for providing users with help in various ways. One of these many ways is to provide help channels, where users can join and ask their questions regarding various subjects, via different languages.

Most help channels are independent and have been acknowledged (after several points of investigation by the Help Committee), as officially recommended channels on DALnet.

The common mistake that many users make is to believe that the people "working" in these channels have some sort of access or authority on DALnet. They do not.

"Helper" is not a level of access on DALnet. These helpers are mainly regular users, who give their time voluntarily to help others, and have no access whatsoever on the network itself.

They are just users with, maybe, a little more experience and knowledge in a certain area, and who will happily help you with what they know, or point you to the right direction. They are a very important part of DALnet.

5 · Some of the People who have helped make DALnet what it is

There are lots of people who have worked hard and helped to make DALnet what it is today. We already know who the "Founding Fathers" of DALnet are: dalvenjah, Morpher and MirclMax, WatchMan and -a bit later- Lefler.

Here are a few people who have also done a lot for DALnet along with their accomplishments, listed in alphabetical order. Still, there are tons of others who also deserve a lot of credit and yet are not mentioned most likely because they're not easy to track, but that we all are very grateful to them. Thank you all for giving us DALnet!

5.1 Aetobatus

He helped with a little coding in the beginning. Former admin (oahu.*). Technical Director and EB member. He resigned on February 1st, 1998 and moved on because he lacked the time.

5.2 acire

Former Leader for Hostmasters team. Has done a little routing. AA for barovia.* Very intelligent, she knows her stuff.

5.3 Ahnberg

Joined DALnet in 1995. Currently DNO, admin for mozilla.*, member of most of the teams. Friendly and always there when you need him.

5.4 Dakal

Former SRA member, Former Leader for Routing Team. Co-Created the new training team along with White_Dragon. Did a lot of technical work on DALnet.

5.5 Donwulff

Acted as head of DALnet's coding team during the years of 1996 and 1997 while developing the Dreamforge ircd. He was also involved in a project on DALnet (which never actually took off) that was to rid of a lot of bugs in the code, though he did code his own ircd which fixed a lot of these problems. Basically, he was the behind-the-scenes coder guy who not that many people know well of.

5.6 Fredfred

The current leader of Documentations Team since 2002, official German translator. A good supporter for all docs members. He took this place after the former leaders Ladydana, Dalila and TheQueen.

5.7 gamma

AA of server jade.* Started out as leader for the Exploits Team, Member of sabuse and leader of closers Team, he took over Main Kline after LadyMorgaine left. Currently an SRA member.

5.8 Geordi

He was one of the original admins on DALnet, xanth.dal.net Back when there were about 7 servers total.

5.9 JoeBlow

Former AOB. Former SRA member. Used to handle server applications which is currently being done by Ahnberg.

5.10 JoelKatz

Former AOB member, ex Coding Director, and ex SRA. He wrote the original CSOp guides. Former admin of quite a few servers (igc.*, enterprise.*, glass.*, wizlink.*, host.*). Barely comes online at all anymore. Used to be active on the mailing lists.

5.11 LadyMorgaine

She was a #DALnetHelp sop before becoming director of Kline Team after the removal of mittens. Used to be AA for sodre.*. CaeSpock took on sodre's AA after her. She has since, moved on.

5.12 lucas

Former SRA member, used to code services was leader of the Coders Team. Former admin (hebron.*).

5.13 Luce

Former Australian oper originally on glass.* and armidale/bunyip.*. Then she became part of the davis.* staff. She was an excellent IRCop/CSop. It's said that if all of our staff had the same attitude/intelligence/commitment that she did, there would be no flaws in the staff right now. She no longer is a staff member due to real lifetime commitments.

5.14 mittens

She started running kline and aggregating various control. She was also an oper trainer.

5.15 MSofty

Current coder and former leader of Routing team (still active) and also an SRA member. Current AOB member. Admin of toronto.*. Maintains and develops services and users.dal.net. Kind of quiet, although he's a great guy when he actually talks.

5.16 Raistlin

Long time oper. Founding member of #DALnetHelp (SOp Steering Committee). Wrote the original #DALnetHelp bot, HelpBot. Former member of the operator training team. Been on DALnet since the beginning, and although he has kept himself back on DALnet's administration, he's been a great support to everyone who's there.

5.17 Raistlin_Majere

One of the oldest staff on DALnet. Worked for toledolink.* where glass.* was located. Member of KLine, Routing and Testnet Administration.Also former leader for Bahamutand the CyberCafe team.

5.18 Rakarra

Former ircd coder, did a lot for the coding team during the dreamforge stage, former co-admin of davis.* . Good guy. Still hangs around on the mailing lists and IRC from time to time.

5.19 Russell

He was the original admin of glass.* He did a lot of the coding on the pre-dreamforge ircd and has done work on Services too. He was actually head ircd coder for a while before Donwulff took over.

5.20 Sentinele

She was a member of the EB (EB secretary). Leader of Help Committee / Human Resources Director. She helped a lot into making help channels what they are today. Did maintenance of the Staff Directory. Resigned EB on January 1st, 1998, stayed as an IRCop for a bit and then left.

5.21 Studded

Former COO; He was the strict and direct kind of guy, but always honest and fair. He worked hard and was dedicated. He brought much needed sense of order to DALnet, which remains even today. Responsible for setting up and management of #OperHelp. Resigned on June 20th, 1999, due to lack of time because of real life stuff.

5.22 taz

Former CEO, Former SRA, wrote the original code for DALnet Services. He resigned on 2003.

5.23 toolman

Currently SRA, AOB member. Admin of liberty.*, Former SOp on #DALnetHelp. Was Interim Leader of Routing Team. Ahnberg has taken that position now.

5.24 White_Dragon

Great coder, very creative. He added a few functions to operserv and set nomemo option for nickserv. Former SRA. opered on dreamscape.* originally until he became an admin (opus.*). He did a lot of technical work for DALnet in various areas. Co-Creator of the new Training team along with Dakal. He was responsible for getting the bahamut project under way. He's still around chatting in a few rooms he likes.

5.25 Wizzu

IrcII scripter. He was an original Kline team member (backup, coordinator, and acting leader) until 1998. He wrote the new DALnet Operator's Manual, Jun-Sep 1997. Founder, team leader of the DALnet User Documentation Team until 1998. Member of the Coding Team. Involved in Help Committee (member, Steering committee). Did maintenance of the Staff Directory. FAQ and guides maintainer. Mostly left DALnet in late 1998, and stopped any sort of active participation in the administration. Currently he's a CSop (toronto.*), Backup member of the Training team, regular member for Docs team, editorial involvement in every existing DALnet help document.

5.26 xPsycho

Currently SRA member. Coding and maintaining services. Former AOB member.

6 · Interviews with the Founders

I know most of you guys out there, probably wonder a few things about DALnet's founders, so, well, here is a small interview, hopefully it will satisfy some of your curiosity.

6.1 MirclMax

1.- What is DALnet for you? What does it mean to you?

DALnet is special to me. It's nice to see an idea/vision that you had come forth and become a reality.

2.- Why did you ever took the trouble of working so hard at it?

It's something I care about.

3.- How does the responsibility of DALnet affect your real life?

I tend to keep the two separate. For the most part it doesn't affect my real life. Aside from the fact that I take time out of my day to deal with DALnet issues.

4.- How do you feel about being feared/respected/sort of an unreachable movie star type of thing for users on DALnet?

The respect is fine. I'm not all that unreachable. I chat with people in #startrek all the time. I respond to e-mails, I try to respond to messages when possible. I think the only part that is annoying is when people wish to speak to me *solely* because of my status on the network. That gives me little incentive to want to talk back to them.

5.- Who are you? (As a person)

As stated before, I try to keep my "real life" separate from DALnet. Because of that I do not go into personal details.

6.- What would you like to see happen next on DALnet?

I would like to see it continue to grow and continue to be the best chat network out there.

7.- What do you enjoy the most about DALnet?

I like the fact that you can meet people that you would not normally have had the chance to meet. It really does make the world a smaller place. I also enjoy the fact that it is about as "equal opportunity" as you can get. When I speak to someone, I do not know their age, religion, gender, nationality, or even disability (unless they make a point of bringing it up). I think it's great that on DALnet all people have the ability to be treated as equals.

8.- Why did you choose your nick?

My nickname is in reference to the character Miracle Max from the book/movie "The Princess Bride". It is written as MirclMax because I picked it before DALnet existed and at that time you were limited to 9 characters in your nickname.

9.- Did you ever think back in 1994 that it would grow this far? What were your expectations back then?

I think we had pretty high expectations. We choose to go out and create something new and something better. We created "Services" (NickServ/ChanServ/MemoServ) which quickly became standard fare for any network that came into existence after us. What we decided we wanted to do, was to do IRC "right". We're not perfect yet, but we're doing the best we can.

10.- Anything you'd like to add?

Nope :)

6.2 Morpher

1.- What is DALnet for you? What does it mean to you?

Originally Dal and I just linking servers together... but it grew to one of the leading IRC nets out there which is still surprising when I think about it hehe.

2.- Did you ever think back in 1994 that it would become this great? what were your expectations then?

Had no idea; linking the servers together back then was just something we did for kicks; don't think either of us knew what it was going to become.

3.- Why did you ever leave DALnet's staff/administration, whatever you wanna call it?

After 4 years of being in it, decided on a little peace and quiet... I may get back into it, though.

4.- How did the responsibility of DALnet affected your RL?

Well... made several friends while I was on DALnet staff, a lot of which I've met in RL for one, wouldn't have had much reason to go to Finland this past summer otherwise, that is.

5.- How does it feel to be feared/respected, sort of an unreachable movie-star type of thing among users on DALnet ?

Just kinda shrug it off.

6.- Who are you? (as a person)

Well... I'm 27 (as of right now)... living in North Carolina, USA... went to college to study computer science, teaching myself about as much on the subject as I learned in classes, programming as a hobby, and now I work for a software company doing that professionally.

7.- What would you like to see happen next on DALnet, now that you know how great it actually became?

Aside from ridding the administration of some of the politics (which seem to have gone away in part anyway, though I may be wrong), not very much. hehehe

8.-What do you enjoy the most about DALnet?

Originally it was the fact that it was a small network, but that wouldn't apply so much anymore :) so, the main reason I keep coming here is that most of my friends are here.

9.- Why your nick?

Started out as Morph, after the X-Men character, but went through a couple changes trying to avoid nick collision killers on EFnet (before there was protection in the server against such things) the current version kinda stuck :)

10.- You all thought originally this to be a small network.... when it started to grow... why did you ever took the trouble of working at it so hard?

It was just interesting, mainly during the time of seeing it grow... after it started to level out was around the time that I left the staff.

11.- Anything you'd like to add?

Nothing offhand

6.3 WatchMan

1.- What is DALnet for you? What does it mean to you?

It's something I've watched grow for years and years, through a lot of hard work and a lot of mistakes and a lot of bad stuff, and the end result is what you see when you log on. It's nowhere near perfect, but it's a lot better than some people think. It's the end result of a lot of people working together, but not necessarily towards the same goals. It's the result of years and years of conflict.

For me, personally, it's something that has been a part of my life for a long time now. Sadly, it's a reminder of wasted potential. It's a windmill I can't stop fighting even when I should. It's something that tastes bitter -- but occasionally, surprisingly, it's sweet and soft and gentle and good. Not often, but sometimes.

Case in point: I got e-mail from a user the other day -- she told me that she met her husband on DALnet and wanted to thank me for making that possible. I don't know if building all this and going through all that trouble just so that someone can meet a nice guy is really cost-effective, but hey, I can't knock it. It made me glad.

2.- Did you ever think back in 1994 that it would become this great? what were your expectations then?

I don't know. I can't recall anymore. It was... it's not about size. I'm firmly of the opinion that I'd prefer to have a small network that works than a large one that doesn't. I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week.

3.- How did the responsibility of DALnet affected your RL?

When I stay up too late to clean up a mess, it affects it way too much. The less said about that, the better...

4.- How does it feel to be feared/respected, sort of an unreachable movie-star type of thing among users on DALnet ?

Oh, Christ, I hope I'm not. I honestly believe that hero worship is for the weak and the stupid -- sheep, you could say, though I dislike calling people that. If someone really wants to respect me, I hope they respect what I do and say, not the stupid badge of office I happen to wear at times. Whatever power we wield here is meaningless in the real world. I find it amazing that people attach so much importance and meaning to IRCoperhood, for example. It's become such a huge status symbol, and it's really completely meaningless to anyone who bothers to stop and think about it. Which is not to say that IRCops and other staff members aren't vital to our operations. They are; we'd be completely lost without these people. It's just that most people really seem to have no idea of why we have them or what they do or why they're valuable to us...

5.- Who are you? (as a person)

I'm a writer.

My secret superhero identity is Captain Disdain -- I'm like Mr. Furious from Mystery Men, except I'm easier to provoke.

6.- What would you like to see happen next on DALnet?

I don't think I have any hopes there, really. I'd like to see people grow up, evolve beyond these meaningless power games and start to realize the potential this place and the internet in general has, instead of wasting their lives in bloody fights about nicknames and channels or authority.

It's like... we formed this place so people could communicate in peace, and then we get these ethnic groups that refuse to talk to each other and come to us and tell us that we should remove these people from the network for whatever reason, because they happen to be from another country, because they have the wrong skin color or sexual preference, or whatever... We didn't set out to build some sort of an Orwellian, politically correct fools' paradise littered with Newspeak and prejudices, but there are people out there who're intent on making such a place out of it.

These people appear astonished when we tell them that we don't care about their problems on this level, that they mean nothing to us, that we don't make this kind of judgements. As if we were the guys who have something wrong with them.

It's a cliche, but can't we all get along? Of course, we also run into the old ethical problems with freedom of speech and expression. I'm firmly of the "I may think you suck but I think you have the right to express yourself" school of thought, but I have to say that when the inbred right-wing rednecks with KKK sympathies crawl out of the woodwork and start to badmouth black people or jews or gays or whatever group they have decided to target, it's hard to see what to do. It's a difficult conflict -- which is more important, making sure that these people are ensured their right to free expression, or making sure that they don't spread their filth to other people? The world isn't black and white, not by a long shot, but there are people out there who are truly worthless subhuman scum. It's difficult to deal with these things in a satisfying way. I don't think there is such a way, really.

It's depressing to see that these slopeheads exist -- and though I believe they have the right to say that stuff, I still get this urge to park a Buick up their backsides. It's such a clich(c), but I wish people would just get along, or at least _try_ to get along...

So what would I like to see happen next on DALnet? I'd like people to grow up and wise up. But I'm not holding my breath, not in this world.

7.-What do you enjoy the most about DALnet?

Those moments when I feel like we're _really_ doing something right and it's good and it works. They're hard to define, but getting one of those is worth a lot of trouble and aggravation.

8.- Why did you choose your nick?

It's something I picked from an old, old thing I wrote way back when before DALnet was ever thought of and before IRC had even been invented yet. I don't have that anymore -- I don't think anyone does, though maybe someone still has it rotting on some old hard drive somewhere. I hope not, to be honest; it must've been pretty awful.

9.- Why did you ever take the trouble of working at it so hard?

I was young and I needed the money. Of course, there's no money in it, which also proves that I was stupid... No, more seriously, we were a pretty closely knit bunch back then, dalvenjah and me and the rest of the gang, and it was mostly a group effort. We did it for fun, and because we could, and partly -- it must be admitted -- because we wanted to prove that it could be done; we subscribed to principles that were radically different from those of other networks. Or, to put it differently, we were eager to do something the hard way and were too dumb to know any better. It wasn't really smart, if truth be told, but I can't say I regret it.

Of course, a lot of that idealism has been shed away through the years, but some of it remains. We're no longer what we set out to be, but then life rarely works the way we want it to work. It's one thing to maintain a utopia at 80 or 800 users, and something quite different to do it with 80,000 users... not that DALnet ever was a utopia of any kind, but you get the idea.

No, we believed in it back then, and it was good fun, and we did it with good friends. Now we have this monster of a network, and a lot of those people have drifted apart, but if we can get people to talk to each other -- and I mean _talk_, not just mess around and play with scripts and "LOL" at cheap breast jokes; I'm talking about real exchange of ideas and meaningful communication here... if people do that, it wasn't all in vain.

Would I do the same thing again? No, absolutely not. The IRC of today isn't what it used to be. It used to be that people communicated in coherent sentences. It used to be that people actually got together to talk about things. It used to be cool -- "oh my God, that guy on the other side of the damn _planet_ can see what I'm typing almost instantly after I hit enter!" It used to be a big thing, it used to matter.

These days it's like a huge, meaningless chat line filled with inane and meaningless banter from nearly illiterate idiots. I realize that this isn't the nicest thing I could say, but ask anyone who's been around IRC -- on any network -- for 5+ years, and he'll tell you the same thing. It's become commonplace and mundane. There's nothing _wrong_ with commonplace or mundane, mind you, but there's no sense of wonder left to motivate people -- to motivate me, to be more specific... Finding an interesting conversation is next to impossible in a place where it seems that for most people, typing "LOL" repeatedly is the pinnacle of communication.

It's a cliche, but getting online is just so easy these days. People take this things for granted. It never even occurs to them that they could actually talk about something other than what's on TV.

And yes, there _are_ plenty of people with brains and social skills and personalities, and whenever I meet one, I count my blessings. Those are the people we got into this for in the first place.

10.- Anything you'd like to add?

Geez, isn't this enough?

7 · Conclusion

Special thanks to the people who kindly helped me with information to put this document together: MirclMax, CaeSpock, Wizzu, Morpher, azhreia, Pangea, gamma, Pagan999, W0mbat, Ahnberg and RadiX. Thank you all very much for your time and patience.