Funny thing about respect, is it takes a while to build up and can be lost in a heartbeat.
edit: what's interesting is how respectful the freenode admin was throughout this whole transcript. If anything, kudos to freenode.
I'm kinda biased, but I think some of the policies are borderline insane.
We're sort of used to registering something, and it being there a few months later if we need it. I don't see why you need to delete peoples registrations if they have been on holiday for a couple months. That's just really irritating - I'm not surprised he was pissed.
There's a ton of other great networks out there, so if you're setting up a new channel, don't just default to putting it on freenode (IMHO).
Thanks to "who he is," Bram can direct the attention of a lot of eyeballs. A levelheaded post calling out the policy and the problems it causes would have focused those eyeballs on the policy; a ranty chat transcript that shows you repeatedly playing the d-bag card focuses those eyeballs on your willingness to play the d-bag card. It's a stupid, counterproductive distraction and a wasted opportunity, assuming you actually care about solving the root problem.
When Google decided to shut off my account for a week, I was pretty angry. If I'd contacted google, and they'd told me they have a policy of deleting accounts that aren't used for 60 days, I would have probably ranted at them a lot.
I don't think the fact people are volunteers really means you can't be angry with them if they have a silly policy.
And for what it's worth, I respect Cohen no less for what he said. I respect him for his deeds, not for his kind and humble soul. If reading a few lines of IRC logs, that he himself posted, is enough to make him lose your respect - I would question whether that respect really meant anything in the first place.
I would much rather employ and/or associate with a "kind and humble soul" that writes mediocre software than an arrogant dickface who writes excellent software. Clock cycles are much cheaper than tolerance and faith, which diminishes upon exposure to such a man.
"acts like a bit of a douche" is a huge understatement; trying to use your popularity like that is just downright ridiculous...
They should refund him his money.
He was a complete douche and the admin well has no obligation to help him. If he bent the rules for him this time, because some ass was claiming to be bram cohen, then he's opening himself up for shit and falling for any idiot willing to troll irc groups.
"The #bittorrent channel on Freenode has been getting trolled hard lately and I no longer have access to it due to the following policies that I think suck: <insert policies>. After talking to a Freenode support member, they refuse to budge on these so I have moved #bittorrent to irc.bittorrent.com, please join us there!"
Wrong way to handle it:
Paste the transcript of you smacking a Freenode volunteer around with your 10 foot long e-peen.
The #webmin channel had been claimed by someone unrelated to the project, and who we had no prior contact with; it wasn't a hostile thing, but they hadn't logged in for months, weren't dealing with trolls and had opened access to the topic to everyone (so the topic was being abused for all sorts of ridiculous stuff). We were unable to contact the person directly, so I tried taking over ownership of the channel through the official means. After a year of just waiting (because I'd been warned it was a very slow process, and I don't spend a lot of time in IRC these days), I chimed in on the operators channel, and spoke with a couple of folks. All were nice, friendly folks, but weren't able or willing to do anything about solving our problems with the channel. I believe in the end I was told that our application would be brought to the front of the queue because of the ongoing problems, and how long we'd been waiting. I don't know what, if anything, happened with that; it was at least 8 months ago. I never heard anything about it, anyway, and the last time I logged in, I don't think we had ops on #webmin.
So, Bram is a bit of a douche. This is pretty well-known; anyone that has ever met him or interacted with him knows that socially he is inept (and Asperger's gets bandied about as the reason, though I don't think that really accounts for lack of online social graces). I look past it because intellectually he's brilliant, and ethically he seems solid, so two out of three aint bad; in short, he means well, but he can be mean about it. Even in terms of helping people, within the limits of his social graces, he is generous with his time in helping folks use and understand his code. We all have our flaws, and the FreeNode processes and policies and lack of staff to deal appropriately with those process and policies can frustrate someone with the patience of Job. Bram definitely does not have the patience of Job.
So, to sum up: A 60 day expiry on accounts is idiotic. The official channel registration process, while well-meaning, is baroque and seems to leave a lot of channels in a lurch of having no operator or an abusive operator for months or years. Bram is kind of an asshole. But we still like FreeNode and we still like Bram.
In short, I'm saying that I don't think Bram should get (or would be right to expect) a pass for being an asshole to a volunteer on FreeNode, regardless of whether he has Asperger's or not. Being an asshole isn't OK, even if you have a condition that makes it easier to be one without noticing. It just means you need to be more mindful of your behavior, since it's no one else's job to do it for you.
I know Bram and I don't think he would care if I said that face to face communication is not a problem for him. In my time speaking with Bram both face to face and online, his primary characteristic per Asperger's has been a near complete lack of social fear.
Most humans get nervous in certain social situations. Bram does not. This will certainly cause problems when faced with someone that social might wield power, as an administrator, and Bram my have to pay for his lack of decorum in these situations.
I'm not excusing Bram's behavior. There is no need to excuse it. It has happened and he will pay whatever price is exacted. I'm simply explaining it.
3ricj: It's still just a damn IRC nick. register a new one and ask an channel op to give you rights to the channel. Problem solved. Don't abuse volunteer support people due to inflated self-importance. It's tacky.
Bram: If you'd spent the two minutes necessary to read the conversation you'd know there is no fucking channel op, because I was the only one. Stop being an ass.
Unfortunately Bram, there is only one person being an ass...
The reason I posted the log verbatim, me being pissed off and all, is that I wanted to make very clear that I was accurately representing official freenode policy, and that requesting help through support leads nowhere. My gripe is with freenode policy, which is asinine, not with the particular person I spoke to, who was merely being useless and patronizing.
The reason I got pissed wasn't because of the nick loss, which I find mildly annoying, but because channel ops got blown away, causing me to have to deal with this bullshit instead of just giving ops to someone else.
Yes I can be blunt. If you value the superficial affectation of politeness over the essential point of what someone is saying, you can shove it. I don't appreciate people saying that I'm this way because of asperger's, it just causes other people to whine that they're being oppressed because they can't criticize me. The whole line of argument is stupid. People are free to criticize me for not being polite, and I'm free to respond that they're being petty and superficial.
The whole 'it's free so you can't complain' argument is bullshit. There are plenty of free things which are of negative value to society because they suck up or distract resources which could be working on a much better alternative. I've provided lots of support for free stuff myself, both via employees and directly, and never have I claimed that a problem won't be fixed because the person airing a legitimate gripe hasn't gone through arbitrary bureaucratic processes, or that the person complaining should implement it themselves because they're a programmer, or refused to acknowledge that some pain a user experienced through no fault of their own really was unfortunate. And I always prioritize up users who matter and problems which need immediate fixing. That's the way you run things if you actually care about providing a valuable service.
The dude had a lot more patience than support channels on other networks that would have outright banned you for your childish behavior and holier than thou attitude.
You really think that Freenode is a "negative value to society" because you can't use your rather-common first name as your nick? Yeah...
Surely, in situations like these, even you can understand the value of politeness. You engineered politeness into the bittorrent protocol (tit for tat.) It's the same thing. The admin wasn't being useless and patronizing, he was choking you because you were acting like a bad peer.
>People are free to criticize me for not being polite, and I'm free to respond that they're being petty and superficial.
This is you not getting it, possibly because you have Aspergers.
edit: Actually, fuck that. You're functional enough to understand what you're doing.
The whole aspergers thing is based on a self-diagnosis and the only reason he wouldn't get diagnosed is out of fear not having it.
P.S. Somebody stole my nick, where can I cry about it?
Please learn to read. He is complaining about a policy he wasn't warned about, a policy that _doesn't_ involve warning the user of upcoming expiry, and finally, that doesn't in any way seem to take into account channel ownership.
It's a bad protocol. That's all.
<bramm> and I hope you realize that you just completely pissed off one of the most well known and respected people in the whole open source community
Sounds like he's possibly completely pissed off a large portion of the Open Source community :)
In fact the chaos and drama at FreeNode might be the real story here.
Fragglet writes (in the comments):
"This shouldn't be surprising to anyone with any experience of Freenode. Freenode is a perfect example of how open source projects tend to acquire the personality of their founder. In the case of Freenode, that founder was Rob Levin, famous for his online begging over wallops and for being completely incompetent in general. Levin's incompetence, begging and dictatorial style where he branded everyone who disagreed with him a "troll" gradually alienated all the sensible and technically skilled people from the network staff until the only people left were his equally incompetent sycophantic underlings.
"When Levin died several years ago as a result of his own stupidity (riding a bike without a helmet), they took over. I haven't heard of mquin before but it looks like the cycle continues.
"Your best option is to close the Freenode channel and move to OFTC, the staff of which consist mostly of the sensible and technically skilled people who left Freenode."
Here are some links with more details,
I do understand the frustration surrounding the policies, yet I also understand Freenode which is offering a free, gratis service. A more humble approach would probably have yielded a quicker result and IMHO was more appropriate.
ps: If Bram Cohen is not really happy with Freenode, he, as 'one of the most well known and respected people in the whole open source community' probably has other options to create a #bittorrent irc channel according his wishes.
...but it would probably be better still if Internet drama was kept as far away from HN as possible.
It would be interesting to hear other hacker's feelings before we decide what is best for the community.
From my experience, I think Aspergers can be an excuse for saying irrelevant things like changing the subject to baseball cards in the middle of a conversation or casually commenting on someone's weight, not realizing that that is taboo. However, it has little to do with entitlement and in general being rude.
I don't want Aspergers to become synonymous with douche and ego. When someone says something awkward or inappropriate -- sure. Don't associate it with "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM -- FIX THIS YESTERDAY -- I'M POSTING THIS ON MY BLOG". That's not Aspergers.
I can't comment on your second sentence but it seems completely speculative and I can't imagine how you can substantiate it.
Self-diagnosis. Are you fucking kidding me?
Just because you were picked on in highschool and are a huge pain in the ass to work with, doesn't mean you have Aspergers.
Guess what, Bram Cohen's probably just an asshole who writes good software.
ADHD remains the favored scapegoat for a disobedient or hyperactive child.
It's not just about being rude but genuinely not understanding the socially correct behaviour to his own detriment.
Exhibit A: not realizing that it is a bad idea to post a chat transcript of you dressing down a volunteer to a free service.
I'll leave the moralizing and righteous indignation to the others.
If you are going to be negative then it is important to do it well and do it ruthlessly. Don't try to be fair or direct. Play to the crowd and ruthlessly take the moral high ground or it will be taken from you, as is the case here. It is a little ironic but if Bram had been more of a Machiavellian 'meanie' then he would not have been been labeled a 'meanie'. Some of the posts here provide good advice on ways he could have done that.
It seems clear that Bram's misfortune warrants a warning for all potential users of the Freenode servers. Hopefully this is not missed due to Bram's neglect of political expediency.
Look Bram, you can even yell in your nick too!
/privmsg #bittorrent :Trolls, please stop. It's me, Bram.
You act like a douche, you should be treated like a douche; "essential context" of suffering from Asperger syndrome or otherwise.
(1) Sure, Freenode's policy can be improved, because a significant amt. of users think it is a bit stifling. The admins need to figure out how to engage the users.
(2) In this situation, there are solutions more optimal than douche-baggery. If he wanted his nick back, being nice increases his odds. Bram can use a class in negotations 101.
OK - Let's move on with our lives now, don't you need to prepare for the 3/3/2010 YC deadline? If you are bored - there are plenty of single founders looking for co-founder.
Edit: Okay I just RTFA and Bram does seem very douchy. If I was the admin I would have handed his ass to him 1/4 of the way through the conversation when he threw his first insult.
And I would have invited him to make a stink in public ... just spell my name right.
Edit re: your edit - lol! :P
I would be honoured to have Bram Cohen ask me for some help and given his heroic efforts on behalf of the network I would go above and beyond.
Seems Bram just camly stated the facts and the sysop just kept replying rules trump all.
Ashbergers Mashbergers for IRC this is probably the most dainty little flame ever.
PS Bram Cohen rules teh internets