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> Gopher and IRC make it possible to use any client of your choosing, thus keeping innovation and improvements accessible to anyone with an idea.

I agree to the former and disagree to the latter---they are not correlated. In fact, IRC has demonstrated that it might be hard to adapt to new requirements without breaking many things (no matter it's an existing client, a community or a requirement itself). Today the relevance of IRC is mostly due to the existing community and not due to the technical innovation, and casual users wouldn't benefit from that. I don't know much about Gopher but I haven't seen any counterevidence to this observation.

The new(ish) IRCv3 standard does not break compatibility with existing clients though. If they don't support all of its features, they just have less things displayed.

I know IRCv3 is in progress, and I wish it to be successful, but frankly speaking this has been done 10 years ago.

Some of the more recent IRC clients already support most its new features, including v3.1.

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