A. Seven simple rules for channel maintenance - TalkIRC Blog

A. Seven simple rules for channel maintenance

8263 | 12.01.2024 | IRCGuide

There are a few simple guidelines for keeping your channel safe. None of these involve technical expertise; all of them require commonsense.

  1. Op only people you know and trust. When you op somebody, you are potentially handing over control of the channel to them. Don’t just op people because they are friends, or even if they give you “free” bots. Remember you are only as strong as your weakest link. All it takes is one inexperienced op being careless once, and your channel could be gone forever. Educate your ops on the dangers of IRC so they don’t download trojan horse viruses or load scripts or type commands given to them by others.
  2. Get enough ops to cover your channel 24/7. We recommend at least 10 real live humans, spread out over as many different servers and time zones as possible, so that you don’t lose all ops from a single server split, connection ping timeout, denial of service attack, power outage, etc. The idea is to pass ops back and forth as people come and go. All security concerns aside, what’s the point of having a chat channel with no people?
  3. Never use auto ops. That’s when you give ops by some bot or script based solely on somebody’s nick!user@host mask. Careless opping is the #1 most common reason that channels get taken over. A lot of new ops will give ops by nickname alone, which is trivially easy to fake. Even careful selection of a user@host mask is not enough, somebody will inevitably match a real op’s user@host coincidentally or intentionally, leading to an instant takeover. Instead, always require the user to request ops with a password and also check the user@host. For example, mIRC users can do this with something simple like this chan_op.mrc. Make sure this rule is followed every single time by every single op! Your channel is only as strong as its weakest link, and it takes only 1 mistake to ruin your channel forever.
  4. Do not rely on bots alone to keep ops. Other than careless opping, this is the 2nd most common way that channels get taken. Bots are a very advanced subject, and even experienced IRC users often misconfigure their bots, leading to a takeover. More on this later.
  5. Set up a way for ops to communicate off the channel. If there is a takeover, you won’t be able to use /onotice or equivalent. Agree upon an emergency channel name that the bad guys won’t be able to guess, and if things go wrong, go there to chat instead, make sure it’s +sk. Set up a contact list with the email, IM, or phone numbers of all channel regulars. The email list will also give you a safe place to vote on proposed new ops, discuss channel policies, etc.
  6. Log everything. Disk space is cheap, there is no excuse to not log everything going on for at least the last few weeks. Every op should log, that way in case you get knocked off early on in an attack, another op might survive long enough to log what happened. Make sure the log has timestamps and shows the full user@host of everybody who joins, so you know who did what and when.
  7. Keep control over idlers. This is a tough call, since many people want big channels, and that usually means letting anybody come and stay for as long as they like, even if they never talk or are just bots. There are many problems associated with idlers. If you ever lose ops, it’s hard to cycle the channel. In g