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do's and dont's inexperienced admins need
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katsklaw
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Joined: 28 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Nov 23, 2007 12:37pm    Post subject: do's and dont's inexperienced admins need Reply with quote

I'd like to share my findings about a few issues. Please understand that these are my personal findings based on my personal beliefs and do not nor can not reflect the opinions of the IRC community as a whole. If you disagree with them, that's fine .. it's your prerogitive. However, I will not argue or debate my opinion with anyone.

If you have helpful information in addition to mine, please feel free to add it. If you have experiences that conflict with mine, please feel free to add it.

Note to flamers and trolls: Go eat bugs under a log!

Ok here we go.

Some of you know me and some of you don't. I've been on IRC for about 12 years and oper/admined an irc server for 10 years, including a Top 10 network (Ranked in the Big 4 at the time I opered there.). I'm currently the founder of a Top 500 network which has more users than 92% of the networks indexed by SearchIRC. I will give you no illusion that I did it alone, because I certainly did not! IRC administration is a team effort and you must work as a team to be succesful.

These facts do not make me an expert alone. One of my hobbies is visiting IRC networks listed by SearchIRC. I visit several hundreds every year and I'd like to share my personal opinion as well as my "professional" opinion, if there is such a thing on IRC and I have found countless networks make very newbie'ish mistakes because the admin in charge didn't take the proper steps to becoming an irc admin in the first place and their users are suffering for it. If they even bother to stay. A new network is near impossible to grow as it is, you don't need to compond failure with ignorance too.

Do's

1. pick an IRCd and optionally a services package that fills YOUR networks needs, not the needs of the author or your friends. Remember, YOUR needs!

2. be descriptive when using SearchIRC's resources. Most networks simply apply and call it quits when they are approved. While some can argue that this is perfectly acceptable by only using the resources you are interested in. That's all good, however, if you want users you'll need to show you care and one good way to show you have a personal interest in the success of your network is to use ALL of SearchIRC's resources. Especially the network pages! I know ours is blank, we just haven't got to that step yet, just don't think I can't follow my own advise! Fillign out the history and description sections requires forethought and it can take some time to do.

3. Do talk to your users and accept their objective opinions, this is mainly because without your users, you will have nothing! get them involved! It's their network, you just maintain it and even though you have the title of "founder" or whatever. Don't you think for 1 single second that the users are not your boss. Because they are!

4. Hold scheduled meetings and classes, this is for both opers and users. Opers need to be trained on how you want things done, some will need more training than others, this is perfectly normal. Users need training and meetings too. This is how they learn to use the service that you provide. They will show you more interest if you show them more interest. Remeber the term "give and take"?

5. Treat others with the same respect you would like in return.

6. Use a testnet! Do NOT test new modules or any other code on your production network! It makes it appear unstable and users will leave. Set -up another ircd/services, even at home will work to do all your testing!

7. Learn what you are doing. Far too often a user (and I'll even use THAT term loosely) will barely know what IRC stands for and 3 hours or even 3 months later they think they are quilified to be a Network Admin!! IT DOESN'T!! Any left-handed monkey can set-up an ircd and services package and doing so does NOT make you an admin!

8. Continuing from #7, Be honest with yourself! If you don't know simple terms like the difference between sendQ and recvQ .. that the /list command has parameters or how many lines the RFC allows in the A:Line/Admin block, then you are not qualified to run a public network! IRC configuration takes a few minutes to learn .. IRC Administration takes years to learn!

9. Always be professional at all times!

Dont's

1. Dont pick irc software simply because 4000 other networks use it.

2. Do NOT force your users to do anything!, disable forced join including join on connect, sajoin, sapart, sanick, saquit, saAbuseTheUser or any other /sa* command with the exception of /samode. samode can be very a useful tool when Services has split! Do not allow your opers to change anything about your users, not their nicks, usernames, hosts, what channels they are on .. NOTHING!! It' will piss them off .. I promise!

3. While the definition of warez comes in many forms and this is not the thread to debate the definition. It's not a good thing. Most countries can atleast agree that warez is illegally trading of copyright materials and we'll leave it at that. no need to discuss it's moral ramifications because that would be way off topic. Warez has destroyed more networks than it's made successful! Stay away from it!

4. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES THINK YOU ARE ABOVE ANYONE! Sorry for the caps, it's an important point. Countless networks have ben destroyed from within. ALL humans are created equal and so are their opinions.

5. Stay away from umode +W (opers cans see who /whois'es them)! Sounds silly doesn't it? .. well it's not. Using usermode +W is nothing but a distraction. It can easily lead from one small innocent thing a proverbial global catastrophe in an instant. Opers will want to use it and send notices back to the user .. some opers think that it's a sign that the user needs help, it's not! /whois is an information gathering tool. Trust me when I say if a user needs help, they will find you and ask! I can't remember how many times as an oper I was PM'ed from some random user that ignored my /away message! USERS WILL COME TO YOU FOR HELP! There is no constructive need or use for usermode +w. there is no whois flood. There is no whois DDoS .. there is nothing wrong with users whois'ing you 500 times a minute. At the VERY worst, a user will fill up their sendQ and flood THEMSELVES off the server and even in this very rare scenario the resources used to do so are still much smaller than every oper on the network know when someone whois'ed them! a popular thing to do when a oper get's whois'ed when using such a script is to send a message back to the user or punish them for their actions. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED! Again, nothing wrong with /whois, the information sent to the user comes from the SERVER not the OPER. So it can't flood the oper at all!

6. When advertising your network, don't use phrases or features that everyone else offers.

As for #6, many many many networks advertise having ssl, vHosts, freindly opers, channel bots .. etc .. NO CRAP!! everyone else does too!!

You want to advertise things that you have that NO ONE else has! this is including features that you wrote and have not shared with the rest of the community. Please remember that if you didn't write it, someone else has it! you can't be unique using the same stuff everyone else uses! You need things that no one else has. You als need to be able to answer the following questions ... "What does your network have that is not already available to me?" and "Why should I use your network instead of the network I'm already a member of?" They may be hard to answer, but they need to be answered. If you CAN'T answer them, then you didn't have a valid reason to start your network! Harsh? perhaps .. but truthful. IRC Administration is not for everyone! Regardless of a persons desires, some people just aren't meant to be admins and there's nothing wrong with that!

Remember that constructive replies are welcome!

I hope this helps!

ciao

[*splat!* -PingBad (for the record, just stickied this topic)]
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bubblez6000
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Joined: 06 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Nov 23, 2007 1:37pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow perfectly said, I should know I was once there a while ago, but now the smaller network I belong to is working on a pretty big project and may in the next year or two release it once done and a second smaller project for the short term. In order to get the users you must be able to provide something unique, which at the moment we don't, but in the near future we will be.
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PingBad
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Joined: 05 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Nov 25, 2007 10:09pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bloody good speech there, kat - and all excellent points
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Lord_Diablo
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Joined: 10 Sep 2007
Posts: 80
Location: Fairfield,CA

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2007 1:59am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Claps hands!* Well put. I will definetly be sharing this article with fellow admins Wink
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SATAN-HHH
Eleet
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Joined: 29 Nov 2003
Posts: 964
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Nov 29, 2007 6:40am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've covered a number of my personal pet peeves there. Especially the attitude an owner or staff member takes with the users and remembering that you're not above anyone. Respect and attitude seem to be the most lost virtues when it comes to people and not just Irc networks, but even games and other things.


Although I know not everyone can theoreticaly do one, I definently agree with the testnet. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Irc networks crash due to testing and such. I ran into that alot on a game where they would test and play with new scripts, crashing the shard at times. It's quite annoying and runs off users.


That is a very well written list, I commend you on it Katsklaw.
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katsklaw
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Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 1824

PostPosted: Dec 02, 2007 7:51am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to add something here as I've seen some users get bent out of shape on a valid point.

IF you advertise your network, here, there or anywhere. Do NOT get pissed if someone asks you "what do you offer than no one else does?" It's NOT an attack on you and is most likely asked because you failed to disclose the information in the first place! It's a perfectly valid question. You are the one advertising, you are the one trying to "sell a product" or a service in this case. Think about it. When was the last time you seen or read an advertisement for a car dealer that only says: "come buy our cars, we just opened" ...never! They tell you more than you want to know about themselves and you should too. You want users to visit, have something unique and tell everyone about it! Simple stating "I have a network" won't cut it.

If anything, be thankful you were noticed to start with!

PS: OH! to those that are not even involved with the network and get bent because someone asks .. please just stay out of the conversation unless you have something constructive to say ... bitching about "stop being lazy and go visit to find out for yourself" is no where near productive, that's how flame wars are started. So please, don't feed the trolls.
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braindigitalis
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Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Posts: 443
Location: IRC

PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 10:51am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't agree that an ircd should suit your needs (as the admin or netadmin), it should suit the users needs on the network so they feel comfortable having their channels there. Is this what you meant katsklaw?
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katsklaw
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Joined: 28 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 11:30am    Post subject: Reply with quote

braindigitalis wrote:
i don't agree that an ircd should suit your needs (as the admin or netadmin), it should suit the users needs on the network so they feel comfortable having their channels there. Is this what you meant katsklaw?


Part of a NetAdmin's job, imho, is to fulfill the needs of the networks users, therefore the needs of the admin should match the needs of the network and consequently the needs of the network's users. NetAdmins are there to create and enforce the focus and goals of the network, whether it's family based, game based or dare I say warez based. Choosing the software needed to make that goal easier to achieve and manage. The NetAdmin is the first and foremost representative of the network and it's image as seen from the users standpoint, so in this context the network and the NetAdmin are synonymous.

#2 on the Do's list should look like this at the very least, remember to take your time and write it on a text editor.

http://searchirc.com/network/CollectiveIRC
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Anarchy
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Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 286
Location: Cabot Arkansas

PostPosted: Mar 09, 2008 4:15pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you kat this helped me a lot to be a better admin Wink
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Bertrum
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Joined: 30 Mar 2008
Posts: 573
Location: Venus

PostPosted: Mar 30, 2008 6:27pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well said kat Smile good points that all admins should take into account
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Nixtrix
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Joined: 06 Apr 2008
Posts: 106
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PostPosted: Apr 07, 2008 7:40am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey thanks for that post, its made me think about a few things on my network lol good post.
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Xaphan
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Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Apr 09, 2008 9:26pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one thing that a user finds really annoying. besides autojoin to channel, opers using sajoin to join you to said channel... is /os global every few minutes when admins feel like telling everybody something, sharing images, or just being outright dickheads.

Only use the services global command if it's important. For some of us, it goes to EVERY window we have open.
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katsklaw
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Joined: 28 Jun 2004
Posts: 1824

PostPosted: Apr 10, 2008 10:21am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xaphan wrote:
one thing that a user finds really annoying. besides autojoin to channel, opers using sajoin to join you to said channel... is /os global every few minutes when admins feel like telling everybody something, sharing images, or just being outright dickheads.

Only use the services global command if it's important. For some of us, it goes to EVERY window we have open.


This is a very good point actually. We've (meaning my network) lost users because admins would global messages to users when it's not important. Other users have filed formal complaints to our senior admins and in some cases the globals were nothing more than wishing people happy new year and merry christmas!

Absurd to some, but not everyone observes the same holidays so to stay away from this in the future, our policies specifically forbid broadcasting globals unless it's network related, professionally written .. and pertaining to maintenance of the network. So basicly our global system is only used by our routing staff and occasionally senior admins. Our global system has several options to it including an "Opt-Out" option for those that don't wish to receive such notices, so this makes it a bit better for us.

The easiest task for net admins is configuration, The 2 hardest tasks (in order) are keeping users and getting users. New admins sadly think that just because they figured out how to link services to an IRCd that they are a net admin. Unfortunately they needlessly learn the hard way that is a very false statement.
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Lyhne1
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Joined: 05 Jul 2008
Posts: 232
Location: In your Mom

PostPosted: Jul 28, 2008 7:38pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been around Irc for about 10yrs or Better But Not Under This Nick.. I do recall A time with SlaughterHouse on Coolchat ...Or something to that effect...Well anyways.. I agree 90% of the Do's and Don't... Other 10% Is just cause I like to have some control ...WEG....Well anywho.. The Looney Tunes are back or something ... like that....


Too Many Voices at once rattle off in this Thing called a Head..Wink
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darkwarrior
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Joined: 02 Aug 2008
Posts: 194

PostPosted: Aug 11, 2008 1:34pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one thing with using an ircd and services package that suits the network's needs, especially on a brand new network is a bit difficult to do in the beginning. If it's a brand new network, that would be assuming that the network has no users at the moment, so how are you supposed to collect any input as to what the users want and feel comfortable with? You can't.

The best thing in that situation is go with what you have the best knowledge in usually, or attempt to learn one of the less common ircd and services so that you can have a unique ircd and services different from all others. Learn it, learn how to implement your own features into it, and such. The best way to meet user wants/needs is to have an area on your website for users to give their feedback and suggestions.

Usually, new networks should be done on trial and error. If 90% of the users coming through choose not to stay, find out what reason they aren't staying and what would make them stay if possible and then do your best to make that happen. Find out what is keeping the other 10% staying, and if they could change something, what would they change. That's one of the best ways to go about it in my opinion and from experience.

I hope that helps a little. Thanks katslaw, I've realized a lot more about network administration from your post. Here all along, I thought I knew just about everything about administration, but, I don't. This will prove to be helpful for me.

The one problem with a unique feature/service is, due to the large amount of networks and features already in use, its kind of difficult to think of something new that the rest don't have. What advice would you offer to those who are trying to figure out what to add to their service?
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