What’s a Netsplit?

If you’ve been on an IRC network any length of time, you’ve seen something like this scrolling up your screen:

Quits: ted (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Max (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: otter (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Meg (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Twitter (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: PB (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Roman (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )

I’ve edited that list to remove personal information, and I’ve only listed about a few of the Quit messages that appeared. Typically after all the Quit messages appear, someone asks, “What’s going on?!”

What you’re seeing there is a netsplit. It’s essentially a sudden disconnection for the entire network. Just as the name suggests, the NETwork SPLIT as one of the IRC servers lost contact with the rest of the network. In the case of the Quit messages above, the server Neptune.GeekShed.net lost its connection to the server ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net (and the rest of the network). There’s a very complete explanation of what happens during a netsplit on Wikipedia.

What Should You Do When a Netsplit Happens?

When there’s a netsplit, network staff will work to reconnect the servers. Staff will see the server split. You don’t need to alert anyone.

Depending upon the server you were connected to when the netsplit happened, you may either find yourself on the split off server (where you’ll notice that the channels are much emptier than they were) or on the rest of the network. The best thing to do is just be patient and give staff time to fix the situation.

If the netsplit seems to last more than a few minutes, you may want to try connecting to a different server. Be warned, however, that when the split server reconnects, the network will see that your nick is on the network twice (once on the previously split server and once on the unsplit server). In this case, you may be disconnected again with the message “Nick Collision” or your nick may be set to Unidentified. Just log back in again, use the Ghost command, or change your nick and identify if this happens.

NOTE: It’s not helpful to ask staff to explain the situation while they’re also trying to fix it. If staff are explaining things to you, they can’t work on fixing the server.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Quit Messages and What They Mean

Excess flood – you attempted to send too much data to the IRC server too quickly. The server thought you were attempting to flood it, and so it disconnected you. If this is happening to you a lot, you should check to see if your client offers a setting that will prevent this (mIRC users: Options -> IRC -> Flood).

Max sendQ exceeded – you failed to receive the data from the server quick enough; the server tried to send you too much data and closed the connection. This could happen if you use /who on larger channels too often.

Ping timeout – In order to confirm that connections are still active, servers regularly send out ping requests. When a client doesn’t respond to this within a set period of time, 2 minutes on GeekShed, it believes that the connection no longer active, and closes it. If this happening to you often, you should try using the closest server to you (or the next closest, if you’re already using the closest).

Connection reset by peer – when the IRC client uncleanly closes the connection to the server , the server may not realize that the connection has been terminated. In this situation, the user still appears to be online (a ghost user). The next time the server attempts to send data to the client, it realizes the connection no longer exists and resets it; the ghost is then disconnected.

Broken pipe – when there is a sudden break in the connection between the IRC server and client, the user will disconnect with this message.

*.geekshed.net *.geekshed.net – this is a netsplit, or when one server loses its connection from the rest of the network. For a more detailed explanation, as well as images, view the WikiPedia entry on Netsplits.

G:lined or Z:lined – for some reason, the user has been banned from the network. The reason, as well as a URL where the person may find more information is always given when staff ban someone. For information on the ban appeal process, please see the Ban Appeals page.

Killed (nick (reasons)) – this is given when a user has been forcibly disconnected from the network by a staff member. The staff member’s name and a reason are always given. This should be viewed as a warning, and the user may be banned if the behavior continues.