New Staff Member -tengrrl

We would like to announce the addition of a new staff member to our team.

Today, we have asked tengrrl to join our network staff, and she has gratefully accepted. We are very lucky to have another experienced person on the team.

There is a lot to learn, and we are confident she will master this with time. Please welcome tengrrl to our staff and congratulate her on her new position.

The past 8 months

GeekShed is now near enough 8 months old. Those of you who have been with us from the start may remember the document outlining why the majority of the staff and servers were splitting away from WyldRyde and starting a-fresh on GeekShed. Those of you who don’t remember can find the document in PDF format. Since that happened, an awful lot has gone on. GeekShed has grown by nearly 50% and is still growing. We have recently surpassed the peak user count that we saw when we were part of WyldRyde. The SearchIRC graphs below show this:

WyldRyde Last Year WyldRyde Last Year


The above user counts include network bots – WyldRyde has approx 125 and GeekShed 110. GeekShed is currently (at time of writing) ranked the 60th biggest IRC network of 1,012 listed on SearchIRC. This is great!

Our Twitter channel has also been a great success. We have tweeted as regularly as we can – updating you on what’s new with GeekShed and how we’re getting along. We have recently passed the WyldRyde twitter channel in number of followers and we get approximately 70 mentions in an average week. The majority of these are positive, and we have tried to help, the best we can, those people who are posting negative messages due to encountering problems.

Our new YouTube channel is also doing great. We have a decent number of subscribers and are always gaining more. What we really need is for users to make videos that they think might help other users such that we can add more useful information to the channel. Most of the GeekShed staff use mIRC, and any client tutorials that can be made by users of other clients would be most appreciated. Come see us in #help if you have an idea.

We have also recently become directly involved in the development of our services package, Anope. We have worked with the Anope development team and committed bug fixes and new features to the 1.8 (stable) branch to help improve our services and help the wider Anope community. A number of new services modules have also been developed to make your experience better. These include the channel ban appeal module and associated web page, a module to automatically identify you if you ghost or recover a nickname, and a few other modules to increase the security and reliability of services.

We have implemented a BNC service and associated web management panel to provide bouncers designed for users who cannot always stay connected to GeekShed but would like to keep track of channel and private messages whilst they’re disconnected. This service also helps those users who have multiple computers, for example home and work computers as well as a laptop, and would like to connect to their IRC session from any location.

Updates and improvements have been made to the inherently badly written code of UnrealIRCD to make GeekShed’s IRCD more reliable and less resource intensive. Although unavoidable netsplits still occur, we have seen a decrease in buggy and crashy IRCD processes.

We have, by creating an Anope->XML database converter, allowed the site to interact with services. This has allowed us to provide private access areas of the site, such as QDB submissions, accessed using your services login. Integration with our services servers has also allowed us to provide things such as channel and user lists, user statistics and an automatically updating list of bots.

Your generosity has been astounding and we have received an amazing sum of money in donations over the past 8 months. This has enabled us to register as a company, renew the domains and privacy protection for the next 4 years, secure our services login with SSL, obtain attack resistent servers to help rid us of proxies and bots and, most importantly, redesign TFlash. TFlash’s redesign has allowed us to add a load of new features and make it generally easier for you to use and embed into your own site. We know adverts were a major point of dislike for our users when we were part of WyldRyde and your generosity has allowed us to make all of our services totally advert free. All of the staff are volunteers dedicated to making GeekShed a better place for users. Its intent has never been to make money and each and we are extremely grateful for every donation made.

The staff team has been refreshed. Those staff who are no longer active or have expressed that they do not have time for GeekShed have been removed and replaced with new staff members who have more time to spare. We feel that constantly injecting fresh blood into the staff team will help the network develop as new ideas are brought in. Every staff member has worked extremely hard and we are very thankful for all of their efforts.

Our server turnover has been remarkably high. Although we would like a low server turnover, this hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. We have constantly been adding new servers and removing those which have not performed as expected. We are currently in a state where every server we have has proved to be reliable.

The GeekShed forums are doing well and it has been proved that free software works better than the paid software that was used on WyldRyde at the time of the split. We do not feel that it is necessary to waste donor’s money on unnecessary things.

Our terms of service have been developed over time to strike the best balance we can between network security, user safety, and freedom of action. We feel that they are currently in a state which balances these aspects effectively.

A lot has happened over the past 8 months. None of it could have been possible without the continued support of our users and staff – we are truly thankful to each one of you for sticking by us. Much is planned for the future and we urge you to continue to use our services and encourage your friends to do so also.

Many thanks

The GeekShed Staff

Getting information about channel user counts

We have implemented a feature which tracks the number of users in GeekShed channels. This information can then be used to give you information such as average user counts over different time periods. Although we have not fully decided what to do with this data, the basis of the system can be found at http://www.geekshed.net/usercount/. If you have any suggestions as to what we can do with the data, let us know in #help.

BNC Service

GeekShed has today launched a free BNC service for users to use for connecting to the network. Find out all about it and get your BNC at http://www.geekshed.net/bnc/

Loss of a dear friend

It is with great regret that I write to report the passing of a friend of many years. Jennifer Nicole Noles, IRC nicknames sin and nic, died this morning in Vegas. She suffered from Endometriosis. Nic has been a user on GeekShed and it’s predecessor for over 7 years and, in that time, has touched many people with her loving and dynamic personality.

Nic is a great friend to many and will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace. — Update If you wish to chat with others about this, stop in #naughtycloset

E-Mail Validation

After recent BotNet attacks on GeekShed and other IRC networks, lessons have been learned and measures have been put in place to mitigate the effects of future attacks. One such mitigation method is validation of e-mail addresses. When you register a new nickname in the future, you will be sent an e-mail to ensure that it is correct. This e-mail will contain all the instructions you need to activate the nickname. Note that this does not apply to grouped nicknames and most users will not require more than 1 nickname group. See http://www.geekshed.net/grouping for help with grouping. Any questions, ask in #help.

TOS Changes

We have today implemented a policy to help tackle ban evasion and various privacy issues on GeekShed. This policy underwent much discussion and we are confident that its implementation is beneficial for GeekShed and its users.

Our full Terms of Service can be found at the usual location.

The changes are as follows:

  • It is prohibited to assist users who are banned from GeekShed in communicating with other users on the network. This means that bots which relay information from one IRC network to GeekShed and back again are now prohibited. This also prohibits allowing banned users to in some way proxy through your Internet connection.
  • Due to the inherently public nature of IRC it is now allowed to post or relay channel conversations to other mediums (including the web, IM networks and other IRC networks) without warning the channel’s users or asking the permission of the channel owner. Channels which are an exception to this policy are those which are secret (chmode +s), private (chmode +p) or have ChanServ’s “Restricted Access” set on. It is prohibited to post or relay conversation from these channels to other mediums without the permission of the channel owner. Naturally, channel owners can modify this policy in any way they like for their own channel. For example, a channel owner of a public channel can prohibit the creation of channel stats by users or the posting of logs to quote databases, etc..
  • It is now prohibited to run any service which allows real time two way conversation between users who are directly connected to GeekShed and users who are not directly connected to GeekShed. This policy prohibits the use of relay bots which bring data from real time external sources such as IM and IRC networks and post it in GeekShed channels or private messages. This policy does not, however, prohibit the use of bots which provide services such as twitter feeds and RSS update notifications. If a user who is not connected to GeekShed would like to converse with users who are connected to GeekShed, they are more than welcome to connect and do so. This is unless, of course, they are banned.


If you have any questions on these changes, ask in #help on irc.geekshed.net.

Ban Appeal Module

Due to the increasing number of people whining about channel bans in other channels, we came up with an easy solution. This was to create the page at http://www.geekshed.net/2010/04/ban-appeals/ and add information of channel’s ban appeal procedures. This page can than be linked to when someone is wondering what they can do about a channel ban.

However, this is a very messy solution and one that would take much time to maintain. Instead, we have come up with a better solution! We have written and loaded a module for Anope which allows anyone with access to ChanServ’s SET command, on a channel, to set a ban appeal procedure for that channel. This will, sometime in the near future, have the data taken from it and placed dynamically in the table you see in the link above. However, for the moment, ban appeal procedure info is shown if you do a “/cs info” command on a channel. For example: /cs info #help. You will see “Ban appeal information: Bans cannot be appealed”.

To set a ban appeal procedure on your channel use the following command:

/CS SET #channel BANINFO your ban info

For example:

/cs set #help baninfo Bans cannot be appealed

To remove the ban appeal procedure from your channel, just emit the procedure. For example:

/cs set #help baninfo

Anyone who requested that an appeal procedure be added to the site has had it automatically ported over into the new module.

Note: When the web page generation is complete EVERY channel with a ban appeal procedure set will be listed. If you don’t want your channel to be listed do not set an appeal procedure!

New Staff Member – CCMike

There is a concept. This concept is difficult for the author to understand. Some people call it ‘real life’. Sadly, this mischievous beast has gotten in the way once more and our newest staff member, Kyle, has been forced to resign his staff position to pursue further education. This is a great loss to GeekShed and we wish him all the best with his studies.

In an attempt to fill the gaping hole left by Kyle’s resignation, we have asked CCMike to join the GeekShed staff team. He kindly accepted this offer and we are thrilled to have him on the team. CCMike has been on GeekShed and its predecessor for 5+ years and is a great friend to many.

Like any new staff member, Mike has a lot to learn but we are confident that he will take this in his stride.

Flash Client Upgrade

We have, for quite a while now, offered TFlash as our web based IRC client. This was originally written as a quick replacement for the Java client we used previously. TFlash has, however, stood up to the test of time and has proved to be a very popular client amongst users.

We have now decided that it is time to upgrade TFlash to make it bigger and better. To this end, we contracted Mike Parks (BigRedPimp) of thinkrightgames.com to carry out the work. He is an incredibly experienced Flash developer and has made an exceptional job of the new Flash Client.

Today we have launched this new client and it should now be embedded on all of the sites that had the old Flash client embedded.

Development of the client started in early December and, since then, a team of testers have tirelessly tested it and removed bugs. We thank them for their help. If you do however find a bug, please report it using the address at the top of the new flash client.

BigRedPimp has put in a huge amount of effort with this project and we thank him unreservedly for his time and for doing this project for such a low cost. We are glad to call him a friend of GeekShed.

If you have any questions about the new Flash client, please come and see us in #help on irc.geekshed.net.

You can see the new TFlash at http://www.geekshed.net/chat/