What is Establishment?

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What is Establishment?

Post by xplora »

I'll start with quoting an article by former Co-ordinator DinTx, she wrote for the Undernet User Committee several years ago...
DinTx wrote:Once upon a time when Undernet was still learning to walk, a group of Opers began discussing the idea of setting up a Channel Service for users that would eliminate the need for everyone to try and maintain their own private bots. This Channel Service would utilize the servers to reop itself and therefore provide more stability to channels than any private bot could offer. There were of course objections. Why should we force Channel Services on people? We will end up with every user trying to set up a private channel for themselves using this new Channel Service. This type of service would only create a class of users who had no idea how to run a channel themselves. And so the arguments went.

The answer to the first was very simple. This was to be an extra service provided by Undernet and was not a requirement for channel ownership nor was it a right to be expected. That principle remains today although many of our users do not seem to understand it. Too often users think that any unregistered channel is open season and belongs to no one. This is not true. A channel, registered or not, belongs to its regular users. This is one of the reasons the Undernet Channel Services requires a 10 day posting period for objections rather than instant registration as is done on some nets. We have many channel applications that are rejected because the objections noted include the fact that the person applying has no right to that channel. There are many channels that either do not qualify for registration or simply do not want registration. The idea that people other than channel regulars would have access to their channel via X/W (this is speaking of Channel Service personnel) is abhorrent to them and Undernet respects their right to maintain their channel in their own way without the help of Channel Services. By the same token, there are channels that we may decide to not register for any of a number of reasons. Again, Channel Services is an extra service and a privilege, not a right simply because you connect.

The second major objection was that we would have everyone trying to maintain a private channel using X/W. This was resolved by determining that Channel Services was to be offered only to established channels who already had a solid userbase. Again we have many new users who do not understand that Channel Services is not to be used to start a channel and is not a requirement to have a channel on Undernet. This is the reason that we require that users submit the email addresses of at least 10 other people who agree that the person applying should be the manager of the channel in question. We have always called these supporters. Perhaps we would do better to call them channel regulars since this is what we are really looking for. During the 10 day posting period, Channel Services utilizes an Oper'ed bot to *look into* channels to count the number of different masks. The bot does not actually join the channel and can see past any modes set on the channel. This check is done every hour for 3 days or until the bot shows an accumulation of 11 different masks. This check is done to try to insure the channel really is established and is being used on a regular basis.

The last objection to the creation of a Channel Service for Undernet did and to some extent still does have some validity dependent upon how you define knowledge of running a channel. While establishing and building their userbase, users do have to learn how to run the channel on their own. Once X/W arrives, there is still an art to managing. The channel operators must learn to use the commands in X/W effectively. In many ways this is no different than trying to do with their own private bots. What X/W does provide is a ready made bot that users do not have to configure themselves and is a lot more stable. A private bot loses ops and you have to look for an IRCop to reop the channel or everyone has to leave so you can recycle the channel. X/W have the unique ability to use Uworld to reop themselves thereby insuring the channel is always able to remain in the control of the proper users.

Channel Services has been in operation now for over 4 and one half years and I think most will agree it has been a big success. Our services have been copied by many other nets. Channels still have the option to run on their own or run using X/W. Channel Service can still be denied to channels. We still try to encourage users to establish their channels first to insure they generate the type of traffic that warrants the service. And in many ways we have created a different class of user, those that have the security of a server bot and have become very savvy at using it. It is this class of user that has helped Undernet grow.
Now, some things have actually changes, W has retired, the opered bot has been replaced with a function that is now part of the New improved X (among other things), CService has now been operation for over 12 years (at time of this post), but what hasn't changed is what's important.

The regulars of the channel are still the perceived owners of the channel, in fact a CService Member was suspended and a trainee removed, in part because there were some that still did not understand this concept. CService and X does create a slight change but that is more because of how hard it is to define who is a regular of a channel, this being that CService will normally side with the channel manager once a channel is registered.

But the Registration process still requires 11 regulars (the manager to be and 10 supporters), still takes several days (5 minimum if everything is correct, if not can still take potentially longer than 12 days). The first stage after an application is successfully posted is about getting the supporters/regulars to verify their support. The process replacing the opered bot still takes up to 3 days, but needs to see the supporters in the channel as well as others (second stage), and this helps confirm those supporters are the regulars of the channel. The minimum 5 days is about the third stage where X's server starts notifying the channel of the application, this in turn gives the real regulars a chance to object to the application. All stages being about proving channel establishment with both using the channel and having regulars to support the application.

CService also has processes in place to try to identify when a channel is no longer establish, this starts with the 21 day login requirement of the channel manager, any channel whose manager does not login with 21 days we consider the channel abandoned. In order to support the regulars of the channel if we find the channel itself still to be active enough, we will often allow a voting process for a new manager, otherwise CService will remove X's services from the channel. Again it's about identifying that the channel is established.

In short before attempting to register a channel, a channel must be established, to be established, a user joins a channel, gets joined by others, usually a few months go by with the same group of users joining that channel regularly, then one of them applies for registration with the support of the others in the channel. People that do not understand this are those that find there channel purged on a regular basis. Users beware, a channel that is not established, will likely be rejected, or if registered, purged within a year. X was never designed to help someone establish a channel.
xplora @ undernet.org
Past Co-ordinator
Undernet Channel Services Committee