The DALnetizen, Issue #8, Official ezine of DALnet


Contents:
     
The Birthplace of a Network

By MirclMax (spike@dal.net)

Stardate 7/94. Several users of a laggy, split torn, uncontrollable IRC Network find themselves searching for an extension to their often disrupted activities on the existing #startrek channel and take solace in a lone server made available by a lead operator of the channel named dalvenjah. The server was referred to as "dal's server".. to later, after more frequent use, to become "dal's net", and in a more abbreviated form, DALnet. The channel? Of course, DALnet's own, #startrek.

#startrek does not hold the oldest channel registration date on the network. That honor is claimed by its sister channel, #ds9. #startrek is however most definitely the oldest channel on the network as it's use far precedes the introduction of channel registration. 

In the early days, #startrek was mostly an adjunct to the existing channel on the *other* network. At that time, the existing #startrek channel was being run by 3 persons;  Lightmage, MirclMax, and dalvenjah. The latter two made the move to Dal's Network with Lightmage's interest in IRC dwindling. The channel was used to support SIMs (role-playing games) and serve as a private place for "special people" to escape to in order to speak more privately and/or conveniently. 

Popularity for the server began to increase. Soon it grew from one lone server, to two, then three, and four. The server admins were mostly #startrek operators, with their ircops being channel operators and/or users. The old #startrek became  more of a recruiting point for the now developing DALnet. The gateway between networks, the channel #startrek. 

Eventually the DALnet version of #startrek, being run by dalvenjah & MirclMax  (later to be "founded" with ChanServ by dalvenjah), developed its own regular users. While still operating under the same rules/policies as the original channel, it took on a personality of its own.

The channel at this time had one rather major problem. Its regulars became those people most active in creating the network. They were the ones running servers, writing policies, creating services. Involvement on the channel died out. So in November of '95, after noticing a very empty channel, MirclMax asked dalvenjah if he would switch Founder status with him so that the channel could be revived. This occurred, and MirclMax began adding aops and sops and the channel began to be as it is today.

The rules of the channel have barely changed since approximately 1992 and the "old #startrek". They are relatively simple: Don't flood, don't swear, don't argue with the operators, don't beg for operator access, don't  be annoying. Those are, I would think, pretty standard on many IRC channels. DALnet's #startrek also continues a rather old policy of discouraging both users and operators from idling on the channel for an excessive time.  The hope is that when you join the channel, the people you see there will actually be there to talk with you.

Another consistency from the original #startrek channel is the presence of the ever faithful RunAbot (RB). RB is DALnet's oldest living bot and is coded in ircII. [Don't even ask, the code is not available to the public] Many of RunAbot's functions have become obsolete since the introduction of Services. In fact, DALnet's Services even incorporated some of RunAbot's code. RB mainly has been reduced to it's role-playing simulation duties to provide mild entertainment from time to time. It is designed to somewhat emulate a particular ship in the "Star Trek" universe called a "runabout". RB is not the only bot that has existed on the #startrek channels though. In fact, while MirclMax has RunAbot, both Lightmage and dalvenjah had bots of their own; Enterbot and Quarkbot respectively. Enterbot was the master bot, simulating the Starship Enterprise's computer full of delightful scans  and silly comments. Quarkbot (not the current one on DALnet) was a wonderful bartender and really preferred Pepsi to Coke. Best of all, it was well versed in its Rules of Acquisition. While Enterbot and Quarkbot may not be regulars on the channel anymore, their spirit definitely remains with the old timers who were so fond of them. If you hang out in the channel long enough, you too may even catch a rare visit by one.

What is probably most unique about #startrek is its *NO SPOILER* policy. As the channel does bring in fans of "Star Trek", some of whom are able to watch episodes/movies earlier than other users [Due to syndication as well as worldwide distribution issues], it is generally accepted that  saying anything that gives, well, *anything* away about the most recent episode of a show is taboo. This is rather strictly enforced, and priority  is given to non-North Americans if they ask to not be "spoiled" during a reasonable time frame. 

So if I join this channel, am I going to see lots of people talking about "Star Trek"? Ironically, no, you probably won't. The channel consists of people who have at least one thing in common, "Star Trek". Usually the topic comes up from time to time, but so do other completely unrelated issues. It is a place to go to meet people who enjoy the show, not to beat every "Star Trek" issue to death. If you want to talk about it anyhow, probably you'll find someone to speak with. 

The channel does support a weekly hour-long focused discussion based around  the television show "Star Trek: Voyager". The discussions are on Saturdays starting at 6pm US Pacific time (9pm Eastern). This is the only time on the channel that the *NO SPOILER* rule is lifted. 

What's in store for #startrek in the future? Who knows! Hopefully more scheduled events like the Voyager Discussion Hour pending user/oper interest. Trivia Contests are likely to pop up on a semi-regular basis in the future as well. User involvement and requests are likely to be what guides those sorts of things.

For more information on DALnet's #startrek, you can visit its webpage at http://mrmike.simplenet.com/startrek  or just stop by and start up a conversation. 
 

 (C) 1999 MirclMax (spike@dal.net) All rights reserved. Used by permission.