Semi-Generic Acceptable Use Policy for IRCnet user and routing servers.

Document history:

This document was originally written to be the Acceptable Use Policy for BTnet and BT Internet's IRC servers on the IRCnet network. I have released the document into the public domain since it forms a good basis for any IRCnet server to adopt as a basic policy document, with only a small amount of editing. The references to BT have been replaced by references to Shonky Internet and if you use it, you may want to put a link back to us, but you don't have to.


This document is not formally written, and is not created as a list of what IRC users can, and cannot do. By its nature, IRC is an anarchistic society and hard fast rules will either not work or just become things for people to pedantically argue about for hours, making the system impossible to run.

The rest of this deliberately short document, explains the guidelines of behaviour by which we expect users to behave, and the equivalent guidelines by which we expect people with operator privileges on our servers to stick to.


The IRC server is run by a number of IRC operators, both employees of Shonky Internet and external ones. As a condition of us having a central, open server, we have to provide 24 hour a day, 7 days a week "policing" of our server. A lot of this is provided automatically without human intervention. Generally, an IRC operator who has been given privileges specifically on Shonky's server will also have equivalent privileges elsewhere - IRC operators are expected to know what they are doing, be generally liked and respected by the networks's other operators and to "fit in". Operators on our server are all fully trusted - We don't limit their abilities; they are free to act and react autonomously, and it is very rare that their decisions will be over-ridden by the management chain.

Users have to respect that IRC operators on any server are still "users" as well as "IRC Operators" - Just because someone is an IRC operator, it doesn't mean that they cannot join in the normal activity of the network. We occasionally get complaints that an IRC operator has used their /KILL powers outside the line of normal server administration - My personal opinion on this is that IRC operators work in a high-stress environment and are often subject to disproportionate amounts of personal abuse from troublemakers. It is only natural that at times they will be forced to use their operator status to deal with such incidents on an individual basis. There is no IRC "law" about operators using "/KILL" and it is up to the individual server's policy whether it is allowed. Of course, if an IRC operator is persistantly abusing this power, you have the right to complain, but when doing so, and sending logs, please, don't edit them too creatively.

Our IRC Operators will not usually get involved in "channel politics" except in the situation where the politics of a channel are causing problems that reflect on the actual servers.


(Bot: An IRC user that is a computer program, rather than an actual human user - Often there to "guard a channel" or to provide information)

We have no specific "anti-bot" policy on this server - Basically, if a bot sits there, and doesn't annoy too many people then it is quite welcome to stay. If a user wants to run a bot that may cause complaints (for example, ones to look after well known IRC channels) then it is best to ask us to provide a specific connection line for it so that it is not automatically banned.

It should be (strongly) noted that these days, it is very difficult to distinguish some of the IRC Client-Scripts from actual bots, indeed, when a user with some of these scripts goes idle for a while, the script running becomes a bot, and does all the things that bots do. This makes it both impractical, and unreasonable to stick with the old "anti-bot" policys that both we, and other servers used to stick so strongly to.

IRC as a battleground:

Because of the nature of IRC, people will argue with one another, people will lose their temper, and, as seems to be happening more and more on the roads, people will start to get all the symptoms of "Superhighway Rage".

The bottom line is, we will not tolerate abusing the IRC in this way. If someone loses an argument, or is annoyed by someone, then it is not a justification for using a server split to "hack a channel", using some of the nastier war scripts to create clones to "flood people off" and, most definately not to break the law and abuse the actual network to get back at them. Clones are spotted automatically by our server, as are clients that look for netsplits - These are reported, and usually automatically banned from the server. When an IRC operator notices abuse of this sort, they will ban as much of the site as is necessary to curtail the abuse. Because of the nature of the Internet these days, this usually means the whole site will be banned from our server, and, often, on any servers that we have abuse-watch agreements with. If a site is banned unfairly (as will occasionally happen by accident) then you can request that we review the K-Line (ban) - Users can type "/stats k" to see what bans are in place.

Access to the server:

Access to Shonky's irc server is generally open to anyone. Exceptions to this are as follows:

Complaints procedure:

Any reports of abuse should be sent to "[email protected]" or, on IRC, you could message one of the active operators (try typing /TRACE to see them).

Complaints about IRC should not be sent to Shonky Internet Support since it is not a supported service.

Complaints about Operator abuse should be sent to [email protected] with some supporting evidence.


This server is provided by Shonky Internet, mainly as a transit service for other ISP's. The public IRC service is provided as an unsupported by-product and managed according to IRCnet BIC guidelines.

Please, read the server's message of the day (/motd and bear in mind what it, and this AUP says. If you do not agree with it, don't use the server. There are plenty of other ones out there.

Michael Lawrie.