IRC is dying little by matter how you see it. I think one major issue is --- The role of channel operators is constantly abused. The most active ppl at these IRC boards don't consider this serious. I figure cuz most ppl here are probably channel operators themselves. Many ppl have complain about the inability to report abuse regarding channel operators. Who have taken over the most popular channels (which more and more have less ppl). Some of these operators bring up racist - sexiest - homophobic...etc remarks. U discuss anything in the public chat window and u may get kicked out or sometimes banned...for no reason just for the "kicks" of the operator. And then we lose another user for good.
It sucks...that IRC is going down and down. Wish IRC operators would take better responsiblity and not let IRC die.