I'm not denying that your usage is legitimate, I'm merely pointing out that it's an extremely niche feature of the IRC protocol that really is not often used. In fact, I would bet there are more networks with & being used widely as a usermode (halfop) than there are ones with more than a handful of populated &channels. There is a lot of potential confusion there. When a user is on a channel, &nick would have to hotlink a nickname, but once they leave it would hotlink a channel. Similarly, &text will always hotlink a nickname that shares the channel, which can confuse users who think &text will hotlink a channel. This problem isn't specific to &, it's also a problem for +, %, etc. And there are networks out there with those prefixes for channels, which would only lead to more confusion if mIRC were to hotlink channels with every prefix.

That's why it doesn't look unintended to me, but only Khaled can confirm/deny.

- argv[0] on EFnet #mIRC
- "Life is a pointer to an integer without a cast"