Thanks for the suggested popups.
Not sure how I missed this but... the purpose of numeric 696 is only to report missing mode parameters. All other valid modes in the mode request are still applied. This means that a client can ignore/hide the 696 numeric and everything will continue to work in the same way as on all other ircds, where the standard, long-established behaviour is to not report errors in this context.
I will be changing the next beta so that it ignores/hides this numeric, however it will still trigger a remote event so that scripts can detect it if they want to.