I think IRC is still very popular..I don't see how EFNet has died myself, but I never use it, so I don't know - I'm just going by userbase.
This post is really long, but it's basically my point of view as to why I think IRC is a bad place - it doesn't focus on the good points, but there are many - don't just think everything is bad about IRC because of this post, because it isn't. Basically, it's a long ramble, and me putting the world to rights *G*
As said before, there is an extreme lack of people chatting to each other. Even channels with over 500 people in, will have NO chatting whatsoever! It's just full to the brim of join, part, join, join, join, part, part, join etc etc. Basically, whilst the IRC userbase in general is not in decline, the chatting side of it is.
And yes, one of the big problems is warez. All I see is "my friend said mIRC is good for getting movies". That's when I generally have a strong urge to kill. Warez will continue to be ever so popular unless all
the big networks put a stop to it. Then maybe we'll get chatting back. On the other hand, everyone might just leave, and IRC will lose a lot of users.
As a person who never uses EFnet, I have to say that my general impression (from what I've heard) is that EFnet is a violent network, full of packet kiddies and warez users. I've seen comments from EFnet users themselves, saying that if someone is lame on EFnet, then they get "0wned" by all the ops of a channel. These packet kiddies are another serious issue in IRC. Networks, websites, and users alike seem to have to bow down to these pillacs, or face closure or disconnection respectively. mircscripts.org recently faced a long downtime because of one (or several) of these lamers. DALnet, as everyone knows, has been facing months and months of ongoing attacks...infact, I would imagine all of the "big 5" IRC networks are attacked on a daily basis. Users can't ban a packet kiddie from a channel without facing being off IRC for a few hours (or longer) - it's simply getting way out of hand, and as said by MANY people in the past, it is not going to stop until ISP's and governments wake up the fact that ignoring this issue is potentially fatal to the Internet - I'm sure I don't need to remind people of the DDoS attacks against such businesses as Amazon. What's coming next? It's only a matter of time until some little kid with no life and who's pissed off about being sent to his room, goes and closes down a businesses website which is used by millions of people across the globe. Or perhaps a serious group of people who, for some reason, wish to take down the Internet will bring down a root server or two - sure, this is harder than bringing down any website, but, once again, it's just a matter of time. IRC networks face a similar fate. However, there is *nothing* we can do about it, except sit back and watch them laugh and show off about the fact they just closed down someone's server or website.
And as for those so-called 'legitimate' warez users whom frequent this board, there's no point trying to pretend packet kiddies don't use warez channels and load XDCC bots etc. They do. Warez is a direct partner of the packet kiddie and virus problems. As far as I am concerned, users of warez (ones who don't packet) are simply helping out packet kiddies 'survive' when they visit these channels and download files. When EFnet and other large IRC networks which allow warez finally decide to stop mass file trading channels, we may start to see some change in the way IRC goes - for better or for worse, I can't tell.
Another serious factor of IRC is the sheer ignorance of IRC users. The fact that a computer is available to almost anyone in the world nowadays, and therefore, IRC being equally as accessible, every no brainer in the world can download mIRC. Unfortunately, many (and I mean 70%+) new mIRC users are contracting viruses. They are constantly clicking on URL's which offer free sex, constantly downloading infected warez, constantly accepting files from users who they don't even know and constantly putting code into their remotes when they don't even know what it does, simply because it offers "free ops" or it "stops spam". *Sigh*
No matter how many websites post about the dangers of all of the above, they take absolutely NO notice. When you say "don't click on that URL" naturally, they do it anyway to see why they shouldn't. Even when you say it will infect you with a virus, they think you're lying, so they do it anyway. It simply comes down to the fact that many IRC users are simply computer illiterate. This is something which is never ever going to stop, unless governments do something seriously drastic, like make people have to get a license to use a computer...this is obviously NOT going to happen heh.
Once again, there is *nothing* we can do about it. Many users think that network administration can do something about all the problems of IRC - when the biggest, most serious ones (excluding warez) are completely out of their control.
Whenever something brilliant is invented (such as IRC, or chat in general) someone will abuse it. Then others will follow. People just *have* to find an exploit in something, and exploit it to its full extent. They can't just leave things alone *sigh*
Maybe if we wish upon a star, packet kiddies may grow up and stop acting like pricks. It all comes down to the fact they have no power in real life, and when they have the ability to disconnect someone and make them do what they want, it makes them feel powerful and important...it makes me think they're pathetic heh.
ANYWAY, enough rambling! If you've read this entire post, I'm very impressed :P It feels good just to get all your thoughts out once in awhile
Happy chattin' Sorry if anyone was offending by any language used in this post. It is only mild language. So mild infact, I don't think the language filters even picked up on the words heh.