Just wanted to further expand my opinion on this
Mainly I dislike the thought of mIRC going into the world of MSN and looking like an IM client - even if there is an option to disable it, and it's released with emoticons disabled by default, the feature would still be there and I don't think it'd portray a good image.
As has been mentioned you have the problem of flooding - Yes, you could disable it and then all you'd see was the smiley colon/bracket, however, what if X user is sitting in the channel with smiley support on, and someone comes in and floods. A bunch of
is much worse than ":):):)".
I think in another thread flood prevention was suggested - but then you would be restricting people from legitimately sending a lot of smileys (we've all probably jokingly flooded a friend or something, making fun of a flooder or repeating someone's nickname over and over again on one line - mIRC has never restricted you being able to do that, and it wouldn't be good or fair to suddenly restrict people if it incorporated emoticons).
Then you'd have the issue of what the emoticons actually looked like (I mean someone always moans about something after all
) - You may notice that
does not look the same as the MSN smiley and people would not like the look of this 'n' that.. And then, once you have emoticons incorporated, the board gets flooded with feature requests for "This emoticon" and "that emoticon" (i.e. "Can we please have a thumbs up" - "Can the crying smiley please move" - "Can we have a cat smiley!" etc etc), and then
we'd need moving smiley support and I'm sure someone would make even more suggestions all related to some emoticons.
Sorry, whilst I completely respect other people's wish to have emoticons in mIRC, I am against this idea even being customisable in it.
My 2 cents.