We've had a Stack Overflow IRC channel specifically for meta discussion since early August, but Jeff seems very intent on refusing to acknowledge its existence.
Here's the channel information:
While we're on the topic of IRC:
#SOMafia on irc.slashnet.org is NOT associated with Stack Overflow!
I've gotten several email complaints:
Yesterday, just out of curiosity, I joined #SOMafia on irc.shashnet.org and there was a JeffAtwood op there. If it wasn't you, then I'm sorry, please ignore this email, but if it was - what the hell man?
I understand I stumbled upon a private chatroom, and it's all fun and games, but I didn't expect to be called a "flaming homosexual" from someone like you, a man I admire and read his blog for several years. It was probably an inside joke with you guys, but still - not cool. I'm not going to pretend to be offended - I really could care less, but it was just juvenile.
Please delete my accounts on all Trilogy sites including Meta. I am no longer interested in SO after the verbal abuse today on #somafia by JeffAtwood
I am an avid reader of your blogs and recently I stumbled across #SOMafia IRC channel which had somebody who called himself as "Jeff Atwood" and abusing those who are entering the channel. At first I was shocked, then after some googling, I found What about the IRC channel?
and realized that it was bogus. As one of the comments for your post pointed out, It would be nice to see some blog post from you pronouncing the channel as fake. Keep up the great work.
In general I never use IRC, so you can very safely assume if you see "me" on IRC it is not me.
Also: not cool.
It's not that I refuse to acknowledge IRC, I know nothing about it. I've spent maybe 30 minutes on IRC in my entire life!
We do have some community members who are interested in IRC that help maintain it on our behalf, and I fully support this. Gamecat, for example, and I know Geoff occasionally delves into IRC and of course represents us wherever he goes as an official Stack Overflow Associatetm.
My only concern is that I don't want IRC to degenerate into a weird back channel where people are rude to each other, as has happened in the past. This (indirectly) reflects poorly on us.
It's very difficult to make an official irc channel for meta discussion.
This format makes it possible to record and analyze all suggestions. The irc is more focused on casual chatting and often strays away from serious discussion.
Also splitting up official meta discussion into two or more locations leads to split community. I know this from watching the discussion on many large open source projects.
I've gone in from time to time...and nobody is ever there/talking. I'm not the type to squat in an IRC just to have my name there.
IRC is just a primitive, open, fast, version of Twitter. Atwood is looking to the future of self-absorbed cliquish chat, not the past...