I was fifteen when I figured out how to use IRC. I spent a bit of time lurking, not really joining any one channel for a long period of time. All of the conversations I had with people were one-time chats, and very few of them were particularly memorable. Once I figured out how to properly use the /LIST command without getting flooded off the network, I started browsing channels.
This may come as a shock to people who haven’t used the internet for a full day yet, but even back then, there was a LOT of porn. The first several THOUSAND channels were dedicated to it. Name a fetish and there was (is) probably a dozen channels dedicated to swapping pics of it. In retrospect, it wasn’t exactly the safest experience for a fifteen year old kid.
Being the type of person who would never even be curious about such filth (yeah, right) I scrolled past all the porn channels, and started looking for channels related to interests of mine. Eventually I found my way to #teen and #teens.
Take a moment to picture Myspace and Facebook, and consider how teenagers tend to act on such sites. Now take away their ability to post from anywhere in the world, share pictures, or click a “like” button. You’d be left with something very similar to #teen and #teens. Dozens of kids who most likely would never meet in person, chatting about pointless topics, trying to catalogue everybody else’s A/S/L (Age/Sex/Location… More on that later), and spamming their own channels to get people to join.
The larger teen channels had too much noise, so I browsed for something a bit smaller. I don’t remember why, but eventually I joined a small channel with 3 members, named #teenflirt. Within moments of joining the channel, some idiot took over.
A takeover is when a user gets operator status “Ops” in a channel they shouldn’t normally have such access to. Most commonly they remove everybody else’s Ops, and do whatever they want fromt his point on. This user in particular set the topic of the channel (a message that everybody sees upon joining) to “JOIN #TEENZ4SATAN”, and left the channel.
Without at least one person having Ops, channels are fairly useless. Nobody can remove troublesome users, change the topic, or really do much of anything. The only way to get Ops in an unregistered channel is to completely empty it and rejoin. The first person to join an empty channel will be granted Ops.
The other users and I decided we’d all leave the channel and rejoin. It wouldn’t really be too hard to coordinate as there were only the three of us. By luck of the draw, I was the first one to join, and I was granted Ops, which I gave to the other to users.
DALnet was one of the first IRC networks to implement a system called “Services”. Services is a program that sits on IRC much like a user, but has full control over all channels and nicknames on the network. With Services, a user could register their nickname and channel, ensuring that they would always belong to them. I had registered the nickname Ayukawa a few days prior, and would now register my first channel.
A few minutes later, I sent the command to DALnet’s ChanServ, and registered myself as the founder of #teenflirt. I would now be granted Ops in the channel whenever I joined, regardless of who was in it at the time. The channel was ours, and we introduced ourselves to each other at last. One of the users was a guy named Nova who would become a regular member of the channel for a very long time. The other would soon be one of my closest friends, a girl from the midwest named Asraia.