Stereotypes In the #PacketPushers IRC Channel

A little light-hearted post for your Friday, this one taking a stab at stereotyping the good people in the #packetpushers IRC channel on FreeNode. And if you’re regularly in the channel and are wondering, no, this isn’t about you. ;-)

Lurker – they say nothing. They watch all. I assume these guys to be the thought police. Big brother is watching around every corner – we know this. I’m fairly convinced that the lurkers are mostly vendor bots, culling the IRC text for keywords, and sending information about offending nicks to the Silicon Valley Overlords for review. We’ve had a few unexplained disappearances. Just sayin’.

Hello-Goodbye – this person pops into the channel, blurts out a hello, and then leaves in disgust if no one greets them back as quickly as they believe is befitting their status of having never been in the channel before, going by an inscrutable handle, and offering no contribution to the group whatsoever. We’ll miss you, Hello-Goodbye! Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

Seeks Free Consulting – a personal favorite. Person pops into the channel and asks something like, “Have any of you ever seen a Quadrilux Jeffries WAP with the token ring interface and built-in bottle opener? They’re mostly used in Antarctica by nomadic penguins, but I scrounged one on eBay for cheap. Can I overclock the CPU in that thing so that it’ll have enough juice to run an FTP server? It’s Linux after all. Anyone? No? You guys SUCK!” And then they leave. It’s like a drive-by shooting when you’re an innocent bystander. You don’t even have time to take in the scene before you’re writhing on the ground in pain with no idea what happened. Hey, you’re welcome.

Always Away – they want to be a part, they really do. But, alas. They are always away. Always grayed out. Quiet. A part, yet apart. We call to them, but they do not hear us. We wave. We greet. We hope for a state change, but they are merely ghosts haunting the channel. Whispered bits crackling across a decaying link, somewhere beyond the binary horizon. Sail the seas of Ether back to us, channel ghosts. We’ll leave the chat on for you.

Thinking Out Loud – this nick talks to themselves, but publicly. “Oh, hey – I have this problem. I think the issue is X. But it might be Y. Actually, I called TAC and they told me to upgrade. So I’m going to upgrade, but I have to schedule a maintenance window. I hate maintenance windows. Requesting them is such a pain. I like pizza. Pizza and orange soda. Mmm. I’m going to have that while watching a movie tonight. All the new movies are so lame. Why *did* Leia wear danishes on her head? What were they thinking? Anyway, time to go play WoW.” From all of us, thank you for sharing. We’re scared of you now, but we know you better, and that’s important.

Hates All Vendors – no IRC channel would be complete without nerd rage, and #packetpushers has nerd rage aplenty. Some nicks are more rage-y than others, though. The real standouts seem to reflexively hate all vendors. “That product from vendor X sucks, and the box from vendor Y is even worse. And don’t even talk about vendor Z, because all their stuff is utter crap that only a moron would ever, ever, EVER use. What are you, stupid?” No justification for such outrageous opinions, just out of control #nerdrage. We get it. We’ve felt what you’re feeling. We know. Just let it go man, let it all go. Scream if you must. Feeling better? Okay then, come on…come over here. Let the channel give you a big digital hug. There, there. There, there now. Oh, are those…tears? It’s okay! It’s okay little #nerdrage! Let it out. Yeah, that’s it. Let it all out. It’s going to be okay. We love you.

Smartest Guy in the Channel – there is, in fact, a “smartest guy” in the channel. By definition, someone must be that person, because we can’t all be the smartest. The problem is that no matter who in actuality IS the smartest person, we can’t prove it objectively. Therefore, some feel compelled to break it down to the rest of us so that we all know who’s King Synapse. They’ve programmed the most obscure code for their employer. They’ve sorted out the hardest problems ever. They know things you couldn’t possibly understand, and trust them, it would blow your mind to even try. They’re right, even when they’re wrong. Especially when they’re wrong. And they do tend to be wrong, as will be pointed out with URLs and, you know, facts. Collective channel “sigh” is all I can say.

Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, has been managing networks for higher ed, government, financials and high tech since 1995. Ethan co-hosts the Packet Pushers Podcast, which has seen over 2M downloads and reaches over 10K listeners. With whatever time is left, Ethan writes for fun & profit, studies for certifications, and enjoys science fiction. @ecbanks
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
  • http://twitter.com/networkjanitor Kurt Bales

    hrmpf

  • http://twitter.com/CCIE11972 Brent Salisbury

    Hehe

  • http://twitter.com/CCIE11972 Brent Salisbury

    I strive to be the dumbest in a channel at all times.

  • http://twitter.com/The_Ed1tor The Editor

    I’m a lurker and only speak when I think I have something to add, which is not often since the majority of folks in there are more than a tad above me in skill level.  For now.