Lock up the china, and let the guard dogs out, the New York Times has discovered IRC and the evil that lurks therin.
Every once in a while, the fine people of the press are blind-sided by technology. They encounter some technological wonder that they were not previously aware of, and the reaction that they must have is obvious: It is evil and must be stopped.
IRC, for example, is an online chat technology, which has been in full vigor for about 20 years. But, the fine investigative reporters at the New York Times have uncovered this “little known” technology, presumably at great risk to their own life and sanity. And what they have discovered is truly alarming.
IRC is a breeding ground for evil in its worst forms: file sharing and animal pornography. (In case you missed it, I’m mocking their ignorance and luddite tendencies. I know, I was being very subtle.)
Two comments deserve making.
Anyone who thinks that the WWW is a “pleasant, well-policed suburb” is NOT PAYING ATTENTION. Even less so if they say that the Internet, as a whole, is that. I could provide some links that demonstrate otherwise, but I’ll just direct you to google.com instead. Think of something that deeply, profoundly offends you, and search for it. If you find less than 1000 entries, I’ll offer you a personal apology.
Next, IRC is not evil. IRC allows people to communicate, and many people have evil tendencies, habits, and hobbies. Anything that you can say about IRC, you can equally say about Usenet, websites, and telephones. It is a communication format. Nothing more, nothing less. Folks that say otherwise are uninformed, and trying to meet their column deadline, and snag the Slashdot traffic to their column web site.
Also, I should note that I spend hours every week helping folks install, configure, and troublshoot the Apache Web Server. I do this on IRC. You’re welcome to come join us. We’re on #apache, on irc.freenode.net. And we have no naked dogs there, at least that I know about. And, yes, we share files. Usually they are web server configuration files.