Idiomdrottning’s homepage

The IRC client optimized for creepers

I’ve been seeing the Matrix bridge to IRC networks like Libera as an overall good thing. IRC has been dying and this bridge is, in some sense of the word, an IRC client, and it’s an IRC client that people can get behind. Don’t ask me why they’re so into it because I don’t like using it, but that’s the point of clients and protocols: you use a client you like, I use a client I like, it’s all kumbaya and good.

However, IRC is set up so that you can join channels / rooms about topics and talk about topics there. It’s not set up so you can just go in and take your pick of users all across the network and start a convo with a rando. I know that /names with channel and server omitted is supposed to list all names, but that’s disabled on Libera.

Of course, there is /query and /msg, and that’s been great for talking to friends.

But lately I’ve been getting a ton of creepy queries from complete rando strangers who seem to believe they’re on Tinder or something and I’ve been wondering what channel they find me in. They don’t seem to know who I am or to be familiar with this web page.

They never say who they are, just a bunch of hello. And if I ask questions, like how the heck they found me or who they are, it’s “Can’t we get to know each other first dear”. I don’t think so.

Today I found out where they are all coming from and why there’s no connection to a particular room, channel, or topic.

Turns out on Matrix has a user directory and people search for Sandra (not sure why they do that if they don’t know me) and they find my Libera account.

Screenshot of searching for Sandra on Element. Several users come up, not just me.

Now, it’s not like it’d be a rock solid situation if Matrix didn’t exist. There’s no stopping someone from just going on Libera and /whois some random names, including mine. And I get plenty of creepers on email already.

But it’s a bit weird that I try to stay off the main networks, I try to stick to smolnet, but because of bridges the larger networks are right at my own door anyway.


I don’t want to discourage readers of this homepage from writing in (I get so many good corrections, clarifications, suggestions, questions from y’all), and this Matrix address is one legitimate way to do that (although I prefer email even though I’m also on Libera, Tilde, OFTC, XMPP, and Fedi).

Update: The Libera bridge is down. still works.

Using that Matrix address isn’t gonna break anything on my end. It shows up like any other query in my Soju. I might not see it right away, because I’m not hanging out on IRC all day.

If any of the Matrix email bridges gets dusted off and end up working well, maybe even with encryption (I have TLS for the wire, and WKD and Autocrypt and an exported key for e2ee), that’d be even better since email is better than IRC.

In the end, Matrix is just a client, and I don’t wanna prevent people from using whatever client they’re comfy with.

Matrix users are often nervous on IRC, “is my client being annoying”—no, I’ve never had a problem. I wish your clients could read/parse our escape codes (like bold or italic) but it’s such a minor issue that I don’t even notice. I want IRC and e-mail to live, and if Matrix is one way for that to happen then that’s a good thing.

Like, I use Emacs to connect to IRC, e-mail, and XMPP. Is someone preferring to use Matrix to connect to IRC, e-mail, and XMPP really that much weirder?

Of course, the fear is that Matrix will embrace & extend those protocols and eventually drop support for them once everyone is on Matrix.

So to summarize: I’m not complaining about readers writing in. If you’re reading this we’re most likely good.

What I’m complaining about is scrubs who are just like “🤤🤤🤤 I wanna search for random girl names in this text box and chat them up”.

And now it’s down

It’s half a year later, autumn of 2023.

Libera Chat shut down the bridge and writes:

We likewise continuously forwarded reports of spam originating from the Matrix network to varying success and also requested Matrix developers find a solution to avoid IRC users being listed in the Matrix network’s expansive user directory, which was causing some people to receive unwanted attention and problematic spam in private messages.