The continued irc experience.
Pro's and con's from a searching standpoint

by surreal5, 2 December 1998
(slightly edited by reverser+)

red

The continued irc experience. Pro's and con's from a searching standpoint
(The return of a lazy scoundrel)
by surreal5, 2 December 1998

Well i eventually did end up on irc. And i have to say it is NOT the
ultimate source of information or warez people said it was. 
But that doesn't mean that it's not a great addition to
a websearchers arsenal of tools. 

Irc is a vast resource of people, generally people who have been on the
net at least some time and therefore have more of what we need (information) 
than your average internet user. 
However asking people for information is a very tedious, and slow process 
(both to you as well as to the people you are bothering with it), so it 
should only be considered as an alternative in cases where you can't find 
the info online.

It's also very handy as a source of general information on a subject you're 
not familiar with.
Just like anywhere on the net, specialized groups of people have a
natural aversion towards newbies, so thread carefully, if you're friendly 
and patient (ugh :-( you'll eventually find someone who'll help you out. 

Again using warez as an example... 

Warez on irc are an absolute pain. Bad/spamming websites you can filter
out with a good search engine, and some experience in header reading. 
Bad sites/channels on irc, you have to enter before you can say anything about 
them. 

First thing you do when you connect to irc (wheter it's undernet or
efnet) when looking for warez when you're without a clue, is get a channel 
list from a fast server. 
Then search that list for any release groups you know (you could filter 
for 'list' or 'pub' or 'ftp') but don't attach too much value to the warez 
you'll find in those channels.
The groups prefixes will show up in the topic of the channels with
people that do have some clue, if those groups released something that day.
Still these are public channels that arent secret, so you probably won't 
find a lot there. But there are people there who do know where the good 
channels are or where to get what you need, and if you help them out, 
they'll help you out.

That seems to be what irc warez is all about, being 'eleet', kissing up
to ppl to get closer to the source... Not at all compatible with the 
individualist ways of one of us: a searcher, who needs nobody to 
find what he needs. The golden rule for irc seems to be that any warez 
channel that's public can't be good. And the invite-only channels are 
hard to get into. 

Still there are plenty of ways to get in there uninvited, though i 
wouldn't recommend it, unless you think you (or your personal bots) 
are invincible. 

A comparison with the www. 

Good www sites have descriptions of what is on the site, you load 10
pages, type ctrl -f for what you're looking for, click the link you 
found and voila, you have what you need one out of 2 times (especially 
when this approach is combined with teh results of a page updating 
tool like highlights).
The bad aspect is that the www is never 0-day... but then so aren't 
the public irc channels...

The major dissadvantage of irc is the random element of what you are
exposed to on a given moment... a real challenge for a searcher to 
organize, and bring some structure into it. 

A consequence of that random element is TIME, lots and lots of time, 
before you find all pieces and glue your puzzle together... the picture 
that will be your road to 'eleet' status :P
So much time that i seriously doubt it is worth it.
So in the end when you have done enough shoe-licking and you're a top 
dog in a courier group, you get your warez the day they are released,
which is generally only 3 (three!) days earlier than if you used the 
www with some sound search techniques (the ones you are learning here 
are quite enough). 

Was it worth all those months of idling on irc ? A complete waste of 
bandwith and of your own time, if you ask me. 
Start your own ftp instead. Just as random, and much, much easier...

The major advantage of irc is caused by that same random element, the
additional information you get from people. Information that you didn't 
ask for, but can be very useful. 
Besides... it's fun to chat :). 

As for info searching on irc, same problem, TIME. If you have absolutely 
no clue about what to look for it's to your advantage to go to efnet and 
type #<subject> (where <subject> is the topic you need or 
want some info about) and 9 out of 10 times there will be a channel for 
it, and 9 out of 10 times your questions will eat static...

Conclusion.

Irc is a tool, an extension to our searcher's arsenal. If your goal is to
collect warez, regardless which ones,  by all means go on irc today. But 
that has nothing to do with improving your searching skills. 
A searcher finds what he needs, always. He's looking for program x only, 
and the amount of time he has to spend on it, has to be seen in relation 
to how badly he wants his targeted program x. 
As you stay on irc longer, the time ratio will improve somehow, but a 
general rule is that you put back in it whatever you get out of it. 
And that's how you should see irc. 
As a fun place to hang out and take all the info (and eventually, why not? 
warez :) that is thrown at you at random, "as it comes". 

Surreal5


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