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|Dear freenode users and projects,
|I joined freenode staff a bit more than 10 years ago, after having used
|the network for already roughly 5 years by that time.
|During this time, I enjoyed supporting our communities in various roles;
|I met some of you through first level support,
|through my work for the groups team or due infra work.
|I still think that freenode as a network is a great idea,
|and offers projects and groups of any size a possibility to collaborate,
|coordinate or just chat freely and for free.
|Since these early times, freenode changed form a couple of times.
|The whole work was, however, always done by unpaid volunteers
|that grew into close friends over time.
|All the servers we have and all the paid services we use
|were sponsored by either companies or friends and allies.
|We never wanted to be, never were and never will be a business.
|A couple of years ago, christel, now former head of freenode staff
|sold `freenode ltd` (a holding company) to a third party,
|Andrew Lee, under terms that have not been disclosed to the staff body.
|This was done, from what we were informed, to organize our freenode
|#live conferences, that required a legal body.
|We were repeatedly promised, by both christel and Andrew Lee,
|that neither the holding nor Andrew Lee would have any operational impact
|on freenode the IRC network. We gladly forwarded this to our users,
|who were understandably concerned as well.
|In the past few weeks, this has changed, and the existance of a legal threat
|to freenode has become apparent. We cannot know the substance of this legal
|threat as it contains some kind of gag order
|preventing its broader discussion within staff.
|The democratically elected heads of their respective teams,
|development, infrastructure, projects and communities
|were removed by force and have been informed that they are not
|entitled to act in their respective capacity.
|As a result, Mr Lee wants and partially has operational control
|over the freenode IRC network now.
|This goes against my personal values, beliefs and rules,
|this goes against what we have been doing for the past 10 years,
|this goes against our promises to our users and communities.
|Due to a leak of a personal resignation letter draft,
|Andrew Lee learned of the situation and asked democratically elected
|freenode volunteers to step down from their position, as seen in the
|logs linked on   
|Included in these logs are also logs from third party users that show
|that associates from Mr Lee, namely the user rdv, contacted
|various people and offered them oper access on the new network
|for money or revenge. It sickens me to the stomach to see our community
|that we built in the last 20 years to be lost to this kind of management.
|As you can imagine, the community was unhappy as well and we got loads
|of feedback. Thank you very much, this means a lot to us. We've also seen
|channel ops standing up to the potential new management, see e.g. 
|This really means a lot to us, but unfortunately reality sometimes looks
|different, especially when lawyers and potential lawsuits were involved.
|A contract in which christel, former head of staff, allegedly sold freenode, surfaced.
|And while I personally think that this would have neither included any servers
|or code or user data, since that did not belong to christel to sell, I am not a lawyer
|and apparently some of our volunteers got pressured very hard and their personal life
|could have been ruined easily should we have fought against this apparent contract.
|As you can imagine, this kind of proceeding makes me even less want
|to spend any of my volunteering time for the potential new management,
|and I wouldn't want to be responsible for sensitive user data under that management, either.
|Therefore I, along with my colleagues, resigned from my volunteer position
|as a freenode staffer. I had all my access removed, so that I could not hand
|it or any data over to a third party, even if I wanted or if I were forced to.
|Where will we be going from here?
|We are founding a new network with the same goals and ambitions: libera.chat.
|It is backed by a swedish non-profit which lets us hold the name,
|domain and various other assets to avoid a hostile corporate takeover.
|It allows us to continue to operate the network as unpaid, neutral volunteers.
|It allows us to ensure that your personal data does not end up as an
|asset to some company that could consider monetizing it.
|You can connect to the new network at `irc.libera.chat`,
|ssl port 6697 (and the usual clearnet port).
|We're really sorry that it had to come to this.
|When we told you that freenode ltd. and Andrew Lee / PIA / LTM / ...
|won't have any impact on freenode,
|we always communicated based on what we knew and what we were promised.
|I'm aware that such a move is hard, especially for established communities.
|We will do our very best to support you if you plan to join us on libera.
|I hope to see the lot of you on the other side,
|feel free to contact me on the new network if you have any questions.
|A big thank you to my former freenode colleagues, all our users,
|projects and communities that acompanied us for more than a decade.
|Thank you very much, keep rocking and making the
|free / open source software and peer directed communities great.
|Christian (Commonly known as Fuchs)
|: A blogpost has been removed without explanation: (via the wayback machine)
|: The teams and their democratically elected heads got removed without explanation: