Freenode IRC has been taken over by the crown prince of Korea

irc users graph

Freenode currently ranges between roughly 75,000 and 90,000 users—that’s a far cry from the 240,000 users fellow IRC network QuakeNet had back in 2005, but it’s still quite a lot of people. (credit:

Freenode has been the world’s largest IRC network since 2013, with roughly three times as many users as its closest competitor, IRCnet. Last week, the massive IRC network was taken over by Korean Crown Prince Andrew Lee—a move that the network’s staff has apparently unanimously classified as a “hostile takeover,” although Lee himself claims these are only “rumors” and “simply untrue.”

At first blush, it’s tempting for an outside observer—someone who isn’t already familiar with the history of the network’s ownership and management—to shrug and say “well, who knows.” Lee lays out several hundred words of explanation in a blog post currently featured on Freenode’s front page—most of which sounds reasonable.

But the one question Lee never addresses—let alone answers—is why at least 14 separate staff members would quit en masse, all disagreeing with the story he tells.

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