Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question came from a comment someone posted in an answer to another question:

What do IRC clients have to do with the professional IT industry?

Good question.

So, do you use IRC to aid with your work? Do you use it directly (i.e., it is literally part of your job spec), as a nice-to-have but non-essential tool, or indirectly (as a way of socialising)?

What are some of the channels you use 'professionally'?

Note, I'm not sure whether this is a subjective question or not. It seems to me that it can be objectively answered, but I'll add the subjective tag if it looks like it is going the other way.

share|improve this question
4  
Will ServerFault replace your use of IRC? –  gimel May 19 '09 at 7:58
1  
Great question that occurred to me too. In fact, when I first saw "What do IRC clients have to do with the professional IT industry?" my initial answer was almost "You might as well ask: What does ServerFault have to do with the pro IT industry?" ;-) –  Charles Roper May 19 '09 at 8:09
1  
Speaking of IRC, check out irc://irc.freenode.net/serverfault –  Zoredache May 27 '09 at 7:18

9 Answers 9

Well, IRC is just an IM protocol, so any answer to the question "what uses are there for instant messaging in the professional IT industry?" will apply here, too.

At my current job, we use IM (jabber) even though we're all in the same office, because it's a big open plan office and any talking makes it impossible to concentrate. At the last job, an IRC channel was one of the primary means of customer interaction, both sales and support. It works really well -- you've got that real-time aspect, like the phone, but it's still textual so you can paste stuff when you need to. I think it works great. Just make sure you've got good spelling and grammar, and no grossly unprofessional nicks...

share|improve this answer

Tech support is one obvious answer. However, project status and other collaborative stuff can benefit from IRC -- any instance where it can cut down on useless meetings is a good use of IRC, IMHO.

share|improve this answer

Those who work in the darker side of the industry used to use it to build their botnets which could then be used to extort money using DDOS attacks. I think their techniques may have moved on since then.

Professional in the sense of making money, but not in the sense of professionalism.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 cause this was me back in the day! –  Unkwntech May 19 '09 at 10:24

IRC is just another IM-protocol imo. We use IM for quick chats since our offices are in 3 different locations.

But where IRC really shines for work purposes is on Freenode. Lots and lots of channels where you can chat with the developers of the software you're using. It makes it easier to contribute back to the OSS community too, since you'll end up gtting asked to fix it yourself sometimes :-)

share|improve this answer
    
Lots of folks from Firefox hang around in IRC for both inter and intra -office communications as well as tech support. The ultimate OSS company on IRC example. –  Artem Russakovskii May 19 '09 at 9:36

There are still active IRC channels on many specialised topics. An IRC client can be left in the background and used to ask technical questions on such channels with a high probability of getting an answer. In many cases IRC will give you the fastest turnaround on technical support questions by quite a big margin.

If you're feeling particularly community-spirited (note that we're all hanging out on Serverfault) you can even put something back into the community by answering other peoples queries.

share|improve this answer

Working for a social community, which has an (somehow) active IRC channel, we have to support issues there and i have to oversee the functionality of our irc<->web bridge.

share|improve this answer

We are using MS Messenger to make it easier to work from home. Our team communicates via messenger even within the office, to maintain a consistent interface no matter where we are working from on a given day.

share|improve this answer

I used to work in a big call center with technical support. Some people had higher privileges then others, only certain people could reset ports on switches, for example. Every person in our department was on a private IRC server, which also had some of the network administrators on it, which meant that we used it sometimes for keeping track of very recent issues that had not yet made it into the issue tracking system as well as requesting a port reset on a port when nothing else seemed to help.

Not sure how helpful this is but for such a situation it was a great help since customers tend to get annoyed when they're put on hold often and this way you didn't have to go hunting for a port-resetter physically.

share|improve this answer

I use IRC indirectly and for personal use. By keeping in contact with other regional professionals, I have a group of experts I can rely on for advice, and keep up on what the state of the art is. Our organization previously used AIM in some administrative areas, but migrated to MS Communicator to keep traffic private and local. It's possible we could replace it with IRC, but we'd just as soon try Jabber. Some people use it to ask if it's okay to stop by their cube in person.

Within Ubuntu, IRC is used as a rendezvous communication and query tool. Rendezvous can take the form of a scheduled IRC meeting, or a simple "hey bob, i got a question" conversation. It's also used as a query tool, in the form "anyone know what the deal with X is?" Of course, if nobody's around to read anything, this can lead to traps of people asking questions, getting no answer and leaving immediately. Idling can also cause people to assume more activity than is actually happening.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.