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(well-written article and much appreciated topic that deserves more attention in the mainstream tech-media!) Kudos.
2 years, 12 months ago on IRC is dead, long live IRC
Naturally, interest for IRC has decreased now that teenagers prefer facebook/twitter and other services, but not to the extent described in the above article.
One thing that is important to remember, however, is that a large chunk of the numbers listed for efnet, amongst others, can be attributed to increased drone control after the 2005 peak. If I were to remove the BOPMs and dronemons on efnet.xs4all.nl, the server would double in size within the hour, guaranteed. So even though efnet has decreased in size, it's not due to less human usage, but rather due to better abuse control. IRCnet, on the other hand, has not implemented drone control to the same extent. However, servers on IRCnet are usually not globally announced and open I-lined, making them less desirable as farming grounds for drone nets. Johan Boger, admin efnet.xs4all.nl / efnet.xs4all.nl, eu.irc6.net (ircnet), and oper on qnet.