Updates to Judge IRC channels

Hello everyone!

Those of you familiar with the #mtgrules and #mtgjudge channels on chat.magicjudges.org may have noticed a sharp drop in activity over the last week. On Sunday 12/9/18, around 7AM US Eastern, the web client we rely on went offline and has not come back up. This is not the first time we have experienced issues with it, and outages in the past have taken anywhere from days to months to recover from. In the past, we have been able to switch to another client. Unfortunately, none of the backup clients we have used in the past are suitable. So, with agreement from the IRC project, we decided to accelerate our plans to move to a more stable infrastructure.

Transition Plans

The Rules Q&A and Policy Q&A webchat channels are now being hosted on the Freenode IRC network. Freenode is an IRC network focusing on peer-directed projects and groups, and provides a number of helpful services including channel, nickname, and group registration which greatly improve usability compared to Efnet. Freenode also provides a free, stable, and ad-free webchat client which is officially supported and which is available over HTTPS.

Currently the Rules Q&A webchat is online and operational at chat.magicjudges.org/mtgrules. The Policy Q&A webchat is also online, and can be found at chat.magicjudges.org/mtgjudge. The channel FAQ pages on the official resources blog will be updated soon.

Any other channels on Efnet (such as #mtg) are not being shut down. Some number of users will migrate to Freenode only, others will continue to connect to both networks, others won’t move at all. Only the official webchat Q&A instances are being officially migrated.

To ease the transition, a temporary bot called “mtgrelay” is connecting the the new Rules Chat with the Datatog cardfetcher bot. Once a cardfetcher bot is available natively on the new network, it will replace the relay. Previously, the relay was fully connecting the two rules channels, allowing users to answer rules questions from the old channel. However, that functionality is now disabled due to issues with the other bots, and the old channel is now deprecated.

Connection Information

Please update your IRC clients to connect to the following server and channels:

  • Server: chat.freenode.net
  • Port: Any of 6665-6667 or 8000-8002 for plaintext connections, or any of 6697, 7000, or 7070 for SSL connections
  • Channels:
    • #magicjudges: Meta-discussion about the channels or about judging, anything that doesn’t fit somewhere specific
    • #magicjudges-rules: Rules Q&A, rules webchat points here
    • #magicjudges-policy: Tournament Policy and Operations Q&A, policy webchat will point here

There is also a pre-existing “##mtg” channel for general MTG discussion (card evaluation, deckbuilding, events, online play, etc.). The “##” prefix indicates that a channel is not official, and “##mtg” is not an official channel of the judge program or of WotC – however if you want to talk about MTG in general, that’s probably a reasonable place to do it.

Any other channel in the #magicjudges-* “namespace” may be used for appropriate judge-program-related purposes.

Register Your Nickname

Once you get online, you should register your nickname to protect it from being taken by other users. Run the following command for instructions. You will provide an email address and set a password. Then you will receive a verification email with instructions.

  • /msg nickserv help register

Then, when you connect, you can identify using the password you set. If your IRC client supports SASL, you can also use that to identify, which tends to be easier. See https://freenode.net/kb/answer/sasl.

Getting Help

Your nickname must be registered in order to register channels or receive any special level of access. Users who currently have ops should contact MnarkBr in order to regain access.

If you have any questions, or require any assistance, please feel free to contact anyone who is opped in the channels, or myself (dcollins), or the IRC project lead (MnarkBr).