Please refer to the Glossary section at the bottom of this article if the meaning of any terms are unclear. If you feel a term in these rules needs to be better defined, contact Digi with your comments.

By connecting to Squick, you…

Important channels

Users will want to keep these IRC channels in mind for issues of importance, and we encourage all users to join the ones that apply to them:


#help is used to ask questions about the network’s features or policies. The network staff are present in this channel, but anyone is welcome to answer questions they have good details for.


The #staffhelp channel is where channel owners, bot operators, and other people with network-level concerns can ask the network staff for assistance or opinions. The network staff are expected to be the only ones answering questions in here. If you are a regular user, please start with #help and move a discussion to #staffhelp only if directed. This helps us keep things tidy.


This channel is private and serves as the hub for the staff’s internal discussions. All network administrators are expected to be in this channel at all times.


#squick is our staff transparency channel. Changes to policy and disciplinary actions by network staff are logged here, and public commentary is allowed. (If you see a bit of discipline you don’t agree with, you will not get in trouble by asking about it or sharing your opinion, as long as it’s in this channel and you do it at least somewhat respectfully.)

Network users

US.00 Do no harm.

Don’t be a jerk. Treat people as you’d like to be treated, even if they’re different than you.

If you do something that came across as offensive, apologize or explain yourself as appropriate. Don’t double down on being rude or attacking someone just because they bruised your ego. See also: US.03.

If you get so steamed you can hardly think straight, take a step back, remind yourself it’s just a chat, and drop back in after you’ve had a moment to cool down. And remember that if you need help mediating a tough situation, both your channel and network staff are here to help you sort things out peacefully.

Please note that hate speech is very much a violation of US.00 and is a permanently bannable offense. The members and doctrines of hate groups and other organizations that condone or perpetuate physical or mental harm against others (such as the Proud Boys or Ku Klux Klan) are not permitted on the network. (We can’t believe we actually have to make that last part explicit, but here we are.)

US.01 Don’t do things that are illegal.

Especially not things that are illegal in the United States, where we’re hosted. If you’re caught engaged in criminal activity, the result will likely be a permanent ban.

US.02 Following channel rules is not optional.

If a channel you’re in has defined a set of rules for you to follow, you must either follow them or exit the channel. (Or, you know, discuss problematic rules with the channel admins so they can be amended. Compromise works pretty well, usually.)

This rule is nullified if the channel rules violate network-level ones, though (see US.04).

US.03 Assume good faith in discussions. But don’t tolerate bad faith.

We’re all friends here, or at least that’s the goal. Sometimes deep topics will come up, and these need to be approached with an open mind. Don’t assume someone is a total monster if they don’t agree 100% with your own views, or they take a “devil’s advocate” stance to expand a discussion.

However, if it feels like someone is rabble-rousing and has a history of it, tell a channel administrator.

If they do nothing, collect a couple of conversations worth of evidence and contact a network admin. We will step in to assist you in mediating this if the channel admins are not doing their jobs.

US.04 Report rule violations promptly.

Use our contact page to locate a suitable network administrator for taking your report. If you aren’t sure something is against the rules, stop by #help for a second opinion.

You will never get in trouble for reporting a violation as long as you were not intentionally engaging in it yourself. (And if you were, the fact you came forward with it will be considered when determining what disciplinary actions come next, if any. We understand that it takes courage and maturity to change tacks, and we appreciate that.)

If we determine that you were complicit in hiding or downplaying a serious violation that was later reported by someone else, you will be disciplined along with the original violator.

US.05 No open proxies.

You are not allowed to use public proxy servers to connect to Squick. This includes systems like Tor and IRCCloud – anything in the cloud that indiscriminately connects to any network anyone tells it to.

If you need an IRC client that you do not need to install, ask for an account for our web chat in #help or email an admin if you can’t get in at all without one. This account has no cost, aside from the effort of having to reach out to us.

US.06 Do not circumvent bans and other peacekeeping actions.

If you do not agree with the actions of a channel or network admin and you have already tried discussing the problem with them in private, the correct path for an appeal is to speak up in #squick or contact a network administrator directly. If you are trying to appeal a network-level action, contact Digi specifically.

Dodging enforcement against you by using proxies or alternate accounts will unconditionally result in a permanent ban of every alt we catch you using, plus deletion of your original account. Certain severe cases will be reported to your ISP and/or the authorities.

It’s a waste of everyone’s time, including yours, so please don’t do it. Use the legitimate protest channels. (We do actually read emails from banned users.)

US.07 No exploits.

Exploitation of bugs (whether client or serverside) to disrupt the network or access data you do not have permission to will not be tolerated. If you find a serious bug pertaining to Squick’s server software or security policies, please be responsible with your disclosure, and notify an administrator in private as soon as possible.

Similarly, attempting to crack a user or channel’s password is grounds for a permanent ban, and abusing an unintentionally leaked password will be punished with a long-duration or permanent ban, depending on the severity and nature of the abuse.

US.08 Security is your responsibility too.

Do not share your Squick accounts. Only your own devices should connect to them. Your Squick accounts should use strong, unique passwords that are ideally not shared with any other accounts elsewhere.

If you allow a password to leak, you are expected to change it immediately. IRC is realtime and public, and there’s no way to make observers unsee a slipped password.

If your account becomes compromised and you need help recovering it, notify a network administrator.

Bot owners and operators

BO.00 Bot operation is a privilege, not a right.

You are, by default, allowed to create and use bots at will. Bots may be freely brought online without administrative review or explicit permission, so long as your bot operation privilege has not been revoked by the network staff.

Operating bots when a network administrator has revoked that privilege from you is grounds for a permanent network-level ban. If you are not sure of your current status, ask the staff. You are responsible for any bad assumptions you make regarding your bot operation privileges.

BO.01 No abusive bots.

Bots may not be malicious in nature. Malicious in this case refers to programs designed to spy on others, harvest login credentials, disconnect other clients with a flood of data, or otherwise abuse network resources and harass users.

Violating this rule unintentionally (through a badly-written loop resulting in flooding, for example) will result in a warning. Violating it intentionally (or repeatedly doing it unintentionally but also not fixing the issues) will result in revocation of bot operation privileges.

Repeat offenders in either situation may be banned from the network at the staff’s discretion.

BO.02 Bots must mark themselves as bots when they connect.

All bots must set mode +B on themselves after connecting. This flags them as a bot for our administration lists and users that /whois them.

BO.03 Bots may be forbidden by channel rules.

Do not operate bots in a channel that does not allow them, unless you have permission from a channel operator. We strongly suggest saving a copy of the conversation where you were given the permission, just in case it comes up in a dispute later on.

Channel owners and channel staff (“mods”/“ops”)

CO.00: Channel creation is a privilege, not a right.

You are, by default, allowed to create channels at will. If you abuse this privilege by breaking the other network rules, it will be removed. Network administrators can choose to revoke this privilege from any user at their discretion (but this action must be reported in the disciplinary log and is subject to discussion and appeal).

Creating channels when a network administrator has revoked that privilege from you is grounds for a permanent network-level ban. If you are not sure of your current status, ask the staff. You are responsible for any bad assumptions you make regarding your channel creator status.

CO.01: Network rules are channel rules.

If you own or mod a channel, you have additional responsibilites commensurate with your additional privileges.

In short, you are responsible for enforcing our network rules AS WELL AS your own channel’s rules. If that manner of compromise is not possible, your community may not be a great fit for our network.

This duty may sound a little onerous, but remember that it’s a two way street! You help us keep the peace, we’ll help you arbitrate any disagreements you can’t sort out yourself. We’ll also help you deal with anyone who’s circumventing your bans or otherwise evading your own discipline.

CO.02: Channel moderation is not optional.

Channel moderators must be able and willing to enforce your channel’s rules and the network’s rules.

Channel administrators have the final say in who is a moderator, but if no moderator takes action to keep peace and enforce rules when the situation requires it, network administration may step in to enforce network level rules.

If this becomes a pattern within a channel, the channel’s owner may be disciplined (up to and including loss of channel creation privileges).

CO.03 Do not create harmful channels.

This can be considered a subset of US.00, though it’s a little more abstract and far-reaching. If you have a feeling your channel may attract hateful or harmful users to the network, do not create it. Don’t let one drift into being, either.

If your channel began with an innocent premise but is drifting into cesspit territory, it’s your job to arrest that trend. If you fail (and you didn’t try to engage the network staff for help), and it impacts other channels or the network as a whole, expect to lose your channel ownership privileges and have your channel dissolved, at the very least. If evidence comes to light you were complicit, you and all of your active users will also be banned from the network.

CO.04 Your jurisdiction ends at the channel borders.

It doesn’t matter if you own 20 channels with 4000 users between them; you cannot enforce your rules on someone who isn’t in one of your channels.

Private messages are channel-agnostic and typically only subject to network-level rules. Exceptions may apply if a bad actor is using private messages strictly to evade channel rules. However, keep in mind that in any situation where you need to remove a user for abuse via private messages, the user is likely also in violation of network rules and should be reported to network staff.

Network staff

Squick’s network administrators may seem inherently beyond reproach, but that’s just a side effect of our brilliant aura of objective correctness– no, just kidding.

Network administrators are people, people aren’t perfect, and we have a code of conduct at the top echelons of our moderation too. Please report violations and power abuse to Digi. Your report will be seen by Digi’s eyes only unless the situation requires otherwise, and you will be asked for consent to disclose your report if it does.

NA.00 Network administration is a privilege, not a right.

The fact you’re in this position means that Digi and/or the network at large placed a tremendous degree of trust in you. Think carefully about every action you take that could adversely affect our users, and whenever you’re in doubt, discuss the situation with the rest of the team.

NA.01 Be decisive, but don’t be full of yourself.

A lot of the situations we’re handed as network admins require timely and strong action. If you need to act, you have license to act. Do the best you can with what you know at any given time, and be as fair as you can be.

You will make mistakes – that’s unavoidable. When you do, own up to them, apologize to those you impacted, and figure out how to do things better next time.

NA.02 You are not better than anyone else, only more powerful.

Never lord your position over anyone else, or use it for personal benefit at the expense of others. If you use your privilege to tease someone else who takes offense to your doing so, apologize and make it right.

Your status is also not something you are allowed to wield as an argument-winning stick, unless the argument is one you’re arbitrating between two other parties as a disciplinary action.

Remember that your actions are a matter of public record, and there is an administrator abuse channel you can be reported through even if you banned all the witnesses. Those notices go directly to Digi’s inbox.

NA.03 No nepotism.

The points in NA.02 also extend to abusing your status on behalf of your family, friends, and other associates.

NA.04 Objectivity is not optional.

When you are called upon to arbitrate a dispute or refine network policy, you must not allow your personal biases to get in the way of a just and fair result.

If the dispute is about the network rules, your job is to apply the rules in the most limited, fair way possible, and not to twist them into a shape that suits your favorite outcome.

If you are extremely unhappy or concerned about a possible outcome due to finding a loophole in the rules, inform the team to discuss an amendment/ruling, and inform the affected parties that the case warranted a special change to the rules. Be courteous and empathic when you have to do this – while we’re aiming for everyone winning, there is still a chance it will be an outcome neither side wants and tempers may still be hot.

If the dispute is a non-rule-related mediation session, be the best counselor you can be. Give both sides equal time and a fair shake, reflect on the possible harm done, and work with the more-harmful party to correct their course. Set a realistic objective for them to attain (or for us to discipline against, if it comes to it), and communicate that expectation with the network administrators as well as both parties. If the objectives should be binding – IE there will be disciplinary penalties if they do not comply with your suggestions because it’s a recurring issue – make this very clear to anyone bound by them.

Note that mediation is not strictly a winner/loser situation. It’s perfectly acceptable to set terms for both parties.

NA.05 Transparency is not optional.

When you take an administrative action, you must report it in #squick. And be ready to defend it logically and objectively if it’s called out as invalid by the community.

And please remember: you may not punish someone who objects to an action report in #squick in good faith. That is the designated public discussion channel for these actions, and if you think something you’re doing might come off as arbitrary and selfish, it might be better not to do it in the first place.

The format of these reports is freeform for now, but be sure to mention what you did, its duration/effective period, and why you did it as the three minimum data points.

DO NOT publically report:

DO publically report:

NA.06 You’re part of a team.

Making a far-reaching technical or policy change? Tell the staff channel about it. Need to recuse yourself from a mediation or dispute and get a stand-in? Tell the staff channel about it. See a possible problem brewing, but you’re uncertain how to handle it? Tell the staff channel about it.

You will never get in trouble for seeking a second opinion before you commit to something. You might get in trouble if you screw everything up purely by being a loose cannon (NA.01).

NA.07 Channel owners are network staff too.

Are you doing something that might impact channel heads, or could you use their input and cooperation for something? Reach out to them, either individually or by using #staffhelp.

NA.08 You are a mediator, not an executioner.

Advice comes before warnings. Warnings come before interventions. Interventions come before the hammer.

Bans and isolating penalties are to be considered a last resort, and require staff consensus unless it’s an emergency. Emergency bans are expected to be temporary and must be reported in #squick as soon as you have the mental bandwidth to do so.

Data retention and privacy

First off, a key point: we do not share any data with third parties, unless you count the hosting provider for the Virtual Machine that is hosting Squick IRC (Vultr). If we are ever sold or acquired (extremely unlikely, given the staff attitudes towards sponsorship), we promise to erase all pre-existing user data during the transition.

We try to keep the minimum possible amount of data, but due to our features, there are some things we need to hang onto.

Your IP address

Your private message logs

Your channel message logs

Information you directly give to Nickserv and other services

Information you directly give to network staff

Other topics of note

Trigger warnings/content warnings

CWs and avoidance of stressful discussion topics are NOT required by default. This does not excuse you from having to use them if a channel’s rules ask you to, however. (And if you’re in sensitive company, remember US.00.)

NSFW content

NSFW and adult content is not restricted at the network level if it is legal, and you are not required to pre-warn people a link is NSFW if it isn’t intended to shock or offend. Individual channels may choose to restrict this and you must abide by their rules if they do.

Posting spoilers

There is no network-level rule regarding spoilers specifically, but channels may have rules of their own. See the prior two topics.

Glossary / Definitions


The person(s) reading this document with the intent to use Squick or its associated services.

Us, We

The Squick IRC network’s administrators.

Squick, Squick IRC

The Squick IRC network, and the communications it sends or receives from you over the IRC protocol.

Squick website, Website , the information on it, and the communications it sends or receives from you over the HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

Webchat , the information on it, and the communications it sends or receives from you over the HTTP, HTTPS, and IRC protocols.