A little over six years ago, EnterTheGame launched its channel services. When we did that we were one of only a handful of networks to offer channel services. What`s more is that we were only one of 3 networks (with DalNet and UnderNet) to have written our own channel services from scratch. We did this to provide a customized experience to all of gaming community with options that met their needs and helped make their lives easier. Prior to this time Clans and channels on almost every network had to run their own channel bots to protect themselves. After splits and takeovers you would many times be out of luck as the ircops were there for the power and not to help, they didn`t care about your channel. EnterTheGame tore onto the radar screen back then with its revolutionary offerings for services and a helpful staff that actually cared about its users and doing good for the community.
Back then success came fast, in a matter of months the majority of users had left GamesNET and moved their clans to ETG to make their homes here. They fell in love with our Channel Services and friendly/caring staff. Our network along with other major ones of the day, set new standards that people began to expect from irc networks. They began to expect Channel Services and many other things to make their lives easier. After a while our competition jumped on the bandwagon and also started making similar offerings.
Over the years while we have stayed on the cutting edge with our security systems, being the first to pioneer many new detection techniques, we haven`t had as many updates to our Services as we would have liked. We had additions that helped users, but overall not many. The reason for this is as follows. We actually started a total rewrite of our system back in 2001 with revolutionary ideas for the time. However, as many ETGers know, we also started running into some problems back then that got many of our plans shelved. It seemed over the years that every time we re-focused on getting those plans back on track, something happened that required our attention instead. As such we`ve actually had 2 separate code-lines for many years now. One, which is the Channel Services you know, the other is one that you don`t, but soon will.
So this brings us to today... Today, we are proud to say we have finished the first phase of our New Services. A NEW revolution is beginning with these service offerings. Just as we raised the bar before, today we will be doing it all over again. As we always have, we have taken great care to keep things simple for all the users of ETG in terms of converting between service packages. Most networks when they make such a drastic change require you to start over with the new services and re-input all your Auto-Ops etc. Instead, like always, ETG has spent great care and a lot of time to ensure that your channels will function as they always did so you can hit the ground running. This gives you a great ability, to instead, spend your time checking out the new features, talking to friends, or playing games instead.
So you are asking when is this change going to happen and what all is changing? We expect to halt all new channel registrations on the morning of 8/7/05. During this time we will start our final conversion process and prepare for the new deployment. We expect to then take ChanServ down late morning and if all goes as planned we will have the new services online by early afternoon.
Regarding the question "what has changed?", the better question is "what hasn`t changed?" As a channel administrator, the new services will make your life beyond easy. As a channel operator, you now have the ability to use actually use chanserv for things beyond just getting opped. As a radio station manager, you now will have a good platform to keep people updated about major shows. As a Mod Development team, you now have a good platform to inform those interested in your MOD. As a user, you will have access to a lot more information about channels you join, you will also have an easy ability to find radio shows and events of interest to you.
- New Channel Based Commands !!
Ease of use at your fingertips!! Now you can command ChanServ from directly in your channel without having to open a separate query window with it. Just about any command you can do in private message you can also do in the channel now. Also there are many channel specific commands now that can only be done inside the channel. Plus there are now plenty of channel commands people who join your channel can do to get more information about your clan/organization. From " !desc " to " !website " to " !motd " and " !members ". They can even do a " !info " to get most all of the information in 1 shot. Imagine the ease of use of only having to type " !addop nick " to add someone to auto-ops now. To help make this easier the New ETG Services remember you as the channel admin so long as you are authed and still in your channel. We`ve added a new command " /msg chanserv auth #channelname adminpass " that you can use to authenticate yourself. However, services will automatically authenticate you whenever you do any command in private message, so you don`t necessarily need to use that command.
- Hostmask Listings - Now With Added Information
ETG`s Services have always been the most configurable out there in terms of channel security options. You could choose low security and auto-op everyone, op just specific people on a specific isp/location, op people who know a specific password, or the most secure form out there, require people to not only know a specific password for ops but be on a specific isp from a specific location. While all of these options and more have been at your fingertips for years, the problem has been managing those lists. Looking back at long lists of ops knowing who is who, what person an old mask belongs to, and ways to make sure you deleted all of a specific person`s access. All channel entries now list who the entry is for. But don`t think you are out of luck with all of your current op/v/ban lists. We have engineered an advanced system to go back and update your lists for you, as people get opped again etc it will gradually update your list for you so you can see who they all are for. Likewise this will also help you clear out the older elements of your list that are no longer used when they show nobody has joined on them in months.
All channels now have a new join flood system in place. Are you sick of bots or people who just keep joining and parting your channel causing you spam? This system is configurable by you to limit the # of times that a host can join your channel in a short period of time. If they join/part or just mass join in a way that exceeds the limit you`ve set they will automatically be banned from your channel. The channel ops are exempt from kickban of this system.
The Auto-Limiting ( +l ) system has been tweaked. Now the amount of room it gives you is proportional to your channel size. If you channel is larger it will give you even more buffer space to help prevent your channel ever maxing out to where legitimate people can`t join. In addition, to further protect the network this protection system has been extended to even the un-registered channels now. Likewise the system doesn`t allow you to remove the limit anymore unless ETG is lagging bad or there is a netsplit. During those times, it will allow you to remove or increase the limit without punishment.
Sick of people spamming or otherwise being annoying with text scrolling? All channels now have a new Anti-Spam system enabled. This system will automatically remove people from your channel who are repeating or text scrolling in a short amount of time. No longer do you have to have some advanced script on your client taking up your processor power or load and maintain some bot to do it for you. ETG`s new services will enforce it on the thresholds you specify. Auto-ops in your channel get a "threshold bump" a little higher then what the normal users in your channel have it at to help prevent them from being caught in it unless they were spamming really badly themselves.
One of the biggest problems with the old ChanServ bans were that only the Channel Admin could place them. Rarely is the Channel Admin around to handle all abuse issues that occur in his/her channel. This is why they have Auto-Ops so they can delegate the running the of the channel when they aren`t around. Up until now those auto-ops could only place the ban on the channel themselves and then its generally forgotten about and doesn`t get removed and before they know it the channel`s ban list is full and they can`t add anyone to it. We have addressed this in two ways: 1) Channel Ops can now use services to place bans on users. 2) The new services will automatically remove the channel bans it places after a short amount of time to make room for others. Should the banned person rejoin, it will automatically re-ban them. This new feature will help you keep your ban list shorter in the channel so it never gets full.
Better yet, the system now stores information on each ban, allowing you to keep track of who is banned, when they were banned, and why they were banned. Yes, you heard right, you can now specify a different kickban reason PER ban. Also channel bans have expiration dates now to help keep you from filling up your list or having to remember to go back and clean it up every once in a while, they now will expire themselves at the specified time.
Best of all, you can let ChanServ do the dirty-work for you. Just type " !kb nickname " in your channel and it will kickban the user with a default message. If you want to add a reason just do " !kb nickname my reason here ". There are other options too so feel free to explore the online help for more information " !help kb "
- New Advanced Clan Scrim System
You can configure your channel so that your clan members can request a scrim from clans that play the same games as you and are in the same geographic region. Once setup, you can type " !scrim " in your channel to get into the system which will ask you a couple questions to complete the scrim request. All you have to tell it is which game from an easy list that you are looking to play, and how many players you are looking for in a match (aka. 1n1, 2v2, 4v4, 6v6, etc.) In less then 1-2 minutes you can have a scrim request sent out to thousands of other clans in your area that play that game as well and might be interested in playing verses your clan. It`s that simple!!
- New Radio Services System
This new system is geared for the major radio stations based on ETG that we deem to be reputable/responsible in nature. It gives them a system to list the major upcoming shows they have in the works for interviews / reviews / etc. Users in your radio channel can type " !radio " and get a list of just your stations upcoming shows over the next 5 days. They can type " !radio " in any other channel and get a list of all radio stations upcoming shows for today and tomorrow. Users can get further detail on any show by typing " !radio # " with the proper show number that was listed. What`s even better is that the system notifies users when you are On-Air and gives them the full link to click on and listen into your broadcast directly.
Is your MOD or other major organization based on ETG? This system is the one for you. Now you have at your fingertips a way to announce the release of your upcoming MOD or your 300 person LanParty. All users on ETG can view a list of upcoming events and when they are planned for just by typing " !events " in any channel. They can get more detailed information on a specific event including a URL linking to your website and such by typing " !event # " in any channel. This provides you with a great platform to help get the word out. This system will be made available to major organizations ETG deems to be reputable/responsible in nature.
- New Channel & Channel Admin Protections
All channels now have two more protection options the channel admin can enable. Both of which will help against takeovers and other forms of abuse. The first option is one that protects the admin. When this is enabled (it is enabled by default) once the admin is authenticated to the channel, if anyone de-ops, kicks, or does anything to harm him, ChanServ will PUNISH that person.
The second protection option is one that punishes unregistered ops (people that the channel admin has not added as an auto-op, but someone in the channel opped anyways) from doing anything to harm the running of your channel. This protection will make it so that even though they are opped, if they act in certain ways that they aren`t supposed to, they will be punished. What this mode does is Disallows any un-registered op from changing any channel mode, oping or de-oping anyone else, changing the channel topic, or kicking anyone from the channel. They are still allowed to ban people, which will stop any abusive person from being able to talk, change nicks, or do other abusive actions etc; however they aren`t allowed to actually kick the person. The ban is enough to stop the abuse so that is as far as they are allowed to go if this mode is enabled.
- New Channel Mode/Key Enforcement System
The "PreventModes" setting we all are familiar with is now a thing of the past. We now have 3 different settings to take its place. You can specify channel modes that you want always kept on in your channel ( example: " !set enforcemodeson nt " ), the channel modes you never want on in your channel ( example: " !set enforcemodesoff iks " ), and any channel key that you want always kept on your channel ( example: " !set enforcekey myclanonly " )
Has your LAN ever expired and you didn`t realize it until it was too late? Well no more! The new system among other things will alert everyone on that connection at a specified time that the LAN Allowance is about to expire. It gives you 2 days advanced warning so you can see an ETG Admin and get the LAN renewed prior to its expiration so you have no lapse of coverage.
- New Automated Abuse Handling ( Introduction Of The 3-Strikes Rule )
One of the biggest additions to the New Services is a new system that automatically will ban people who do repeated abuses in a specified period of time. So people who try to take over channels, mass spam, join flood channels, or just like to be all around abusive, watch out. Now, without any intervention, the system can now automatically ban you for your actions. Users who do something that counts as abuse will get warnings, if those warnings/strikes accumulate to 3, you will be automatically banned off the network. We feel this form of a self-enforcing network will serve the whole community well with it being able to deal with issues more effectively then a person would have been able to. Obviously, if there are problems you are having with an abusive user, find an ETG Admin in #ETG to discuss it.
Well, overall it has been a long time coming. But, the wait was worth it for this revolutionary new system we are getting. With all of the above features, many more not listed, and even more features coming in the near future, we are sure you will find this a great addition to EnterTheGame. We hope you all appreciate the countless hours of hard work over the years that went into this. I`d like to give a special thanks to Koen, Kismet, and Conz for their help with testing and helping convert some of the data.