The network was founded in the summer of 1998 as the place for Bynw and a few others to run an online game that they didn’t want to run on AOL and as a place for the Council of Greyhawk to hold its weekly chats. There was no domain name and the server ran on a dial-up connection (broadband wasn’t available and there was no available hosting budget) so it wasnt always available. Just as certain times during the day which were posted on a personal web page connected to Bynw’s AOL account.
In December of 1998 the network aquired its first domain name “psionics.net” and opened for 24/7 access. This is the date that the network uses as its anniversary date. Originally the website portion was dedicated to using psionic powers in role-playing games with the ability to offer chat to any visitors to the site. World of the fledgling server grew and it aquired more and more chats who wanted a dedicated gaming server that was available 24/7 and where the opers were gamers as well.
2001 – 2005
In 2001 the network, called Psionics.Net after its domain, acquired several downstream linked servers among them were recom.com and empirechat.com. During the late spring in May 2001 the network refocused the direction of the website of www.psionics.net to be a hub of information to the IRC network. Many of the gaming psionics information was moved to Bynw’s personal website.
Our stats have been on NetSplit.de since the spring of 2001. At the end of 2001, the previously linked servers had been sold to new owners and they did not wish to continue the link, so they delinked. Both went offline shortly after that. During this time, the began to professionally host several gaming and non-gaming chats, among them, the Battlstar Fan Club, NY Times best selling author Katherine Kurtz, and EN World (Eric Noah’s Unofficial 3e D&D News), plus several online games and other private chats. The network also changed server software to better serve its user base. The network’s homepage got a face lift in 2004, it was changed to a forum based structure, so information could be better organized and corrected if needed. It worked well and was real received.
The network has continued to slowly grow its userbase over the next 4 years. Focusing on the role-playing community. During this time the network also picked up a few esoteric related chats. Primarily those dealing with the practice of real-world magic and psionics by various groups that practice such arts.
At the close of 2005 the network founder, Bynw thought that the network’s name of Psionics.Net had outlived its usefulness. The name didn’t truely convey that the network was about gaming. So he created a contest to rename the network. In the end none of the submissions really spoke out loudly enough or made the right impression. In the end, Bynw choose to append the name of “Anlarye”, which was a group of powerful psionics in his home D&D campaign to the network name. Thus calling it the “Psionics-Anlarye IRC Network”.
2006 – 2007
The network continues to experience a slow but steady growth. At the end of 2006, the network participated in a software beta test. The administration choose not to continue with that software due to compatibility issues and changed to its current UnrealIRCd software with Anope services.
In the spring of 2007, the network name and website was officially changed to the OtherWorlders IRC Network located at http://www.otherworlders.org. A name that more accurately reflected the user base of gamers and esoteric chats.
In 2008 we made a slight change to our software. Replacing UnrealIRCd with InspIRCd and Anope with Atheme services. We also migrated away from any Windows based servers.
2009 – 2022
Over the last couple of decades the use of IRC has declined dramatically due to rise of Social Media. More and more users have created communities on Facebook, Slack, or Discord. There are diehard communities still on IRC. And IRC should still be used.
Unlike the Social Media giants, IRC is still strong with a number of maintained server software options available to lone servers and small networks. IRC still is decentralized which is helpful in the event of a major crash of these Social Media giants and also there is little risk of data loss from hackers and data breaches.
IRC is still trusted and a safe bet for all who wish to have an online community and real time chat.
Our 25th year is just around the corner. The summer of 2023 will be the Network’s 25th year of operation. From our humble beginnings to were we are today. Again at another crossroad.
IRCs decline and the rise of modern Social Media wasn’t foreseen. But the decline of Social Media is noticeable. People are moving away from Social Media faster than they can type. The centralized nature and hard censorship of information on those platforms is an affront to the idea of the Internet.
IRC has long been a hold out of freedom of information even in the middle of repressive regimes around the world. And it can be again. Today we have robust IRC client applications to get people chatting. IRC is simple and free.
And our Network is going to take the lead and say we support Freedom and Liberty. We will not censor you. We will not ban you for speaking your mind. Let’s not stop the free flow of information. We are a Communiti for Chat.