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In the Name of God بسم الله
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The Story of ShiaChat.com - The IRC (#Shia) Days!


Ali

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[This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]

Part 1 - The IRC (#Shia) Days!

Sit children, gather around and let me speak to you of tales of times before there was ever high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube or Facebook; a time when the Internet was a much different place and 15 yearold me was still trying to make sense of it all. 

In the 90s, the Internet was a very different place; no social media, no video streaming and downloading an image used to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how fast your 14.4k monster-sized dial-up modem was.  Of course you also had to be lucky enough for your mom to have the common courtesy not to disconnect you when you’re in the middle of a session; that is if you were privileged enough to have Internet at home and not have to spend hours at school or libraries, or looking for AOL discs with 30 hour free trials..(Breathe... breathe... breathe) -  I digress.

Back in 1998 when Google was still a little computer sitting in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s basement, I was engaged in endless debates with our Sunni brothers on an IRC channel called #Shia.  (Ok, a side note here for all you little pups.  This is not read as Hashtag Shia, the correct way of reading this is “Channel Shia”.  The “Hashtag” was a much cooler thing back in the day than the way you young’uns use it today).

For those of you who don’t know what IRC was (or is... as it still exists), it stands for Internet Relay Chat, which are servers available that you could host chat rooms in and connect through a client.  It was like the Wild West where anyone can go and “found” their own channel (chat room), become an operator and reign down their god-like dictator powers upon the minions that were to join as a member of their chat room.  Luckily, #Shia had already been established for a few years before by a couple of brothers I met from Toronto, Canada (Hussain A. and Mohammed H.).  Young and eager, I quickly rose up the ranks to become a moderator (@Ali) and the chatroom quickly became an important part of my adolescent years.  I learned everything I knew from that channel and met some of the most incredible people.  Needless to say, I spent hours and dedicated a good portion of my life on the chatroom; of course, the alternate was school and work but that was just boring to a 15-year-old.

In the 90’s, creating a website was just starting to be cool so I volunteered to create a website for #Shia to advertise our services, who we are, what we do as well as have a list of moderators and administrators that have volunteered to maintain #Shia.  As a result, #Shia’s first website was hosted on a friend’s server under the URL http://786-110.co.uk/shia/ - yes, ShiaChat.com as a domain did not exist yet – was too expensive for my taste so we piggybacked on one of our member’s servers and domain name.

The channel quickly became popular, so popular that we sometimes outnumbered our nemesis, #Islam.  As a result, our moderator team was growing as well and we needed a website with an application that would help us manage our chatroom in a more efficient style.  Being a global channel, it was very hard to do “shift transfers” and knowledge transfers between moderators as the typical nature of a chatroom is the fact that when a word is typed, its posted and its gone after a few seconds – this quickly became a pain point for us trying to maintain a list of offenders to keep an eye out for and have it all maintained in a historical, easily accessible way.

A thought occurred to me.  Why not start a “forum” for the moderators to use?  The concept of “forums” or discussion boards was new to the Internet – it was the seed of what we call social media today.  The concept of having a chat-style discussion be forever hosted online and be available for everyone to view and respond to at any time from anywhere was extremely well welcomed by the Internet users.  I don’t recall what software or service I initially used to set that forum up, but I did – with absolutely no knowledge that the forum I just set up was a tiny little acorn that would one day be the oak tree that is ShiaChat.com.

[More to follow, Part 2..]

So who here is still around from the good old #Shia IRC days?

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  • Advanced Member

Wow, I remember my IRC days. I feel old now. Just look at us Ali, just on this platform we've been on since 2002. I think at this point we can compare and see who has more gray hairs.

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  • Advanced Member

OMG those days were so good. I have used IRC but never knew about shia chatroom. May be i have come across it but don't remember. I was not crazy about chatrooms. :D but i miss those days. Why do we grow up?

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  • Basic Members

Ya Aly Madad (as)!
MashaAllah I became to know about this site while searching some literary, so considered the suggestion. As I read the blog it was quite aspiring so thought to continue I'll get alot to seek!
Insha'Allah.

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  • Advanced Member

Salam alaikum brother!

Me and my brother used to be the cyber worriers on the net back then, always talking on the Sunni Shi’a wars (cyber wars lol) 2003 it was i remember.

My posts are still there and my brothers :) 

I was 16, at college we were all excited back then when we came to know about shiachat (2003). God! It’s been soo long! Around then I remember shiachat introduced the ‘chat rooms’. As a typical 16 year old i took the benefit of that and used to Annoy everyone haha .. oh god lol (me laughing) and then guess what happened? Shiachat banned me from using my account. It really didnt bother me much back then but now I miss my account and my posts ..and I decided today that I need to make a new account... and here I am! 32 this year! And was 16 when i used it..

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  • Advanced Member

funfact: I WAS BORN WHILE THIS TOOK PLACE?! I WISH I WAS BORN A BIT EARLIER!! OMGG, THIS SOUNDED SO GREAT ;-; (I was born in 2001) (´ _ `)

Wait... Could this then mean that Shiachat is my internet parent, since I was born at its good era?... Things just got a bit too weird...

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  • Forum Administrators

I found ShiaChat in 2002 and got brave enough to join in 2010. Since 2005 I have felt that ShiaChat was my own special place to escape to for a bit of social interaction with lots of smart, helpful, and funny people. Now that we are in the covid-19 era, I sometimes feel like the world is on fire, but I am so grateful that ShiaChat is still here.  Love to you all! :muslima: 

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  • Advanced Member

This is a very good Part 1.

The way I found ShiaChat was hilarious,

I was searching for a Chat website and I Mis-Wrote,

Than I saw a Website called ShiaChat,

I thought to myself, Why have I not ever heard of this?

I got on and decided to make an account in March, I really didn't do anything for the next Month or so. Than I decided, I'm going to Give Salwat (اللهم صل على محمد و آل محمد) and Debate.

I did so and I had the Most liked content on August 14, I was really happy. :cryhappy:

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  • Development Team

@Ali

Quote

[This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]

This blog is a series, so Part 2 is necessary. Part 3 maybe later?  

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  • Moderators
On 9/25/2020 at 2:50 PM, wolverine said:

@Ali

This blog is a series, so Part 2 is necessary. Part 3 maybe later?  

Yes. He said that: 

Quote

[This will be a series of blog entries on the history of ShiaChat.com; how it was founded, major ups and down, politics and issues behind running such a site and of course, the drama!  I will also provide some feedback on development efforts, new features and future goals and objectives]

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