What we publish
The purpose of the IRCStats project is to publish general statistics on IRC usage as a whole. Things like the number of users, the number of channels and number of servers in total on the Internet, the percentage of SSL/TLS capable IRC servers, etc.
We do not publish statistics tied to a specific network. In particular we do not publish server names, network names, nick names or channel names. There are other websites for that. This project is strictly to research overall IRC usage.
What we do
Every 6-12 months we scan the Internet for IRC Servers (port 6667 and 6697).
Our current scanner bot sends the following commands: NICK, USER, CAP, VERSION, MODE, MOTD, PING, PONG, MAP, LINKS, LUSERS, MODULE, INFO, JOIN 0, QUIT. The output of these commands is saved and later used to produce general statistics. Only the general statistics are published.
As you can see we try to keep the 'noise' down by only connecting once every few months. We also gather only minimal data. In particular we do not gather the list of channels (LIST) nor the list of users (WHO).
Why we do it
There's currently no reliable information on actual IRC usage on the Internet.
Can I opt-out?
What is IRC?
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat and is a protocol used for chatting on the Internet.
For more information you can read the IRC article on Wikipedia.