Well, the StarChat network itself doesn't suck. It's stable(ish, there's been quite a few splits recently).
The netfounder, jinxi, however, is a completely different matter. I've variously seen her described as a psycho, as a bitch, and a lot of things worse, and I have to say that, sadly, based on my experiences with her, everything that's said about her is true.
Now, don't get me wrong. In many ways, she's great. She's brilliant, she shines like a star. She's intelligent, clever, knowledgeable, friendly, interesting, helpful. I can't but admire her for all she is. She draws people like a magnet.
And then, like a magnet that suddenly is flipped the wrong way, she flips out and pushes people away, violently.
I was an IRC operator on StarChat, for six months. Worked my ass off for that network, spending all my free time helping out there. Ended up spending so much time helping out that the stats/logging bot marked my wordcount at 16000+ words, and my time spent in there at 4 or 5 days (as in 4x or 5x 24 hours), per week.
I got fired from there in October, because of something I had not done - apparently, my model behavior as an oper and all the time I spent helping out wasn't enough to earn me the benefit of the doubt. Jinxi fired me without a second thought, without even checking whether what I'd been accused of was true or not (it wasn't).
Other opers, with similar helping records and model behavior, were also fired, also with no reason at all.
We all went and started our own IRC network, Serenity-IRC, in an attempt to get away from all the crap and start a network where nobody, user or oper, would have to fear power abuse and unfairness.
Despite that, I still kept using StarChat, because some friends were there, and because it didn't feel right to try and undermine the very network I had just spent six months of my life helping by trying to pull users away from it.
That was that, and I kept being and chatting on both networks.
*** K-lined for forever [#5977: Nick camping is not permitted.]
[21:55:17] Closing Link: sailoreagle[host61-104.pool80116.interbusiness.it] (User has been banned from this server)
I had a nick registered on StarChat ... many nicks actually. One of them - "Garrett" - I'd had registered just about forever. I used it sporadically to play around in #thief, and I was planning to use it in #moebius-strip to roleplay - #moebius-strip being a Thief-related RP channel I'd started with three of my friends, and which kinda died out but which I had plans to revitalize. I was NOT keeping it registered just so others couldn't use it, which is the definition of "nick camping".
Despite that, I got akilled for "nick camping", by jinxi herself, of course. She took whatever shittiest excuse she could find, evidently being unable of getting over pointless grudges.
I have so much crap I could post about jinxi I wouldn't even know where to start. So many warnings friends gave me, and I didn't listen - "you don't want to be an oper for jinxi, she's a psycho, you'll just get hurt", and so on. And I didn't listen.
I gave six months of my life to StarChat, and worked my ass off for that network. So did many other people. We all got fired from staff for no reason. Now I get akilled with an excuse - evidently she was tired of seeing me on her precious network, even though I wasn't doing anything at all on it that would go against her or the network, or anybody else on that network. Power abuse, anybody?
I'm not taking this anymore. I'm not staying silent anymore. Whatever trust and loyalty I gave her, and she still had, I'm now taking back. There are people far more deserving of them, people who don't abuse others, who don't just use people then toss them away when they find new toys.
And I'm actually grateful to her, in a warped way. Working for her, I met some of the best people I've ever met, amazing people I'm honored to know and be able to call my friends.
More than that, jinxi taught me a lot. The technical skills I gained from being an IRCop on StarChat have stayed with me, and will be used to help Serenity grow. And above all, she taught me - showed me with very clear examples - all that a person in power should and shouldn't be, should and shouldn't do. How to be respectful of people who give their time and knowledge to build something together, how to gain trust and give it in return, how to create a real team.
I'm just sad that her examples were mostly negative, and that she cannot see what she has done. Like somebody who looks at reality through a warped, broken mirror, she projects her faults on others, and can't see herself. Anybody who even offers an opinion that's different from hers, no matter how close to her they were before, is branded a "traitor" and shoved away, ruthlessly. And I'm sad for the good I can see in her, for all that she could be if she just tried to look at herself rather than others. But only she can change herself, and I don't see that happening anytime soon. That would require a great deal more courage than she possesses.
And I can only pick up the pieces, and rebuild elsewhere.
So yeah... come to Serenity. The address is irc.serenity-irc.net - or you can use the javachat. I'm in #eagle most of the time, if you want to talk to me. If you see people wondering where I am, or even just people you know are my friends, tell them, ok?
Get people to come, if you can. Friends, friends of friends, the more the merrier. Come on over. Start your own channel. Have fun.
[edit 2005-03-02 - due to certain things happening, I am no longer staff on Serenity-IRC nor recommending that network. Try Illumichat instead.]