When I type /list in IRSSI, it says:

Irssi: Doing this is not a good idea. Add -YES option to command if you really mean it

Why is it not a good idea?

2 Answers 2


On big networks the LIST command can cause large amounts of data to be dumped to the user (as of writing this post: ~820 kB on DALnet, ~1.7 MB on Freenode). In the old days, when 33 kbps dial-up was considered fast, this could cause the user to be disconnected from IRC, probably due to output buffer overflow ("SendQ exceeded") or simply not replying to PINGs in time ("Ping timeout").

FWIW, I have never had such problems even when using 256 kbps DSL, so the warning could be considered obsolete.

  • When I was using IRSSI with tmux, my term began to be filled with garbage when I ran /list... is that IRSSI or tmux I wonder.
    – kzh
    Jul 7, 2011 at 12:14
  • @kzh: Possibly both, possibly neither... has never happened for me, and I've used many combinations of terminals, multiplexers, and IRC clients. Jul 7, 2011 at 12:15

On big networks, the command gives a huge output. That may not be what you want for several reasons:

  • This may get you disconnected from the IRC server (SendQ exceeded or Ping timeout). This is much less a problem now then it used to be. Connections are faster now, and modern servers are smarter: they don't try to send you more at once than what would fit in the queue (which would get you disconnected no matter how fast your connection is)
  • It dumps a huge amount of info in your status window. That may not be something a novice user would expect from such a simple command.
  • Isn't "It dumps a huge amount of info in your status window" sort of the client program's fault? :) Jul 6, 2011 at 21:39
  • I wouldn't call it anyone's "fault". It's not really wrong (given that almost everything in irssi is just text dumped in windows). It may just not be what the user expects... Jul 7, 2011 at 14:54

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