This specification has been deprecated. We do not recommend implementing this specification or the features described here.
Copyright © 2012 Kiyoshi Aman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Unlimited redistribution and modification of this document is allowed provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice remains intact.
It is generally useful to associate metadata with one’s IRC presence, e.g. to make one’s homepage or non-IRC contact details more discoverable. There are several mechanisms for doing this, but they typically rely on the presence of services and aren’t really suitable for transient metadata such as a user’s current location.
This proposal aims to codify one mechanism for working with metadata: metadata may be configured through a client-to-server event created specifically for this purpose.
All metadata subcommands will flow through the outgoing
This specification adds the
metadata-notify capability for notifications.
Please see the ‘Metadata Notifications’ section for more information.
For the purposes of this specification, ‘targets’ are entities for which
metadata may be set. Such entities MUST be a valid nickname or channel. As a
convenient shorthand, an asterisk (
*) MAY be specified to indicate that the
target is the client itself. Invalid targets MUST be responded to with
Implementations MUST provide a mechanism for controlling the ability to set or
clear metadata on channels. Such mechanisms SHALL respond to unauthorized
Implementations MAY provide a mechanism for limiting visibility of certain metadata to certain users. Such mechanism is implementation-defined; for instance, it may depend on some permission level or a flag.
This command allows lookup of some keys. The format MUST be as follows:
METADATA <Target> GET key1 key2 ...
Multiple keys may be given.
The response will be either
ERR_NOMATCHINGKEY for every key in order.
Servers MAY replace certain metadata, which is considered not visible for the
requesting user, with
ERR_NOMATCHINGKEY or with
The format MUST be as follows:
METADATA <Target> LIST
This subcommand MUST list all currently-set metadata keys along with their
values. The response will be zero or more
Servers MAY omit certain metadata, which is considered not visible for
the requesting user, or replace it with
In case of invalid target
RPL_METADATAEND MUST NOT be sent.
This subcommand is used to set a required key to an optional value. If no value
is given, the key is removed; otherwise, the value is assigned to the key. The
METADATA SET MUST be as follows:
METADATA <Target> SET <Key> [:Value]
Servers MUST respond to requests to set or remove a key whose name is invalid
with only an
ERR_KEYINVALID event and fail the request.
Servers MUST respond to requests to remove a key that has a valid name but is
not set with only an
ERR_KEYNOTSET event and fail the request.
Servers MAY respond to certain keys, considered not settable by the requesting
It is an error for users to set keys on targets for which they lack
authorization from the server, and the server MUST respond with
ERR_KEYNOPERMISSION and fail the request.
If the request is successful the server MUST carry out the requested change and
the response MUST be one
RPL_KEYVALUE event, representing what was actually
stored by the server, and one
This subcommand MUST remove all metadata, equivalently to using
on all currently-set keys with an empty value. The format of
MUST be as follows:
METADATA <Target> CLEAR
The server MUST respond with one
RPL_KEYVALUE event per cleared key and one
Servers MAY omit certain metadata, which is considered not settable by
the requesting user, or replace it with
It is an error for users to use this subcommand on targets for which they lack
authorization from the server. Servers MAY reject this subcommand for channels,
ERR_KEYNOPERMISSION with an asterisk (
*) in the
Metadata notifications are enabled by requesting the OPTIONAL
capability during capability negotiation. When negotiated, this capability
MONITOR behaviour to include subscribing users to notifications for
those users they are currently monitoring. Clients are also subscribed to
notifications for channels they join. Clients may discontinue notifications
for users by issuing a disabling
MONITOR command, and for channels by
parting the channel. Clients are automatically subscribed to notifications for
their own metadata, excluding changes made by the clients themselves.
Client subscriptions to a channel includes notifications for other users in
the channel, regardless of
Notifications use the
METADATA event, the format of which is as follows:
METADATA <Target> <Key> <Visibility>[ :<Value>]
<Target> refers to the entity which had its metadata changed.
* for keys visible to everyone, or a token which describes the
key’s visibility status in an implementation-defined way; for instance, it may
be a permission level or flag.
Clients MUST handle all metadata notifications, whether they explicitly requested them or not.
Metadata propagates to clients automatically under certain conditions:
- Upon authentication and successful negotiation of
metadata-notify, clients MUST have their non-transient metadata propagated to them. If none exists, servers MUST send
- Clients SHOULD have current metadata of targets propagated to them upon subscription.
- Clients who enable
MONITORcommands to subscribe to users SHOULD have current metadata propagated to them for those users.
Keys MUST be restricted to the ranges
_.:, and are
case-insensitive. Values are unrestricted, except that they MUST be UTF-8.
Server and client authors cannot assume that keys will carry specific
formatting or meaning.
If a limit is set for keys, it MUST only apply to user-set keys and MUST be
communicated to the user via
RPL_ISUPPORT as a numeric value on the
A subset of metadata MAY be sent via the
RPL_WHOISKEYVALUE event; this
subset SHALL be set explicitly, rather than informatively or as a side-effect
of other events. For a complete view of user metadata, see
IRC servers may choose to accept or deny any key for any reason, and SHOULD implement a blacklist or whitelist functionality for this purpose, configurable by the server operators.
METADATA is supported, it MUST be specified in
RPL_ISUPPORT using the
METADATA key. Servers MAY specify a limit on the number of explicitly-set
keys per-user; the format in that case MUST be
<integer> is the limit.
The numerics 760 through 769 MUST be reserved for metadata, carrying the following labels and formats:
<Visibility> field for numerics follows the same rules and requirements
as specified for notifications’ visibility.
Setting metadata for self:
METADATA * SET url :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 761 * url * :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 762 :end of metadata
Setting metadata for channel:
METADATA #example SET url :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 761 #example url * :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 762 :end of metadata
Setting metadata for another user, no permission:
METADATA user1 SET url :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 769 user1 url :permission denied
Setting metadata for self, limit reached:
METADATA * SET url :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 764 * :metadata limit reached
Setting metadata for an invalid target:
METADATA $a:user SET url :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 765 $a:user :invalid metadata target
Setting metadata with an invalid key:
METADATA user1 SET $url$ :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 767 $url$ :invalid metadata key
Listing metadata, with an implementation-defined visibility field:
METADATA user1 LIST :irc.example.com 761 user1 url * :http://www.example.com :irc.example.com 761 user1 im.xmpp * :email@example.com :irc.example.com 761 user1 bot-likeliness-score visible-only-for-admin :42 :irc.example.com 762 :end of metadata
Getting several keys of metadata of the same user:
METADATA user1 GET blargh splot im.xmpp :irc.example.com 766 user1 blargh :no matching key :irc.example.com 766 user1 splot :no matching key :irc.example.com 761 user1 im.xmpp * :firstname.lastname@example.org
User sets metadata on a channel:
:email@example.com METADATA #example url * :http://www.example.com
External server updates metadata on a channel:
:irc.example.com METADATA #example url * :http://wiki.example.com
External server sets metadata on a user:
:irc.example.com METADATA user1 account * :user1
The following examples describe how an implementation might use certain features. Unlike previous examples, they are in no way intended to guide implementations’ behaviour.
Notification for a user becoming an operator:
:OperServ!OperServ@services.int METADATA user1 services.operclass oper:auspex :services-root
- Earlier version of this spec specified ERR_NOMATCHINGKEY with no
<Target>. This did not match examples and being specific with this numeric was desired.
- Earlier version of this spec specified that the
METADATAevents was required. It was decided
METADATAevents should also be able to tell clients about metadata keys that have been removed.
- Earlier versions of this spec were ambiguous about the behavior of
- Earlier versions of this spec did not specify
- Due to discovered issues around rate-limiting and notifications being solved, this specification has been deprecated for the time being.