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matrix.org runs a bridge (matrix-appservice-irc) from their Matrix homeserver to freenode that allow Matrix users from any homeserver that federates with matrix.org to join channels on freenode and intermingle with the normal IRC userbase. These users have their Matrix User Id (username and homeserver, e.g. @jess:freenode.net) put in the realname field of their IRC connection.

Over time, the need to differentiate users by which homeserver they are using has arisen for multiple reasons, and we've worked with the matrix.org bridge operators to better format Matrix User Ids to suit the limited space provided by IRC realnames.

Realnames pose a slight problem for this usage; the maximum length for a Matrix User Id is 255 characters, whereas the maximum length for an IRC realname is 50 characters and things longer than that get truncated, which means if people have a Matrix username of 50 characters, it will truncate off the entirety of their homeserver.

The solution we came up with for this has been to reverse the order of username and homeserver, and then reverse the order of domain name parts and truncate that at 30 characters, which means the most significant parts of a homeserver's domain name comes at the start of a realname. For example, @jess:freenode.net becomes net.freenode:jess. If a homeserver is truncated to 30 characters, a > is appended prior to the : - @jess:subdomaaaaaaaaaain.freenode.net would become net.freenode.subdomaaaaaaaaaai>:jess.

We'd like to extend deep gratitude to the operators of the matrix.org bridge for handling and implementing our change request quickly to suit a contemporary need, and we'd like to remind users that they can message staff at any time if they have any questions about the above changes.