Our policies outline that channels on freenode fall into one of two categories. Channels that begin with only a single # character are primary channels. Channels that begin with two # characters are topical or ‘about’ channels.
Primary channels are reserved for official channels of on-topic projects.
A registered group (as outlined on the page about group registration) can claim ownership over primary channels bearing the group's names or name prefixes. For example, freenode itself owns the channel ‘#freenode’ and all channels beginning with ‘#freenode-’.
Primary channels do not expire. If you represent an on-topic project and would like to take over a primary channel for that project, do not hesitate to contact us.
Topical or ‘about’ channels are intended for unofficial channels that are about something that's on-topic. For example, an unofficial channel to talk about freenode is ##freenode. Topical channels do not mean ‘anything goes’. In particular, they are not for off-topic use.
Topical channels are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. They will expire if unused for a long time, see our policies for details regarding when this occurs. You can contact us on IRC with a request to take over an expired topical channel.