"The (evil?) IRC overlord and crew are wondering what you think about our new IRC network. What can we do better? What do you want to see happen with our new network? Heck, should we even have a new network?
See more in Landon's journal"
Your "Time Poor" assessment of IRC is pretty spot on.
Any employed person, or anyone with an actual life really can't be logged on and watching scrolling threads non-stop to avoid missing the debate. And the sheer banality found in logs makes reading those unpalatable as well.
With a website like SoylentNews, you can attend as you have time. There is no real good way to do that on IRC or any "scrolling media".
So it ends up being the tool of teenagers, flunking students, and the unemployed.(I kid of course, but only partially).
I've had an IRC client running on my Linux box for months to attend a software project I participate in.
I'd have to say on average, I can get a better response and better feedback by posing a question on a mailing list. I've been in a room with 250 people, posted a question and not a single response (or any other traffic) for an hour or more.
People compose email, or even postings here on SN. They revise, the manage the tone, to either not sound like an ass, or intentionally sound like an ass, and most at least run with a spell checker on. On IRC, not so much, what ever bubbles up from the brain flows directly to the keyboard, asshatishness and douchebaggery and all.
I just don't see the entire concept of a side channel as being all that useful, either web based, or via IRC.
It is being useful for development teams that negotiate on the fly and are working simultaneously on a project such as code development and testing a live environment. It's also going to be useful for moderated live chat with, say, some kind of developer or someone that SN wants to present as an event. It is also a good place for people to chill and chat. So it's not a complete waste of time.