When working on Unix systems with other people, I often point out that rule #1 is "Read The Fine Manual". Alternative phrasing can include: "What's the man page say?" or "You should search Google for that." The idea being that they should get used to looking things up. Asking questions should be the method-of-last-resort.
That being said, it looks like I need to be eating my own dog food. At one point, early in the development (it may have been a branch) of Bitlbee, there was the ability to rename the channel. Instead of having to live with "#identica_packetgeek", you could make the channel name look like "identica". This function was short-lived as it wasn't retained in later versions.
In setting up a new document management system, complete with Statusnet instance to track document updates, I needed to point Bitlbee at the new interfaces (Statusnet and XMPP). I don't remember why it was that I was reading the XChat2 docs, but I stumbled across the "/settab" commend. It's exactly what I'd needed.
Now my Bitlbee channel list looks like: "news", "docs", "identica", and "twitter", instead of "#192.168.2.215_news", "#192.168.2.215_docs", "#identica_packetgeek", and "#twitter_packetgeek". Much, much cleaner!
Now you'll have to excuse me while I take myself out back and beat myself up.