I am in the UK and have a UK (en-GB) keyboard.
I type # by doing ALT-3.
This doesn't give me a # character anywhere in 2.5.5 ver2.
It's kinda sore since I'm using Pidgin for IRC (as well as IM). :-)
I have already noticed that some special characters cannot be entered in Pidgin (whereby # works for me, but I have also a German layout).
As a workaround (annoying though), you could enter the text somewhere else and use copy&paste. In your case, you could add your often used channels to the buddy list and then you probably don't need the # anymore that often.
But of course, that's no real solution. I guess this is a GTK+ problem but I am not sure. In that case we would have to wait for a GTK+ update.
Perhaps you can also try some different GTK keyboard layout settings. There is a file inside the application bundle, I think under Resources/etc/gtk named gtkrc or something like that, where you can set some default GTK settings, like GTK theme and keyboard layout. You could try a bit with some other settings.
This need to be fixed on the GTK side, so there is not much I can do about it.
Though, I tried to work around this a bit. Look into the application bundle at the file Contents/Resources/conf/gtkrc of the new 2.5.8 release (I will publish in an hour or so). You can add custom user bindings there. You can also save this gtkrc in your user-directory (I think as ~/.gtkrc or something like that) so you don't need to change the one in the application bundle. I already added two custom bindings there, so you can easily add further ones.
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