What is IRC?
IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat".
It was originally written by Jarkko Oikarinen ([email protected]) in
1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over 60
countries around the world. It was designed as a replacement
for the "talk" program but has become much much more than that.
IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people convene on "channels" (a
virtual place, usually with a topic of conversation) to talk
in groups, or privately. IRC is constantly evolving, so the way
things to work one week may not be the way they work the next.
Read the MOTD (message of the day) every time you use IRC to
keep up on any new happenings or server updates.
IRC gained international fame during
the 1991 Persian Gulf War, where updates from around the
world came accross the wire, and most irc users who were
online at the time gathered on a single channel to hear these
reports. IRC had similar uses during the coup against Boris
Yeltsin in September 1993, where IRC users from Moscow were
giving live reports about the unstable situation there.
How is IRC set up?
The user runs a "client" program (usually
called 'irc') which connects to the irc network via another program
called a "server". Servers exist to pass messages from user to
user over the irc network.
Where can I get source for the irc client?
Which server do I connect my client to?
What is the port to use to connect to IRC?
In general, the port to use is 6667.
Some servers listen to other ports (most commonly in the 6660-6670
range), but *not* all. When in doubt, use 6667.
OK, I've got a client and I'm connected to a server? Now
It's probably best to take a look around
and see what you want to do first. All irc commands start with
a "/", and most are one word. Typing /help will get you help
information. /names will get you a list of names, etc. The output
is typically something like this-> (Note there are more channels
than this, this is just sample output). Pub: #hack zorgo eiji
Patrick fup htoaster Pub: #Nippon @jircc @miyu_d Pub: #nicole
MountainD Pub: #hottub omar liron beer Deadog moh pfloyd Dode
Now I've picked out a nice channel. How do I join that channel?
And what do I type once I get there? And when I'm done,
how do I leave a channel?
To join a channel, type /join #channelname.
That's it! Once you get to the channel, you will see people talking.
It will probably look like this: <Avalon> AUUG is on at
the same time as LISA this year and is cheaper. <Barron> backhaul
those DS3s to Virginia ;) <Barron> buy a farm <FlashPYR> so
is .us going to start charging $50/domain, too? <Barron> or
something <Tolim> oops Note that you will often come in
in the *middle* of a conversation. Unless you're familiar with
the channel you may want to sit and watch it for a minute or
two to see what the conversation is about. Often the channel
name (for instance, #Twilight_Zone) has nothing to do with what
conversation goes on on the channel (#Twilight_Zone does *not*
have discussion about the TV show "Twilight Zone"). So if you
join #baseball, don't be surprised if you hear about the SuperBowl
picks or even the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Museum!
To start talking, just type! And
when you're done saying what you have to say, just hit the
[return] key. You can start with something simple like "hello!".
You don't have to type hello! because IRC will
insert before all of your channel messages.
When you choose to leave a channel,
just type /part #channelname
What is a channel operator? What is an irc operator?
A channel operator is someone with a "@" by
their nickname in a /names list, or a "@" by the channel name
in /whois output. Channel operators are kings/queens of their
channel. This means they can kick you out of their channel for
no reason. If you don't like this, you can start your own channel
and become a channel operator there.
An IRC operator is someone who maintains
the IRC network. They cannot fix channel problems. They cannot
kick someone out of a channel for you. They cannot /kill
(kick someone out of IRC temporarily) someone just because
you gave the offender channel operator privileges and said
offender kicked *you* off.
What is a "bot"? How can I get one?
"bot" is short for "robot". It is a
script run from an ircII client or a seperate program (in perl,
C, and sometimes more obscure languages). [email protected] (Michael
Adams) defined bots very well: "A bot is a vile creation of /lusers
to make up for lack of penis length". IRC bots are generally
not needed. See A bot generally tries to "protect" a channel
(it should be noted that all bots will fail at some point, so
relying on them to keep a channel is not a good idea) from takeovers.
It should be noted that many servers
(especially in the USA) ban ALL bots. Some ban bots so much
that if you run a bot on their server, you will be banned
from using that server (see segment below on K: lines).
Someone is using my nickname, can anyone do anything about
There aren't any channel operators on my channel, now what?
Channel operators are the owner(s) of
their respective channels. Keep this in mind when giving out
channel operator powers (make sure to give them to enough people
so that all of the channel operators don't unexpectedly leave
and the channel is stuck without a channel operator). On the
other hand, do not give out channel operator to *everyone*. This
causes the possibility of mass-kicking, where the channel would
be stuck without any channel operators. You have one option.
You can ask everyone to leave and rejoin the channel. This is
a good way to get channel operator back. It doesn't work on large
channels or ones with bots, for obvious reasons.
What if someone tells me to type something cryptic?
Never type anything anyone tells you to without knowing what
it is. There is a problem with typing a certain command with
the ircII client that gives anyone immediate control of your
client (and thus can alter your account environment also).
What does "*** Ghosts are not allowed on IRC." mean? What
does "*** You are not welcome on this server." mean?
On IRC, you cannot be banned from every
single server. Server-banning exists only on a per-server basis
(being banned on one server does not mean you are automatically
banned from another). "Ghosts are not allowed on IRC" means that
you are banned from using that server. The banning is in one
of three forms:
The most general answer is "use another
server", but if it bothers you, try writing to the irc administrator
of that site --> /admin server.name.here -- plead your case.
It might even get somewhere!
- You are banned specifically,
you yourself. Only you can be responsible for this (if
you are using a shared account, this obviously does not
apply). Thus the responsibility lies completely with you
and you have noone to complain to.
- Your machine is banned. Chances
are it wasn't you who committed the wrongdoing. Try using
another machine on campus and seeing if you can use that
particular irc server then.
- Your whole site is banned (where "site" == "school", "company", "country").
This almost certainly wasn't your fault. And chances are
you won't be able to get the server-ban lifted. Try using
What is a netsplit?
What does it mean when I see: ***Signoff NickName (*.bu.edu
eff.org)? Why does NickName keep signing off?
Netsplits are (unfortunately) a routine
part of IRC life. What the above message means that NickName,
who you were on a channel with, was on a different server from
you. This server split off from the part of the net you were
Note that netsplits are all from a point
of view of the user. After a netsplit rejoins people might
say to you "where did you go?" -- because from their perspective,
*you* split off.
The only thing you can do during a netsplit
is wait for the net to mend itself. Changing your server during
a netsplit is a Bad Idea, because you are likely to get nickname
collided. By changing servers, you may also be contributing
to the lag.
As long as you don't quit your client,
any DCC chat or send will still work, even during a netsplit
(unless the netsplit is because of a specific rare hardware