IRC Chat Room

Brain Foley brianf at
Tue Nov 9 16:31:10 EST 1993

John Cooper (cooperj at wrote:
: >
: >Everyone try to use channel #molbiol.
: >
: >Let the molecular biologists be heard 'in real-time'
: >
: >Martin Leach.
: >
: >.....          Martin Leach                Email:leach at 

: I'm a new commer... What is "IRC Chat"?
: Picard at

Subject: IRC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Lines: 200
Approved: news-answers-request at MIT.Edu
Message-ID: <HROSE.93May10114359 at>
Reply-To: hrose at

Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions 
        (and their answers) about IRC, Internet Relay Chat. Please read
        this before posting to the alt.irc or alt.irc.ircii newsgroups.

Archive-name: irc-faq
Last-modified: 1993/05/10
Version: 1.06

(1) What is IRC? 

	IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat". It was written by Jarkko
Oikarinen (jto at in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it
has been used in some 20+ countries spanning the globe.  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 gained international fame during the late Persian Gulf War,
where updates from around the world came accross the wire, and most
people on irc gathered on a single channel to hear these reports. 

(2) 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.

(3) How do I use a client?

	You either compile the source yourself, have someone else on
your machine compile the source for you, or use the TELNET client.
"telnet 6668". Please only use the latter when you
have no other way of reaching irc, as this resource is quite limited.

(4) Where can I get source for the irc client?

UNIX client-> /irc/clients
     /pub/irc /pub/unix/irc
     /pub/irc /pub/net/irc /pub/irc
	      there is also a client avaliable with the server code.
EMACS elisp-> /irc/clients/elisp /pub/irc/emacs
     /pub/net/irc /pub/irc/emacs
VMS -> /irc/clients/vms /pub/irc/vms
REXX client for VM-> /irc/clients/rxirc
MSDOS-> /irc/clients/msdos
Macintosh-> /irc/clients/macintosh

(5) Which server do I connect to?

	It's usually best to try and connect to one geographically
close, even though that may not be the best. You can always ask when you
get on irc. Here's a list of servers avaliable for connection:

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, but merely a start. Connect
to the closest of these servers and join the channel #Twilight_Zone
When you get there, immediately ask what you want. Don't say "I have a
question" because then hardly anyone will talk. 

(6) OK, I've got a client and I'm connected to a server? Now what?

	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 greywolf SAMANTHA

"Pub" means public (or "visible") channel. "hack" is the channel name.
"#" is the prefix (see number 7 below). A "@" before someone's nickname
indicates he/she is the "Channel operator" of that channel. A Channel
Operator is someone who has control over a specific channel. It can be
shared or not as the first Channel Operator sees fit. The first person
to join the channel automatically gets Channel Operator, and can share
it with anyone he/she chooses (or not).

(7) 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). StarOwl at (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 (9) below about "ownership" of
nicknames and channels.

(8) What are good channels to try while using irc?

	#hottub and #initgame are almost always teeming with people.
#hottub is meant to simulate a hot tub, and #initgame is non-stop game
of "inits" (initials). Just join and find out! 

	Many irc operators are in #Twilight_Zone ... so if you join
that channel and don't hear much talking, don't worry, it's not because
you joined, operators don't talk much on that channel anyways!

(9) Someone is using my nickname, can anyone do anything about it?
    Someone is using my channel, can anyone do anything about it?

        Even with NickServ (see (11) below) registering nicknames, there
are not enough nicknames to have nickname ownership. If someone takes
your nickname while you are not on irc, you can ask for them to give it
back, but you can not *demand* it, nor will irc operators /kill for
nickname ownership. 
        There are, literally, millions of possible channel names, so if
someone is on your usual channel, just go to another. You can /msg them
and ask for them to leave, but you can't *force* them to leave. 

(10) 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.

(10) 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).

(11) What is NickServ? What if I can't remember my NickServ password?

	To quote from NickServ's help text, NickServ's purpose is to
keep unique nicknames on irc. NickServ sends a warning to anyone else
who signs on with your nickname.  If you don't use IRC for 10 weeks,
your nickname expires for reuse. 

	Only a NickServ operator can change your nickserv password.
To find out which NickServ operators are online, send
/msg NickServ at OPERWHO

Nicknames with a "*" next to them are online at the time.

(12) What is IPCLUB? GIF-Archives of IRC-persons?

        IPCLUB stands for IRC Picture Club. It is an E-Mail service
provided by tommi at for all the users of the Internet. For
more help, mail tommi at with the subject of "IPCLUB/HELP".

(13) Where can I learn more?

	A good place to start might be downloading the irc tutorials.
They're avaliable via anonymous ftp from in
/irc/support/tutorial.* .. You can also join various IRC related mailing
lists. "operlist" is a list that discusses current (and past) server
code, routing, and protocol. You can join by mailing
operlist-request at You can join the irchat mailing list by
mailing irchat-request at There is a low traffic ircII mailing
list, mail dl2p+ at to be added. Another mailing list,
ircd-three at, exists to discuss protocol revisions for the 3.0
release of the ircd, currently in planning. Mail
ircd-three-request at to be added to that. A vmsirc mailing list is
avaliable. Mail vmsirc-request at (with "subscribe" in the
message body). 

(14) What do I do if I'm still confused or have additions to this posting?

	email hrose at or ask for help (in #Twilight_Zone) on irc.

Helen Trillian Rose             	<hrose at, hrose at>
Kapor Enterprises, Inc.            	email eff at for EFF Info
Electronic Frontier Foundation          Flames to: 
Systems and Networks Administration	women-not-to-be-messed-with at

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