Beginner’s guide to IRC & IRC4Fun
New to IRC or IRC4Fun? We’ll help you get started!
- What is IRC and how does it work?
- Channels & Nicknames
- How to use Commands and Talk
- Finding channels
- Advice & Etiquette
What is IRC and how does it work?
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) provides a way of communicating in real time with people from all over the world. It consists of various separate networks (or “nets”) of IRC servers, machines that allow users to connect to IRC.
Generally, the user (such as you) runs a program (called a “client”) to connect to a server on one of the IRC nets. The server relays information to and from other servers on the same net.
Once connected to the IRC4Fun IRC network, you will usually join one or more “channels” and converse with others there. Conversations may be public (where everyone in a channel can see what you type) or private (messages between only two people, who may or may not be on the same channel).
Channels & Nicknames
Channel names usually begin with a #, as in #irc4fun . The same channels are shared among all IRC servers on the same net, so you do not have to be on the same IRC server as your friends. (There are also channels with names beginning with a & instead of a #. These channels are not shared by all servers on the net but exist locally on that server only.)
Each user is known on IRC by a “nick”, such as smartgal or FunGuy. To avoid conflicts with other users, it is best to use a nick that is not too common, e.g., “john” is a poor choice.
Channels are run by channel operators, or just “ops” for short, who can control the channel by choosing who may join (by “banning” some users), who must leave (by “kicking” them out), and even who may speak (by making the channel “moderated”). Channel ops are often indicated in the channel userlist with an @ preceeding their nickname. Channel ops have complete control over their channel, and their decisions are final. If you are banned from a channel, send a /msg to a channel op and ask nicely to be let in (see the /who command in the next section to learn how to find ops). If they ignore you or /who gives no response because the channel is in secret mode (+s), just go somewhere else where you are more welcome.
IRC servers are run by IRC admins and by IRC operators, or “IRC ops”. IRC ops manage the servers themselves and do not get involved in personal disputes, channel bans, channel access, etc. They are not “IRC cops.”
How to use Commands and Talk
Commands and text are typed in the same place. By default, commands begin with the character / . If you have a graphical client such as mIRC for Windows, many commands can be executed by clicking on icons with the mouse pointer. It is, however, highly recommended that you learn to type in the basic IRC commands first. When entering commands, pay close attention to spacing and capitalization. The basic commands work on all the modern clients.
Some examples are given below. In these, suppose your nick is “yournick”, and that you are on the channel #chatzone.
Your friend “Lola” is in #chatzone with you, and your friend “Dex” is on IRC but is not on a channel with you. You can apply these examples in general by substituting the relevant nick or channel names.
What you type * What happens
/join #chatzone * You join the channel #chatzone.
/who #chatzone * Gives some info on users in the channel.
(@ = channel op, while * means IRC op)
hello everyone * Everyone on #chatzone sees “yournick: hello everyone”
/me is a pink bunny * Everyone in #chatzone sees * yournick is a pink bunny
/leave #chatzone * You leave the channel.
/whois Dex * You get some info about Dex or whatever nickname you entered.
/whois yournick * You get some info others see about you.
/nick newnick * Changes your nick to “newnick”
/msg Dex hi there. * Only Dex sees your message (you don’t need to be on the same channel for this to work)
/ping #chatzone * Gives information on the delay (round-trip) between you and everybody on #chatzone.
/ping Dex * Gives information on the delay (round-trip) between you and just Dex.
/dcc chat Lola * This sends Lola a request for a dcc chat session. Lola types
/dcc chat yournick to complete the connection. DCC chat is faster (lag free) and more secure than /msg.
/msg =Lola Hi there! * Once a DCC connection has been established, use the
/msg =nick message format to exchange messages (note the = sign). DCC does not go through servers, so it are unaffected by server lag, net splits, etc.
/quit good night! * You quit IRC completely, with the parting comment so that others see “*** Quit: yournick (good night!)”.
NOTE: When you are not in a named channel, lines not beginning with a / have no effect.
You can learn a lot by joining a channel and just listening and talking for a while. For starters, try these channels: #IRC4Fun or #Chat.
You can also get a list of channels and their topics and user-count by using the /LIST command:
/LIST To form your own channel with the name #mychannel (if #mychannel does not already exist), type
/join #mychannel The channel is created and you are automatically made an op.
Advice & Etiquette
Etiquette Typing in all caps, LIKE THIS, is considered “shouting” and should be avoided. Likewise, do not repeat yourself or otherwise “flood” the channel with many lines of text at once. Be sure to use correct terminology, e.g., “channel”, not “chat room”, and “nick”, not “handle”.
While in a channel, follow the lead of the channel ops there. If you antagonize them, you may be “kicked” off the channel forcibly and possibly “banned” from returning. On the other hand, some channel ops are power-hungry and may kick or ban for no good reason. If this happens, or if someone on a channel is bothering you, simply leave the channel – there are plenty of others.
Harassment & attacks If someone starts harassing or flooding you, leave the channel or use the /ignore command. It is a good idea to set your user mode to +i (invisible) to avoid unsolicited messages and harassment – if you are “invisible” generally only users on a channel with you can determine what nick you are using. You can also set user mode +x (hidden host) to hide your hostname or IP from showing to other users, if you register and login to X.
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