Join #rpg

Tjerk Vonck ( wrote a cool FAQ about IRC. I'll place here the most important parts of it (whenever I consider useful, I'll add some things to the FAQ... they will appear underlined for you to distinguish my additions from Tjerk's original text).
  1. What's IRC?
    IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat". It was originally written by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over 60 countries around the world. IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people meet on Channels (rooms, virtual places, usually with a certain topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC. (Read more on how IRC started in and jarkko2.txt)
  2. How is IRC set up?
    As a user you run a Client program which connects to a Server in an IRC network. All servers are interconnected and pass messages from user to user over the IRC network. One server can be connected to several other servers and up to hundreds of clients. Several larger and smaller IRC networks exist. The largest ones, called EFnet (Eris Free net), IRCnet, Undernet and Dalnet usually serve about 20000 users at any given moment. Lots of other ones are a little less populated but often offer more stability and convenience.
    The web-based chat I have on my page is in fact an IRC client made in JAVA. It's easy to use because the important stuff is already configured.
  3. What does a client do? What is the purpose of a server?
    An IRC client reads in the commands and text that you supply to it, and parses them. It filters them and performs the appropriate actions, and if necessary, passes them on to your IRC server. An IRC server can serve many other clients. The server holds information about the channels and people on IRC, as well as other pieces of information, and is also responsible for routing your messages to other users. The IRC Network itself consists of multiple servers which are all connect to each other.
  4. What do I have to fill in in the client's Setup menu?
    The first time you run your IRC client program you have to fill in some information about yourself, such as, your Internet address and the IRC server with which you want to connect. Your client may also have a section for you to specify the Port, Password, Real name, Email address, Nickname(s), IP address and Local Host name.
  5. What is the port number to use to connect to IRC?
    In general, the port number to use is 6667. Some, but not all, servers listen to other ports (most commonly in the 6665-6670 range). When in doubt, select port 6667 (Dalnet usually uses port 7000). A port number should be seen as an entrance to a server. If you take the wrong entrance (port) the server will not understand what you are doing, and will disconnect you.
    PTNet usually uses ports 6667 and 6666
  6. Do I need a password to connect to irc?
    Normally you do not need a password to use an IRC server. Most servers allow anonymous access. If you do not have a password for an IRC server then leave the password entry field blank. If you are prompted for a login or password and you dont know what to type, try to connect to another server.
    PTNet is a free access IRC network, no passwords are needed.
  7. What is a nickname?
    On IRC you are known to others by a nickname. You are free to choose any nickname you like, up to 9 characters long. Do not use spaces and avoid unusual ASCII characters in your nickname. It is very common to find people that use the same nickname and you may be asked or choose to switch nicknames to avoid confusion. Only on some IRC networks nicknames can be owned.
    The 9 characters long limit doesn't exist in PTNet. However, don't choose a huge nick... it's boring trying to talk to someone called This_is_a_huge_nick :). Nicks in PTNet CAN be owned. For more information on PTNet's Nickserv option please report to the "Using PTNet" FAQ available in this page.
  8. What is my IP Address?
    Your IP Address is the address your PC uses on the Internet. It is usually a set of 4 numbers or its equivalent IP Name. Some providers offer you a unique IP Address (static IP) or they assign a different one every time you connect (dynamic IP) to them. With Dynamic IP addresses you have to make sure your client automatically looks up your current IP Address and your Local Host name each time you connect to IRC.
  9. What is my Local Host name?
    The Local Host name is the name you or your provider assigned to your PC. It can be a single word or a name equivalent to your IP Address.
  10. I tried to connect to a server and received a "Connection refused", "Connection timed out" or "Unknown host" message.
    First of all, always try some other IRC Servers when you are unable to access your favorite one. The server, its machine or the route to the server may just be down or broken. When using a new server name you should make sure a server with the specified name actually exists. The server name you specified could be wrong. If the server exists, you can then try the numeric address of the server rather than its symbolic one (e.g for This will solve problems if your Domain Name Server is down, slow, does not understand the name you gave it or cannot translate it into a numeric address.
  11. When I connect I get a "Not enough user parameters" error?
    A "Not enough user parameters" error will occur if you try to connect to a server but you did not have the Local Host name filled in, or had it filled in incorrectly.Check your entry in your client's setup menu. Also check if you supplied your client with a valid E-Mail address.
  12. How do I solve the "You haven't registered" error?
    This is a server message to you, it has nothing to do with registering or paying for your IRC client. If you receive this message or if you get disconnected very quickly, your Local Host name or IP Address may be wrong, or not filled in at all. Look in your client's setup dialog and check if the Local Host is correct and if the IP Address is filled in correctly. An easy way to solve an incorrect IP Address is to set the 'On connect, always get' "IP Address" and "Local Host" to "ON" and restart your client. If this does not help you could be trying to connect to a NON-public server. Try another server to be sure.
    PTNet is a public network
  13. I get disconnected at startup.... What does "Closing Link (No more connections)" mean?
    Most servers can only accomody a maximum amount of IRC users. This is why they sometimes refuse access to you, and close the link at startup. Since servers reserve connections to local users you are more often refused when you are far apart from the server you're trying to connect to.' New developments of the IRC protocol (the so called Bounce-line) make it possible that a server automagically forwards you to a server that is not as buzy and/or more nearby to you thus effectively preventing your disconnection. Try using another server. This also applies if your IRC connection is becoming too slow.
  14. What exactly is a channel?
    A channel is a 'place' on IRC where group conversations occur. People can join the same channel and see each other. Depending on its topic and time of the day a channel can be VERY crowded. Channels can also be quite chaotic, or calm. Channels can be open to everyone but also closed and private and only open to friends. On the large IRC Networks (EFnet) as many as 2000 channels can exist, on smaller networks (corporate or even one-node-nets) there will be fewer channels. Channels on IRC are dynamic in the sense that anyone can create a new channel, and a channel disappears when the last person on it leaves. Once connected to an IRC server, type /list to see all existing channels. All channel names start with a # or a &. The # channels are globally available while the & channels are restricted to users on your local IRC server. For this moment you can forget about the & channels. If people speak of 'the IRC' they refer to the use of the globally available channels with names starting with a #. Whenever you want to refer to a channel's name, it should be prefixed with a # or &. You also need to use the name, including the # or &, to join a channel, to leave it, to set its parameters, etc.
    PTNet's #rpg is open to everyone.
  15. Now that I've decided on 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. Try "/join #irchelp" or "/join #mirc" to give it a try... That's it! Once you get to the channel, you will see people talking. Note that you will often come in during 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. In the channel window that opens once you join a channel you'll see an alphabetical list of people that are on the channel on the right side of the window. Some of them have a @ in front of their name to point out they are the Channel Operators. A Channel Operator is someone who has control over a specific channel. A Channel Operator can also decide if control is shared or not. The first person to join the channel automatically receives Channel Operator status. In the channel's title bar you will see the channel's name and perhaps its topic. If you choose to leave a channel, just type /part #channelname.
    PTNet's #rpg is mainly about Role Playing Games, although sometimes we talk about different issues (it depends on the users' mood :) ).
  16. Ok, now what are the most basic commands?
    The forward slash is the default command character. Commands on IRC are not case sensitive, and can be abbreviated to their first letters. Anything that does not begin with "/" is assumed to be a message to someone and will be sent to your current channel, or to a person you are chatting with in a private chat.
    • /help [command] - shows general help or help on the given command
    • /join [#channel] - joins a channel
    • /part [#channel] - parts from a channel
    • /quit [message] - quits the IRC session, showing a quit message
    • /nick [nick] - sets your nick
    • /away [message] - leaves a message saying you're away or not paying attention. Type /away (without the message) to reset your condition
    • /whois [nick] - displays information about the someone
    • /invite [nick] [#channel] - invites someone to the channel
    • /me [message] - tells people what you're doing
    Try to memorize these commands, since they'll be the ones you'll use more often.
  17. Ok, Now I'm ready for some less basic commands.
    • /msg [nick/channel] [text] - Sends a (private) message to specified nick or channel
    • /query [nick] [text] - Starts a private conversation with [nick] and forces a separate window to open
    • /notify [nick/on/off] - Toggles the notify function or adds or removes [nickname] to the notify list
    • /ignore [nick/user@host] - Ignore all contact from the specified people
  18. What language should I speak? How do I behave on IRC?
    The most widely understood and spoken language on IRC is English. However, as IRC is used in many different countries, English is by no means the only language. If you want to speak some language other than English, (for example with your friends), go to a separate channel and set the topic to indicate that. Similarly, you should check the topic when you join a channel to see if there are any restrictions about language. On a non-restricted channel, please speak a language everybody can understand. If you want to do otherwise, change channels and set the topic accordingly.
    It is not necessary to greet everybody on a channel personally. Usually one "Hello!" or equivalent is enough. Also, don't expect everybody to greet you back. On a channel with 20 people that would mean one screenful of hellos. It makes sense not to greet everyone, in order not to be rude to the rest of the channel. If you must say hello to somebody you know, do it with a private message. The same applies to goodbyes. Also note that using your client's facilities to automatically say hello or goodbye to people is extremely poor etiquette. Nobody wants to receive autogreets. They are not only obviously automatic, but while you may think you are being polite, you are actually conveying yourself as insincere. If somebody wants to be autogreeted when they join a channel, they will autogreet themselves. Remember, people on IRC form their opinions about you only by your actions, writings and comments, so think before you type. If you use offensive words, you'll be frowned upon. Do not "dump" (send large amounts of unwanted information) to a channel or user. This is likely to get you kicked off the channel or killed off from IRC. Dumping causes network "burps", causing connections to go down because servers cannot handle the large amount of traffic. Other prohibited actions include:
    - Harassing another user. Harassment is defined as behavior towards another user with the purpose of annoying them.
    - Annoying a channel with constant beeping. (Therefore most clients cannot beep at all)
    - Any behavior reducing the functionality of IRC as a CHAT medium.
  19. What is a channel operator? What is an IRC operator?
    A channel operator (ChanOp or Op) is someone with a "@" by their nickname in a channel's names list, or a "@" before the channel name in a /whois or /uwho output. Channel operators are the 'rulers' of a particluar channel. This means they can kick you out of their channel for any reason. If you don't like this, you complain to them or start your own channel and become a channel operator there yourself. An IRC operator (IRCop) is someone who maintains a server or part of the IRC network. They cannot fix channel problems. They cannot kick someone out of a channel for you. They also cannot /kill (disconnect a user from their IRC server temporarily) someone just because you gave the offender channel operator privileges and said offender kicked -you- off. IRCops have better things to do than interfere in channel affairs.
  20. What is a netsplit? Why does everybody keep signing on and off? What does it mean when I see: ---NickName has quit IRC (
    Netsplits are (unfortunately) a routine part of IRC life. The above message means that NickName, who was on a channel with you, was on a different server from you and this server split off from the part of the net you are on.
         A  --------------  B ---- C
         |                         |                 
         D                         E
    Let's assume a small IRC network where A, B, C, D and E are servers. Let's say that you are on server D, and server A splits from server B. In this case, you will see all users on the servers B, C and E, "sign off". On large IRC networks and crowded channels you will see a huge amount of people 'quiting IRC'. When A and B rejoin, you will see users from B, C and E "rejoin" the channel you were on.
    Note that netsplits are all from the point of view of the user. After a netsplit rejoins people might ask where you went -- because from their perspective, -you- split off. The only thing you can do during a netsplit is wait for the net to merge itself. Changing your server during a netsplit is a Bad Idea, because you are likely to have your nickname collided. A "split" often occurs due to faults in the underlying -physical- network. It can also occur due to other reasons, such as if the machine on which the IRC server runs crashes, or if it is too overloaded to handle connections as happens on bigger nets, or if an IRC operator willfully disrupts the connection between two servers to achieve better routing (server - server connections).