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IRC Guide

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a real time text based communication network which is accessible from all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in addition to other Internet services such as the World Wide Web (WWW), Email and UseNet.

IRC is one of the most popular and most interactive services on the Internet. Sure, the Web is nice for finding information and e-mail beats snailmail hands down, but when you've been wondering where the action is?, then IRC is what you're looking for.

It allows people to 'talk' simultaneously in public and private channels and is used extensively by online leagues and clans. It also allows file transfers between connected users but it's main use is for chat, as the name implies.

How does it work exactly?
There are many IRC networks on the Internet. These are separate networks and they do not communicate with each other (although you can move between networks if necessary). We use the European QuakeNet IRC network.

Each IRC network consists of a number of linked IRC servers. When you want to connect to QuakeNet you only need to connect to one of these IRC servers and anything you type in a chat channel will be mirrored to all the other servers in the network instantaneously. Therefore people connected to other servers within QuakeNet and viewing the same channel as you will see your typed message as though you had a direct connection to them.

IRC Clients:
A client is the software installed on your computer that knows how to communicate with IRC servers. Just as web browsing requires a WWW client such as Internet Explorer etc, browsing IRC requires an IRC client. You can download an IRC client from the following places:

  • mIRC - A very popular IRC client.
  • Ircle - An IRC client for Mac users.

Install the software on your computer and run it. Most of the above clients will guide you through the connection and configuration process as well as provide you with a list of servers connected to. However, if you want to connect to the IRC network for Quake read the following section first.

Which server should I connect to?
Using your IRC client you can connect to any server within a single IRC network. However, it is better to connect to one that is geographically close to your dialup location. Remember that each IRC server has a limited number of connections available so you may not always be able to connect to your server of choice. It is a good idea to have a few server addresses recorded in your IRC client just in case a single server is full or is experiencing problems.

Here are some suggestions for servers to connect to on QuakeNet:

  • multiplay.uk.quakenet.org:6667 - This is a good QuakeNet server.
  • b0rk.uk.quakenet.org:6667 - Another reliable server.

More QuakeNet servers can be found here.

Note that the number at the end of the server address is the port number. When configuring your IRC Client the port number will usually be entered into another box adjacent to the server address.

Getting Connected. where are the channels?
Once you have downloaded and installed an IRC client you can log on to an IRC server and talk away. The first thing you'll want to do is choose a nickname, everyone on IRC uses one. People will soon recognize you by your nick, or even search for your nickname on IRC. Choose your nick with care, it will be you.

Finding a channel:
You'll notice that all channel names begin with #. One popular and longstanding channel, for instance, is #pr If you decide to join us, just type: /JOIN #pr and you're in. Typically another window will open on your IRC client. This is your view into the channel and you will have one window for each channel you connect to.

Type in some greetings and you'll see them appear on screen, along with whatever everyone else types. You'll probably feel lost at first, since you're popping in on a conversation that's already in progress. In fact, several conversations may be going on at once.

It would be great if you could get a list of all those channels containing only the funny, witty and wise, but you can't. Instead, you have to use the /LIST command, which lists all public channels, the number of users on each and a topic description for those that provide it.

Channel topics are set by the person who creates or moderates the channel, called the channel operator or 'op'. If an operator is on the channel they will have a @ symbol next to their name. Chat participants can exchange ideas about common interests, making chat sessions an ideal means to hold forums and group discussions. For example, many businesses now hold scheduled chat sessions, wherein customers can chat with company representatives about a new product, or exchange technical information and advice.

On IRC many people can simultaneously participate in discussions over a channel or even multiple channels. There are no limit's to the number of people who can join a discussion and there is no limit to the number of channels that can be made. You are only limited by your typing speed. IRC can be fun and informative and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular areas of the Internet. And IRC will undoubtedly evolve over the next year or two with advancing technology.

What can I do in a channel?
Unlike the World-Wide Web, which first-time users can pick up quickly, IRC may seem difficult the first time you log on. Once you've mastered a few basic commands, however, IRC becomes very easy to use. Remember that IRC commands are entered in the same box you use to type chat messages. The only difference is that commands are preceded by /.

Other commands:

Use /notify Speedy to be informed when Speedy logs on to the IRC network you are on.

Type /me action to perform an action in a channel. For example if Speedy typed /me waves to you!, *Speedy waves to you! - would appear in the channel.

Type /quit to leave the channel (or close the channel window).

What is a bot?
A bot is used to keep a channel persistent and prevent unauthorized people getting operator status. For example #pr has a @Q bot. If you want Q in your channel you should go and read the Official QuakeNet Q-FAQ and follow the instructions there before joining channel #feds (the channel where the IRCops - IRC Network Operators - maintain an IRC support presence).

You can add many channels to your favourites like so,

To get a full list type /LIST (this list is big I mean real BIG) some channels can be friendly, others not so friendly and damn right rude. Channels which are OK to visit are: #pr (This channel is no longer ours, as of February 2010)

Then theirs always the bigger rooms such as #clanbase.

 6.0 - 1 vote 

 13 Sep '07 - 16:36
Would be great if we still used IRC, comms is the thing now !

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