Polytechnic

The personal brain-dump of Garrett Coakley

#evolt IRC Primer

<p>IRC (Internet Relay Chat) has been around since about 1988. It's a real time talk system where people can gather together in various channels (think of them as virtual rooms) and talk about whatever interests them. Each channel has a name which usually outlines its main topic of conversation.</p>
<p>To participate in IRC you need a client program at your end (for example mIRC on Windows) and the details of the server you wish to connect to.</p>

<h2>Channel Info</h2>

<p>#evolt, the evolt.org IRC channel is hosted on the <a href="http://www.freenode.net">Freenode network</a>. To connect all you need to do is point your IRC client at either <strong>irc.freenode.net</strong> or <strong>irc.evolt.org</strong>. If you're using a GUI IRC client then have a look at your clients documentation to find out how you connect to a server. If you're using a command line IRC client then type:</p>

/server irc.evolt.org

<p>Barring any major problems you will find yourself connected to one of the pool of freenode.net servers.</p>
<p>(Don't worry about what <code>/server</code> means right now. I'll explain IRC commands a little later).</p>

<h2>Now What Do I Do???</h2>

<p>Once you've connected to the server, you then need to tell it which channel you would like to join. To do that you type in:</p>

/join #evolt

<p>and you should find yourself in the evolt.org channel.</p>

<p>To join in the conversation, just start typing. Everytime you hit enter, the line you've typed is echoed to the channel. Yep, it's that simple.</p>

<h2>Interacting With The Server</h2>

<p>As well as talking directly with the other people on the channel, you can also send the server special commands. These commands have a number of functions, but the one thing they have in common is that they all start with a '/'.</p>

<p>A full list of possible commands is beyond the scope of this intro, but here are some of the most common.</p>

<dl>
  <dt><code>/me [action]</code></dt>

  <dd>
    Will result in your persona in the channel performing an action. For example,

/me scratches his nose would result in everyone in the channel seeing garrett scratches his nose

  <dt><code>/msg &lt;user&gt; [message]</code></dt>

  <dd>
    Will send a private message to &lt;user&gt;. Example:

/msg djc hey! where's my beer gone? would result in djc getting a private message from me saying hey! where's my beer gone? If djc wanted to reply in private he would address a /msg back at me.

  <dt><code>/part [channel] [reason]</code></dt>

  <dd>The /part command will cause you to leave the channel specified. If you tag on a reason then that reason will be echo'd to the channel as you leave. <strong>Very important note:</strong> if you want to supply a reason for leaving, you <strong>have</strong> to supply the channel. Otherwise the server gets confused.</dd>

  <dt><code>/quit [reason]</code></dt>

  <dd>Similar to the /part command, but it will disconnect you from the server as well.</dd>
</dl>

<h2>Netiquette</h2>

<p>As with all the other digital media that you've been using (web, email, forums etc) IRC has its own list of rules that aid the communication process. A full list of them is beyond this introduction (see the list of <a href="#links">further links</a>) but suffice to say they're pretty similiar to the rules for <a href="http://lists.evolt.org/index.cfm/a/listinfo" title="thelist rules">thelist</a> that we all know and love.</p>

<p>Just remember, there's a person on the other end of that nickname, so keep it friendly.</p>

<h2>thebot</h2>

<p>Now, when I said that there is a person on the other end of a nickname, that's not always strictly true. Allow me to introduce you to thebot.</p>

<p>thebot is #evolt's very own, ummm, bot. Bots are programs that sit in IRC channels and do helpful stuff (most of the time). thebot is based on the <a href="http://www.infobot.org" title="infobot website" target="_blank">infobot code</a> and so you should see that site for more complete instructions on what it can do. But here's a quick taster.</p>

<dl>
  <dt><code>thebot, seen garrettc</code></dt>

  <dd>thebot will return the last time I was on the channel and the last thing I said.</dd>

  <dt><code>thebot, exchange 10USD to GBP</code></dt>

  <dd>Convert 10 U.S. Dollars to U.K. Pounds (will work with any ISO currency codes).</dd>

  <dt><code>thebot, evolt</code></dt>

  <dd>Will return a list of the current evolt.org front page headlines</dd>
</dl>

<h2><a id="links" name="links">Further Reading &amp; Links</a></h2>

<h3>About IRC</h3>

<ul>
  <li><a href="http://www.irchelp.org" title="IRC Help" target="_blank">http://www.irchelp.org</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/faq.html" title="IRC Help FAQ's" target="_blank">IRC FAQs from irchelp.org</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://www.newircusers.com" title="New IRC Users" target="_blank">http://www.newircusers.com</a></li>

</ul>

<h3>Software</h3>

<ul>
  <li><a href="http://www.mirc.com" title="mIRC" target="_blank">mIRC - Windows</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://www.xchat.org" title="X-Chat" target="_blank">X-Chat - Linux, *nix, Windows, BSD, MacOSX</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://www.macirc.com" title="MacIRC" target="_blank">MacIRC - MacOS &lt; X (no longer being developed)</a></li>
</ul>

<h2>Conclusion</h2>

<p>IRC is an incredibly useful tool, and hell, it's fun too. I hope this primer has helped introduce you to IRC and that you'll pop into the channel and have a chat sometime. It's a great place to get a quick answer to that niggling HTML question, or even to just kill 30 mins over lunch.</p>