IRC (Internet Relay Chat) allows real-time chat over the internet. People can communicate in groups in rooms known as channels or one to one through private messages.
Below is a brief introduction to the use and etiquette of IRC.
Pronounced: ire-see, like IRC... geddit?
This is the most common way to connect to IRC at present! You can access it by typing 'chat' from your terminal after logging into RedBrick. You can also run irssi directly by typing 'irssi'; if you do this, you will need to manually connect to the IRC server by then typing: /connect irc.redbrick.dcu.ie
You'll then be greeted with a screen like this:
This might look a little daunting at first, so we'll explain what everything means.
This is #lobby, RedBrick's default IRC channel, and one of many.
The line at the top of the screen is the topic, which contains info about current events, funny quotes or random gibberish. In this case it shows what's happening during Rag Week. Currently, the topic can be set by anyone in #lobby. Below this, is the main area where messages and info are shown. Every time you join a channel in IRC, you're shown who's in it, so all the words between the different '[' and ']' characters are the nicks of people in that channel. This area will soon fill up with messages from people talking. If you wish to see who's in a channel at any type, just type: /n
As you can see, phaxx has just said hello to receive. phaxx's name is highlighted here because he has addressed receive directly. Highlighting makes sure you notice when people are talking to you. Your own nick will appear in bold (just in case you forget which one is you).
The blue status bar at the bottom of the screen will keep you up to date with what's happening in all your channels. It shows your nick, then the current channel (and its modes in brackets). The Act part on the right will show you if you something's happening in another channel by displaying the number of that channel. Look at "Navigating IRC" to find out how to switch between channels.
Other Connection Methods
This is another program similar to irssi, some people think it's better than irssi, but then some people think pinapple goes well on pizza. You can try weechat by running:
Web chat is available at http://webchat.redbrick.dcu.ie. It's great, not like the shite old java webchat.
Your Own IRC client
It is possible to use your own irc client running on your computer, but this requires ssh port forwarding.
To chat, all you have to do is type what you want to say and hit return.
For example, when you type:
[#lobby] I think that undone guy is really cool!
and then hit return, you'll get something like this:
< gizmo> I think that undone guy is really cool!
If you want to do perform an action simply type '/me' and then the action:
[#lobby] /me thinks that undone guy is really cool.
* gizmo thinks that undone guy is really cool.
An endless variety of emoticons can also be used to express feelings.
If you want to leave chat (this will exit irssi or weechat altogether) just type:
which disconnects you from the IRC server and returns you to your shell. The text parameter is optional, when it's used it gives a reason to the others for your leaving, for example:
/quit I must flee!
Of course, if you're using the web-chat client, it's probably quicker just to close the window when quitting.
An IRC server will have lots of different channels. When you first connect to the server you will find yourself in Redbrick's biggest channel, #lobby. You can go in and out of most rooms to see who's there or join a conversation. If you want to check what other rooms there are, you can type '/list'. This will give you a list of the rooms with two or more people in them, and the topic associated with them. By default, it will appear in window/channel 1.
To switch to another channel, there are two methods. The first is to press ESC, release it then press the number of the channel. Alternatively, you can hold ALT and press the number. You can also use the left and right arrow keys instead of numbers. It is recommended that you use the ESC method as ALT can cause problems with terminal programs on some operating systems.
Anyone can create channels, to do this you simply have to join a room that doesn't already exist. In order to join a room, you just type:
/join #<name of channel>
So for example if you wanted to join the #gamessoc channel, you would type:
and there you can chat about games and make fun of Simon to your heart's content.
You can get a list of the users in the current channel by typing:
while there. This will give you a list of everyone in the room at the time. In WebChat, all the names just appear on your right.
To check the name and details of a specific user, type:
to bring up some information on that user. If you'd like to leave a particular channel, type:
to leave the current channel you're in, followed by any message you want to leave with.
/part this channel frightens and confuses me.
If gizmo wants to tell undone he thinks he's a really cool guy, but doesn't want everyone online to see it, he can do this:
/msg undone I think you're a really cool guy.
This will send the private message "I think you're a really cool guy" to the user undone. This starts a new channel between just two people where the conversation can continue, or not. You can switch to this like any other channel.
After the conversation is finished (or you just want to close the window) you can do so by typing
Chat etiquette and channel operators
Chat has a certain amount of unwritten rules about being polite and courteous to others. Obviously we don't aim to censor users, but there are certain things that are to be avoided.
Avoid excessive use of the Caps Lock button as it appears as though you're shouting and can get annoying.
Avoid using colour, as although it probably annoys atlas - which we all know is fun - it can get quite irritating to other users too.
Of course some people will break the rules and as such there are channel operators around to step in when they're needed.
Channel operators are denoted by having an '@' symbol before their name like so:
<@undone> i have ops! \o/
All members of the RedBrick committee have ops on #lobby. If you create a new channel, then you will automatically gain ops there and have control over things. A channel operator can kick or ban a user from a room and also set the modes and topic. When kicking or banning a user, the channel operator must always ensure that as witty a remark as possible is added afterwards:
06:07 -!- korvuss was kicked from #gamessoc by undone [witty remark!]
Each room in IRC has its own set of modes that determine what users can do in the channel. Some of the following commands set some of the more commonly used modes to a room:
This makes the room invite only. In order to invite someone to the room, type:
to invite undone into your channel.
/mode +o undone
will give undone ops in your channel, which is an excellent idea.
will set the channel so only ops or half ops can change the room's topic.
/mode +k pass
sets the password "pass" on your room.
IRC has other useful commands such as /exec, which lets you execute a shell command as though at the prompt. For example:
Be wary of users who tell you to run a /exec command, as it may not always be in your best interest to do so.
Obviously there's a lot more to learn about IRC so if you have any questions, email Helpdesk, or you know... google it.
Redbrick's chat page - where you can choose how to start chatting.
IRC at wikipedia - wikipedia.org's page about IRC.
irssi - page about irssi, detailing some of the more advanced options and features.
irssi.org - the website of Redbrick's default IRC client.