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As a result of our IRCD software update, certain commands have been removed or have changed. Please visit and check out the changes before you ask any questions. Thanks!

General Questions
Connection Questions
Using IRC/Channel Questions
Server Questions

General Questions

  1. What is IRC?
    Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, is a real-time chat system, connecting
    clients on many different servers. People can talk to eachother one on
    one, or in a more public environment in channels (think CB radios)..

Connection Questions

  1. How do I get onto ChatChannel?
    You need to download and install a client. Many shell account and
    universities already have them installed on their machines. For a Windows
    machine, the most popular client is mIRC. If you are running a
    flavor of Unix, a popular client is EPIC. You should refer to the
    home pages for the clients with questions about installation. Once
    you have your client installed, you have to connect to a server.
  2. Which server should I choose?
    The choice is completely up to you. However, for a variety of reasons, not
    all servers will allow you to join. You should try until you get one to
    work by using the /server command, like /server
  3. Why can't I connect to server x?
    The administrators of each server decide on who can and can not join their
    server. However, the four most common error notices are
    1. You are not authorized to use this server
    2. You must install ident
    3. bad username
    4. Couldn't look up your hostname.
  4. Why am I not authorized to use server x? What is an I:line?
    You probably do not have an I:line to that server. I:lines, or Invite
    lines, dictate who can join a server and who can't. They are usually coded
    like *@* If your domain does not have one, then you can not
    join. Servers that have a limited amount of I:lines are called "closed
    I:". Servers that are "open I:" have an I:line that reads *@*.*, so anyone
    can join.
  5. What is ident? How do I install it?
    Basically, ident makes sure that you are who you say you are. This is
    mostly an mIRC problem. You can find out more information here.
  6. Why is my username bad?
    Most servers do not allow usernames with certain symbols in them. Take
    them out, go back to letters and numbers, and you should be ok.
  7. Why can't my hostname be looked up?
    This problem likely had to do with either your DNS server, or the one by
    the IRC server you are trying to connect to. Unless you happen to run one
    of these machines, there really isn't much you can do. However, the
    servers with the open I:line should still let you on.

Using IRC/Channel Questions

  1. How do I learn the rules of the server I'm on?
    Every server has a message of the day (motd). If the motd did not show up
    when you joined the server, you can hit /motd at any time to view it.
  2. What can a channel operator do?
    A channel operator, or chanop, can set the modes on a channel. A chanop
    can also kick clients out of a channel, and ban them from coming in again.
  3. How do I become a channel operator?
    There are two ways to become a chanop: either another chanop gives you
    operator status on the channel, or you start your own channel.
  4. What do I do if someone is using my nick?
    You have two options. Either you can use another nick until your nick is
    free, or you can talk to the person using your nick. Now, the nicer you
    are to the person using your nick, the more likely they are to give it up.
    However, if you are a new user, you may be the one
    imposing on someone who had used a nickname for up to 15 years. You may
    want to just be happy putting a number after the nickname, or surrounding
    it with underscores, etc. Nicks on EFnet are NOT owned. There is no
    nickname service which will protect your nickname for you until you come
  5. What is the best way to start a conversation in a channel?
    First, to debunk a common myth, not everyone on IRC is friendly. As a
    matter of fact, you may find that people are openly hostile towards you
    (or anyone they don't particularly know). Usually, sitting back and
    catching the flow of conversation in a channel is a good way to get
    yourself acclimated to that channel. Think of it as entering a
    bar (or a school cafeteria, depending on your age). Do you immediately
    walk up to a group of people you don't know and butt in on their
    conversation? The same goes for /msg'ing people that you don't know. In
    the above example, it's the equivalent of whispering in someone's ear.
  6. My channel is opless. Now what?
    EFnet has a channel fix service, called CHANFIX. If your channel is made
    opless for any reason, CHANFIX will op the five most opped people in its
    database. The service takes snapshots of the network at regular intervals
    to see who is opped on every channel at
    that time. If none of the five most opped people are on, you will have to
    wait for one of them to come onto the channel.
  7. Why can't I join certain channels?
    There are channel modes which can be set in order to block people from
    joining channels. In alphabetical order, they are:
    1. +b - Channel ban. Upon trying to join, you will get a message saying that
      you are banned from the channel. To get unbanned, you can try asking an
      operator of the channel to unban you (do a /names #channel, and find a
      chanop that way). However, if you are the cause for the ban, you might
      want to stop trying for a while.
    2. +i - Invite only. Your message will say that the channel is invite only).
      A channel operator has to invite you. Again, you can try finding a chanop
      that is willing to invite you using the /names command.
    3. +k - Channel key. Your message will say that you have a bad channel key.
      This is equivalent to having a password to enter the channel.
    4. +l - Channel user limit. You will get a message that the channel is at its
      limit, and therefore cannot allow you to connect immediately. If the
      channel is not +s, you can /list #channelname to see if anyone has left
      the channel to see if you could possibly join.
  8. What are some other channel modes?
    Some other modes accepted on Efnet include:
    1. +n - No messages to the whole channel from anyone outside the channel
    2. +t - Only channel operators can set the topic
    3. +s - Secret channel. It can't be seen in a /whois or a /list
    4. +e - Ban exemption. Mostly used to allow specific people in from domains
      that are generally banned from a channel.
    5. +I - Invite exemption. If a channel is +i, anyone with a +I set can join
      freely without an invite.
  9. I started a channel. How do I maintain it?
    A lot depends on the type of channel you're on, and who you invite to it.
    If you start a very peaceful channel, say #Ilovethisfaqthatpillswrote, I
    highly doubt that anyone else will want it. Thus, you will not need
    anything to maintain the channel; if you invite a few friends over, they
    can hold chanops for you while you're gone. If you're the only one there,
    it's really not a big deal, is it? However, if that is not the case, you
    may want to get a quiet bot to hold the channel for you.
  10. What kind of bot should I get?
    The best channel bots are probably eggdrop bots. You can go to or
  11. Where can I put my bot?
    If you are on IRC already, you should /motd some various servers to see
    which allow bots. You will see some servers allow quiet bots, and some
    have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Do NOT put your bot on anything
    other than these servers.
  12. What can I do about takeovers?
    CHANFIX also has the ability to regain channels for the regular channel
    operators. If your channel was taken over, join #chanfix and someone will
    likely be able to help you. CHANFIX only keeps a limited database, so the
    quicker you report a takeover, the more likely it is that you can get your
    channel back.

Server Questions

  1. What can a server operator do?
    A server operator, or IRCop, can kill users, which knocks them off of the
    network. An IRCop can also ban users from the server that he/she has
    operator status on. They can also disconnect servers from the network if
    the lag gets too bad, and reconnect them in a better place.
  2. What CAN'T a server operator do?
    A server operator can't see into +s channels, or get onto channels that
    are +i or +k. They can't restore channel ops if a channel is opless or
    taken over. Unfortunately, too many people have taken advantage of
    trusting IRCops, and so they rarely get involved in
    channel matters.
  3. How do I become a server operator?
    This is probably the MOST frequently asked question of server operators.
    There is no real answer. Most server operators got their status because
    they knew someone who had it already that could give it to them. The rest
    put up their own servers.
  4. How do I find out who the active operators are on a particular server?
    The command /stats p. In general, /stats will show you various statistics
    about a server; /stats p shows active opers. The number after the nick is
    the idle time in seconds. If you want to see the active opers on the
    server you are on, simply hit /stats p. If you want to see a particular
    server's active operators, you can /stats p If you got
    spammed, or if someone on a server is doing something which is against the
    rules of the server they are on, you can /stats p username, where username
    is the nickname of the spammer or bad client.
  5. What is a K:line?
    The misnomered K:line, or Kill line, is actually a ban on a server level.
    K:lines are permanent; k:lines are temporary, and are set in minutes.
    K:lines can be set for a specific user@host, or even on a domain level. If
    you try to connect to a server where your host has a K:line, you will see
    a message telling you that you are banned from that server, and the reason
  6. What is a D:line?
    A D:line, or Deny line, denies access to a specific IP address or block of
    addresses, and work similarly to K:lines. If you are D:lined from a
    server, you will see a message telling you that you are, and the reason
  7. What is a G:line?
    A G:line, or Global K:line, is exactly that. A G:line is a ban on a
    network level. While not every server accepts G:lines, those that do will
    not allow the host in question to connect for a certain amount of time.
  8. What is an X:line?
    An X:line (no real name here!) will ban a user from a server it their
    realname field (whatever is after the user@host in the /whois) matches
    that of the X:line.
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