20 February 2017

IRC power user stuff

What do PING? and PONG! mean?

PING is the IRC server making sure that your client is still there. When a PING message is received, the client needs to reply with a PONG message, otherwise the server will end the connection.

A PING may occur immediately when you connect to IRC; the idea behind this is checking that you are not forging (‘spoofing’) your IP address; the PING message is sent to the address that you claim to connect from, and it includes a random string that must be sent back together with the PONG reply.

During the connection, the server sends PING messages at constant intervals, e.g. every 180 seconds.

What does DCC mean?

The DCC protocol allows two IRC clients to connect with each other directly (as explained earlier, normal IRC chat takes place through one or more IRC servers instead). DCC can be used for private chatting (DCC CHAT) and also for sending and receiving files (the sender uses DCC SEND, after which the recipient accepts the file using DCC GET).

What about all the other abbreviations I keep seeing?

Typing is slower than talking, so when your IRC pal says something really funny, instead of saying ‘I’m rolling on the floor laughing my ass off’, you could simply type ‘ROTFLMAO’.

Here’s a compilation of more or less well known acronyms:

any day now
as far as I know
away from keyboard
also known as
as soon as possible
bye for now
back at the keyboard
be back later
big f***ing deal
bye for now
be right back
by the way
Client to Client Protocol
see you
see you later
see you later
cover your a*s
frequently asked question
f***ed up beyond all recognition
for what it’s worth
for your information
go ahead
have a nice day
hope this helps
I am not a lawyer
if I remember correctly
in my humble opinion
in my not so humble opinion
in my opinion
in other words
in real life
Internet service provider
laughing out loud
member of the opposite sex
on the other hand
pain in the a*s
hi again
rolling on the floor laughing
rolling on the floor laughing my a*s off
read the f***ing manual
situation normal, all f***ed up
significant other
there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch
thank god it is Friday
thanks in advance
welcome back
what/who the f***
what you see is what you get

How can I tune my client settings?

There are a couple of user modes that you can set to customize your client:

mode mnemonic property example comments
i invisible you will not be included in WHO listings (unless the user issuing the command is on the same channel) /MODE Chatter69 +i Many IRC servers will automatically set this mode for you when you connect
o operator IRC operator status /MODE Chatter69 -o This mode can be set only using the OPER command
s server notices receive server notices /MODE Chatter69 +s
w wallops receive WALLOPS (messages sent to all operators) /MODE Chatter69 +w

Another flag you can set for yourself is the AWAY property: say you have to take a break from IRC because your dog needs a walk. Type /AWAY Walking the dog, and anyone who sends you a private message or sends your server a WHOIS query for you will receive a notice similar to Chatter69 is away: Walking the dog. When you and your dog return, just type /AWAY, and you will be considered ‘here’ again.

You can set user modes and away messages only for yourself, not for other users.

How can I get information on other people?

ISON will simply tell you whether certain nicknames are online or not: /ISON Per Marie Elvis.

NAMES will list nicknames and channels, or nicknames on one or more specified channels.

The WHO command was designed to list users, but nowadays it has very limited use since most users (explicitly or automatically) set user mode +i, making them ‘invisible’ to the WHO command.

WHOIS will return information about a particular user, e.g. /WHOIS MyFriend. On an IRC network, the best source of information will often be the server that user is connected to. A convenient shortcut to specifying that server is using the nickname for this as well, as in /WHOIS MyFriend MyFriend.

WHOWAS may find similar information about a user who already has signed off IRC or changed his nickname.

How do I get rid of someone who annoys me?

If you become the target of abusive behaviour such as flooding, do not waste time looking for someone to ask for help. Instead, protect yourself. You can block private messages, CTCP messages and DCC requests using the ignore functionality of your client software. If the abuser disrupts a channel you are on, notify one of the channel operators (or kick/ban the user yourself if you are a chanop).

How can I find out stuff about the servers?

The STATS command is used to read configuration information and statistics from a certain server (from the server you are connected to, if none is specified). For example, /STATS i would return the I and i lines (a list of users and hosts that will be allowed to connect) from your current server’s configuration file, and /STATS k irc.funet.fi would list the K lines (a list of users and hosts that are banned even though they may have an I or i line) in force on that server. There are other options as well, not all of which simply retrieve static information; try c, h, l, m, o (for O lines, or operator host masks), u and y!

Other commands that will provide you with server-related information include ADMIN, INFO, LINKS, TIME, TRACE and VERSION. All of these will accept a server name for a parameter, e.g. /ADMIN irc.funet.fi.

Who runs IRC?

An IRC admin, i.e. a server administrator, is a person who is in charge of running an IRC server. He has access to the server configuration files and therefore complete control over how the server runs; who is allowed to connect, etc.

IRCops (IRC operators, not ‘IRC Cops’!) help admins run the IRC service and are also expected to assist users. Ops are able to connect and disconnect servers, and disconnect (‘kill’) and ban (‘K-line’) users from the server.

IRC operators should not be confused with channel operators. Although RFC 1459 states otherwise, IRCops nowadays typically take no part in channel conflicts, so you should not ask one to kill off a bad person so you can get ‘your’ channel back.

For probably most organizations running IRC servers, IRC is not a lucrative business; you can’t sell stuff on IRC or place advertisements there as you can on the Web. Therefore ISP executives often could not care less about whether IRC stays or goes. Instead, IRC servers – no matter what the organisation – are run largely on a volunteer basis, and it is often reasonably easy to annoy those overworked volunteer IRC admins and ops enough to convince them that your network or domain – or even your top level domain, such as everyone in your country – does not deserve access any more.

Remember, access to IRC is a privilege, not a right.