Introduction to IRC
So what exactly is all this?
Internet Relay Chat, often abbreviated as IRC, is a protocol used since the 1980s to allow users to talk to each other in chat rooms called channels. Unlike chatrooms created while using AOL Instant Messenger or Windows Live Messenger, IRC does not rely on groups of users to congregate; IRC has servers which users connect to in order to talk to each other. In addition to channels, the IRC system offers one-on-one communication between users (called queries) a s well as chat and data transfers via Direct Client-to-Client (abbreviated as DCC.) IRC is popular due to its universal accessibility and simple setup.
Connecting to an IRC server
Users have one of three options when using IRC: they can either download a stand-alone program for their computer (called a client), use a plug-in to an existing piece of software such as Pidgin, Adium or Firefox, or use an online IRC client such as CGI:IRC or Mibbit.
mIRC is a popular shareware IRC client for Windows systems known both for its ease of use and its powerful scripting system. It costs $20 to register, though the only penalty for not doing so is a nag screen. You can download mIRC by visiting its official website.
Xchat is an open-source IRC client for many operating systems. It is highly configurable and offers a wide array of options, making it popular with power users. *nix builds are on its official site; get an OS X version at Xchat Aqua, or get a free Windows build with SilvereX.
Colloquy is an OS X-native open-source IRC client that conforms to Apple's Human interface guidelines. It also has comprehensive support for scripting and can be automated using Applescript. Downloads for the program are located at its official website.
Getting started with IRC
After you've picked your IRC connection method, you need to actually reach the BadnikNET server. Most clients will have a pop-up to help you navigate to the server. BadnikNET's address is irc.badnik.net and our main port is 6667, though we do have other ports available if you cannot connect. If you've successfully connected, you will see the text drawing of a Motobug as seen on the right. The window you seen this picture in is called the server window; periodically, important information will show up here, so pay some attention to it.
Joining channels and chatting
Depending on your IRC client, you either have the option to name a channel to join when connecting, or will need to type /join #channel in your text box upon connecting. To leave a channel, type /part #channel. To get a list of all public channels, type /list. You can change your nick at any time (assuming the nick is not registered) by typing /nick Newnick. Note that IRC does not accept spaces in nicknames. To talk to a specific user privately, type /msg Nickname Your message. This will bring up a private window for the two of you to converse in.
We recommend upon joining a channel for the first time you lurk--simply read the conversations others are having to gauge the type of channel it is--silly? Serious? A game? Once you feel comfortable, though, jump right in to a conversation--BadnikNET has a friendly environment and you'll be welcome right away. You can use a few differnet types of markup while talking in IRC. Check your client's documentation to learn how bold, reverse and colors are used on your program. Note, though, that use is generally discouraged and should be saved for emphasis. To perform an action rather than speak a line, use /me before a line. For instance, if I typed /me thinks IRC is awesome, the channel would see:
* ScarredSun thinks IRC is awesome
There are various levels of users in an IRC channel, denoted either by color or a symbol next to them:
- ~ (+q) - Channel Owner: The founder of a given IRC channel. Holds ultimate control over a channel.
- & (+a) - Channel Super-op: An operator who has near-identical privileges as a channel owner.
- @ (+o) - Channel Op: Moderator of a given channel. Has the ability to kick, ban, and change topics, among others.
- % (+h) - Half Op: A weaker version of a channel op. Retains some op abilities but not all.
- + (+v) - Voiced User: User who has the ability to escape moderation mode. Still susceptible to kicks and bans.
During your time in an IRC channel, if you break a channel's rule, you may be moderated. Check with each channel to find out what their specific rules are. Kicks are the most common form of moderation. If you are kicked, you will be removed from the channel with a message in your server window explaining what happened. Simply rejoin the channel after reading the message. Bans are a more severe punishment, where a user is banned from joining a channel altogether. You are free to join other channels on the network. Kills are administered by IRC Operators (not channel operators) and disconnect a user from the server. You will have to reconnect to the server to chat again. Glines and Zlines are the most severe form of punishment, and can only be given by IRC Operators. This bans a user from connecting to the server, though most are timed for a specific period (say, 15 minutes or 3 days). Usually, any punishment besides a kick or a kill is relatively rare on the BadnikNET IRC Network.