What is IRC?
IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a program which allows people to congregate and "talk" (though it's a text program, not an internet phone). There are different networks (the largest are Undernet, Dalnet, Chatnet, and Efnet), each of which is composed of different servers. When you connect to a server, you can talk with anyone on one of the other networked servers. This is a very basic and probably confusing explanation, but there are a lot of IRC tutorials out there. This is not one of them.
How do I get on IRC?
Obviously you need a computer and a modem, but if you're reading this you have those. You also need a client program. The most well known are mIRC (PC), pIRCh (PC), IRCle (Mac), and ircii (Unix). [I'm not sure where to get ircii or how to install it, but I would recommend one of the other client programs, unless you really like to write your own IRC programs, in which case you don't need to be reading this anyway.] There are instructions on how to download and install the programs on their respective pages.
Okay, I have a program. How do I get to #gasp?
#gasp is on Chatnet, so you should connect to a Chatnet server. Most clients have built-in server lists that come with the program when you install it, and Chatnet should be on. If not, connect to server us.chatnet.org, which will take you to the best Chatnet server. Once there, type /join #gasp, and you're there.
How can I tell who else is on the channel?
There should be a userlist somewhere - a list of names of people on the channel. K9 and Adam are always there. If all else fails and you can't find the list of names, type /who #gasp, and you should get a list of people on the channel.
Why do I need the slash in /who #gasp?
That tells the IRC program that what you're typing is a command, not plain text. All commands are prefixed by a slash as the first character in the line. Anything else you type will go out to the channel.
What are some useful commands I should know?
You've already seen /who #gasp. Other useful commands are:
Others will be added when I think of them.
- /ping [name] - This sends a "where are you?" sort of message to [name], where [name] can be a channel (like #gasp) or a single name. The response says how long the lag is between you and [name]. When someone gets too much lag, they might ping out (which basically means they get disconnected).
- /whois [name] - This gets information on who [name] is - what their ISP is, what they put as their RealName (which may or may not be their real name), what server they're on, and what channels they're on.
- /quit - Obviously, this quits IRC. Anything you put after /quit (for instance, /quit Seeya later! ) will show up as your quit message; if you don't give a quit message, one will be automatically provided by your client program.
- /server [server] - This changes what server you're connected to. This is useful if the server you're on is having problems (i.e. you're getting disconnected a lot).
- /me [does action] - This is how to do an action. If I (EvilAngel) typed /me jumps for joy, it would come out * EvilAngel jumps for joy, whereas if I typed I jump for joy, it would come out <EvilAngel> I jump for joy. (This formatting is for mIRC/ircii; ircii and pIRCh have different formats, but the effect is the same.)
What does the @ next to some names mean?
Some names on the channel will show up with an @ next to them - for example, @EvilAngel (rather than just EvilAngel). Those people have ops - operator privileges. Effectively, this means we can do things like change the topic, kick people out of the channel, etc. However, people without ops can still talk on the channel, and for the most part (at least in #gasp) ops is more a status marker (signifying regulars) than anything else. But please don't beg for, or demand, ops; it doesn't make us want to like you.