What is it?
Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, has been around since the early days of the internet and is a protocol for sending messages in the form of text. It’s commonly used for chat rooms.
In general, an IRC server hosts a number of channels (rooms). Users authenticate with the IRC server, and then join whatever channels they want to.
Why should I bother?
Chat rooms can be a lot of fun. They provide you with a group of people who want to chat about a particular topic, and over time this can translate into friendships.
There are a lot of IRC guides out there, and many of them are horribly long winded. In an effort to cut down much of the ambiguity, I’m going to show you how to connect with one client that will work on most platforms. Once you’re comfortable with this, there’s a more in depth guide for advanced commands, and for connecting with other clients.
For this quick guide, we’re going to use a web based client called Mibbit.
From the drop down list next to Connect, select GameSurge [webirc]. Type in your display name in the box next to Nick, and #gw2 in the box next to Channel (the # is important!). Click Connect.
You should see a little GameSurge tab pop up top left, containing a lot of text. This is normal, it’s the server and the client having a chat and getting your session ready.
You should also have a #gw2 tab to the right of the GameSurge tab. If not, type the following command into the GameSurge tab:
That should be all you need to do to start talking! Here’s quick tour of the screen:
Type a line of text in the box and press enter to submit your message.
Rules, Etiquette and Tips
Like most private spaces, IRC servers have rules, and many channels have extra rules on top of them. Most of them are as expected: no harassment, don’t spam, be a nice person. Others may not be so obvious, such as no not safe for work discussion or links. When you join the channel, there’s often a “Message of the Day”, containing a list of current topics and a link to the channel’s rules. Be sure to read this to avoid having a time out or a ban handed out to you.
There’s a few bits of etiquette you should observe whilst on IRC.
• Say hello and goodbye to the room.
• Put yourself as away if you’re stepping off for a comfort break. You can do this by changing your nickname to include an away message using the command
/nick YourName (Away). When you get back, put your name back to how it was with
• Refer to people by their screen name. Many IRC clients make a noise or visual cue when your display name is mentioned in chat. So by using that person’s name, you’re more likely to get their attention if they’ve tabbed out. There’s a quick way to do this: type the first few letters of their name and press tab. If many people share the first few letters, you may need to press tab a few more times to move through the list.
For example, Danielle0 and Danielle1 are in the channel and you want to get Danielle1’s attention. You type “Da” into the text box and press tab. The text is completed to Danielle0. You press tab again and the text changes to Danielle1. You carry on with your message and hit enter. Danielle1 gets an alert.
Another tip is to make use of the
/me command which allows you to do actions in text. These are displayed in a different format to regular text, making them stand out.
/me does something
Will be shown as:
*DISPLAYNAME does something
You can refer to other people in these actions.
That’s all you need to get started. A more in depth guide to connecting with other clients will be up in a few days.