FAQ - IRCops (For non IRCops)

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is an IRCop?
  3. What are they doing on IRC?
  4. How can I get to be an IRCop?
  5. How do I find IRCops?
  6. What are the duties of IRCops?
  7. Will IRCops reop my channel, kill my ghost, or G:line an abuser in my channel?
  8. Why are there IRCops talking in my status window?
  9. Do IRCops get paid?
  10. Why won't most IRCops help warez or porn channels?
  11. Why don't IRCops do more to get rid of the warez or porn channels?
  12. Why do some IRCops refuse to answer my messages?
  13. What is the difference between an IRCop and an Admin?
  1. Introduction
    This is a FAQ about IRC Operators (commonly called IRCops) written for people who are not IRCops. These questions are asked to IRCops all the time, and this document was written in hopes that users with questions could be referred here instead of having to keep asking others. These are honest answers from a real IRC Operator who respects the users and understands that it is ok to have questions, even if they are common.
  2. What is an IRCop?
    An IRCop (also called oper or irc op, and sometimes mistakenly called a mircop, IRCCOP, or just cop) is someone who has an O:line on one of Undernet's servers. This simply means that they have the ability to use some server commands that are restricted from ordinary users. IRCops also have the ability to use Undernet's services like Uworld, EUworld, and Uworld2 in attempts to keep Undernet together as a network. The primary responsibility of IRCops is to keep their servers connected to the Undernet.
  3. What are they doing on IRC?
    IRCops maintain the servers. That means that when a server is linked to Undernet, it needs to have at least one IRCop who takes care of it. Each IRCop represents one primary server (although they may have O:lines on more than one server, which are called backups) and should be concerned with keeping that one server connected and working well. Of course, IRCops are also on IRC to chat and have a good time just like everyone else.
  4. How can I get to be an IRCop?
    The easy answer to this question is that if you go around asking IRCops how you can get to be one, you probably will never be one. There is not a list of potential IRCops or any kind of application procedure. There are actually two ways to become an IRCop: start your own Undernet server or get asked by an admin to be an IRCop on his server. Starting a server is not practical for many people, so the latter is the more common way. Here it becomes a bit of a Catch-22 - an admin will only ask someone she trusts to be an IRCop on her server, but if she thinks someone is cozying up to her just to get an O:line, she won't take that person seriously.

    In the past, there have been some channels that were considered good places for admins to find potential IRCops. However, as soon as word got around that this was happening, such channels quickly become populated by "wannabe IRCops" who do not have the people or technical skills necessary, only the wish to have "IRC power." Right now, it is actually very difficult to become an IRCop on Undernet, but please don't think this means you can't help. #Help, #mirc, and #cservice are always on the lookout for well-intentioned people who really do just want to help out without looking for a quick way to get an O:line.
  5. How do I find IRCops?
    There are two methods to find IRCops online:
    /motd and /who 0 o (the 0 is a zero, the o is a lower-case o).

    Type /motd and read the motd.
    Many of the servers list a channel such as #nastrand where server admins, ircops hang out and idle.

    The other method is to type /who 0 o and press enter.
    This will normally show the IRCops that are connected to the same server as the user doing /who 0 o is connected on.

    Thanks to the magic of the invisible usermode (+i), IRCops can hide from you, just like you hide from people when you would rather not be found.
    When IRCops are +i, that generally means they don't want to get private messages from users asking them for help.
    Fortunately, I've never seen every single IRCop be +i at the same time, so you can always at least find out who some of them are.
    If you are using ircII, try typing: /who -oper *.*
  6. What are the duties of IRCops?
    The first duty of an IRCop is to keep his server connected to Undernet. That means that after a netsplit, he tries to figure out the best way to reconnect his server so the users will not be terribly disrupted. Of course, he also tries to prevent netsplits as best he can. Secondary duties are somewhat less important, and different IRCops have differing opinions of what those duties are. Generally, they include G:lining or /killing abusers (see G:line/K:line FAQ for details), hanging out on help channels, and using Uworld, Uworld2, or EUworld to resolve channel problems.
  7. Will IRCops reop my channel, kill my ghost, or G:line an abuser in my channel?
    Maybe, maybe, and maybe, in that order. Seriously, it is very difficult to give a blanket answer to any of these situations. There are some IRCops who spend a lot of time reopping channels that have lost ops. Usually they will consider the kind of channel (ie, what goes on there), why it isn't registered to prevent opless situations, how ops were lost in the first place, how often the channel asks for help, and other criteria to decide whether to help or not. IRCops are human, some have more patience than others, so if you receive a no answer from one, you might have to keep trying.

    About killing ghosts. Ghosts usually go away by themselves after a few minutes, so /killing should not be necessary. However, if you have a particularly obstinate ghost, some IRCop will probably be happy to oblige, after she has determined that you are really wanting your own ghost killed and not somebody else. Everything about you and the ghost should be exactly the same if you really expect an IRCop to kill it.

    About G:lining abusers. If you have a flooder in your channel and you want it gone, there are channel modes tailor made for you. Kick and ban work very well. If you have clones joining, try invite only mode for a while. Topic change wars? Make the channel +t, or deop some of the overzealous ops. Almost all channel abusers do not require IRCop intervention. However, some might warrant a look-see. Clones in particular (several connections from the same host, usually joining at the same time with random nicks like XnOiP1GaB) should bring IRCop action. However, IRCops are not required to do anything, and they would much prefer you take care of your own channel and let them only deal with the clones.
  8. Why are there IRCops talking in my status window?
    NOTE: this only applies if you are running mIRC, but it is asked so frequently I thought it would be a good idea to include it.

    Those comments in your status window are called Wallops, and they are a way for IRCops to talk to each other without being in the same channel or doing a lot of private messages. You see them because you have set your usermode to be +w (which stands for wallops). Wallops were originally designed to be a quick, nasty way for IRCops to talk to each other about important server-related mtters, and they still do use them for that from time to time, but now wallops are mostly used by the servers or the services for reporting G:lines or HACKs after net.rejoins. Sometimes you'll see IRCops fooling around in wallops, and if you get tired of seeing it, simply type: /mode yournick -w
  9. Do IRCops get paid?
    Not for being an IRCop, no. Like every other position with Undernet, that of IRCop is a purely volunteer job that brings no monetary benefits.
  10. Why won't most IRCops help warez or porn channels?
    Personal ethics. Even though Undernet is an unmoderated medium and does not police the activities of its userbase (outside of those who are actively abusing resources), no IRCop is required to help any channel that goes against his principles. If he thinks warez trading undermines the software industry, or porn is degrading to women (or dogs, or whatever) he is certainly not under any obligation to give such channels ops. mp3-trading channels usually fall under this category, as well.
  11. Why don't IRCops do more to get rid of the warez or porn channels?
    In view of the answer to question #10, many users feel that it is hypocritical of Undernet IRCops to not get rid of warez and porn channels. However, Undernet is an unmoderated, world-wide medium. Undernet does not censor what kind of channels can exist, but this lack of censorship should not be viewed as an endorsement. Also, there are many legal issues to consider. Undernet has servers in 10 countries, and each one has different laws on censorship, freedom of speech, and exports. It would be impossible for IRCops to know what is legal in each and every country that has servers, much less all the countries that have users. If warez and porn channels are offensive to you, don't go there and ignore users who do, but please respect their right to use Undernet.
  12. Why do some IRCops refuse to answer my messages?
    IRCops are often busy doing many things while they are on IRC. Some are at work, or they could be working with a server-related issue. Others may either be busy talking to friends, or away from the computer for a while. And quite honestly, many do not answer private messages from people they do not know.
  13. What is the difference between an IRCop and an Admin?
    An Admin actually runs a server. He/she almost always either owns the hardware the servers runs on, or has physical access to it. The Admin has all final decisions about server-related matters, like who is an IRCop, what they are allowed to do, whether bots are allowed, etc. The Admin is probably an IRCop, but it is not required for him/her to be.