A Basic IRC Guide

By cArLiLLoS

IRC in general, and the Undernet in particular, is indeed a wonderful and nice place where you can make friends, contact your family, have meetings, share information, learn many things or simply have fun. There are, however, certain occasions that give us a hard time.

I hope this brief guide helps you out overcome these situations.

  1. BEFORE YOU CONNECT: The rules of the game
    1. The Undernet offers you a FREE service. This means costing nothing, but it doesn't mean you are able to do what you want. You are, at every time, a GUEST on the Undernet and therefore, expected to behave yourself accordingly.
    2. By connecting to ANY Undernet server, you are supposed to know, accept and want to comply with the Undernet Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), which is simply the rules for the use of the network services. You also have to comply with the policies of EACH individual Undernet server (stated in that server's Message Of The Day: MOTD). The Undernet Administration reserves the right to DENY access to or USE any of the network resources to ANY user/group/site or domain WITHOUT the benefit of prior warning or notification.
    3. The Undernet Administration does NOT monitor, log or censor ANY traffic that may pass through their services for content or clarity. Therefore, they disclaim all responsability for computer damage, data loss or for whatever you may witness while being connected to the Undernet and that may affect your susceptibilities, beliefs or values. If you ever find any disgusting or appaling situation, just keep away from it and try to make friends in the many good channels present in the Undernet.
    4. The Undernet will check your connection in case you are using a misconfigured or open Wingate, Socks or Proxy server since they are usually used to perform attacks on our services. Don't consider this as an attack on your system but a necessary measure to prevent abuse either over you or any of our guests and services.
    5. To enforce the rules, you can be subject to denial of access (ban from connection) or legal actions if applicable. Within what the Undernet considers abuse we have (but it's not limited to): clones (multiple connections from the same user), floodnets (many connections linked to each other and synchronised to perform attacks), warbots (abusive bots), massive unsolicited messaging or advertising, flooding, harassment, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, etc. Some illegal activities not allowed in the Undernet include (but they are not limited to) child pornography, mp3/warez (illegal software) trading, DoS or DDoS attacks, etc.
      If you still think this is unfair or unacceptable, please do NOT connect to the Undernet.
      Clear enough about the network's rules? Let's connect then!
  2. CHAT ROOMS: Restricted Areas
    1. A chat room or channel is a place where people come together to chat about either a generic or an specific topic with which you can agree or disagree. In these places, channel operators (chanops) are people with access to special commands which let them control the normal flow in the channel.
    2. Said the above, you are now aware that by entering a channel, you're comino in to someone else's place and you'll have to abide by that channel's rules. If you don't like the topic(s) being discussed, please, respect users' freedom of speech. Simply leave the channel and find your own place where your sidekicks and you will be able to speak about whatever you please.
    3. Basic netiquette suggests the following: avoid using CAPS as much as you can (they mean SHOUTING and it's unpleasant), don't send too much text to the channel or repeat yourself too often (this is text flooding), don't use rude words, avoid an excessive use of colours or text enhancements (since not all clients support them or it may be annoying for some people), don't send private messages or notices to people you just don't know unless you are invited to do so, etc.
    4. Finally, remember that chanops can enforce their rules by kicking or banning you from their channel. And moreover, they can also kick or ban anyone for any reason or no reason. Nothing can be done in these cases but to start your own channel or contact the channel manager or those chanops who banned you and hope they want to remove the ban and give you another chance.
  3. COUNTER MEASURES: Be a Peacemaker
    1. Avoid getting into trouble by complying with the rules, both from the network and channels, stay away from illegal activities and don't abuse of our resources, they are of benefit to everyone. Always be polite and use the Netiquette.
    2. You can consider your channel as your shelter. If you are the manager or a channel operator you have at your disposal special commands that can prevent or stop potential or real abuse. You can keep abusers away from your channel by kicking/banning them. You can also set your channel modes so that they may protect your users against massive attacks (+mir modes work fine when being under channel flood attack). If you have your channel unregistered, it's very important that you don't give ops status to people you just don't know. You may also want to setup a well behaved bot in your channel and create access to your most trusted users to help you keep ops all the time. First find out which servers allow bot connections since not all of them do (check servers' MOTD). The Undernet offers you an outstanding channel service called X. With it you'll have a reliable and accurate 24/7 service to help you control your channel better. It has many neat features including a userlist and a banlist. It's highly recommended to register your channel with Cservice.
    3. There are people who like bugging good users in the network such as script kiddies, flooders, virus senders, takeover kiddies, etc. (i.e. abusers). Prepare yourself to these situations.
      • Don't retaliate their aggressions, it's useless and you might find yourself being banned from channels or from the network.
      • For low irritating unsolicited private spamming, harassment or some kind of minor floods, you may want to use commands like /ignore or /silence. Check your IRC client help file to see the correct syntax.
      • Most IRC clients feature text logging to record channel or private conversations or events. Configure your IRC client to timestamp your log files and try to catch the abuser(s)' IP/host(s) when you are under attack. Get a good firewall software and learn how to set it up to monitor and log your Internet traffic. These will be your proofs that will help you when reporting the attacks to the proper authorities (the police, their Internet providers, etc.). You cannot avoid being attacked, but you can protect yourself.
      • Don't accept files from people you just don't know and don't open files you're unsure about. Get a good Antivirus software and keep it as much up to date as possible. Likewise, install the last and updated patches for your operating system.
      • Don't share your personal information such as phone numbers, passwords, usernames, login names or any information that may be used by abusers to illegaly hack into your PC/system or to takeover your channel.
    4. The more you learn and know about the Undernet, the IRC, Internet, etc., the more you will enjoy chatting. Just don't desperate, this comes with time.
      • #class and #opschool offer you with excellent online classes to learn more about the Undernet.
      • The Documents Project has many interesting and useful documents you should read.
      • IRC Faqs and IRC clients' help files also contain information you should keep handy.
  4. OAISES IN THE DESERT: You are not alone.
    1. The Undernet has many useful help and information resources including special channels, mailing lists and web resources. When requesting help or information, always be polite and try to be as specific in your question as possible All helpers are volunteers who share their spare time freely to help users without getting paid for it, so, please, don't demand for help or get upset if you don't receive an answer as quick as you may wish. They may not know the answers for all your questions, but they can guide you to the proper direction and together, you and them, come to a good solution
    2. #userguide, #help or #cservice are some Undernet channels full of helpful and knowledgeable helpers where you can go to ask for help or advice, make suggestions or report your concerns online. If in doubt about any thing, worry no more! Join #help or #userguide and ask your question. Likewise, you can find many other useful channels regarding specific topics like malware prevention, IRC clients help, Operating systems assistance, Hardware help, networking/programming advices, etc. You can do a channel search with the command /list <keyword>, e.g. /list *python*. Check the channel topics first to know what they are all about.
    3. Within the mailing lists available to get help, post your comments or report abuse, we have: abuse@undernet.org deals with Ircop abuse and G-lines (global bans from the network) situations. This is NOT related with Cservice or D/Dos/Flood abuse. abuse-exploits@undernet.org is to report abuse such as floodnets, drones (trojan-infected connections), botnets, etc. Include all useful info you can, like IPs/hostnames, usernames, channels, nicknames, etc. user-com@undernet.org is the Undernet User Committee mailing list to where you can email with your questions, comments, ideas, etc. cservice@undernet.org is the Undernet Channel Service mailing list. help@undernet.org is a helpful mailing list where you can ask your questions or concerns.
    4. Web resources at your disposal include:
    5. IRC Operators

      IRC operators, IRCops or opers are trustworthy and knowledgeable volunteers in which server administrators have relied on to maintain and take care of the network resources. Certainly, they are volunteers, i.e. they don't get paid for what they do; they keep their servers so we all can enjoy a good time in IRC; they have special commands at their disposal that ordinary users just don't. And they are busy people which their main responsability are their servers.

      You can report any violation to the network rules to them. To find an ircop online, type /who 0 o, where 0 is the number zero. Those with "H" by their nicks mean they are Here and they may (OR MAY NOT) respond you. In any other case, you can always drop by #help or #userguide to know how to find an ircop or report concerns.

Please, keep these basic statements in mind or handy as they will make sure everyone has a fair play. Have a wonderful time on the Undernet!