Welcome to Chatmag.com

From Beginner to Expert, Your Interactive Guide to Chat

Introduction to mIRC Part II


(29) Ok, Now I'm ready for some less basic commands.

MSG  sends a private message
QUERY  starts a private conversation
NOTICE  sends a private message
NOTIFY  informs you when people logging in or out IRC
IGNORE  removes output from specific people

/MSG  { nickname|channel }   { text }     Sends a (private) message to specified nickname or channel.

Besides chatting on IRC Channels you can also have private conversations or queries with other people on IRC. On most clients these conversations will be handled by separate window. You can use the /MSG command to send someone a message that only that person can read. If somebody else sends you a message or that person replies to your message a query window icon will pop up informing you somebody wants to talk to you personally.

/MSG Kreet This message can be read by you only.
-Kreet- This message can be read by you only.

In Kreet's screen an icon will pop up with the message you typed; "This message can be read by you only."

If you cannot wait for a reply for someone to message you to open a private window you can use the query command to force your client to open a private conversation window.

/QUERY  { nickname }   [   test ]    Starts a private conversation with  { nickname }  and forces a separate window to open.

This command differs from the MSG command only by the fact that it is used to start a private conversation. All text you type that would normally be sent to your chat partner if you used MSG now displays in an immediately opened private window 'to your chat partner' on your screen and is sent to the other person as well.

/NOTICE  { nickname|#channel }   { text }   Sends a private message to the specified  { nickname } or  { #channel } .

The NOTICE command is just another way to send messages to other people. But, unlike MSG's, NOTICEs will never open a separate window 'to' the other person. It should be seen as a sort of whispering. It is recommended that robots or other automatons on IRC use notices (contrary to messages) to send information to people. You should never automatically (as by remote events or commands) send a message or notice in response to a notice sent to you.

/NOTIFY  [   nickname|on|off ]     Toggles the notify function or adds or removes  { nickname }  to the notify list.

As you start to meet people on IRC, you will want to add certain nicknames to your notify list such that you will be warned when they sign on or off IRC.

"/NOTIFY hershey johno" ads Hershey and Johno to the list
--- Added hershey to Notify list
--- Added johno to Notify list

/NOTIFY shows you all friends on IRC
--- Kreet is on IRC
--- hershey is on IRC
--- johno is not on IRC
--- goat is on IRC

/IGNORE  [   nickname|user@host ]    Ignore all contact from the specified people.

The day will come when you decide not (never?) to see or hear a specific person on your screen. This can be achieved using the ignore command. If people are flooding channels with useless text or they are otherwise harassing you, a wise response is to ignore those person. Ignore can be set to a nickname or by specifying a user@host format. You can use all kind of wildcards.

/IGNORE looser
--- Added looser to Ignore list

--- Ignore is ON
--- Ignoring: -.-@-.unicomp.net -!-ap@ -!-fishy@-.interaccess.com looser

/IGNORE looser
--- Removed looser from Ignore list

(30) What language should I speak? How do I behave on IRC?

The most widely understood and spoken language on IRC is English. However, as IRC is used in many different countries, English is by no means the only language. If you want to speak some language other than English, (for example with your friends), go to a separate channel and set the topic to indicate that. Similarly, you should check the topic when you join a channel to see if there are any restrictions about language. On a non-restricted channel, please speak a language everybody can understand. If you want to do otherwise, change channels and set the topic accordingly.

It is not necessary to greet everybody on a channel personally. Usually one "Hello!" or equivalent is enough. Also, don't expect everybody to greet you  back. On a channel with 20 people that would mean one screenful of hellos. It makes sense not to greet everyone, in order not to be rude to the rest of the channel. If you must say hello to somebody you know, do it with a private message. The same applies to goodbyes. Also note that using your client's facilities to automatically say hello or goodbye to people is extremely poor etiquette. Nobody wants to receive autogreets. They are not only obviously automatic, but while you may think you are being polite, you are actually conveying yourself as insincere. If somebody wants to be autogreeted when they join a channel, they will autogreet themselves. Remember, people on IRC form their opinions about you only by your actions, writings and comments, so think before you type. If you use offensive words, you'll be frowned upon. Do not "dump" (send large amounts of unwanted information) to a channel or user. This is likely to get you kicked off the channel or killed off from IRC. Dumping causes network "burps", causing connections to go down because servers cannot handle the large amount of traffic. Other prohibited actions include:

- Harassing another user.  Harassment is defined as behavior towards another user with the purpose of annoying them.
- Annoying a channel with constant beeping. (Therefore most clients cannot beep at all)
- Any behavior reducing the functionality of IRC as a CHAT medium.

(31) What is a channel operator? What is an IRC operator?

A channel operator (ChanOp or Op) is someone with a "@" by their nickname in a channel's names list, or a "@" before the channel name in a /whois or /uwho output. Channel operators are the 'rulers' of a particluar channel. This means they can kick you out of their channel for any reason. If you don't like this, you complain to them or start your own channel and become a channel operator there yourself. An IRC operator (IRCop) is someone who maintains a server or part of the IRC network. They cannot fix channel problems. They cannot kick someone out of a channel for you. They also cannot /kill (disconnect a user from their IRC server temporarily) someone just because you gave the offender channel operator privileges and said offender kicked -you- off. IRCops have better things to do than interfere in channel affairs.

(32) How do I create a new channel?

A Channel is automatically created as soon as the first person joins it. If you join a channel and you find your name as the only one there, you just created that channel. Channels on IRC are dynamic in the sense that anyone can create a new channel, and a channel disappears when the last person leaves it.

(33) What are good channels to try while using IRC?

The famous channels #hottub, #friendly, #chat and #riskybus are almost always filled with people. #hottub is meant to simulate a hot tub, and #riskybus is a non-stop game. Just join to find out! Besides chat channels there also exist channels specialized towards helping other users. Examples are #windows95, #winsock, #irchelp, #ircnewbies and #mirc. CHATMAG.COM will also have a chat channel on DALNET. Our chat channel is #CHATMAG. We operate the channel while here at work, so if it takes a moment for us to answer, we're not ignoring anyone, its just that the boss is probably around, and we're trying to look productive!!!! Feel free to enter #CHATMAG if we are on, and say hi.

To get a list of all available channels with their names and topics, type /list. IN mIRC,  use the fifth button from the left, the 'List Channels" button to view channels. To see only the most active channels type /list -min 20 which will show you channels with 20 or more members. You can also do this for smaller numbers. Even very crowded channels can be silent, so if you join a channel and don't hear much talking, it may not be because you joined, but just because the people on that channel are doing other things.

(34) Someone is using my nickname, can anyone do anything about it?

In the past on EFnet, the famous NickServ registered nicknames. On lots of networks some nickname registration still exists (see below). On some networks you can register your nickname and enforce others to take another one and/or to totally disallow others to use it. Normally, if someone takes your nickname while you are not on IRC, you can ask for them to give it back, but you can not -demand- it, nor will IRC Operators /kill for nickname ownership.

(35) Someone is using my channel, can anyone do anything about it?

There are, literally, millions of possible channel names, so if someone is on your usual channel, just go to another. You can /msg them and ask for them to leave, but you can normally not -force- them to leave. On some IRC networks you can register a channel with some kind of Chanserv. These services are the only way to keep you in control of a channel. IRC Operators will not /kill other IRC users to restore your channel ownership.

(36) Help! Someone kicked/banned me from a channel. Whom do I complain to?

The answer to this question is the current channel operators, and them alone. Given the dynamic nature of channels, channel operators do not need to have a -reason- to kick you off. They decide what goes on in the channel.  Complaining either to IRC Operators or to the system administrators about being kicked or banned from a channel is considered extremely childish, and will not result action. IRC operators do not meddle with channel politics - that's the job of channel operators.  Proper IRC netiquette is to keep IRC issues within IRC, because system admins have little time to deal with IRC issues and many would rather shut it down rather than deal with problems arising from it. If you should get banned or kicked from a channel, you are always free to start your own channel and decide what is appropriate content there. Imagine channels as houses. The owner of the house can decide to share ownership with someone else and can decide to prevent any individual from entering his house. In your own house, -you- call the shots. :-) Feel free to Create your own channel, and set up your own rules for it.

Another thing, some chat channels are gender specific, such as the "Bi_Les_chat" channels, operated for women. If a channel op thinks you are a "POSER", that is, a person who is male, but posing as female, you will be kicked. Please, the users of a gender specific channel only wish to enjoy their time in chat, and do not wish to be harassed by others. Be considerate of those who chat in a specific channel. If you find a specific channel offensive, it is your responsibility not to enter that channel.

(37) There aren't any channel operators on my channel, now what?

(Channel operators are the owner(s) of their respective channels. Keep this in mind when giving out channel operator powers. Do not give out channel operator status to -everyone-. This causes the possibility of mass-kicking or otherwise harassing by unknown ops and the channel be left without any channel operators. However, always make sure to give ops to enough people so that all of the channel operators don't unexpectedly disappear and leave the channel without any operators. If no ops have stayed on your channel you have one option. You can ask everyone to leave and rejoin the channel. This is a good way to get channel operator status back. This does not work on large channels or ones with bots, for obvious reasons. On several networks like Dalnet, ChanServ allows users to register and maintain absolute control over channels as far as who gets channel operator status and how that privelege is governed. Other channel modes are also optionally maintained by this bot, with the only exception of bans.

(38) What is a "bot"?

A "bot" is short for "robot". It is normally a script run from a client or a separate program (in perl, C, and sometimes more obscure languages). Bots are normally not needed on IRC. A bot generally tries to "protect" a channel from takeovers. It is important to know that many IRC servers (especially in the USA) ban ALL bots. Some IRCOps ban domains if you run a bot on their server (See the segment on K: lines). On IRC you will find a lot of people with a love/hate attitude towards bots. Some bots do good work as file- or info-servers. Some will even entertain you with funny or brain teasing games. These bots can be useful and desireable. Contrary to these bots, you will find lots and lots of bots performing useless 'carekeeping' of channels, harassing and boring people and sometimes created with the sole purpose to produce garbage. You can imagine that these bots are disliked by the IRC community. In this context it is good to advise you to -never- -never- ever take bot code, .ini-files or strange commands from someone and run it without exactly understanding what it does. Blind trust is a common mistake among newbies. If you feel you just -have- to run a bot, at least learn the programming.

(39) What was NickServ?  Is NickServ ever coming back?

On EFnet NickServ was a nickname registration service run in Germany. It was a Bot that told people who used a registered nickname to stop using that nickname. NickServ has been down since the Spring of 1994. It is not likely that NickServ will be back. Remember, nicknames aren't owned on most IRC networks. On lots of networks like Dalnet and Undernet a kind of NickServ is still active. Dalnet's NickServ allows users to register and effectively own nicks. This version of the services is considerably more potent than it's EFnet predecessor since it has the capability of killing anyone who claims a nick registered by someone else. Therefore, it is not wise to simply ignore this one :-) Details on how to register a nickname are available on most network's web pages.

(40) What is Chanserv?

On several IRC networks you can register your channel with some kind of service, normally called chanserv. Once you 'own' a channel you can take 'Ops' anytime you want and/or take the Operator status away from others. Other channel modes like topics, keys and/or 'voice' are also optionally maintained by these bots, with the only exception of bans. Details on how to register a channel are available on most network's web pages.

(41) Help, I get disconnected after the LIST command.

If you use the LIST command the server generates a list of all channels (about 2000 on Efnet) and quickly sends that list to you. But, because the data throughput is finite, the entire output of the LIST command is queued in a buffer on the server.  At some point that buffer is overrun, and the server, detecting this ('reached maxsendq'), disconnects you.  This mechanism is designed to disconnect people who generate more characters per second than any 'normal' person uses for normal conversations.  It is a server protection mechanism, but unfortunately the server does not recognize that the data stream you caused is simply the result of your harmless LIST command, and disconnects you.  On most IRC clients you can filter the channels list to show only channels with a minimum and a maximum number of people. You can also specify a text string so that your client will only list channels with that string in their name or topic. However, for the problem described, this does not help at all.  The server always sends you the entire channels list and your client takes care of the filtering. So, asking for a partial list to prevent you from disconnecting won't make ANY difference. It is unfortunate, but there is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening.  It is just one of the all-too-many IRC oddities. Try using some other server, as many are more forgiving.

(42) I've done a /whois on myself and other people, and I notice that my real name shows up in parentheses. I don't like this! It doesn't show up in other people's parentheses. How can I change it?

In the setup of your IRC client simply state a fake real name.

(43) What is a netsplit? Why does everybody keep signing on and off?
What does it mean when I see: ---NickName has quit IRC (-.bu.edu eff.org)?

Netsplits are (unfortunately) a routine part of IRC life. The above message means that NickName, who was on a channel with you, was on a different server from you and this server split off from the part of the net you are on.

A  --------------  B ---- C
|                        |
D                      E

Lets assume a small IRC network where A, B, C, D and E are servers. Let's say that you are on server D, and server A splits from server B. In this case, you will see all users on the servers B, C and E, "sign off". On large IRC networks and crowded channels you will see a huge amount of people 'quiting IRC'. When A and B rejoin, you will see users from B, C and E "rejoin" the channel you were on.
Note that netsplits are all from the point of view of the user. After a netsplit rejoins people might ask where you went -- because from their perspective, -you- split  off. The only thing you can do during a netsplit is wait for the net to merge itself. Changing your server during a netsplit is a Bad Idea, because you are likely to have your nickname collided. A "split" often occurs due to faults in the underlying -physical- network. It can also occur due to other reasons, such as if the machine on which the IRC server runs crashes, or if it is too overloaded to handle connections as happens on bigger nets, or if an IRC operator willfully disrupts the connection between two servers to achieve better routing (server - server connections).

(44) What is a Nick Collision Kill?

After a Netsplit, a net-join begins and on both halves of the merging network, and people that existed with the same nicknames can be killed. This can happen frequently with popular nicknames. This phenomena is called a Nick Collision. As soon as a Nick Collision is detected (in general) both persons involved will be disconnected (killed) from their IRC servers. Nick Collisions can be caused on purpose by people who just want to harrass others or try to take over their channel. In general, this behavior is considered very abusive and can easily lead to a K-line!

(45) What is a Server-op?  ---irc.server.net sets mode: +ooo Nick1 Nick2 Nick3

After a Netsplit, during the net-join process, servers on both sides of the split try to update all kinds of information they may have missed. New users, their nicknames, the channels they are on and most of the channel settings are exchanged. The servers involved in the split will also make sure on both sides of the split on all channels the same channel operators are set. This process is called server-opping. Server-ops show like :

---irc.server.net sets mode: +ooo Nick1 Nick2 Nick3

Server-ops are famous for its use in malicious behaviour. People can use net-splits to get operator status on a channel on one side of the split and on the moment of net-join de-op the rightfull channel operators. The Undernet has an improved server-server protocol which prevents server-op abuse as well as channel desynchs and intentional nick collides.

(46) What is an Ident server? Why am I unidentified and why does it matter?

An ident server normally is maintained by the Unix machine of your network provider. It is a kind of nameserver that guarantees your Identity. Since most standalone windows machines are not correctly backed up by an ident service, you sometimes have to run your own ident server. Several windows based ident servers exist but some IRC clients also have such a server built into their code to help you. Examples are WSIRC and mIRC. IRC servers can perform an Ident request to your Ident server and then expect a standardized repsonse. More and more IRC servers require you to be identified in some way, and they will disconnect you if you are not identified! Also if you don't react, or do so in the wrong way, they can decide to disconnect you. You can check if you're properly identified by doing a /whois on yourself. The first line in the reply should NOT contain a ~ (tilde) or a - (minus) before your userid. If you have a ~ or a - in it try activating the Ident server built into your IRC client or use a separate Ident server and restart your IRC client and see if it helps.

(47) What are Channel and User Modes?

Channels can have additional constraints, which can be set by the MODE command. To understand this, recall that the first person that joined a channel effectively creates it and is, at least initially, in charge of the channel. He or she becomes a Channel Operator or chanop or 'op'. He can set constraints to the channel and make other people chanops as his wishes. The command that allows channel operators to change channel modes, or any user to change their personal mode is :

/MODE  { channel|nickname }   [    { +|- }  { modechars }   [    { parameters }  ]   ]
A + or - sign  determines whether the mode should be added or deleted.

Channels can be moderated, secret, private, with a limited number of users, anonymous,  invite-only,  topic-limited,  with a list of banned users...

/mode  { channel }  +b  { nick|address }  ban somebody by nickname or address mask (nick!account@host)
/mode  { channel }  +i channel is invite-only

/mode  { channel }  +l  { number }  channel is limited, with  { number }  users allowed maximal
/mode  { channel }  +m channel is moderated, only chanops and others with 'voice' can talk
/mode  { channel }  +n external /MSGs to channel are not allowed
/mode  { channel }  +p channel is private
/mode  { channel }  +s channel is secret
/mode  { channel }  +t topic limited, only chanops may change it

/mode  { channel }  +o  { nick }  makes  { nick }  a channel operator

/mode  { channel }  +v  { nick }  gives  { nick }  a voice

The MODE command also allows you to modify your personal parameters, your "user mode". You can check your usermode with the command "/MODE  { yournick } ".  Note that user mode +i may be the default on some servers, in order to protect privacy of users. This should not be seen as a problem, since any user can change his/her personal mode from whatever defaults a server may set.

/mode  { yournick }  +r sets your access to restricted. You cant do a -r mode change!!

/mode  { yournick }  +i makes yourself invisible to anybody that does not know your nickname
/mode  { yournick }  +o gives IRC-Operator status, can only be set by IRC-ops with OPER
/mode  { yournick }  +s lets you receive server notices
/mode  { yournick }  +w makes you receive wallops; messages to IRC-Ops (abused and deprecated)

(48) What do these Channel and User Modes mean?

A channel is Public by default. Anyone can notice a public channel, see its users and join the conversation. In a list of channels you can see a public channel's topic. When someone is on a public channel, he can be easily found by all other users as long as his personal user mode is not set to invisible (see below).

An Invite-only channel can only be joined if you are invited by one of its channel operators.

Private channels turn up normally in the channels list. People can see you are on a private channel somewhere, but they can never find out on -which- private channel you are unless they search all (private) channels by brute force. With the names command your nickname will not show up, but it will with the /who  { channel_name }  command unless you hide by setting your personal user mode to 'invisible'.

Secret channels do not show up in a channels list and you cannot find out its topic unless you join it. If you are on a secret channel, someone who is not on the same channel can't see that you are there, regardless what your personal user mode is set to. Your name does not show up in a names list of people on IRC if you are on secret channels only.

Your user mode can be set to Invisible meaning that other people cannot find you by searching on IRC unless they know your exact nickname. No (wildcarded) search on you by the /who command on your IP Address or real name will deliver your current nickname or other likewise info to others.

When your user mode is restricted you do not have the power normal channel operator have on channels (you cant use /mode, /kick, ..etc.) and you can not change nickname (/nick). But you can chat normally.

(49) What server do you advise me to use?

Try to choose a server that is close to you.  As a rule of thumb, servers that are close geographically are also close network-wise (which is what matters) but this rule of thumb is not always true.  If in doubt ask some people from the same neighbourhood what servers they use.  The larger the distance to the server the larger the chance it refuses you or gives you only restricted access.

All people in need of a list of servers for EFNET, UNDERNET and DALNET and more information follow the following URL's
EFnet Servers  http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~pirovich/efnet.html


Undernet Servers http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~pirovich/under.html


Undernet Home page http://www.undernet.org/
Dalnet Servers  http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~pirovich/dalnet.html


Dalnet Home page http://www.dal.net

(50) In other IRC FAQ's and help files I see more and sometimes totally diffferent commands and problems explained, how come?

This IRC INTRO file focuses on situations a typical user on a Windows based IRC client may face. This restricion eliminates a lot of hassle (and their solutions) the average IRC user on UNIX has to cope with. In this file you will not find info on the UNIX command "set" (set NOVICE off, set SCROLL_LINES 2) or similar commands since you don't need them in Windows. I'm sure you dont want to be bothered by ' vt100 compatible terminals', 'How to scrollback using special key bindings' and 'UID PID PPID'. Also, all references to .ircrc and similar files are filtered out or where needed replaced by their Windows equivalent.

(51) Where can I get more info?

The Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Protocol is explained and defined in the Request for Comments (RFC) number 1459 written by the founder of IRC J. Oikarinen and D. Reed. This RFC is available by FTP from


IRC Primer
A good, simple and basic introduction to IRC is found in the IRC Primer by Nicolas Pioch. Get it by FTP from


The IRC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) by Helen Trillian Rose provides excellent information on a lot of IRC issues. The IRC FAQ is available by FTP at


Undernet FAQ
The Undernet IRC FAQ consists of 2 parts. The initial version was written by Paul Grant and later versions by Mandar M. Mirashi. The latest version can always be found at:


URL's to the World Wide Web version of this FAQ are:


On the world wide web a lot of additional info can be easily found. Do some simple searches on Yahoo or Webcrawler to find tons of info !!


You can also visit some Windows IRC clients World Wide Web pages to get more info :
WSIRC  http://ftp.clark.net/pub/csamsi/home.html
mIRC  http://www.mirc.co.uk/index.html
mIRC  http://www.nip.nl/mirc/index.html
InteRfaCe http://www.hijinx.com.au/interfac/interfac.htm
Chatman http://www.uai.cl/~burton/chatman/
Virc  http://www.megalith.co.uk/virc/

The Usenet alt.irc.- newsgroups provide a lot of information to both newbies and experienced people on IRC. I can highly recommend 'lurking' there for a while!

Books about IRC and mIRC.
A good set of books on IRC and IRC clients like mIRC, Virc and Pirch is found on mIRC's main website at http://www.mirc.co.uk/books.html

On IRC you will find several channels intended to help you with simple as well as more difficult problems. You could give #irchelp, #ircnewbies, #new2irc, #newbies and #wasteland a try. Also most of the popular Windows based IRC clients have their own IRC channel. Check out #mirc, #virc, #interface and #wsirc. Please don't demand help though; we are all volunteers there.
Note: You can also find CHATMAG either on DALNET or UNDERNET,
type /join #chatmag

(52) Credits!

I am fully aware that a lot of the information found in this file can be found in the same or similar form in several other IRC releated FAQ's already. I have tried to combine the best of worlds, by filtering out all UNIX related references and adding Windows specific problems and questions. I hope I was succesful. All information contained in this file is based on the work and time various people invested by answering questions in the Usenet alt.irc newsgroups and in the already existing IRC related FAQ's. I especially want to mention Helen Trillian Rose, Nicolas Pioch and Mandar M. Mirashi for the time and effort they spend on their IRC ambassador job! Of course I am the only one responsible for all omissions and mistakes in this file, but I hide behind the usual disclaimers....

Tjerk Vonck.

Ps. I dont claim copyrights on this file since it is compiled out of several sources on the web and just some of my own inspiration (transpiration ?). Parts of other files are used with permission of the respective authors. Still I love some credits for this compilation if you use it in a recognizable form on some web page, in a software package or whatever.


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