View Full Version : FAQ: IRC Chat Room Commands

02-26-2007, 05:36 AM
A number of people come into the chat room and don't know/remember the commands for doing stuff, so here they are! (the basic ones, at least)

/nick changes your nickname. The form is /nick <nickname>. So, if you want your nickname to be "Henry", you can type /nick Henry

If you want spaces in your nickname, you have to use hyphens or underscores. If you want to be Henry the 8th, for example, you could type type /nick Henry_the_8th

If you want weird characters, you might be out of luck. Try it and see :)

Note on etiquette: really long nicknames are inconvenient for many of the other chatters, because our window size changes. Also, it's often nice to use your AW user name, because that lets us all know who's who, and maintain information/contacts between places. Not at all required though.

/me lets you do "actions". The form is /me <action>. If I want the chat room to say "Shweta jumps up and down" I can type /me jumps up and down. Note the third person - it's a little counterintuitive, but you want to use third person because /me is replaced by your nickname.

/msg lets you send a private message to another chatter. The form is /msg <nickname> <message>. So if I want to send a messsage to Pthom (whose chat room nick is Peter), saying "psst! Your epidermis is showing!" I would type /msg Peter psst! Your epidermis is showing!

Now with some irc clients (including javachat), /msg will open a private chat window that you can then just type into. You can alternate between that window and the main chat room - how depends on your client.

If it doesn't do that for you, and you want a private window, you can use /query -- which lets you open up a private "query window". The form is /query <nickname>. So, if I wanted to open up a whole new window to talk to just Peter in, I'd type /query Peter - and then a window would open up, and I could type in it.

/whois lets you get some information on another user (like, for example, if someone has changed their nickname into something odd, and you want to know who it actually is). The form is /whois <nickname>. So if I want to know who this Peter guy is, I could type /whois Peter

If I do this I get the following:

--- [Peter] (petom1234@StarXXXX.cable.com) : peter
--- [Peter] @#AbsoluteWrite
--- [Peter] Justice.OR.US.StarChat.Net :Conscience is the chamber of justice. -Origen
--- [Peter] End of WHOIS list.

Line one means "This is Peter". This might be useful if he'd changed his nick to SpaghettiMonster. Then if I typed /whois SpaghettiMonster it would say:

--- [SpaghettiMonster] (petom1234@StarXXXX.cable.com) : peter

And I would know that SpaghettiMonster was really Peter in disguise.

Line two means "He is in the channel #AbsoluteWrite, where he is a channel operator" (@ means channel operator). Of course if you too are in #AbsoluteWrite, you already know this.

Line three means "He is on the irc server called Justice". This information is only useful under a bizarre set of conditions.

Line four means "I'm done now."

Now I'm not sure if this works for everyone, but if I type /whois <nickname> <nickname> I can find out how long someone's been idle. So if I type /whois Peter Peter I get an extra line:

--- [Peter] idle 00:00:12, signon: Sun Feb 25 14:08:42

This is useful if you're trying to talk to someone and they aren't responding - if it turns out they've been idle for an hour or more, you might not want to hold your breath.

/ping lets you know how long it is taking your messages to get to someone. The form is /ping <nickname>. So if I type /ping Peter I get something like this:
--- Ping reply from Peter : 0.83 second(s)

This is only useful if you think you're lagged, or if you think someone else is - if that number is over 2 seconds, there is definite lag. Note: this command spews junk into the other person's window, so do not use it unless you need to!

Okay! That's all for now, folks :)

03-20-2007, 11:21 AM
Several chat room folks have been asking me if there are rules of behavior in the chat room, and my list of rules-of-thumb seem entirely insufficient, so I did some thinking. Just for you guys. And, here's how I see it.

The chat room is an informal discussion area. It's meant to be for discussions about writing; sometimes the conversation wanders off topic for a while, but it generally returns, and anyone who wants to ask writing questions is always welcome and encouraged to. (Even if it's not the current topic! If we're talking about pretty bugs we saw, that probably means we'd welcome a writing-related topic!)

It's informal; but it's not unprofessional. Think about it this way - at any point, the agent of your dreams could wander in and listen to you. Would they be impressed? Would your favourite author?

We're kind of a family in the chat room - we all want to know how everyone's doing. But we're a family of people who want to be better (and more published!) writers, so our first priority is helping one another with that.

Hope that helps!

06-10-2007, 09:00 AM
Actually, I'm just going to add a tiny addenda to this--the chat is attached to a writing forum, yes. But in all the years I've been here, I've never (until recently) heard any expectation that conversation had to be writing related, in there. People traditionally have chatted about jobs and families and what they're making for dinner, in addition to any writing-related topics of conversation. That's pretty natural.

06-11-2007, 02:31 AM
I wanted to add a few remarks to Shweta's excellent post.

First of all, if you are using a Web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari, and you try the Starchat link on the top page of Absolute Write Water Cooler, or this link here, and nothing seems to happen other than a blank window, you might need to make sure you have Java turned on in your Web browser Settings or Preferences. You are likely to find the Java "on" setting under the Advanced tab of Preferences.

Note that Java and Javascript are not the same things; but do turn on both.

It might also be easier to use an IRC client, that is a special piece of software designed to work with IRC. mIRC (http://www.mirc.com/) is the most common client for Windows; you can download it here, and use it free for thirty days, but after that a permanent license is $20.00.

For Mac OS X, take a look at Colloquy (http://colloquy.info/). It's a free and very easy to use client. You can find a list of other IRC clients here (http://www.ircreviews.org/clients/).

There are some useful links at starchat.net about Starchat (http://www.starchat.net/about.htm), their policies (http://www.starchat.net/aup.htm) regarding using their IRC network (they are the hosts for AW IRC chats) and some help (http://www.starchat.net/help.htm).

If you're curious about what IRC is, and why it's cool, take a look at this site (http://www.irc.org/).