Welcome to Fel's guide to IRC! This is the Channels and Channel Ops section of the tutorial. Here, you will find everything you ever wanted to know about channels and channel op status but were afraid to ask!
Also available for your pleasure are tutorial documents for NickServ,
ChanServ, and MemoServ. You can get
copies of these documents from the channels #NewNetHelp
and #Services on NewNet, and from Fel himself.
Ah, yes, what's really going on. IRC is a place for you to chat. True enough, and alot of that goes on. But if you read the introduction, then you know that there are other types of channels out there.
But what IS a channel? I mean, what is it REALLY?
A channel is just a little slice of the network, a room, if you will, where people gather to talk or do whatever they came to IRC to do. What you do in one channel can't be seen in another channel. Unless, of course, you happen to be in both channels at the same time.
And that's literally what a channel is. But because the network can control some of the things in these channels, you need to know that a channel is a little bit more.
How you see a channel, how the server you're connected to sees a channel, and how ChanServ, the channel service bot (who will be paraded for your enjoyment in a later section), sees a channel is just a little different. But not much.
You see the channel, well, as you see it. There's no real need for explanation here.
The server you're connected to can also see the channel. But the only thing it cares about are what modes the channel is running at the moment, what people say in the channel that are connected to that server, and what servers the other people in that channel are using. (modes will be explained in a bit). Each server is constantly communicating with all the other servers that make up the network, passing information. For example, say you're connected to irc.eskimo.com, and you say something in the channel. This is what happens.
irc.eskimo.com sees you say something. It jumps up and grabs that information, then it rushes off with it to the server that it is connected to. That server is called a hub. The Hub then takes that information and checks to see what servers the other people in the channel use. It sees which servers need to be told about this information, so it sends it to them, routing it through the network. Those other servers receive this information, which happens to be that thing you said in the channel. Then all those servers give that information to the computers of all those other people, and they see what you just said.
Servers also check out the modes on a channel. These are operating modes that make the channel more managable for the operators in the channel. They share this information with each other, making sure everyone agrees as to what modes are supposed to be in effect. But every once in a while, a single server decides that it sees those modes differently than everyone else, and that one server starts changing things all by itself. This is called a desynch, and it most commonly occurs when someone gets operator status on a channel.
Being a channel operator is a channel mode. Those modes are a bit more common than you thought, aren't they?
In case you were wondering, channel bans are also modes.
If you don't know what ops or bans or modes are, then read on. They're explained in just a little bit, in the channel operator section.
The last person that sees things differently is ChanServ,
the channel bot. He doesn't see anything of what anyone types in a channel. To talk to him,
you have to send him a personal message, cause he just can't see anything else. He's
blind, deaf, and dumb. The only things he cares about are the modes in the channel, and
he watches the people who join the channel and leave the channel. That's all he cares about.
Yes, Wusabi! I bow to you! *kiss kiss*
As you may have guessed, modes, are, well, modes of operation for a channel. There are two kinds of them:
Personal modes: modes in a channel that only affect one person.
There is also something called a "user mode" - but that does not have anything to do with channels. User modes include (but are not limited to) o (server operator status), w (which allows you to see wallops, which are messages directed at server operators), s (which allows you to receive server notices) and i (which renders you "invisible"). The only user mode most beginners may want to concern themselves with is i. The i mode (invisible mode) prevents you from being seen in /who and /whois, which are two common commands people use to get more info on a person. To change your user mode, type:
/mode <nick> <+ or -><mode>
When you set a personal mode, you're telling the channel to change the status of an individual. When you set a channel mode, however, you're telling the channel that you're altering the very environment of the channel.
Now, this may sound nice, but you have to know now that only a channel operator can change a mode in a channel, be it a personal mode or a channel mode. Because of this restriction, I'm going to leave the actual explanation of the modes for now and explain it in the channel operator section.
Which, believe it or not, us right down....there.
Who are those @ people anyway?
Who ARE those guys?
If you have a good basic understanding of IRC, then you may know. If you're not quite sure, then read on.
Channel ops, are, well, ops. The real word is Operator, and what they do kinda goes with what they're called. They operate the channel, which means that they control it. The IRC network has some built-in things that go with channels, such as channel modes, and it is the channel operator's ability to change these thing in the channel. They also have the power to get rid of people who are causing a ruckus in the channel, kicking them out, or telling the network not to let them come back in.
Channel ops are the "kings" and "queens" of the channel. Because each channel is its own independent little world, what they say goes. The only person that can say otherwise is another channel op. They can do what they please while inside their own channel. Now this may sound bad, but on many channels, especially "public" channels, you have to prove yourself before you're given ops, so the ops are pretty cool. In a private channel, this is another matter entirely. The guy could decide that you have too many vowels in your nickname and boot you out.
Fair? No, not really. But because he's the king of that channel, that's just the way it is. Just ignore him for the dweebmeister he is and go find someone more fun to chat with.
Cool! How do I get to be one?
Ah, so, you can feel the power. Well, there's only two ways you can get ops in a channel. Either someone else has to give them to you, or you can get ops by being the very first person in a channel.
In some channels, it's not as easy as saying "gimme." Many channels have alot of rules about being an op. Sometimes, the ops have to all get together and vote on a new op. And, if you know about ops, you know how much power that gives someone. Odds are, they're not going to op you unless they know you and trust you.
And remember, just because you're wearing a petty tyrant hat, that doesn't mean that the guy beside you doesn't have a larger one.
I HAVE THE POWER!!!!!!: What you can do with channel op status.
Channel ops run the channel they're on. That may sound mundane, and it can be, but that puts at your fingertips the power to alter the "reality" of the channel. You know hold the magic knicknack of ZugZug, to wave about as you please.
What channel ops do, what their real power is, is that they have the power to change modes in a channel. That's all. Everything a channel operator, or chanop, does, can be boiled down to that one statement. Giving ops, kicking, banning, even the channel topic, they're all channel modes.
But oh, how many modes there are!As I said earlier, there are two main types of modes. Personal modes, and channel modes. A personal mode is a mode that a chanop sets that only affects one person, or only a few people. Giving ops is the best example of this.
Channel modes are channel opertating modes, that change the very way the channel works. You don't change these often, and when you do, it's usually for specific purpose.
Because they're so important, we'll talk about the two things you can do that aren't modes. Then we'll see what those modes are all about.
Kicking people: Boot to the head! *THWAP*
Kicking people is generally self explanatory. When you kick someone, *bap*, they're booted off the channel. Most of the time, they immediatly rejoin the channel, since most IRC clients are set to do this.
Why kick people? Well, that's a personal question. Usually it's as a warning that they're being a bonehead. But sometimes you'll find that ops like to kick people for fun, and usually they're doing it to people who don't mind. (this writer is often guilty of this)
Kicking someone is relatively easy. It's done with this command:
/kick <channel> <nickname> <reason>For example: /kick #beginner LightFoot O CANADA!!!!!
That's a silly reason, but I'm not one that's known for stretches of self control.
That command may seem a bit long...and it is. But many IRC clients, mIRC included, have a pre-programmed shortcut that makes this much faster. For many clients, this command will work:
/k <nick> <reason>You need to check your own client to see if it has this shortcut pre-installed. If it doesn't, you can find for help on how to create this shortcut in one of the many help channels.
In addition to this, mIRC and other more "graphical" (point-and-click) clients will allow you to
kick using your mouse and the popup menu. Check it out, or ask for help, for the details on how
this is done.
A channel topic is, well, the channel topic. It's often used as a theme for chat or debate, a leader for a subject, or as an advertisement to bring others into the channel. Although you don't have to be an op to do this command, there's a channel mode that fixes so you DO have to be an op, and that's a very common mode. So don't expect to be able to change the topics on very many channels.
You set a channel topic with this command:
/topic <channel> <the topic>Such as: /topic #newbies IRC help for beginners, psychological help for all others.
If you just want to read a topic, say it's too long for you to read in its normal place, the server will print it out for you in your channel window. You can make it do this by using this command:
Now then, let's take a look at those mode things.
There are eight channel modes at your fingertips to help you keep control of the channel. They're handy for when the channel is getting unruly, things are getting ugly, or you've got something serious going on and you don't want to be bothered by a bunch of people hopping in and out. These modes change the basic operation of the channel in some way, by allowing or denying something very basic, such as the ability to join the channel.
You set these modes with this command, and this command is used to both turn them on and turn them off:
/mode <your channel> +<modes> (to turn on a mode or modes) or -<modes> (to turn them off)
I'll list them below for you.
n: NO MESSAGES: channel mode "n" is short for NO MESSAGES. What this means is this, more or less: only people that are actively on the channel have the power to send messages to the channel. Yes, you CAN send messages to a channel from the outside. But since mode n is an active mode on almost every channel on the network, you won't find many where you can do this.
t: TOPIC: channel mode t sets the channel so that only a channel operator may change the topic for the channel.
i: INVITE: invite mode is a restriction mode for the channel. What it does is prevents anyone from joining a channel that wasn't invited by a channel op, or isn't a channel op himself.
To let you know, the command to invite people into an invite-only channel is: /invite <nickname> <channel>
p: PRIVATE: private mode is a bit obscure, because people on the channel won't see it in action. But it does do something. When a channel is in private mode, the channel doesn't show up in a channel list.
s: SECRET: ah, private's big brother. Secret mode works alot like private mode. When in secret mode, the channel doesn't show up on a channel list. However, the channel also won't show up on the /whois information of the people on that channel, for a /whois shows which channels the person is on.
l: LIMIT: limit mode acts to only allow a certain number of people on the channel. When the channel fills up, anyone trying to join will be unable until someone else leaves.
Limit mode takes a bit of extra information in the mode command. You have to include the number of people allowed, thusly: /mode <channel> +l
m: MODERATED: this isn't an often used mode. What it does is fix it so that only the channel ops and the people who are given VOICE have the ability to send messages to the channel. Anyone else who tries gets a message saying that they're unable to send to the channel. They may see their message on the channel, but they're the only ones who do.
k: KEY: this is the granddaddy of channel security. This sets up a password that people have to use just to get into the channel. Without it, they're stuck on the outside.
You can set multiple mode changes with the same command. Say I wanted to turn off mode t and turn on mode i, I'd just use them like this: /mode #ultragear -t+i
When you use modes l and k, you always have to put the extra info at the end. The server will understand that this if for the extra info commands. You can even set both at once, by typing after the mode change and putting a space between them. The server will see the first information as the key, and the second part as the limit. Like this:
/mode #ultragear -i+tkl wasteland 30
Personal modes are those modes that only affect one person, or maybe a small group of people. They don't affect everyone in the channel the way channel modes do.
There are only three real personal modes that you can give or remove from someone. channel ops, channel voice, and channel ban.
Each of these do the same basic thing; they change that one person's status within the channel. Changing the way the channel sees that person. Remember that the channel, while it is just "there", is keeping track of things, so a channel mode is just telling the channel how you want it to treat those other people.
Channel ops: I knight thee!
Good question. The answer is, it will depend on the channel. These are the tools that you, the chanop, will use to pursue your quest for world peace and a cute bunny in every back yard. Or maybe just to waste time, as you see fit. But there are some generic situations where you can use your mighty powers for the cause of justice and cute and fuzzy bunnies.
Let's look at the most common situation of all, the flood.
Ah, the flood. Weapon of the lamers and the clueless, people whose mission in life is to annoy other people.
What is a flood? Simple. A flood is when someone, or a group of people, send a massive amount of information to the channel or to a person in a very short period of time. There are three general types that'll affect a person on IRC. Text flooding, CTCP flooding, and DCC flooding.
The only one that affects the channel as a channel is text flooding. That's just someone sending a bazillion messages to the channel. One person by himself isn't all that dangerous. For the loner, a good old fashioned kick and ban is the best weapon.
But sometimes idiots gather in groups, and a number of people will flood a channel at the same time. When one of these "flood parties" crashes your channel, don't try to kick them out while it's going on. The best thing you can do here is first, not to panic. Second, remember that wonderful channel mode called Moderated? Good! Guess what? That's right. It's just perfect for this situation. Put your channel into moderated mode, then laugh as those lame flooders get hushed up. Then kick and ban them at your leisure, making sure to use very insulting kick messages.
The other two types of flooding, CTCP and DCC, those work against individual people. BUT, both can be used on a whole channel. It doesn't affect the channel as a whole, it just makes the command go to each person on it.
There's no channel mode you can set up to stop DCC or CTCP flooding. This has to be dealt with in an individual basis by the people on your channel. They have to place the person or people on ignore. If you use mIRC, this command does this very well:
/ignore <nickname> 3In ircii and many other clients, you can use:
/ignore <nickname or user@host> ctcp
If you don't use mIRC, or ircii, or this doesn't work, there's a command you can send to the server that tells it you don't want to accept any DCC or CTCP from a person. It's called SILENCE. This command works sorta like a ban...you'll need a nickname and hostmask to use, and all the rules and tricks of wildcarding will work here. Because it works like a ban, you'll see the similarity in its structure. The command looks like this:
/silence +<nickname or hostmask, or both, depending on how you add the silence>You take someone off of silence by replacing the + with a -.
note That silence command looks long, doesn't it? It is, and it can take some time to set up. All the while, lamer-boy is still CTCP or DCC flooding you. Here's a good effective trick that'll slow him down long enough for you to use the command.
First thing: if you're an op, kick/ban the guy. Do this before you do anything else. Why? Because, once you kick him out, he can't see anything you do. So you need to take advantage of this by hiding from his flooding attack.
You do this by changing your nickname. If you don't know the command, it's /nick <new nickname>
Easy? Sure is. The best way to do it is change your nickname, then immediately start setting up your silence command. Now remember that if the guy's still on the channel, he saw you change your nick, so you may need to change it again before he can restart his flood and send it to you again. But if he's been kicked out, he has no idea that you changed your nick, so you can take your time.
If you're not an op, and it's getting bad, then you do have a good counterattack. And that's to quit IRC. Not forever. Just to give you the time you need to set things up. ;)
Sure, it may seem like running, but that will give you the time you need to log back on and set up your silence so that he can't bother you anymore.
Flooding is a major no-no. There's a rule against it on almost every server you use. If someone is
constantly flooding a channel, or you, then the best thing to do is find an IRCop and let him or her
know what's going on. An IRCop has the tools to make that person stop, whether they want to or not.
There you go. Now you have all the tools you need to be a good and effective channel op. Congratulations!
Remember that if you need help, have questions, or are curious about things not seen here, help is only as far as the nearest handy help channel. The people in those channels know the score, and they can answer any question you may have.
Author: Fel, IRCop on irc.intergate.bc.ca
Special thanks to Mooooooo, our universally adored Oper Cow, who was the technical advisor and general brain behind this text.
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