There are some pretty good IRC tutorials out there if you look for them. This page is primarily an overview, for assisting Dreamwidth users with entering and interacting within an IRC channel.
Connecting to IRC
First, you'll need an IRC client or any software which supports chat and the IRC protocol. For IRC-specific clients see this article on Wikipedia; below lists some of the more popular clients.
- The most popular standalone IRC client is mIRC.
- Trillian can also handle IRC, along with other chat protocols such as AIM and Jabber.
- Pidgin, a general IM client.
Irssi works as a command line client for all platforms.
- Mozilla Thunderbird, which is primarily an email client, also works as a chat client and supports IRC. It works on all platforms.
Specify the server
Once you have a client, you need to specify the server name (and sometimes the port number), so your client knows which IRC server to connect to.
The IRC server that Dreamwidth uses is:
Most clients allow you to leave the port number set to default. However, if your client makes you specify it, the port number is:
Specify your nick
Your client will let you select your "nick", or the name that'll display to other people when you join. Every client is different, but poke around for the options. That lets us know what to call you!
Since Freenode is a large IRC server, some of the common names have already been taken by other people who share that same name. If someone else has taken the name you prefer, try a different name. Changing nicks in IRC is pretty easy, so don't worry overmuch about finding the name that's just perfect right away.
Specify the channel
Once you've connected, your client may have different ways to specify what channel you want to join. If you can't find the "join this channel" button or option or widget or what-have-you, type:
That will bring you to the #dreamwidth channel. You'll see a list of everyone who's in the channel, and be right in the middle of the conversation. (When joining any channel, remember the # -- that's part of the channel name.)
Go here for a list of all Dreamwidth IRC channels.
How to talk
Anything you type in your client's text input box will now appear in the channel! Just type normally, and everyone else in the channel will see you.
For example, say you type this:
this is a test irc message!
Everyone else in the channel will see some variation (depending on their client's formatting) of this:
<rahaeli> this is a test irc message!
If you want to perform an action, start off your action with /me (and try not to twitch at the bad grammar):
/me sends an irc message!
This results in:
rahaeli sends an irc message!
That's about it on the IRC basics -- everything else can be picked up on-the-fly. :)
If you would like to use a nickname that's already been registered, sometimes that nick has expired but has not yet been dropped. Check to see whether it is expired, then ask freenode staff for help. For this, entering the #freenode channel (/join #freenode) and stating in that channel that the nickname in question looks expired, and you would appreciate someone dropping it so you may register it, is often sufficient, as it reaches multiple staff people at once without having to send them all private messages until you reach someone available. The #freenode channel has a mix of staff members and other people seeking help. The links above have more detail about getting help from Freenode staff and nickname expiration.
How do I hide my hostname (get a hostname cloak)? Dreamwidth-affiliated users are eligible for Dreamwidth-related cloaks, although not all who are eligible have chosen to use them. Underscores are not allowed in requested cloak hostnames; use a hyphen instead. mark/@zorkian is the contact person for adding people to the Dreamwidth cloak; please see the latest information-gathering entry in his journal and comment there. Dreamwidth cloaks are of the form:
- Department heads:
If you just need a cloak, any cloak, fast, ask Freenode staff. They are available in the #freenode channel.
To remove a cloak, ask Freenode staff.
Once you're connected...
Once you're connected to our IRC channel, you should check out our IRC page. It goes into much more detail about the culture of the channel and the bots used in the channel. (An IRC bot appears as a normal user in the channel, but is actually controlled by a computer. The main bot we use is called Fig-Bit, but RWHell is another favourite.)