IRC/Tips and tricks

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IRC can sometimes seem a little simplistic, but there are actually a lot of helpful commands that do really useful things.

You may use these instructions to configure your client to suppress all the messages about people joining and leaving channels.

Client commands[edit]

Note, some of these commands may not work on your client. If you find inconsistencies, please report them on the talk page.

/msg <username> <message>
Send a private message to a user. Nobody else will be able to see the messages you send, or even that you're sending them.
/away <reason>
Set your status as "away". Some clients treat this differently, but the gist is, you'll be marked as away and you'll be able to see any messages that occur when you return.
Come back from being away.
/ctcp <username> time
Find the local time according to a user. Useful for finding the timezone of a user.
/ctcp <username> version
Find the client version of a user. Helpful for knowing what client a user is running.
/join <channel name>
Join a channel. See #IRC Channels for a good list.
Part the channel you're currently in.
Ignore verbose users from time to time to lower noise, like /ignore <grrrit-wm>. To unignore type /ignore -r <grrrit-wm>
/notify <username>
Get notified when a user connects or disconnects to or from the network.
/hilight <string>
Get notified when a string is said in any channel. This is sometimes referred to as "stalkwords".
Clear the buffer for a channel. This is helpful when you write something private on your screen that you don't want to be visible anymore.
/nick <username>
Change your username. If the username already exists, you'll get an error message. If it's registered, you'll be changed to a guest username within about 30 seconds.
/ns group
Use this to add alternate nicknames to your account. E.g. To add my backup nickname, "quiddity_", I would do these three separate commands: /nick quiddity_, /ns group, /nick quiddity.
/mode +v
This is used to become an authorized assistant, for active users, and must be approved by a channel moderator. Approval will result with a '+' next to you name in the channel.

Services commands[edit]

These commands are actually private messages to bots that Freenode runs as part of their network services. They do not vary between clients.

/msg nickserv info <username>
Get information about a username or account.
/msg nickserv set enforce on
Make sure nobody can use your nickname(s) without logging in to your account.
/msg chanserv info <channel>
Get information about a channel.
/msg memoserv send <username> <text>
Send a memo to a user, even if they're not logged in. Helpful for people who aren't online 24/7. e.g. /msg memoserv marktraceur Hey man, can you review Gerrit 55555?


When you connect to IRC you are identified as

A Cloak replaces this display of your IP address or hostname, for example, jwales' identifier is wikipedia/Jimbo-Wales.

Please register for a "wikimedia" cloak" using this form to prove that you are the user on-wiki who you say you are on IRC. This step is not required for any other process, so don't wait to ask for access to the staff channel - you can do it as soon as you have registered with NickServ!

When filling out the form your Wikimedia username is the name that you use to log in to any WMF project. You can use the account that you created for in the section above. You should also select the "Wikimedia" project, the "meta" language, and the "wikimedia/" cloak. You can make the required confirmation diff by editing your userpage. If you don't have a userpage this is what you need to do:

  • Go to one of your user pages on metawiki
  • Add some content to the page like your name
  • Click "Save page" below the text box.
  • Edit your page again by clicking the "Edit" tab in the upper right.
  • Add some more content to the page.
  • Put "IRC cloak request" in the box next to "Edit summary"
  • Click "Save page" again
  • Click the "View history" tab in the upper right"
  • Click "Compare selected revisions" which is right about in the middle of the page
  • Copy the URL from the URL bar
  • Paste it into the cloak request form

Other than that the instructions on the form should walk you through what you need to do.

New channel setup[edit]

If you create a new public channel, you should do these commands as the channel op:

To formally register the channel, and set yourself as Founder.
/msg chanserv register #CHANNEL_NAME
To invite the freenode bot, who will preserve channel settings if everyone else leaves.
/msg chanserv set #CHANNEL_NAME guard on
To utilize the 'global bans list'. Please also notify an op in #wikimedia-bans of the channel's creation.
/mode #CHANNEL_NAME +b $j:#wikimedia-bans
These two will enable access to the group contacts and freenode staff, in case of problems whilst you're asleep/away.
/msg chanserv flags #CHANNEL_NAME wmfgc +Aiotvr
/msg chanserv flags #CHANNEL_NAME *!*@freenode/staff/* +Aiotvr

If a channel is having problems, and you are not an op there, do this to get a list of people to contact: /msg chanserv access #CHANNEL_NAME list