#wikipedia is Wikipedia’s central IRC channel. In addition to Wikipedians who frequent the channel, #wikipedia is also visited by newbies and by people who are looking for the foundation or other projects. Users from many other Wikimedia projects, along with users from totally different projects can also be frequently found on the channel.
#wikipedia-en is similar to #wikipedia except that it is specifically for discussion of the English Wikipedia, whereas the latter is for discussion of all Wikipedias. Similar language variants exist, such as #wikipedia-es, #wikipedia-fr and so on, but these are outside the scope of this document.
#wikipedia is the first port of call for many who come to IRC for help or information on Wikipedia, and this should always be borne in mind. Both channels may be the first that a new user comes into contact with, and it's important to think of the impression you might give a newcomer as you chat. #wikipedia is often seen as the front of Wikimedia's IRC presence. Officially this is #wikimedia, but the fact remains most newcomers will go to #wikipedia. Thus, while the channels endeavour to be fairly relaxed, there are limits. These limits are largely "common sense", but it is easy for discussions to get heated; if they do, the channel operators may need to step in to resolve things. Remember that these ops are only volunteers, and are simply trying to keep things on-topic.
#wikipedia and #wikipedia-en are, first and foremost, Wikipedia-related channels. Discussion there should be relevant to Wikipedia in some way. Wikimedia supports free speech but some statements can be disruptive and are usually inappropriate in Wikimedia IRC channels. Neither #wikipedia nor #wikipedia-en permits public logging. Although it's fine to save logs of channel discussion for your own purposes, do not publish them. That said, participants in IRC should note that channel logs are sometimes published without consent; do not say things that you would be uncomfortable having made public.
- Insult others
- Swear excessively
- Canvass for votes in RFA, AFD, DRV, etc., or for article nominations or reviews
- Plan or incite actions against Wikipedians, trolls, vandals, Wikipedia critics, or anybody
- "Out" others by publishing personal information about them
- Extensively discuss private matters or subjects unrelated to Wikipedia
- Make graphic descriptions, solicitations, or promotions of sexuality, violence, or illegal drugs
- Spam links or the same phrases repeatedly into the channel, either all at once or over time
- Operate bots that speak in the channel or are operated through typing in the channel without the explicit permission of the channel contacts.
- Operate bots that publicly log the channel
- Publish logs of the channel
These guidelines are not exhaustive. Please use common sense when using these channels. Channel operators may use their discretion to remove users from the channel for any reason.
If you need help from an administrator, checkuser, or oversighter, it's best to first ask if one is available. If no one replies and the request is urgent, you may type !admin, !oversight, or !checkuser. If the request is not urgent, you should either wait for someone to reply, or make your request through another medium (generally on-wiki or via email).
Similarly, if you need urgent help from a channel operator (generally in the case of a very disruptive user), type !ops in the channel where the issue is occurring.
These "stalkwords" should be used with care—using one when the issue is not urgent is frowned upon.
- For a list of channel operators, see IRC/wikipedia/Operators
The channel operators ("ops") are experienced members of the Wikipedia community and IRC channels who are known to be level-headed, reliable and trustworthy. They have the ability to take various actions involved in the maintenance of the channel. The ops are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct on IRC and follow certain guidelines, which can be seen at IRC/wikipedia/Channel operator guidelines.
As with all Wikimedia IRC channels, ultimate responsibility lies with the group contacts.
The purpose of the channels
The functions of the channels are:
- To be the front lobby of Wikimedia's IRC channels.
- To be a helpline for Wikipedia and other projects (see also #wikipedia-en-help for help specific to the English Wikipedia)
- To provide admin help for users of Wikipedia and other projects
- To be a "reference desk" for help with finding articles in Wikipedias
- For discussion about and collaboration on articles in the Wikipedias
- For discussion about Wikipedia in general
Talking in the channels
The channels are often lively and there may be several discussions at once. It may look confusing to unaccustomed eyes, but don't worry about it—simply go ahead and ask your question. If the channel seems to be deserted, ask your question anyway, and somebody should be along shortly. The topic of the channel, which should be displayed when you join, is well worth reading. It may contain useful information or even the answer to your question.
The tone in the channels is usually anywhere between relaxed and academic. Try to tune your language to the register you would use between colleagues at the office, not in your living room or when addressing a public assembly. Consider that people in the channels are of many different ages and from many different places, and have different language skills. Bear in mind that although IRC is an immediate medium, it doesn't transmit facial expressions and tones of voice, therefore subtle irony, cynicism and humor are likely to be misinterpreted. Consider this both when writing and when reading. Although English is the most often-used and -understood language in #wikipedia, there is no "official" language of the channel. #wikipedia-en discussions should be held primarily in English.
If you find somebody too annoying, rather than trying to fight it out, make use of the "/ignore" command (if your IRC client supports it) to hide their messages from your channel window. If somebody appears unwilling to talk to you, it's best to leave them alone.