An Introduction to IRC: Part 2


In his first installment, Cracker introduced us to IRC, some of its common terms, and some popular clients for its use. Today, he's back to discuss modes, etiquette, and connecting through a proxy server:

IRC Modes
There are many different channel modes which can be changed by channel operators (ops). When a mode is changed, you will see in the channel something like this:

"op name sets mode +m"

Here are some of the different channel modes:

t - This stands for "Only ops can change topic" If the mode is not set on a channel, then anyone can change the topic.
n - "No External Messages" This should always be set. If it is not, then anyone can send to the channel without even being actually in the channel.
k - "key" This is so that only certain people with the correct key can enter. The key is just like a password used to enter the channel. This will help keep unwanted people out of your channel.
l - When the mode is +l, you will see a number following it. This is the limit of the number of people allowed to join the channel.
i - "invite only" To enter the channel you must be invited first by an op in that channel.
m - "moderated" Only ops and voices can send messages to the channel, everyone else can only see the messages, not send any of their own.
p - "private" The channel will not appear on the server's list of channels
s - "secret" When someone does a /whois, the channel will not be shown along with the person's info

IRC Through a Proxy
There is a way to connect to IRC using a proxy so that people cannot see your actual IP address. I always do this, because before I did I would always be getting scanned by people, and they would try to send me Trojans, etc. This also makes you more anonymous. The problem with proxies is that they slow you down, because you are sending stuff through the proxy before it gets to the IRC network.

Many IRC networks do not allow proxies, and they scan for them when you connect. If they find you are on a proxy, they will disconnect you. Why do they do this? Because people are idiots! They will get on through proxies to hack/flood others on the network, and that is just not cool. If you are going to do that, then stop reading now! Those are the people that get all the proxies banned from the networks, and make it hard for people like myself, that would just like a little protection, to get on IRC.

To connect with a proxy, you first need to find a socks proxy, and then tell your IRC program to connect through a socks firewall, by telling it the proxy's IP and port number (should be port 1080). To do this in mIRC, go into the options, if you expand the "connect" section, you will see a topic that says "firewall". Go there, click on the box that says "Use SOCKS firewall", check the appropriate protocol button (if you are not sure which it is, most of them are socks4). Then in "hostname" put the IP address or hostname of your proxy. Now you are ready to connect just like normal. IRC and the unlimited learning opportunities it presents can truly open up a whole new world for you.

If you can't connect to the server, try a few more, and if none of them are working, then switch your proxy and try again. Do this until you find a proxy/server combination that works, and then stick with it! You may find it helpful to try more servers than are listed by default with some IRC clients, so check out this list ( Patience is the key here, as this process can be tedious until you find a proxy that works. Just remember that it is like this because of the people using these proxies to make trouble on IRC, so DO NOT do the same!

IRC Etiquette
Here are some basic rules that help everyone get along. I'm not going to get very in-depth right now, as this is long enough already. I'll just give a few points that I find to be important.

• Don't talk in all caps, it is considered yelling, and it's very annoying.
• Excessive use of colors may be fun to you, but it makes your messages very hard for some people to read, so try to avoid using a lot of colors.
• Don't use proxies to flood/nuke people, or you will die a terrible death and go to hell!
• Do not takeover other people's channels. This is pointless, just make your own!

Thanks for your time in reading this - I know it's kind of long, but I had a lot to cram in here, and it is a worthwhile endeavor, because IRC and the unlimited learning opportunities it presents can truly open up a whole new world for you. In my final installment, I will give you a complete list of the commands that you can use to enhance your IRC chatting experience. Stay tuned for Part 3!