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IRC - How to use Indymedia chat

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More information about IRC

New users: Connect quickly using a web browser

For the impatient: If you just want to connect quickly to Indymedia chat (from any computer), use the handy web version:

Step 1: Goto

**Note the 's' in 'https'

Step 2: Ignore the gratuitous black-clad imagery.

Step 3: Type in your desired nickname where it says "Nickname". Generally, people don't use their full names, for privacy reasons. IRC is kind of like the wild west. Most make up a consistent nickname, or use their first name.

Step 4: Type in the channel (chat room) that you want to talk in, where it says "Extra channels". For example, type in "tech" to visit the #tech channel (without the quotes).

Step 5: Click the "Chat!" button and you should be logged in. You will likely be automatically logged into the default #indymedia chat room. Note that as this room is the default, there are many folks here who aren't necessarily involved in Indymedia organizing.

Step 6: In the topleft of your window, you should see links or tabs for the other chat room(s) you specified in "Extra channels". Click on these to switch between the different rooms. Then just type in what you want to say in the lower-left of the your window.

Step 7: IRC is a great way to communicate, more fluid and informal than email. However, please think before you type; exercise caution and respect the privacy of others. Now, repeat after me:

Anything that you ever type into a computer could be seen by anyone at any point in the future.

Happy Chatting!

Further info: See below for indepth instructions. For example, if you type "/list" in the lower-left box, IRC will list all the current chat rooms open. To see this list, click on the "status" channel link in the top-left of your window.

** This will encrypt your connection to the server, which is relatively more secure (relatively -- because of course nothing is absolutely secure, in fact, IRC is far from it -- but this helps). It will also obscure your IP address, which is kind of like the phone number identifying your computer on the internet. So, this will keep your location private to the casual observer. This can also be set by checking the box labelled "Secure chat connection".

What is IRC?

See also: SecureIRC - using secure irc

For those who don't know, IRC means "Internet Relay Chat" which for indymedia consists of chat rooms that we host on our server, You can visit these chat rooms with software that you can download for free, or even right on the web. This bears a huge, largely untapped potential. Chatting with someone is a whole different level of communication than e-mail, a much more dynamic one.

For example, the several tech working groups use IRC regularly, both for meetings, but even more for getting work done, asking and anwering questions, and just talking it up about anything and everything to do with indymedia. It is easy to just open the chat window while you're doing other work on the computer, follow conversations and join in or start new ones. The other day, while I learned one of arthurs secrets for getting content to highlight on the front page of our IMC's website, someone from indymedia italy dropped in like it was a news room and broke a story about a net strike that was going on there. If used a lot, a chatroom could become a little ongoing virtual indymedia convergence center. I think using this kind of virtual space more would be valuable to developing more cohesiveness and solidarity in the indymedia network, and also really promote some critical and productive dialogue that is needed.

IMC-tech meetings are currently held online on IRC, it is a medium for realtime discussion. IRC is an exciting interactive service on the Internet that allows you to speak with a group, or individuals all over the world relatively instantly. The IMC-tech group meets on IRC because we are a group of people from Seattle, Australia, London, Boston, to name a few. To have a conference call every week would be too much money. We can agree to meet every week on IRC, talk for an hour or so and then part, no matter where in the world we are.

Q. So how do I attend?

A. Probably the easiest way to attend is use your web browser and visit the IMC IRC website:
This will allow you to connect through your browser without having to install any software.

Otherwise, just like you need a web browser to access the World Wide Web, people usually use an IRC client installed on their computer to connect to an IRC server. Once you have downloaded and installed an IRC client you can log on to the IRC server and begin.

Click here if you are working on a computer where you are not allowed to download any software (i.e. a library, college...): IrcHowToBrowserOnly

Alternative Java Applets:

IRC Clients

Some of the more popular chat clients are:




If you want to try and connect by telnet:
telnet 6667
set your terminal to vt102

turn off "local echo" (it should be a setting)

Unlike the web, IRC may be a little difficult to pick up the first time you log on. However, after a little exposure, it will be like second nature.

How to begin

1. You need to connect to the right server. IRC has a default chat network called EFnet, this is where hundreds of thousands of people go all the time to chat. We decided that we wanted to keep ourselves a little distant from all those people to minimize problems with people playing around (trust me, it happens ALL the time on EFnet). So once you have run your IRC client you will need to connect to the server:

How you do this depends on your client, most of them should let you type:


and that will be it.

2. You need to choose a nickname. This is simple:

/nick nickname

only one person can have one nickname, so if you are named josh, you might want to have the nickname josh, but if you type '/nick josh' it might tell you that someone already has that name and you must choose another. Just choose something else, "Joshua" or frequently people will use handles instead of their real name, be creative.

3. Find the channel where the meeting is.

You were probably told that the meeting is at 7pm on #indymedia. A channel is a word with a hash symbol, or pound sign, in front of it. If you were told to meet on #indymedia, that is the same as saying, meet on the channel #indymedia. To join that channel you probably will type: '/join #indymedia' sometimes you need to type: '/channel #indymedia' instead. Now if you type, you will see what you type begin to appear at the bottom of the screen, along with what everyone else is typing. You might feel a little lost at first, since you are coming in the middle of a conversation that is already in progress, maybe several conversations. Just sit back and listen for a bit, you'll soon figure out what is being talked about. If not, ask the facilitator in a private message what the current agenda item is.

Q. How do I send a private message?

You can have private conversations at the same time that things are being discussed with everyone. In fact it is a good idea to keep private discussions private to decrease the clutter that everyone else has to read. Just like at a "normal" meeting if you have something to say to someone that doesn't need to be said to the group, you should whisper it in that person's ear so as not to be distracting to the meeting. If you wanted to send maffew a private message you would type: '/msg maffew just wanted to say hi, I finished recoding the website, take a look at it when you can'


Topics in channels can change frequently. If you are attending a meeting, the facilitator should change the topic of the channel when agenda items are changed so that people joining can quickly understand what is currently being discussed. For this reason, and as topics are the way to communicate the real important things to everyone quickly, you should always keep an eye on it. The topic is usually displayed in a very long line above the chat window.

How to log off of IRC

Simple, just type: '/quit' you must preceed all commands with a slash or they will simply be said in the channel.

For more help with IRC

There's a very good resource for help on things IRC at IRC Help. For first timers, the IRC Primer is especially useful.
09/09/00 micah AT riseup DOT net


-- fixed the url for Pirch -- PeterSA - 28 February 2006
-- added some other translations -- MicahA - 07 Feb 2006 -- added Scripts section -- PaulWise - 05 Jun 2004
-- added 'for more help' section -- PaulT - 14 Oct 2003
-- RabbleRouser - 14 Aug 2002
-- Formatting tweaks -- ChrisC - 29 Sep 2003
-- PatrickPatrick - 26 Oct 2003 : minor edits
-- AnA - 21 Nov 2003 -- added chatZilla and a link to browser only -- AnA - 25 Mar 2004 -- added translation including to Spanish -- AlsteR - 03 Dec 2004 -- added a couple of clients, fixed a couple of typos and added a few annotations
-- PatrickPatrick - 23 Sep 2005 : added quickie web section at top
Topic revision: r22 - 09 Dec 2007, GusG
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