IRC and Channels

Joining a Channel

To join a channel, in your status window of your favorite IRC client, you can enter the following command,

/join <channel> [<key>]

where <channel> is the name of the channel you wish to join. <key> is an optional parameter to the “join” command and lets you specify a key or password that may be required to join the channel. For example,

/join #dogs

will join the channel “#dogs”. If “#dogs” required a key to join, you could specify the key while entering the command like so:

/join #dogs dogsareawesome

If you try to join a channel that has a key and you do not specify the correct key (or any key at all), a message will appear in your IRC status window stating such.

Leaving a Channel

To leave a channel, you can issue the following command:


This will work if you enter the command in the window for the channel you want to leave.

Registering a Channel

To register a channel, while talking to ChanServ one can issue the following command:

/msg ChanServ REGISTER <channel>

Where <channel> is the name of the channel you wish to register. For example,

/msg ChanServ REGISTER #cats

will register the channel “#cats” and set you as its founder. In order to register a channel, the channel must, first, not already be registered, and second, you must be an operator in the channel. If you are not an operator in the channel, you will not be able to register the channel.

Setting a Topic for a Channel

There are two ways to set a topic for your channel. The first way is by using the “/topic” command while having the window active for the channel you wish to set the topic in. For example, say I am in the channel “#dogs” and wish to set the topic:

/topic Open discussion on dog breeds at noon on Monday!

This will set the topic in “#dogs”. Keep in mind that you must have the appropriate permissions in the channel to set the channel’s topic. For more information on this, see the section on channel permissions later on.

The second method of setting the topic for a channel is by talking to ChanServ and issuing the following command:

/msg ChanServ TOPIC <channel> <topic>

This will change the topic of the channel specified by <channel>. The added benefit of using this method is that if for some reason everyone leaves the channel, then comes back, ChanServ will remember your topic and reset it for you. The other benefit of using this method is that ChanServ will enforce your topic and reset it for you if someone changes it. Once again, to use this command you must have the appropriate permissions to change a channel’s topic.

Channel Modes and Access

Channels have properties called modes. These modes control the behavior of the channel and can control who is permitted, or not permitted, to join a channel. For example, if you chose to only permit people who are connected to the IRC server via SSL to join your channel, you could set the channel mode “+S”, which signifies SSL-only. Some popular and common channel modes are:

Mode Description
+S This makes a channel require being connected via SSL in order to join it.
+k <key> This makes a channel require a key (or passphrase) in order to join it. Keys are case sensitive, just like a password, and should only be given to those that are supposed to be in the channel.
+i This makes a channel invite only. An operator in the channel must invite another person into the channel before said person can join.
+s This makes a channel secret. This hides the channel from being seen in a list of channels provided by an IRC client.
+o <nick> This makes <nick> become an operator in a channel. This allows the person to change the topic, invite and kick/ban people from the channel. This also allows the person to make other people operators as well.

To set a channel mode, you can issue the following command:

/mode <channel> <mode>

This will set, for the channel <channel>, the mode specified by <mode>. If you want to unset a channel mode, rather than specifying “+”, specify “-“ instead and it will remove the mode.

For more informatino on channel modes, the following command can be entered in your IRC client’s status window:

/quote help cmode

Inviting Someone to a Channel

To invite someone to a channel, you must be an operator in the channel. Once you are an operator, you can invite someone to a channel by issuing the following command:

/invite <nick> <channel>

The person will receive a notice in their IRC client that he/she has been invited to a channel, and can then choose whether or not to join the channel.