Helpers' FAQ


Document credits below. Text-only version is also available.

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           /_/ 		    Version 1.3 - May 2002

Table of Contents

Chapter 1	Rules and Policies
	1.1	Advertising
	1.2	Auto Messages
	1.3	Voice
	1.4	Op and Voice Notices
	1.5	Colors
	1.6	Excessive Capitals (yelling)
	1.7	Chatting
	1.8	Profanity
	1.9	Popups and Aliases
	1.10	Scripts
	1.11	Private Help
	1.12	Correcting Others
	1.13	"Disturbing Other Helpers"
	1.14    Trouble with Ops
        1.15    Sucking up
	1.16    More about the channel
Chapter 2	Frequently Asked Questions
	2.1	How do I become an AOP?	
	2.2	How do I NOT become an AOP?
	2.3	What are the "rules" when services are offline?
	2.4	What should I do when a user doesn't speak english?
	2.5	Where do I send non--general-IRC related matters?
	2.6	How do I help users with DCC problems?
	2.7	What should I do when someone asks for an IRC Operator?
	2.8	What should I definitely not help with?
	2.9	What references should I read?
	2.10	What web pages may be useful to look at?
	2.11	How do I become generally a better helper?
	2.12    What happened to the quiz?
	2.13	Any new updates in Services?
	2.14    How do I become an IRC Operator?

Chapter 3	General Information
	3.1	Provide non-client Specific Help
	3.2	Proper English
	3.3	Credits


Welcome to the #IRCHelp Helpers' FAQ. In the past, this file was written 
for the purpose of informing helpers of the channel's rules and policies 
in order to answer questions which new helpers would often have asked. 
However, we now recommend that all helpers read this FAQ as to gain an 
idea of how to help in the channel, as it contains fundamental etiquette 
which should be followed while helping in the channel.

This FAQ contains three sections - Channel Rules, Frequently Asked 
Questions and General Information such as credits and useful websites. 
Please observe each section carefully.

Chapter 1.  Rules And Policies

1.1	Advertising

	Helpers who recieve adversitements, invites, or any other form of
        spam should let an Operator in the channel know (in private) so 
        that he or she can take care of the problem. Under no situations
        should the helper attempt publically discuss the problem.

1.2	Auto Messages

	#IRCHelp frowns on auto-messages, including the following: 
        (on-join messages), (on-part messages), (file-server messages)
        and any other forms of script messages. Therefore, helpers should
	advise those doing it (in private) to type /remote OFF in order
        to stop the problem. If no action is taken by the user to stop
        this, the helper must inform the op (in private) of the situation.	

1.3	Voice

	Operators in #IRCHelp have the option of giving a voice (mode +v) to
	any helper they wish, and may remove it when they see fit.  Helpers
	should not ask for nor expect a voice, and should not complain if
	their voice is removed.

1.4	Op and Voice Notices

	Only voiced helpers should use op and voice notices to communicate
	with operators (command: /notice @+#irchelp <message>).

1.5	Colors

	Since not all IRC clients support color codes such as the ones mIRC
	uses, it has been decided that no colors are to be used in #irchelp.
	You may use bold and underline sparingly, if needed.  To enforce this
	rule, the channel has mode +c set.

1.6	Excessive Capitals (yelling)

	Use of capitals for whole sentences is viewed as yelling almost
	everywhere on the Internet, and is considered to be rude.  An operator
	will warn users who yell.

1.7	Chatting

	During busy times, chatting is discouraged.  It is inconvenient to
	users to have to scroll up to read an answer to their question, or
	to have to repeat their question if it wasn't seen.  Users who wish
	to chat should join another channel to do so.

1.8	Profanity

        Obscene or profane language is unacceptable in #irchelp for anyone, 
        especially operators and helpers as they are there to set an example. 
        This also applies also to lewd or obscene nicknames. 
        In the event of seeing a helper/op use such language within the 
        channel, it is wise to report the case to a channel operator, who will 
        make sure that the correct staff are informed of the matter

1.9	Popups and Aliases

	Ideally, #irchelp provides precise, personal answers to all questions
	posed by users.  Therefore, in the light of this, helpers are not
	permitted to use popups or any other form of automated answering
	system, unless they are the only active helper/op in the channel
	during a crowded time, where it would be hard to answer all the
	questions asked efficiently.

1.10	Scripts

	Helpers should disable any script functions which are triggered by
	any events in a channel, including auto-greet and auto-ping scripts.
	Such scripts are unnecessary, and often annoying.

1.11	Private Help

	Helpers should not privately help users unless the matter is
	personal.  Helping in the channel may answer the questions of other

1.12	Correcting Others

	Correcting each other in the channel is unprofessional.  If an operator
	or another helper makes a mistake in helping a user, you should
	correct them in private if you wish to tell them of their mistake.  The
	correction should then be made by the helper who made the

1.13    "Disturbing Other Helpers"

	A rule of thumb should be:  "One helper per user requesting help."

	In other words, if someone is already being helped, it is usually
	smart to let the person helping him/her to finish his/her job.  It does
	not make you a "bad helper" if you stay quiet for a second.  Getting help
	from multiple helpers confuses users (especially those new to IRC).
	If an another helper was helping a specific user, and has been idle for
	quite some time and the person who wanted help is still waiting to get
	helped you may gently "take over" him of course.  The goal of #IRCHelp
	is to help users after all.

1.14    Trouble with Ops
	If you, as the helper, are having problems with a particular op which
	exist as a personal agenda rather than a help related problem, then
	you are encouraged to either inform a SOp or an XO about it (depending
        on whether the op is an AOp or SOp.) You can find out which one of 
        these groups to contact by going on the IRCHelp site, which can always 
        be found as a link to in the channel topic.

1.15    Sucking up
	Our butts are for sitting, not for kissing. Please keep this in mind
	because we will respect those who are honest and calm.

1.16    More about the channel

	The channel was registered on the 9th October 1996 which makes it the 
	oldest DALnet help channel - that's nearly seven years ago, and it 
	seems like a long time if you think about it. Infact, some of the 
	original staff are still here, like PapaGrodin, and Merishel
	occasionally drops by. When the channel was first registered, it was 
	founded and ran by nsmf until the DALnet Help Committee 
	( took the channel over and made it the official 
	DALnet general IRC help channel. We have had several appointed leaders
	since then, starting with Delphy and more recently PB. The channel is
	now lead by Aries1 since PB resigned in early 2002. Things have never
	looked better, and we look forward to the future.

	For more information on #IRCHelp please check our website at:


Chapter 2.  Frequently Asked Questions

2.1	How do I become an AOp?

	To become an operator in #irchelp, you must first help long enough
	to be recognized as a competent helper. You must then be nominated,
	and then voted in by a majority of the current channel operators.

	To be recognized as a competent helper, you obviously must abide by
	the channel rules.  You should also display that you understand the
	use of commands and mode settings, and can convey these to users who
	need help.

2.2	How do I NOT become an AOp?

	If you do not wish to ever become an AOp, simply do the following:

	        - Ask for a voice
		- Ask how to be an operator
		- Disregard channel rules
		- Argue with operators
		- Constantly annoy the operators
		- Give wrong answers
		- Disrespect the users

2.3	What are the "rules" when services are offline?

	When services are offline, nicknames and channels do not belong to
	anyone.  Therefore, no one can "take back" their nickname or channel
	until services return.

	In cases of extreme flooding of a channel with no operators, the 
	user may be directed to an IRC Operator.
	Also note that the channel bots (IHBOT/OPBOT) have been scripted to
        instruct the users to do so while services are down, so there is 
        a small chance you will be asked questions of this nature, unless
        they ignore the topic and notices from IHBOT.

2.4	What should I do when a user doesn't speak english

	You can direct them to:
	Non-English help channels (recommended):

		French		#DALnetAide
		German		#DALnetHilfe
		Spanish		#DALnetAyuda
		Norwegian	#hjelp (also helping in Swedish and Danish)

	Non-English help channels (non DALnet recommended):
        (note that we cannot guarantee the best of help in these channels):

		Arabic		#ArabHelp
		Greek		#HellasHelp
		Hebrew		#IsraHelp	(formerly #HebHelp)
		Italian		#ItaliaHelp
		Malay		#MsiaHelp

	Especially during not-so-busy times you can help him/her in his/her own
	language too but you are encouraged to also repeat the same in english.
	You should prefer to language-specific help channels though, especially
	when there is a recommended one.  Remember again, we are here to help

2.5	Where do I send non-general-IRC related matters?

	Other DALnet recommended technical help channels:

		Everything	#Help_Channel
		Macintosh	#Macintosh
		mIRC		#mIRC
		pIRCh		#pIRCh
		Scripting	#HelpDesk
		Viruses		#nohack
		Windows		#Windows95

2.6	How do I help users with DCC problems?

	If IHBOT is present, ask them to attempt a DCC CHAT with him.

	If IHBOT is not around, you may help them with it yourself.  Here are
	a few of the common problems with DCC sends:

		1. mIRC's default "Local Info" setup is incorrect for using
		   DCC.  You may either send them to #mIRC or help them

		2. It could be a problem with a firewall or proxy.  You may 
                   direct them to another help channel.

		3. It may be a problem with their computer's network setup. 
		   This is the case with @Home Internet users.  Again, another
		   help channel may be able to help them.

2.7	What should I do when someone asks for an IRC Operator?

	The only problems that should be directed to an IRC Operator are:

		- Clone attacks
		- Extreme flooding
        	- SPAM Bots (bots only)

	In general, any other problems can be resolved in #irchelp.  Note that
	if a rule is not being broken, an IRC Operator cannot help any more
	than we can.  Refer to DALnet's AUP if common sense does not dictate
	to you these rules.

2.8	What should I definitely not help with?

	Helping with non-IRC matters may confuse some of the users seeking
	IRC help, or give them the idea that it is a technical help channel
	rather than an IRC help channel.

	Users with questions on the following topics should be directed to
	other recommended help channels:
		a. Computer problems
		b. Scripting
		c. Popups and aliases
		d. mIRC specific problems
		e. The Internet (non-IRC)

	Users with questions on these topics should not be helped* (other
	than to tell them that it is illegal):
		a. Warez
		b. Movies
		c. MP3s
		d. Nuking

        Users with questions concerning mass inviting/spamming/channel
        take-overs and how to perform them, should be informed of the
        consequences and *never* told how to do such things.

2.9	What references should I read?

	The DALnet acceptable use policy, available at
	Other DALnet documents:

	Help Files from IRC Clients:
        /ircintro (in mIRC)

2.10	What web pages may be useful to look at?

	mIRC Homepage
	DALnet homepage 
	Nuke, Hacking Help
        DALnet HC homepage
	IRC reference site
	IRCHelp homepage

2.11	How do I generally become a better helper?
	This is often asked more than some may think, but usually its asked
	for the wrong reasons - over eagerness to learn can be a bad idea,
	read 1.15 for more idea of what this means.
	However, for genuine people who wish to know as much as possible to
	be better helpers, refer to all of the urls mentioned above in 2.10,
	also especially, and have a look through
	those see if there's anything you don't know yet. It'll benefit you
	greatly to do this.
	Also, if you have a guide in #IRCHelp (an Op who gives you advice
	and tips to be a better helper) don't forget to keep in touch and
	get as much out of him/her as possible in order to benefit you and
	the users you help.

2.12	What happened to the quiz?
	If you've recently come back helping in #IRCHelp after a long time of
	inactiveness, you may have noticed that the quiz no longer exists. We
	decided to have it taken off after a meeting. This has now been 
	replaced by a new system ran by the Training Team where helpers are
	occasionally anonymously tested, and some who have special potential
	or need extra help are given guides to give them tips and ideas of
	how to be better helpers.

2.13	Any new updates in Services?

	Please note, if you haven't been helping on DALnet for a while, you
	might not have known that several commands have been changed/added:

	/nickserv set KILL [on/off] --> /nickserv set ENFORCE [on/off]
	/nickserv sendpass <nick> <email> (Sends nick password to email.)
	/chanserv sendpass #channel <email> (Sends chan password to email.)
	/chanserv HELP set successor (read this)
	/nickserv register <password> <EMAIL> (now need to add email.)
	/nickserv set passwd OLD NEW
	/chanserv set #channel passwd OLD NEW

	Note: When registering nicks, one now needs to confirm them by
	checking his/her email address and following the instructions which
	DALnet provides.

2.14	How do I become an IRC Operator?

	This has been added because there are a few helpers who only plan on
	helping because they think they'll become IRC Operators by doing so.
	Let's just put it straight - that won't happen, ever. Just because a
	small amount of our staff are IRC Operators doesn't indicate that	
	#IRCHelp is an IRCOp training ground. Please understand this and stop
	wasting both your and our time. We want dedicated, honest and genuine
	people who wish to help the channel, not help themselves.

	For more information on this, check: 


Chapter 3.  General Instructions

3.1	Provide non-client Specific Help

	When helping users, helpers should avoid client specific
	instructions.  There are dozens of IRC clients,  so when helping
	users you should try to use methods that work in most clients.


	JoeUser asks how to change channel topic.  You should not tell him
	to "double click the channel window" unless you are sure that he
	uses mIRC.  And even if the person who asked it uses mIRC, someone
	else in the channel may not. It is universal client knowledge that
        /topic #channelname <topic> works in all clients.

	When it comes to services, you may use any of these:
	   /nickserv <command> [<optional parameters>]
	   /msg <command> [<optional parameters>]
	   or even
	   /quote nickserv <command> [<optional parameters>]
	   (note: /quote sends raw data to server)
	Keep the fact that not all clients recognize /nickserv though, even
        if 90 percent of IRCers are using mIRC or whatever the case.

3.2	Proper English

	Helpers are encouraged to speak proper english.  This does not mean
	that you may not help if english isn't your native language.  You
	should try your best though, correct english is easier to read than
	"slang" or text full of abbreviations ("u r my friend"). It isn't a
        race, right? You've got time to type "you", "you're", or "your" 
	instead of the usual "ur."

	Please try to make this extra effort as it makes users understand
	you better, so they don't have to come back asking the same
	questions over and over because they didn't understand you.

3.3	Credits

	Ariel7 []			Wrote original FAQ.
	MrD    []			Wrote current FAQ.

	Thanks to:
	SixSix []

This document is part of DALnet's #IRCHelp's website.