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Getting Started on IRC - Common Questions

5.1 - What is a Ping?

There are two type of ping :- one sent automatically by the server and one sent manually by a user. Servers use the ping command to check in a connection is still active - you may see this is you sit silently on irc (idle) for a while. It shows up in the mIRC status window as a green msg, Ping? Pong. This is perfectly normal - the PING comes from the server and your mIRC replies PONG - if the server does not receive the reply, it will close your connection and possibly disconnect you from irc. The other type of ping is sent by another user. It shows up as a red PING in the mIRC status window. Once again, your copy of mIRC replies, but in this case the person originating the PING sees a time in seconds - this tells him how long the signal took to go from his computer to yours. If it takes a long time for a PING to travel between your computers, it will take just as long for words, leading to pauses and disjointed conversations - this is called LAGGING. If you are lagging, the usual cure is to change servers to try and reduce the lag. To send a PING to another person you need to type this command :- /ctcp targetnick PING where targetnick is the nickname of the person you want to PING. The response will be something like this PING reply X seconds. This is the ping time discussed above. Generally times below 15 seconds are normal on DALnet.

5.2 - How do I set my Profile?

Unlike AOL chat, IRC does NOT have user profiles. If someone wants to know more about you than the /whois command shows then they will need to ask you.

5.3 - Can I connect to AOL chat from IRC or mIRC?

Simply put, NO. AOL chat is a closed system, using special software and available only to AOL members. If you want to join, visit AOL.

5.4 - How can I find my Friend

on IRC? To find anyone on IRC you really need to know what nickname they are using. If you don't then you have little or no chance of finding them successfully. Assuming you DO know their nickname then you can type /whois followed by thier nickname. This will show you some information about the person using that nick. Once you know this, you can /join any of the channels your friend is on and chat to them.

5.5 - What is a Netsplit?

A netsplit occurs when two servers loose their connection. All the people on that server lose contact with all the other people on the network. It often looks as though masses of people are leaving one after another, in fact it is their server that has left and taken them with it.One of the primary jobs of IRCop's (opers) is to prevent netsplits and to re-connect the offending servers quickly when they do happen. As a consequence, most netsplits, while annoying, don't really last long enough to worry about. Just sit tight and all your friends will return in a few seconds.

5.6 - What is Lag?

Lag is the delay between you sending a message and everyone else reading it. Normally this only takes a few seconds, but when the network is very busy it can take much longer - this is LAG. You can measure the ammount of lag between two people with the PING command, and changing servers sometimes helps to reduce excessive lag.

5.7 - How do I change servers?

Assuming you are using mIRC, typing /server followed by the server name will disconnect you from your current server and connect you to the new one. Some examples for DALnet are : /server liberty.dal.net, /server games.dal.net - visit www.dal.net for more.

5.8 - Help! I can't get on to my server!

There are many reasons why you may not be able to get onto your usual server, it may be busy or down for repairs for example. Servers also suffer if the net becomes congested or if cables get damaged. In all cases, the solution to this is TRY ANOTHER SERVER. If you still can't connect then wait for a while and try again. If and only if you have tried all of this and still can't connect you can try e-mailing the network you are trying to connect to. In the case of DALnet, try mailing help@dal.net with as detailed a description of the problem as you can give. Mail that just says "help I can't connect" will probably be ignored!

5.9 - What is Killed, K-Lined or Akilled?

Most users should never see these. If you get disconnected from IRC with a message like Closing Link (KILLED (an-oper(Don't run clones on DALnet))) or any one of several other messages, then TAKE HEED! This means you have been breaking NETWORK rules and an IRCop (oper) has disconnected you for it. If you continue, you may well get banned from the network completely. A K-LINE is somewhat different. It is placed on a specific server, and bans some people from using that server. There are many reasons for this, everything from badly behaved users through to server admins limiting which people can use their server. In the case of a K-LINE, try using a different server. Finally, the AKILL. Akill's (auto-kill) are specific to DALnet and are managed by Services. They are only used on the most troublesome users, and only as a last resort. In short, if you get one, you asked for it and I have little sympathy for you. A special note for users of DALnet :- If you think that you have been unfairly Akilled, you can email kline@dal.net with your reasons. They will investigate and may remove the akill if it is found to be unjustified. This does not happen often, so I recommend you think long and hard before mailing. In most cases, those akilled have richly deserved the privilige.