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IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people convene on "channels" (a virtual place, usually with a topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately.

- irc-faq; Version 1.53; November 28, 1995.

Using IRC requires setup and configuration of a client application, location of servers and channels, mastery of a few key commands, and observance of chatiquette. The following subsections provide more information: