IRC Private Messages

You can conduct private, real-time conversations across the Internet with another user on an IRC channel with the following commands:

  • Basics. You can send a private message to another user with the “/msg” command, followed by the user’s name and the message. This message will show up on the other person’s computer only, and not be echoed to other users on the channel. Your message will be marked as a private message with your name surrounded by “*” instead of the brackets usually used for public messages. For example, the following command

    /msg Steve what type of bike is it?


    *john* what type of bike is it?

    If you want to have a private conversation with another user, the polite thing to do is to ask them one or two questions, and then not to bother them if they decline or don’t answer. If they do want to talk, they will /msg you back, and you can carry on a private conversation. You can have more than one private conversation at the same time.

  • /invite. If you want to ask a user to join you in another channel, use the “/invite command, which will send the user a message asking them if they want to join you in the indicated channel.

    /Invite john #politics

  • /query. Use the “/query” command to specify that every message you type should be directed to a single user.

    /query john

    If the other user also specifies a “/query” command to you, then all of the messages you type will be displayed only to each other. You can still monitor the ongoing public conversations in the channel.

    Use the “/query” command by itself to turn off the private channel.

  • /query

  • Options. You can message several people at once by separating their names with commas.

    /msg Steve,Jane can you use whole-wheat flour?

    Some programs let you use the “/m” abbreviation for “/msg”..

    /m elvis hello there

    The “/notice” command is the same as “/msg” except that the message will be contained in dashes, which will prevent a response from most robots.

    /notice Steve what type of bike?


    -john- what type of bike?