Note that you will often come in in the *middle* of a conversation. Unless you’re familiar with the channel you may want to sit and watch it for a minute or two to see what the conversation is about.
– irc-faq; Version 1.53; November 28, 1995.
All sorts of people and opinions are expressed on IRC, since it is a real-time common space on the global Internet on which people can exercise their right to free speech. Just as in any public space, such as a park or restaurant, a little attention to chatiquette (chat etiquette) will make the experience more pleasant for everyone on IRC.
Each channel has at least one or more operators, often called just “ops”, who control the channel. Occasionally, operators will kick you off the channel if you offend them. Particularly offensive behavior can get you banned from the entire network, although that is rare. Some operators just enjoy kicking people off their channel, so don’t take it personally if it happens to you. If you get kicked off a channel and want back on, you can use the /msg command to ask the operator politely to be allowed back in.
The following chatiquette guidelines are useful to keep in mind:
- Consideration. Watch a channel for several minutes to observe the mood before sending a message after you join to make sure you have some understanding of the community atmosphere that has built up in the room before you arrived.
- Don’t shout. Avoid capital letters, which are interpreted as shouting.
- Flooding. Keep messages short to avoid “flooding” other people’s screens with a lot of text. If you have a long message, break it into several sentences and send them separately.
- Courtesy. If you are going to participate in a channel, then don’t ignore people unless they are being offensive. If someone asks you a question, send some sort of reply.
- Say goodbye. When you leave a channel, say goodbye so the people you have been talking with so they will know that you’ve left.
You can find additional etiquette information in the Internet Netiquette section.