What is IRC?
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is basically the equivalent to a giant chat room. In fact, most chat rooms people are used to today are actually based from how IRC operates. Prior to message boards and such, IRC used to be the most popular method of communication for big communities online.
There are hundreds of IRC networks around, thousands of programs to connect to these networks and hundreds of thousands of channels on each network. But don't worry, you don't have to join all of them.
How do I get IRC?
There's many many programs floating around that let you connect to IRC. mIRC and XChat are the most popular clients for windows users, but you can just use a webchat if you don't feel like downloading anything
Once you find a nice program and set it up with your desired nickname, you have to set it up to connect to QuakeNet. mIRC users can just select "QuakeNet" from the list of servers in the options (It's the second option on the left when you first run the program). If you decided on the webchat then you don't have to worry, it already connects you to QuakeNet Alternatively, any other program you're using should come with a nice help section to show you how to connect to the server of your choice.
Once you've connected to QuakeNet, you need to join a channel. Channels are basically ways of splitting up IRC to group individual chats. Most channels can be identified by starting with a # sign; for example, the TitanFocus channel is simply #titanfocus. You may join this channel in your program of your choice by typing /join #titanfocus. Alternatively, if you used the webchat I linked earlier, it should automatically join the channel for you
How do I use IRC?
IRC is primarily text based. As such, most things are achieved with simple commands that you type in. Most programs will simplify this, however, by doing the commands for you and giving you a nice interface to them with buttons and menus and whatever. But that's just going to complicate things to explain them all for each programs, so I'll stick to commands for this. All commands start with /, if you don't add that beginning / then you're sending a message to the channel you're in.
To join channels, simply type /join #channelname. If the channel doesn't exist, it'll create it for you. There's no limit on what channels you can create, only that they don't already exist. Feel free to make one for your guild, for example
While inside channels, you can sometimes see signs next to peoples names - such as @ or +. Users that have @ next to their name inside a channel indicates they are an operator of that channel (Sometimes referred to as "op"s). These people can kick you and ban you and lots of fancy stuff on the channel. For #titanfocus, this is reserved to forum administrators and some global moderators. People with a + next to their name have "voice", this just means if there's ever a drastic spam attack and we make the channel moderated, then only people with + or @ can talk. Don't worry about it for now
If you want to talk privately with a specific person in IRC, you can open up a query with them. Simply type /query Nickname Message goes here (But replace nickname and your message). This will open up a new chat between you and that person, nobody else will see it.
Be careful though, anyone can use anyone elses name in IRC and there's nothing to stop them. You need to be sure you're talking to the right person. That's where /whois nickname comes in handy. This will give you a bunch of information about who a person is, such as their IP address and if they've authenticated themselves with QuakeNet to prove who they are. For myself, if you whois me you should see something like "Phixion is authed as Phixion". (notice: just one x on IRC but 2 x on the forums)
If you're tired of your nickname and want a new one, simply type /nick newname. The only restriction on this is that the new name must not be in use already.
I know all this. Where's the channel?
Why should I bother?
Because I said so.
To see what kinda stuff we get up to in this channel, take a look at our stats! Updated every 5 minutes, it should give you a peek into IRC. We also have a channel bot who serves and entertains us with fancy stuff. His name is Vael and his nickname is inspired by this brave mercenary from Guildwars, I thought the description perfectly fit him. Come in and find out what he got for ya! If you have feature requests or feedback in any other way related to the bot, let me know I'm a bad programmer but I'll see what I can do! Thanks to Dinnerbone for letting me use this text.