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FAQ about IRC and Doctor Who

1.1 What is IRC?
1.2 How do I get onto IRC?
1.3 What are servers and networks?
1.4 How can I join a channel?

2.1 What channels do I go to if I want to talk Doctor Who?
2.2 What is #drwho?
2.3 What is #drwhochat?
2.4 What is #PMEB?
2.5 What is #RADW?
2.6 What is #drwhorpg?
2.7 What is #drwhoplot?

3.1 What is that @ sign and why don't I have one next to my name?
3.2 What are Ops?
3.3 How can I get Ops?

4.1 I've joined the channel, but no one is talking. Why?
4.2 What is lag and why does it happen to me?
4.3 Everyone disappeared while I was talking to them. Why?
4.4 How do I change servers, and which one should I change to?

5.1 When I come online, someone called Nickserv says that I'm using someone else's nickname. Who is Nickserv and why is he bothering me?
5.2 How do I register my own nickname?

6.1 What are these SOUNDs that are being played?
6.2 How can I play sounds?
6.3 My client can do colors. Is that allowed?

7.1 Do any of the channels mentioned here have websites?

1.1 What is IRC?

IRC, Internet Relay Chat, is a place for real-time conversations on the net. It's like a huge house with many rooms that you can gather in to talk to friends about all kinds of things, including Doctor Who. It is very similar to but much more international than the chatrooms on AOL.

1.2 How do I get onto IRC?

First you need an IRC client. This is a software program that allows you to to access IRC. Several popular programs are mIRC, IRCle, pIRCh, and macIRC. TUCOWS has several IRC clients available for download. Once you install a client, you need to get onto a server that will connect you to a network.

1.3 What are servers and networks?

There are several IRC networks out there. Dalnet is the most popular one currently, though EfNet, UnderNet, and AustNet are in use by IRCers too. For the most part, if you are on one network, you cannot be seen on the other networks. (There are a few networks that can now share with other networks, but that's more than what will be dealt with in this FAQ.)

Servers are the pathways onto the various networks. If you are on one server for DalNet, you should be able to communicate with people on other servers for DalNet. The current reliable server is hebron.in.us.dal.net. The most common IRC command for changing servers is as follows:

/server hebron.in.us.dal.net

irc.dal.net will give you a random server. Other DalNet servers include viper.mo.us.dal.net and liberty.nj.us.dal.net.

1.4 How do I join a channel?

Each IRC client has its own way to join channels. However, the command /join should work for most of the clients. To join a channel called #drwhochat, you would type:

/join #drwhochat

2.1 What channels do I go to if I want to talk Doctor Who?

There are many Doctor Who related channels on IRC. This FAQ will deal with the most popular channels. Each one has a different purpose, so choose your channel selection with care so that you won't be bored by the conversation.

2.2 What is #drwho?

#drwho has been around on IRC for many years. There has been a #drwho on EfNet and UnderNet long before DalNet was invented. The most popular #drwho is currently the one on DalNet. Janet Eaton is the founder of the channel, though Edan Harel originally founded the Dalnet version of #drwho. If you want to have conversations about Doctor Who, the show, the books, the phenomenon, this is the channel to go to.

2.3 What is #drwhochat?

Many people who started out chatting in #drwho became good friends and decided they needed a place to catch up with each other, gossip, and generally natter on about all sorts of things that don't necessarily deal with Doctor Who. So George Solana created #drwhochat for that very purpose. Don't be surprised if you vist the channel and no one discusses Doctor Who. This isn't a channel for that, just for Doctor Who fans to enjoy each others company. Rare as they are, Doctor Who conversations do occur in the channel, but they aren't the only topics of the day.

2.4 What is #PMEB?

The Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade has a chat channel too. Elsa Frohman is the founder of the channel. People who wish to drool over the various Doctors (McGann may be the namesake, but other Doctors have their followers) can come to this channel to do so. Nonmembers are welcome, but we do ask that if you aren't going to contribute to the conversation, please go to another channel.

2.5 What is #RADW?

This channel is currently not registered. It was originally intended for posters to rec.arts.drwho to talk about the usenet list. If anyone wishes to start the channel and discussions pick up, be sure to let me know and I'll put it back on the FAQ.

2.6 What is #drwhorpg?

There used to be a group of IRCers who did role plays on Saturday nights. Alas, that has died. #drwhorpg and the sister channel #drwhoplot have since expired.

2.7 What is #drwhoplot?

See the entry for #drwhorpg for information about this expired channel.

3.1 What is that @ sign and why don't I have one next to my name?

Many IRC clients indicate Operator status using an @ sign. An Operator is someone who can give another person Operator or Op status, kick annoying persons, and invite people to a channel. First timers to a channel are rarely given Ops because they don't know how to use them (or they do know and may use them unwisely).

3.2 What are Ops?

There are three kinds of Ops in a channel (not including Founder Status which only comes when you create the channel yourself). An Op is simply someone who has been granted Ops during their stay in the channel. As soon as they leave, the Ops leave with them. An AOP is someone who is automatically granted Ops when they join the channel (provided Chanserv is awake and not lagging). An SOP is someone who has AOPs but also has the power to grant AOPs to other people. These are people that the founder trusts to keep the channel going smoothly when he/she isn't around.

3.3 How can I get Ops?

Ops are only granted to people who behave sensibly in the channel and who use them wisely. The best way to get Ops is to never ask for them (you really have no need for them anyway) but to come to the channel often and contribute to the discussions in an intelligent way. Ops are NOT a popularity contest and should never be thought of as such. The main function of Ops is to protect the channel from people who would abuse the people in it. They are not there to kick out people that they have a personal beef with. If someone has been a jerk on the channel, they should be warned and, if they don't improve, kicked out. People can also be banned temporarily, automatically, and even killed from an entire Network if their behavior is such to warrant it.

4.1 I've joined the channel, but no one is talking. Why?

Sometimes a conversation dies and people are doing something else. Be patient and they may return to the keyboard and talk to you. Sometimes the people are talking but you are so lagged from them that you cannot see their responses. If you suspect it is lag, try pinging the channel. The most common command for this is /ping #channelname. For example, if you suspected people are lagging in #drwho chat, type this:

/ping #drwhochat

4.2 What is lag and why does it happen to me?

Since there are hundreds of different servers all connecting to the same network, they sometimes have trouble communicating with each other. Occassionally one server lags (has a time delay) to another and the people on those different servers see comments seconds sometimes minutes after the other person sent them. This can make for some unusual conversations. If you find yourself lagging to the other people in a channel, change servers.

4.3 Everyone disappeared while I was talking to them. Why?

Lag is not the only thing that plagues servers. Sometimes they can completely split off from each other. These are commonly called Netsplits. If you are patient, the people will return (though probably very lagged) and you can change servers to join the other people on their server.

4.4 How do I change servers, and which one should I change to?

As mentioned earlier in the FAQ, the /server command works for most IRC clients. If your client works differently, read the help files on that client to see what their equivalent is. The server to change to is the server that the majority of the people in the channel are on. The /whois command lets you discover many things about people in the channel, but the most important thing is which server the person is on. Let's say that you perform a /whois on a person in the channel with a nickname Turlough. You type the following:

/whois Turlough

And the Network comes back with the following information:

Turlough is turlough@127.trion.net * Vislor Turlough
Turlough on @#drwhochat
Turlough using viper.mo.us.dal.net Getting High Off Information
End of /WHOIS list.

It lists that viper.mo.us.dal.net is the server that Turlough is on. To change to that server, type the following command:

/server viper.mo.us.dal.net

5.1 When I come online, someone called Nickserv says that I'm using someone else's nickname. Who is Nickserv and why is he bothering me?

Dalnet has several programs that protect channels and users. Chanserv protects channels and Nickserv protects nicknames. Registered nicknames are protected by Nickserv, but unregistered nicknames are not. Some registered nicknames are kill-protected, which means that if you keep using the nick, you will be kicked off the network. Nickserv gives you time to change your nickname to something else. For most IRC clients, typing /nick newnick will get you your new nickname. For example, let's say you'd like to change to Bernice. You would type:

/nick Bernice

and suddenly your nickname is Bernice. (I wouldn't suggest choosing that nick since it is already registered.)

5.2 How do I register my own nickname?

Before you register a nickname, it's a good idea to check if it's registered already. Let's say you wish to register the name Turlough. If you type the following command, you can see if that nickname is taken.

/msg nickserv info Turlough

Nickserv will then give you a message that indeed, Turlough is registered.

Once you've found a nickname that is not registered and that you like, (for example Harry_Pimm) you can type the following command while wearing the nick:

/msg nickserv register marytamm

The word "marytamm" in this case is the password. You should choose a password that cannot be easily guessed but that you can remember yourself. You can use numbers and case matters. "MaryTamm" is different than "marytamm".

Be sure that Nickserv is not lagging when you do this, otherwise it is all for naught. The best time to do business with Nickserv and Chanserv is when DalNet isn't very busy. So 10pm EST on Friday night is probably not the time to do it.

6.1 What are these SOUNDs that are being played?

Many IRC clients allow users to play sounds in a channel so that other people can hear them. There are three key things you need in order to hear these sounds. (1) A sound card. (2) The sound (usually a .wav file) on your hard drive. (3) IRC software that plays sounds when someone sends a sound. We can't help you on #1, but many IRC clients allow people to "grab" wavs from the person playing them. The most common command (at least as used in the Doctor Who channels) is !nick filename.wav. For example, if Turlough played a wav entitled pim.wav, you could grab the wav from Turlough by typing the following command:

!Turlough pim.wav

If the person does not have auto-send through their client, you can always ask them nicely for the file.

6.2 How can I play sounds?

In order to play sounds in a channel, you need the same three things you need to hear sounds in a channel. Then you need to be sure that your sound is in the directory that the IRC client is looking for it. (Check your client's helpfile to see how to do this.) Then you need only use the following command (for example, to play a .wav entitled pim.wav.)

/sound pim.wav

6.3 My client can do colors. Is that allowed?

Although colors are very pretty in chat channels, they don't look the same for all clients. With some, they look more like line noise than like art. So, please don't use colors in the Doctor Who channels. Remember, not everyone sees things exactly as your client shows them.

7.1 Do any of the channels mentioned here have websites?

The official #drwhochat homepage is at http://www.crl.com/~nathanr/dwc.html.

#drwhochat has a site about the frequenters of the channel at http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/antdom/link.htm.

#drwhorpg has several roleplays at http://iaith.simplenet.com/roleplay.html.

#PMEB's main sponsor, the Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade, has a page at http://www.pmeb.org.

I hope that the FAQ has answered all of your questions. If you find something hasn't been answered that should be, email me at webmaster@pagefillers.com and I'll try to answer your question and may include the answer in the next update of the FAQ.

Doctor Who IRC FAQ version 1.1. Created April 9, 1998 by Trina L. Short. 1999.

Last update, November 27, 1999.