TWiT operates an IRC chat server at irc.twit.tv. This chat has served various purposes for the content produced by TWiT since the debut of The Tech Guy radio show in January 2004.
Live chat takes place in #twitlive (a # sign is the typical designation for a "channel" (chat room)) for all shows. We also have #helpdesk for tech-related questions, and #unfiltered and #offtopic for discussions not specifically related to the current show.
What is IRC?
(excerpted from mirc.com): IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat". It was originally written by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over 60 countries around the world. IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people meet on "channels" (rooms, virtual places, usually with a certain topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC.
IRC Clients / Methods of Joining Chat
For the best experience, you are strongly encouraged to use a standalone IRC client to participate in the chat. We recommend mIRC or X-Chat on Windows, and Textual, or Colloquy. On Linux you can use Irssi or X-Chat.
- The server name to connect is irc.twit.tv on port 6667, and we are chatting in #twitlive.
- SSL connections are supported on port 6697 or 56697.
The chat client that you see Leo using on-air is Textual.
If you don't wish to use a standalone client, the IRC chat has a web interface at https://irc.twit.tv/ that takes you directly into chat. Some users have found that the browser Opera (which has IRC built-in) provides an easy-to-read interface.
What are the #twitlive chat rules?
We want the chat to be a pleasant and safe place for all chatters. The primary focus of this chat is content related to the live shows. Keeping that in mind, these are the rules:
- Keep chat conversation at a family friendly level, as there are a wide range of ages in our chat. Self-censorship of swearing is not considered "family friendly".
- No offensive references to a person or group by race, religion, gender, or orientation.
- Do not "hit on" the hosts or guests on camera. This includes comments on physical appearance, especially for female hosts or guests.
- No illegal activity (e.g. offering or discussing where to get warez, pirated movies, etc.) under any circumstances.
- Do not impersonate any other user in chat.
- PLEASE DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Adding punctuation to your post to make yourself stand out isn't okay, either.
- Do not harass other chatters. You can respectfully disagree, but don't be rude.
- Please don't spam your website, blog, youtube, or what have you. This is only okay if it is related to a show topic, and only once.
- Do not repeat yourself over and over to try to get noticed, as this is disruptive to the chat. This also applies to situations where technical issues are occurring; having hundreds of people flooding the chat with "no audio" isn't helpful to anyone, so please don't add to it.
- Talk of politics, sports, or religion should be avoided, these are topics that can degrade the quality of the chat for everyone. If this topic ends up being something discussed on a live show, use your best judgement before posting in chat.
- We do not allow VPNs, proxies, bots, scripts, shells, anonymizers, or "bounced" IRC connections.
- Allow the moderators to do their jobs. Rather than correcting behavior, ignore people who bother you and inform a moderator if someone is being disruptive.
...and the most important (and simplest) rule:
- Use common sense, and don't be a jerk.
The chat rules do not cover all possible things that can happen in an active IRC chat. Generally speaking, if you avoid being disruptive to other user's chat experiences, and if you are polite to the younger and less experienced chatters, you will avoid any chance of being removed. A little thinking before typing goes a long way.
Strong suggestions for using chat
When participating in chat, please keep in mind the following important items:
- Do not be rude to newcomers. Since Leo promotes the IRC chat shows frequently, it attracts a lot of newcomers. Be patient with those who ask about the live schedule or any other FAQ, and provide them with helpful information if you are able.
- On occasion, Leo or other hosts or guests may say something that isn't within the rules of the IRC chat. Please be aware that repeating those remarks is still a violation of the chat rules.
- During a live show, topics not relevant to the subject of the show should be brought up in the #offtopic or #helpdesk channels, not the main #twitlive channel.
- If you intend to ask for technical help, watch the flow of the chat for a bit to see how busy chatters are and what topics are already under discussion. Even if there seems to be a lot of chatters present, some of them will be busy elsewhere. Be ready to explain what you've tried, and if you've researched the issue using Google searches or searches at TWiT.tv.
- Do not be offended if your question cannot be answered right away, and do not post your question multiple times. Have patience; you may just need to interact more with other chatters to learn when to ask your question, or what might be the best words or phrases to use in a search.
- When Leo is on a live show, many chatters may be busy trying to support him. When not too busy, sometimes Leo can answer your question directly, but remember that he has multiple chat rooms and other venues to monitor.
- If you might be hanging around for a while or returning frequently, the "regulars" like to see a personal nickname instead of a generic one. Shorter names are more appreciated than longer names, as are names that are unique in the first few characters. To change your nickname while in the chat, type: /nick newnickname. Nicknames over 16 characters in length are not allowed.
- The use of Leo's name in a nickname is discouraged, as it can create confusion. Please do not use "TWiT" in your nickname. We want to reserve such nicknames for those who are actually affiliated with TWiT. This suggestion is precluded by the "no impersonation" rule delineated above.
- Please disable the auto-away feature of your chat client, disable scripts that tell us what song you're listening to, and do not type "away"... "back" or any other "what am I doing right now" messages yourself. IRC is not Twitter; such messages simply contribute to noise.
- We do not allow bracket or underscore characters preceding your nickname. People use this to game the nick list to appear at the top.
Got a problem with someone?
People being people, protracted heated arguments (some over relevant tech topics, some not), personality clashes, and other issues arise in IRC just as in real life. If you find yourself arguing with the same person over and over, the following advice from the late Usenet personality Gharlane of Eddore may prove useful:
Arguing with idiots is wasted effort. They have no minds to change; and unlike you, nothing better to do with their time.
See also this xkcd strip.
Bear in mind that the moderators will kick people who are disruptive to the chat, but this often will include both or all of the participants in an ongoing fight. From the outside it is often very difficult to see who is the instigator.
If you just can't get along with someone, consider using the "ignore" feature of your IRC client. In most clients you simply have to type:
Consult your chat client's documentation for more details.
What are the symbols or colored dots next to some of the users' names in IRC?
In decreasing order of privilege, the meaning is as follows. Users at each level can do anything that users at all following levels can do.
- ~ (X-Chat • purple dot) denotes a channel owner. The channel owner(s) can designate other users as channel administrators. (On the TWiT IRC, Leo is the owner of all channels, but he is not always present in the chat.)
- & (X-Chat • red dot) denotes a channel administrator. Administrators can designate other users to be automatically recognized as channel operators or as voiced users.
- @ (X-Chat • green dot) denotes a channel operator ("chanop" in IRC parlance), also known as a moderator. Moderators can set the channel topic, kick or ban users from the channel, and "voice" users. See the next section for more information on moderators.
- % (X-Chat • blue dot) denotes a channel half-operator. A half-operator has limited operator privileges. Half-op is rarely used on the TWiT network.
- + (X-Chat • yellow dot) means "voiced." In a "muted" channel, only voiced users (or above) can send messages to the channel. The TWiT IRC channels are not normally "muted," so "voiced" conveys no special privileges or abilities. Instead it is used to identify users of special note, such as hosts and guests on Leo's programs or visitors at the studio.
To most users, ~, &, @, and % are really equivalent: They're all chat moderators.
What is the role of the chat moderators?
The chat moderators are there to keep the channel focused, fun, and friendly. Since the chat is a component of the show, they try to keep the chat on topic. They are all volunteers who help Leo in their free time.
The moderators do try to be fair. If you break the rules, you could kicked from the channel, banned from the channel, or banned from the IRC server, so, be nice! The intent is to have fun, make friends, and maybe even learn something, so we encourage participation as appropriate!
Being kicked or banned from the chat is (usually) not permanent. Do not take a kick or ban personally; remember that it is simply the moderators' job to enforce the rules and to ensure a fun and pleasant experience for all participants in the chat. Please do be aware, however, that repeated offenses will be dealt with more harshly. Since every situation is unique, the appropriate action to be taken for a given offense will be left solely at the discretion of the moderators.
Here's another relevant xkcd comic.
Remember that the chat moderators do not work in the studio, nor are they show producers. As such, they do not have any control over the content of the video and audio streams. This includes both the live and re-run schedules and calendars, and playback issues such as volume levels and buffering.
How do I register and identify for my nickname?
IRC Chat allows you to reserve your nickname if you are the first person to obtain it. You do this by sending a message to a bot called NickServ (short for Nickname Services). This bot manages all the registered nicknames on IRC and provides protection for your nickname and its settings. Nicknames that are not logged into for 3 months will expire and will be available for registration by another person.
To register a nickname to the IRC server
- Send a private message by typing the following command into your IRC client: /msg NickServ REGISTER password your.email.address
- Replace password with a password of your choice, and fill in your email address in the second section. Use a password that has not been used on any of your other presences online to make it secure.
To identify for your nickname on subsequent joins to IRC
For subsequent joins to the chat after registering your nickname, you will need to identify yourself with NickServ as the true owner of your nickname. You may do this manually, or you may configure your IRC client to do this automatically.
- To identify manually, send a private message by typing the following command into your IRC client: /msg NickServ IDENTIFY password
- To identify automatically, clients such as X-Chat generally offer a "NickServ Password" field inside of the server settings where you can have the client automatically identify for your nickname every time you log in. Consult your client's documentation for more details.
- To require identification for your nickname, use either of the following commands. These need to be set only once, but you must already be identified for your nickname:
- /msg NickServ set kill on
- /msg NickServ set kill quick
- This prevents someone from assuming your identity in the future. If somebody attempts to use your nickname, it will force a nickname change (to Guest#####) after 60 seconds if your password is not given.
More information on nickname registration
For more information on Nickname Services and what they have to offer, see the IRC Help links at the bottom of the article, or use the command /msg NickServ help
How do I turn off all the join/part/quit messages?
During live shows, the influx of chatters can be overwhelming to those not accustomed to busy IRC channels. Fortunately, it is possible to configure your chat client to ignore channel join, part, and quit messages. Here's how:
- Mac - X-Chat Aqua: Go to the Preferences menu, Chatting -> General -> Hide join/part messages. You must also restart the client. Alternatively, click on the small down-arrow button to the right of the text input box, and select "Conference Mode". No restart is required, but this setting will be reset when you close the program.
- Mac - Snak: Go to Snak -> Preferences -> Channel, and uncheck "Parts" and "Joins."
- Mac - Textual: Go to Textual -> Preferences -> Style tab and uncheck Show channel join/part/quit activity on the bottom
- Windows - X-Chat: Right-click on the #twitlive channel name, or type /set irc_conf_mode 1
- Windows - mIRC: Go to the View menu, then choose Options => "IRC". Click the "Events..." button. Change the "joins", "parts", "quits", and "nicks" to your desired settings: "In Status" or "Hide" are good options.
- Mac/Windows - HexChat: Go to HexChat -> Settings -> Preferences -> Chatting -> General -> check "Hide join and part messages". To disable the messages for only certain channels, right click on the channel tab and click Settings -> Hide Join/Part Messages
- Linux/Unix - Irssi: /ignore -channels #twitlive * JOINS PARTS QUITS NICKS
How do I join Discord chat?
Discord is not related to IRC and is a separate chat platform. TWiT's Discord server is only open to Club TWiT subscribers.