Puzzles IRC user guide

There is a channel for cotpi at Freenode IRC network which cotpi readers can join and use for chatting. If you are not tech-savvy and only want to join the channel and chat with other users, go through the first three sections only.

Connection details

The connection details are:

Two ways of joining the channel are described below. The simpler way using Webchat is described first. A better but less simpler way using Pidgin is described next. So, go through the two sections below and join the channel. You may skip the remainder of this post if you are not tech-savvy. You probably won't need it and in case you do, you can ask someone in the channel for help after you connect to it.

Web based access

  1. Visit http://cotpi.com/irc/ or http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=%23%23puzzles.
  2. Enter some nickname.
  3. If you are connecting for the first time, ignore this point. If you have registered your nickname and you want to connect using your password, check 'Auth to Services', enter your nickname as the 'Username' and the password.
  4. Click 'Connect'.


  1. Download Pidgin from its website: http://pidgin.im/ and install it.
  2. Run Pidgin. Assuming you're a Windows user, you should be able to find it by navigating to Start > All Programs > Pidgin.
  3. From the menu, navigate to Accounts > Manage Accounts. Click 'Add' and enter the following details in the 'Basic' tab:
    • Protocol: IRC
    • Username: Some nickname of your choice
    • Server: irc.freenode.net
    • Password: You may leave this blank if you are connecting for the first time. If you have registered your nickname before, you can enter your password.
  4. Click the 'Add' button
  5. Once the status bar of Pidgin shows 'Available', from the menu select Buddies > Join a Chat.
  6. Make sure the 'Account' drop down box shows the account that was just created. Enter the following details:
    • Channel: ##puzzles
    • Password: Leave it blank. Our channel is not protected with password.
    Alternatively, if you find that new Freenode tabs have opened when you connected, you can simply type the command: /join ##puzzles where you would normally type a chat message and press 'Enter'.

NickServ and ChanServ

There are two bots, NickServ and ChanServ, which help in most user and channel management activities. Bots are computer programs that automate a lot of tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. Once you join the ##puzzles channel, you can see ChanServ at the top of the user list. It guards the channel and ensures that the channel stays alive all the time. NickServ helps in registering your nickname with a password and identifying yourself later. This is explained in the next section.

Registration and identification

Once you have connected to the network, you can register your nickname. Traditionally, there was no concept of nickname registration in IRC. Anyone was free to use any unused nickname. But nowadays, in many IRC networks including Freenode, one can register a nickname to ensure that someone else can not use the nickname when he or she wants to.

To register the nickname, send the command: /msg nickserv register password email-address. Next, follow the instructions you receive in your email.

Once, you have registered, you can identify yourself to the network while connecting by entering your password in the 'Password' field.

To identify yourself to the network while you are connected without reconnecting, send the command: /msg nickserv identify password.

Note that simply registration doesn't prevent anyone else from using your nick when you are absent. It only ensures that you can recover your nick when you are online even if someone else is using it.

If you really want to ensure that nobody else is able to use your nick even when you are absent, the best you can do is send this command: /msg nickserv set enforce on. This will ensure that even if someone uses your nick when you are absent, he is forced to change his nick within 30 seconds. If he refuses to change his nick, the network would change his nick to something else after 30 seconds.

Recovering your nick

There are usually two situations when you would want to recover your nick.

  1. Someone else is using your nick.
  2. You got disconnected from the network abruptly due to network issues but when you try to connect again, the server tells you that the nick is already being used. This happens when the server doesn't realize that your connection was terminated due to network issues. This is called a ghost connection. The server automatically terminates the ghost connection after a timeout of about 4.5 minutes.

Whether someone else is using your nick or your nick is still used in a ghost connection, you can recover your nick immediately by sending this command: /msg nickserv ghost nickname password.

After executing that the server will tell you that the nickname has been ghosted. Now, you can change acquire your actual nick again with the command: /nick nickname.

Cheat sheet for users

All IRC commands begin with a forward slash (/). Some of the following tasks can be done by pointing and clicking various menu items and options in your chat clients.

  1. Changing nickname: /nick newnick
  2. Joining a new channel: /join channelname e.g. To join the #music channel, send: /join #music
  3. Finding information about another nick: /whois nick
  4. Recovering your nick by ghosting: /msg nickserv ghost nick password
  5. Registering your nick: /msg nickserv register password email-address
  6. Identifying yourself to the network: /msg nickserv identify password

Cheat sheet for operators

Before performing any operator tasks, you need to gain operator privileges by making yourself an operator. The first point tells you how to do that.

  1. Gain operator privileges: /msg chanserv op ##puzzles
  2. Remove operator privileges from yourself: /msg chanserv deop ##puzzles. There are some other options as well like: /mode -o yournick, /deop yournick. It is a good IRC etiquette to deop yourself when you don't need the operator privileges.
  3. Changing topic: /topic New topic
  4. Muting a troll: /mode +q nick
  5. Banning a troll: /mode +b nick. Banning mutes the troll and prevents the troll from joining again.
  6. Unmuting/unbanning: /mode -q nick, /mode -b nick
  7. Kicking a troll out: /kick nick

For most trolls, muting is enough. However, sometimes spammers reconnect with different nicks and flood the channel. Such an offense would require banning his host or IP address. To find his host or IP address, send the command: /whois nick and note a pattern of the form username@hostname.

The hostname would be a domain name, IP address or cloak (an 'unaffiliated' cloak or a 'staff' cloak to hide the actual hostname).

The syntax to ban a hostname is: /mode +b *!*@hostname.

Here, are a few examples:

  1. To ban the hostname in ~chatzilla@tuwien.teleweb.at:
    /mode +b *!*@tuwien.teleweb.at
  2. To ban the IP address in ~zumbi@
    /mode +b *!*@
  3. To ban the cloak in ~humpty@unaffiliated/humpty:
    /mode +b *!*@unaffiliated/humpty