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IRC Channel Op Course by ElizabethBevilacqua (pleia2)

This course is designed for people who are reasonably familiar with IRC and wish to someday apply for Channel Op positions in #*ubuntu* channels (including #Ubuntu-Women). For a more general overview of IRC please visit our Introduction to IRC Course

What is a channel Op?

Channel Operators are people within the channel who "keep the peace." In most cases they have the power to remove people from channel, ban people from the channel, change the channel topic and control some of the channel access.

This is not a social status position, it is a responsibility.

How do I become an Op?

The following ways are the most common ways to become a channel Op:

  • You are chosen by existing Ops for your skills and commitment to the channel (by far, the most common method)
  • You discuss with your Ubuntu Team and take the responsibility to create and maintain a channel for your team

Volunteering for an Op position when the current Ops are not requesting volunteers is very bad form and will generally cause you to never be considered for a position. Never join a channel and ask for Ops!

Experience with the tools Ops use, good standing in the community and helpful, positive, daily participation in channel are all things that may qualify you for consideration as an Op if the channel requires them.

Op documentation

Documentation has been crafted by the Ubuntu IRC Team and can be found on their wiki page IrcTeam - Ubuntu Wiki

While the Ubuntu IRC Team does not have full control over all Ubuntu-related channels (there are hundreds on FreeNode) except in extreme cases where a FreeNode staffer becomes involved, these are solid rules that official Ubuntu channels like #Ubuntu-Women follow.

For our purposes the most important sections of this document are:

  • IrcGuidelines - These are rules that channel members are expected to follow

  • OperatorGuidelines - These are the rules that channel operators are expected to follow

You may also want to read other sections of their wiki to get an idea of how the IRC Team works and what other resources are available

The channel you are an Op in might also have their own rules and guidelines, the guidelines for #Ubuntu-Women can be found here: #Ubuntu-Women IRC Guidelines


These are outlined in the above documents, but I repeat them here as a quick reference.

Chanserv Chanserv is an IRC Service that handles access on registered channels

  • /msg chanserv help - Read through Chanserv's help information on all commands and become familiar with them

  • /msg chanserv op #channelname - If you are on the access list for a channel, use this command to Op yourself

  • /msg chanserv access #channelname list - Lists users with access to the channel

  • ...and many more less frequently used but powerful commands

Nickserv Nickserv is an IRC Service that handles registered nicknames

  • Your nickname must be registered to become an Op
  • It is highly recommended that you set up your IRC client to /msg nickserv identify PASSWORD upon connecting to the server

  • /msg nickserv info yournickname - Replace "yournickname" with your nick and you will see what channels you have access to, if any

Topic To change the channel topic

  • The channel topic in most Ubuntu channels gives helpful links about the specific Project and meeting times, these will need to be updated by an Op from time to time
  • /topic Type your new topic here (if this doesn't work, consult your IRC documentation on how to set channel topics)

Remove A command on FreeNode for removing users from a channel

  • "Kicking" a user from a channel using the kick command that comes with most IRC clients can be seen as hostile and many clients automatically rejoin after a kick is issued, it's best not to use it
  • FreeNode has the "Remove" command that is preferred, it shows up as a "part" by the client with "Requested by OpNick" as the reason

  • Usage: /remove #channelname nickname (or, depending on your client, /quote remove #channelname nickname)

Mute (+q) A channel mode to block message from a specific user from coming to the channel

  • This is a useful command to simply silence the offending party without removing them from channel, useful to silence unintentional flooding
  • Usage: /mode +q nickname_or_host (if this doesn't work, consult your IRC documentation on how to set channel modes)

Ban Prevents a user from rejoining the channel

  • Use wisely, bans are generally reserved for repeat or particularly nasty offenders
    • In most cases a simple Remove will be enough to send the message to a user that they are not welcome!
  • /ban nickname_or_host or /mode +b nickname!ident@hostname (or consult your IRC documentation on how to set bans)

Writing good Bans and Mutes

Learning to set bans that will actually keep an offender out of a channel is an important skill. Most clients have a /ban command that will ban a user based on what it thinks are good parameters, but this is not always sufficient. The following are some tips for well-formed bans.

  • Basic ban format: nickname!ident@hostname
    • For example, when you see someone join a channel it might look something like this:
  • Now lets say they were being sneaky and decided to change their nickname to badgirl2, the ban for "badgirl!lala@example.isp.com" would no longer work, since it wouldn't match "badgirl" but not "badgirl2"

  • Now lets say they decided to change their ident!
    • A ban for: "badgirl*!*@example.isp.com" would keep out any nickname starting in "badgirl" using any ident
  • What if they were at their friend's house and decided to hop online on their connection, so the hostname portion of their mask changed and they became badgirl3 (badgirl@example.isp2.com)

    • A ban for: "badgirl*!*@*" would ban any nickname starting in "badgirl" using any ident on any hostname

This is just a general overview of banning, and it can get tricky when a user changes their information considerably and often. In these cases you may want to report the frequent "ban evasion" to #ubuntu-ops and have FreeNode staffers handle the situation, since ban evasion of well-formed bans is very much frowned upon.

Courses/IRCOp (last edited 2011-12-26 23:23:36 by lyz)