Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

10.23. How about chatting with lots of people at once?

Check out IRC--the Internet Relay Chat. This is the Citizen's Band of the Net, where the inhabitants of Cyberspace come to chat.

IRC was originally designed as a replacement for the talk program but has become much more than that. IRC is a multiuser chat system, where people convene on "channels" (discussion group, akin to a citizen's band radio channel) to talk publicly or in private.

On a busy IRC server at any given time, you can find thousands of users chatting on hundreds of topic channels. Most of the time people gather to simply chew the rag, make friends, or talk dirty. IRC isn't just frivolous fun, though; according to the IRC FAQ list, "IRC gained international fame during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, where updates from around the world came across the wire, and most IRC users who were online at the time gathered on a single channel to hear these reports. IRC had similar uses during the coup against Boris Yeltsin in September, 1993, where IRC users from Moscow were giving live reports about the unstable situation there."

Note: Maybe, but IRC has never done anything for me. The concept is neat--type to hundreds of people all over the world on any topic you can dream of. The reality, for me anyway, is that IRC is more like a large, loud room filled with horny, bored, or angst-ridden individuals. I prefer a nice MUD (covered next) to IRC any day. (I have just set myself up for lots and lots of hate mail from lovers of IRC. Sigh.)

Here's the obligatory sample session. I usually try to find something interesting to show in these examples, but in my experience, IRC just doesn't get interesting. Maybe I don't hang out on the right channels.

$ irc
*** Connecting to port 6667 of server
*** Welcome to the Internet Relay Network waffle
*** You have new email.
*** If you have not already done so, please read the new user information
*** Your host is, running version 2.8.16
*** This server was created Wed Nov 10 1993 at 19: 45:15 PST
*** umodes available oiws, channel modes available biklmnopstv
*** There are 2171 users and 1413 invisible on 116 servers
*** There are 80 operators online
*** 1 : unknown connection(s)
*** 1213 channels have been formed
*** This server has 41 clients and 10 servers connected
*** - Message of the Day -
*** - Welcome to (BARRNet Hub Server)
*** - Please report problems to techie (
*** -
*** - This server is running version 2.8.16
*** - You will need to use a client version  ircII2.2.6 or later to
*** - properly with this server.  ircII2.2.9 is recomended.
*** - *****************************************************************
*** - Do not run Bots on this server. If you must run a bot, use B-w6yx.
*** - This also means that you should restrict yourselves to one (1)
*** - client on this server. Additional clients should be run on B-w6yx.
*** - Please do not idle on this server for more than 15 minutes.
*** - Idle clients that auto-reconnect will be considered bots, and will
*** - be banned from the server.
*** - *****************************************************************
*** - Absolutely NO floodbots or tsunami bots on any Stanford server.
*** - Violation of this rule may lead to loss of access for your entire
*** - site or domain. Don't spoil it for others.
*** - *****************************************************************
*** -
*** - If you are at a site that has a local server, you are requested
*** - to use the local server if it is up. This includes UCDavis,
*** - CalPoly, and Portal. If your local server is down, please use
*** - B-w6yx.
*** -
*** - Enjoy!
/chan #hottub
*** waffle ( has joined channel #Hottub
*** Topic for #Hottub: *** Welcome to #hottub's UP ALL NITE viewing...
*** Users on #hottub: waffle @TBA @Jasmine @Bloodshot @WintrHawk
+@beeblebro Grendal @boomboom @Rikitiki @Chweryl @Sorcery @Dark-Elf
<Rikitiki> Well.. Kristin?
<boomboom> TJ wants to know how tall i am...
<boomboom> rich..the hot guy
* Bloodshot is tall
<boomboom> what was his name?
<Bloodshot> bb you are just my size :)
*** Skyraider has joined channel #hottub
* CtChocula is 8' tall
<boomboom> estrada?
<Bloodshot> hmm
* Bloodshot isnt that tall
<boomboom> i?
<Jasmine> TBA!!
<beeblebro> boomboom <--- amazon  (which of course i find extremely
* Bloodshot is 6 ft
<Rikitiki> Bruce Jenner.
<beeblebro> )
<boomboom> BEEBS!
*** Signoff: Bloodshot (Leaving)
<boomboom> NO!
<boomboom> I AM NOT!
*** scooter has joined channel #hottub
*** Prothan has joined channel #hottub
*** Xney has joined channel #hottub
* Rikitiki drools over Kristin just to be like everyone else.
<beeblebro> boomboom:  you are only an inch shorter than I am!
<boomboom> rich...f*** you
<boomboom> :)
<Prothan> Hi everyone!
*** Mode change "+o Xney" on channel #hottub by Xbot
* CtChocula doesnt drool
<Prothan> What's up?
* Rikitiki figures he's still in deep trouble for calling her a
<scooter> howdy
<Chweryl> well I do  gotta get going
<Xney> who's a fundamentalist?
<Rikitiki> I apologize for that too.
<Chweryl> I ahve to work to day
*** WintrHawk has changed the topic on channel #hottub to Amazon
+from the moon
<boomboom> *sixx* hmm im afraid thats no good
<CtChocula> hahahahaha
<Rikitiki> You can kick my ass when you meet me or something.
<Prothan> CtChocula: not even over chocalatey Count Chocula
<beeblebro> <--- is suffering from the libido that often
+drunkeness, please excuse him.  :)
<Chweryl> CtChoc.... Night *hugs*
<boomboom> that was his response to my 5'10 answer :)
<Rikitiki> Whoa.. Chuck.. wanna f*** my couch?
*** scooter has left channel #hottub
<Xney> beeb; you're excused
<Xney> boom's not 5'10
<Murkyl> riki...
<Rikitiki> :)
<CtChocula> chweryl nite! *HUGS* :)
<Chweryl> Bloodshot .. Sweet dreams *hugs&kisses*
<boomboom> 's not the fundamentalist thing...
<Rikitiki> Yes, Murk?
<boomboom> xney..i'm not?
<Murkyl> not the couch, riki...
<beeblebro> Rich:  um, not tonight.
<Chweryl> Murkyl: Night sweetie *hug*
<Xney> No.. I'm 6'2 and you'rte way smaller than me
<Rikitiki> I met a girl tonight.. who told me.. "When I get drunk, I
get so
+horny, I'd f*** furniture."
* Murkyl huggers chweryl.

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