< ~wiki

intro to irc

while this will not be a comprehensive guide on all the software available, it will hopefully point you in the right direction. it is adapted from the one on the libera.chat website

connecting for the first time

to use irc, first you need to choose a client application. they vary a lot, but most will have the same basic features and do not cost money, so don't worry about picking the wrong one.

you can always use our webchats to avoid installing anything yet: our kiwiirc or our gamja browser clients will automatically connect you to #helpdesk.

if you're running a client on a tilde, your client might have been automatically configured for you when your account was made. most tildes have command line clients like weechat or irssi already installed so you can try them out and decide which one you prefer. try running weechat or irssi to connect to tilde.chat.

if you're running a client you installed yourself on your own phone or computer, most will have some kind of intro or wizard to get you going. look for a network called tilde or tilde.chat if there is a network directory, or set the network address to irc.tilde.chat with port 6697.

if there is no wizard, or the process is confusing, you can try to check out the client's website for some documentation about how to set it up. you can also just connect through the kiwiirc or gamja webchats mentioned above and find someone to help. the webchats will connect you to #helpdesk, and someone there can point you in the right direction if you explain what client you are trying to use.


just like in instant messengers, there will be a field in the app where you will be able to type things. this is where you chat.

this chat field is also where you can do commands to the server or the client. commands start with a /.

conversation windows

conversations windows are also known as tabs or buffers. they behave similar to how you might expect from other chat apps.

in most desktop clients, a list of conversations will be down the left-hand side in a column. in phone apps, there might be a drawer widget you need to pull out.

selecting different items in this list will change what is shown in the main section of the client, above the field you type chat and commands into.

the top one is probably the name of the network. when you are doing commands you don't want others to see, such as registering an account, this is a safe place to type them.

tabs starting with # are group chats, which are called channels. On desktop clients, a user membership list will probably show down the right-hand side of the screen when you have these conversations selected. on phones the membership list might be in another drawer widget.

tabs underneath the channels are private conversations you have with people, or bots, on the network. these are often referred to as a "pm" (private message) or "queries".

private conversations

you can often start private conversations with someone by double-clicking on their name, also called a nickname or nick, in the membership list. if that doesn't work you can achieve the same thing using the /query command. For example, if you wanted to say "hi!" to the person with the nickname "john" you would do:

/query john hi!

some people don't like unsolicited private conversations, so only do this with people you know from talking in channels after asking their permission.


services are specialized bots that help the network run smoothly. they manage users and channels, among other things.

using services is how you register a nickname, and identify (log in) when you return for another irc session in the future.

they're also how you register channels if you ever need to do that.


in most irc clients, a channel's topic description can be found at the top of the screen. if you can't see all of it, you can have it displayed to you using the /topic command.

you can find new channels on our channels page and sort by channel name or by topic description. some clients like kiwiirc and hexchat have built in channel list search wizards. in command line clients, look for search instructions with /help list

channel roles

when you're in channels, you might notice that some people in the membership list have symbols next to their nicknames. most people will not have a role in the channels.

on tilde.chat, the people with symbols have either the "admin", "operator", 'half-operator', or "voiced" modes.

admins own the channels. operators and half-ops (which have a subset of operator commands) are the people that run that help run specific channel and are responsible for moderating the chat, so sometimes they might remove or silence people individually or set the channel to moderated mode.

when the channel is in moderated mode, comments from voiced users can still be seen. often channels will give voice or one of the operator modes to their helper bots.

commands cheat sheet

this is a very small sample of commands that you may find useful as you get started learning irc. in many clients, there might be buttons for these.

command parts shown in [] are optional.

some commands will differ in implementation depending on your client. if the following do not work as expected, see your client's website for documentation or ask in their irc channel, which will be listed on their website.

i need more help!

if you get lost, you can always join #helpdesk.

for a chat directly in your browser click here, click the start button, and ask questions.