Internet Relay Chat allows users to have real-time conversations.

General Guidelines & Information
Jeffrey Adelstone ( afstax@aol.com )Berryman Gov IX BJ ( lpabjb@aol.com )Doug Burnette ( dcburn@infoave.com )Eldon Gov I Clingan ( eldonrc@aol.com )James E Gov VI Cox ( jecox@bellsouth.net )Steve 2ndVP Desdier ( claytonsd@aol.com )Robert H Gov XI Fukuhara ( ffcocpa@lava.net )Carolynn A. Gov X Holomon ( cholom@futureone.com )Kay PP Jeffers ( jayjeffers@aol.com )Ralph C. VP McBride ( jdmba4u@aol.com )Norma J. Gov IV Ogle ( gapaexdr@mindspring.com )Chad B Piehl ( phbcpa@hutchtel.net )Arthur B Gov.II Ray ( artraysr@juno.com )Dan E Gov.V. Setters ( abs4des@aol.com )Donny J Gov.DxIII Woods ( dwoods@arkansas.net )Don Gov. VII. Yoder ( yodertax@kctc.net )
NSA Technology Committee
Assignment by the BOG in November '99.
Jarvis Windom, Chairman (Email)

Introduction (What is "Chat")

Chat allows users to have real-time conversations with other users. Written (typed) conversations take place by typing text on a window. This text is then transmitted to an Internet Relay Chat server, which broadcasts the text to other connected users. The attractiveness of IRC over mailing lists and newsgroups lies in its freshness: users do not need to wait days or hours to see a response to their messages, here the response occurs within seconds.

An IRC Channel is a computer room or forum for conversation. Users within the same channel see and can reply to each other's messages; users from different channels do not, even if connected to the same IRC server. Sometimes IRC channels have a specific theme or topic of discussion.  Many have a moderator, such as a chairman of a committee.

A Channel should have an administrator, usually the owner of the channel, or a person authorized by him/her. The administrator is granted operator status, which means essentially that he/she has extensive control over the properties of the channel and what users can do in it. These properties are changed by using the IRC mode command. Operators can ban or kill troublesome users.

The ideal operator should have a natural extroverted personality in order for the channel to attract and keep visitors. Visitors should always find someone they can and will want to talk to in order for critical mass to occur. An operator that bans or kills all its visitors suddenly finds himself on an empty channel.

We expect chat channels to be of interest to individuals, Bulletin Board Systems, and (profit, non-profit) organizations with a social outlook.

Chat Room Netiquette (Etiquette)

You should think of a public chat room as the living room in a normal house, where people of different age, sex, race, and beliefs may be present at the same time.

We reserve the right to admit or deny users access to our server.

Guidelines for Using an Internet Chatroom



Chat is a form of communication which allows people to interact with each other on the Internet. Chatting is a real-time event, making it seem like an electronic conversation. People use chat to meet and converse with old friends or business contacts. Some people use chat to meet new people and to find others with similar interests. Chat is a public form of communication.

A chat identity typically consists of a name and some information that you show to other chatters in a chat room. When a user requests who is online, they can view the information you provide. Some services allow you to create multiple, separate identities. When you enter chat, you must select one. In most cases, the only mandatory field is the actual "identity name." All other information (such as occupation, gender, age, etc.) is optional. Do NOT reveal any information on your identity that you wouldn't want the world to know (phone numbers, address, etc.).

Chat will scroll across your screen quickly and many times you'll notice multiple conversations going on at the same time. (If you want a less frantic pace, enter into a less crowded room). With a few minutes of practice, you'll quickly learn how to read the screen and scan for relevant messages. In most chat rooms, you can scroll back if you missed something.

Be aware that some chatrooms have private areas or functions, where you can talk to one person. Read instructions carefully to learn how to enter into a private conversation, how to leave a private conversation, or how to avoid one.

Use common sense when chatting. Revealing too much information has resulted in some chatters being harassed online or by phone. Others have suffered financial losses by giving out e-mail ID’s and passwords or credit card numbers.
You may use Chat on campus in one of the computer labs by following a link to a Chatroom with Netscape, or by starting Netscape Chat (located in the "Internet Applications and Email" folder on the desktop) and logging into a specific chat server.

While you visit:

You should not use strong, explicit language.

You should not insult or harass other chat members.

You should let others speak. In particular, you should not flood the server with too many repeated messages. Flooding includes (but is not limited to):

You should not use propietary, incompatible features of your IRC software. Essentially, Comic Chat users should set the software to not send graphics. mIRC users should not use colored text in their messages, except when talking privately with another mIRC user. Users who do not use the same software that you do see lots of garbage when incompatible features are used.

You should only connect once to a channel. The use of multiple clones is detrimental to server resources.

You should not run robots on your server.  That is a term used for letting your computer automatically run and answer chat information.   I put this in because, it is becoming an issue in spamming people.

You should not advertise commercial products or services. Commercial Channel Owners may advertise or not as they best decide. We may advertise or not in Non-Commercial Channels.   NSA should not have a commercial channel.

You should not remain for hours idle in the channel. We have met some cases where the user leaves his computer connected to the channel for hours even though he is not physically in front of his computer participating. People become suspicious of users that are present in the channel, but do not answer messages sent to them. Only robots do this. (Robots are not allowed)

For our commercial clients we have developed a simplified applet that allows visitors to link directly from their home page to their IRC channel with only a click of the mouse. In effect, this allows organizations to have their own virtual IRC server. The applet is not meant to supplant full-featured Win95 or MacOS clients, but is targeted to those users that have little experience installing and configuring new software in their PCs.

Rates    (From a sample company)

I gave this example because you all need to know sample rates, and I am not promoting this specific area.

There are  two types of chat rooms: personal and commercial. Commercial chat rooms may freely use our Java IRC software to create their own custom virtual IRC server. By placing the Java applet in a virtual World Wide Web server1, your company can advertise an address of http://irc.yourcompany.com and have customers use the chat room directly from their browsers. This is of benefit for those visitors to your site that might not have the expertise or the time to install specific Windows or MacOS software. Our rates are as follows:

Type Personal Commercial
Setup-Fee: $100.00 $100.00
Monthly: $50.00 $100.00


The setup fee includes training in basic chat room administration tasks. These tasks are realized by typing IRC commands, and/or by typing special messages to our bot. Training can be completed in one half-day via IRC or site-visit.

The setup fee also includes the initial configuration and installation of the chat room.


After the first month, changes to a chat room configuration will incur a charge of US $10.00 per incident. An example of such a configuration change is changing a chat room's name.

As a channel operator, you may change a channel's topic, and ban or kill users at will.

Tutorial for Operators

In the text below, the terms chat room and IRC channel are synonymous.

You will need a fully-powered IRC client program to perform operator duties. Please check mIRC and/or PIRCH for Windows 95. This guide asumes that you know how to connect to an IRC server and join your channel. If not, you should check first the page specific to your IRC software.



Guidelines for Becoming Operator for MIRC

Before you are granted operator status, you need to join your channel and start a private conversation with the channel robot Z:

    /MSG Z PASS newpassword

Change newpassword with a private password of your choosing. This will become your op password. We will later review your record and update it so that you will be able to become an operator.

Next time you enter the channel, you obtain operator status by requesting it from the robot:

    /MSG Z OP your_password

Then you will see a message saying something like mode +o set, confirming that you have been made an operator on the channel.

It is reccommended that a) either you become operator only when necessary, or b) that you retain operator status at all times. Changing operator status frequently is the online equivalent of thumbing your nose up; i.e. you have an unhealthy interest in letting other people notice that you are the boss.

The Channel's Topic

The Channel's Topic is largely decorative. Visitors will see it briefly when they first enter your channel. All channel members will see a message notice whenever you change it thereafter. Also, users who do a channel listing on our server see the channel name, followed by its topic. If you are operator, the topic is changed like this:

    /TOPIC This is the new channel topic.

Changing Channel Modes

There are eight possible channel modes. Each mode might be on or off. Channel modes might be changed by an operator using the /MODE command. Let's now discuss how to use each mode.

Making a Channel Private

/MODE #Channel_Name +p

A private channel can not be listed with either a /NAMES or a /LIST command. People using the channel do appear under /NAMES, however, the name of the channel they are using remains private.

Making a Channel Secret

/MODE #Channel_Name +s

A secret channel can not be listed with either a /NAMES or a /LIST command. People using the channel can not be listed with a /NAMES command, unless they are also participating in another channel that is not secret.

Modes p and s are mutually exclusive.

Making a Channel Invite-Only

/MODE #Channel_Name +i

The current members of the channel must use the /INVITE command so that others may join the channel. Uninvited users can not enter. Note that if all users leave an invite-only channel, then nobody can enter it! Don't lock yourself out...

Making a Channel Moderated

/MODE #Channel_Name +m

You will use this mode if you invite special (perhaps famous) guests to give online conferences in your channel. Setting this mode prevents normal users from speaking, unless you authorize them. You authorize an specific user to speak by using:

/MODE #Channel_Name +v nickname

Making a Channel Password-Protected

/MODE #Channel_Name +k sesamo

Users attempting to enter the channel will be requested to enter the channel's password. If correct, they gain access.

Locking a Channel's Topic

/MODE #Channel_Name +t

This mode is set by default in all our public channels. If you turn it off, i.e. -t, then any user in the channel may change the channel's topic (title). This would lend itself to all sorts of pranks, and mischief...

As it is set by default, only an operator may use the /TOPIC command.

Preventing Non-Channel Messages

/MODE #Channel_Name +n

This mode is set by default in all our public channels. If you turn it off, i.e. -n, then any user outside the channel (but connected to the server) will be able to send messages that appear to all channel members. Such a feature is more often abused than used.

Limiting Quantity of Users

/MODE #Channel_Name +l 10

The example above would limit the channel to only ten concurrent users. By default we do not limit user quantity on any channel.
We initially create public channels to have mode +nt.

Enforcing Law & Order

Sooner or later, the online equivalent of Saddam Hussein will create trouble in your channel. He may use foul language, insult other users, send kilobytes of dubious ASCII art, or engage in any other activity that you deem detrimental to your channel's social health.

You are paying for a channel. Participation by users is a priviledge, not a right. Like person's vandalizing your home, you have a right to take corrective action.

We will also take action if a user's activities abuse our network in any way. Two examples are the use of robots (specially clonebots) and flooding the server.

A robot in this context is software that listens and acts in your channel as if it were a human user. A more dangerous type of robot is the clonebot. A clonebot attempts to connect multiple times to the same server in an effort to overwhelm its resources and lock out other users.

Flooding is a more common occurrence. IRC was designed to handle small amounts of text, and to give all users equal opportunity to communicate. However, some users feel a necessity to show-off in different ways. They might send a line of text repeated ten or twenty times in rapid succession. They might send huge ASCII cartoons that fill out a whole screen, and make normal conversation scroll out too fast. They might use control (non-text) characters in their messages, usually to support features that only a given IRC program understands but others display as garbage.

Our server and robots tolerate some flooding, however, excessive and continuous flooding is undesirable and should be dealt with. As an operator, you must also use careful judgement as to when a piece of ASCII art disrupts, or enhances, your chat room. Ah, yes... you are the boss: do not let the occassional wiseguy user brainwash you as to what is appropiate or not.

When action becomes necessary, you should first give a private verbal warning and request that the user refrain from the activity in question. If necessary, identify yourself as the channel's operator. For most persons, this should be all that is needed.

However, professional troublemakers may require military action, if only to prove that you have authority to set channel rules.

Your second warning should be to kick the user out of the channel. This can be done with the following command:

/KICK #Channel #nick reason

Substitute the name of your channel and the nickname of the troublemaker. The user gets kicked out of the channel, but not from the server. It is essentially a slap on the wrist. The user can come right back in without penalty. If they return to the channel and behave themselves, then all is well. Most true troublemakers will rush right back in, and try to make your life miserable, however. That's your cue to implement a final solution...

In extremis, you may ban a user from the channel. The command used is /MODE #Channel +b; however, the actual form of the invocation is sort of an art form. If not careful, you could ban more users than the one you intend to. On the other extreme, the ban could be so weak that the original troublemaker can re-join the channel using a different nickname, different username, or even different Internet account!

In the following examples, let's assume that your channel is called #Borinquen and that the troublemaker's nickname is BadBoy, identified as user guest, and connecting from the machine trouble.funcity.edu.

The first thing to note is that the /MODE +b command does not identify the target victim by nickname, but by something known as a hostmask. The hostmask is a complex pattern identifier that includes the nickname, a username, and a machine's hostname, or IP address.

Using the most specific form, our sample troublemaker could be banned using this command:

/MODE #Borinquen +b BadBoy!guest@trouble.funcity.edu

If BadBoy is in channel #Borinquen, he is immediately kicked out and can not come back in. Your problem is solved... well, not quite...

If BadBoy has a little knowledge, he will now change his nickname to something like BadKid. Next thing you know, he is back in your channel... laughing at your naiveté!

You could ban him again using his new nickname, but that could boil down to a contest of who has more time available to waste. The bad guys usually have more free time and he can change his nickname ad infinitum. Therefore you want to make a ban that will cover all possible nicknames; you do that like this:

/MODE #Borinquen +b *!guest@trouble.funcity.edu

The * before the ! is known as a wild-card. It will match any sequence of characters. In this case, it will match any nickname.

One would think that the above would do the trick, but it again fails. BadKid will be back in the channel in a minute or two. What happened? Well, he went back to his IRC software, clicked on a menu titled something like identd server, and changed his username from guest to something else. And went marching right back in into your channel. Therefore, we must use an even more general hostmask:

/MODE #Borinquen +b *!*@trouble.funcity.edu

Now, that's one ban BadKid can not circumvent, unless he happens to have a second Internet account somewhere else. If he does, you can ban his second account too. Changing Internet accounts is not nearly as easy as changing nicknames.

There is one problem with the above command, however. Can you spot what it is? Essentially, no user accessing from the machine trouble.funcity.edu will be able to enter your channel. This could be unimportant, or it could be unacceptable. Here is where good judgement is required. In general, you can get away with banning a machine like this if you do it for only a few hours, and then later lift the ban.

If the troublemaker is accessing from a dialup account, you can go ahead and ban his machine or machine number like this:

/MODE #Borinquen +b *!*@sanjuan-208-135-3-150.coqui.net


/MODE #Borinquen +b *!*@

This can be done because the probability of another user using the same assigned IP number after the troublemaker hangs up is remote. You should still lift the ban after a few hours.

You should avoid making commands that ban too many users unnecessarily. For example, the following command bans all users from coqui.net from entering your channel:

/MODE #Borinquen +b *!*@*.coqui.net

The following command bans everyone from entering your channel:

/MODE #Borinquen +b *!*@*

Clearly, you do not want to lock too many people out by accident.

Lifting a Ban

You can get a listing of all active bans in your channel:

/MODE #Borinquen +b

You lift a ban by using the -b channel mode like this:

/MODE #Borinquen -b *!*@sanjuan-208-135-3-150.coqui.net

Granting Operator Priviledges

You should let us know who will be the official operators for your channel. Under unforeseen rare circumstances, you might need to grant somebody else operator status. Assuming the new operator's nickname is goodboy, you would do it like this:

/MODE #Borinquen +o goodboy

You would remove goodboy's operator status like this:

/MODE #Borinquen -o goodboy

Note that once goodboy becomes an operator, he could become a badboy and remove your operator status! Only grant operator priviledges to persons you can trust.

This is all that you need to know to start operating your channel. As with most things, hands-on experience is essential. If your channel is successful, you will get plenty of experience.

SOFTWARE Available. (select below)
mIRC 4.72
PIRCH 0.92
MS Chat 2.0

To ICQ Homepage



99-2000 NSA BOG
Jeffrey Adelstone ( afstax@aol.com )
Berryman Gov IX BJ ( lpabjb@aol.com )
Doug Burnette ( dcburn@infoave.com )
Eldon Gov I Clingan ( eldonrc@aol.com )
James E Gov VI Cox ( jecox@bellsouth.net )
Steve 2ndVP Desdier ( claytonsd@aol.com )
Robert H Gov XI Fukuhara ( ffcocpa@lava.net )
Carolynn A. Gov X Holomon ( cholom@futureone.com )
Kay PP Jeffers ( jayjeffers@aol.com )
Ralph C. VP McBride ( jdmba4u@aol.com )
Norma J. Gov IV Ogle ( gapaexdr@mindspring.com )
Chad B Piehl ( phbcpa@hutchtel.net )
Arthur B Gov.II Ray ( artraysr@juno.com )
Dan E Gov.V. Setters ( abs4des@aol.com )
Donny J Gov.DxIII Woods ( dwoods@arkansas.net )
Don Gov. VII. Yoder ( yodertax@kctc.net )

In reviewing software here is my findings: Research
Talk of the Internet
Interact with others and build online communities with the latest Internet chat software.

Jarvis Windom

Internet chat has entered a new realm, taking real-time communication beyond the traditional world of Internet relay chat (IRC). Today, chat packages range from simple text-based chat to entire virtual chat worlds. Chat's real-time nature gives it the unique ability to foster a true sense of community, more so than any other Internet application. Chat is an essential component of many commercial Web sites and can be an effective, inexpensive tool to enable far-flung workgroups to communicate easily. With the advent of Java-based and graphical clients, Internet chat packages have matured into compelling applications for Web sites, giving visitors a fun way to connect with each other.

We looked at seven chat packages in this roundup: Magma Chat Server, E-Pub Chat, eShare Expressions, ichat Rooms 3.0, The Palace Software, Virtual Places, and VolanoChat. We tested each product's client and server offerings, and we considered each product's viability for both commercial and productivity applications. While we tested only servers that run under Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, many work with other operating systems, including Windows 95, MacOS, and multiple flavors of Unix.

A Lot to Talk About

If you want more than just chat, then you'll be delighted with this newest crop of chat products, which move well beyond the typical "chat room" metaphor. We were able to set up tours of the Web with products such as Rooms and Virtual Places, taking a group of chatters on a game of Internet Follow the Leader while maintaining a conversation throughout. We also could set up online events, hosting a live, moderated Q&A session.

If it's graphics you are after, then you'll be blown away by The Palace and Virtual Places. Each program's detailed graphical approach places you in an entirely different world. Rooms goes as far as letting you host chat in a VRML 3-D environment. E-Pub Chat, The Palace, Rooms, and Virtual Places all offer avatar-based chat, where you can represent yourself graphically to others while you chat. This approach may not be best suited for a workgroup productivity tool but is quickly becoming the standard for commercial Web sites.

None of the packages we tested was particularly difficult to set up or administer, and a typical Webmaster should have little trouble getting started when implementing chat. Chat Server and VolanoChat both require actions from a command prompt, making them less intuitive than their GUI cousins. E-Pub Chat and Rooms provide very intuitive tools for designing your rooms, eliminating much of the grunt work involved in the design process.

Ultimately, a user's interest in chat on a public Web site will depend on the level of discourse going on there. But you can give visitors to your site a reason to come back with a fun, flexible environment. Chat is not for all sites or all users, but with the powerful tools that are now available, it is gaining momentum as a mainstream means for real-time communication. Read on--surely one of these packages will give you something to chat about.