This guide will help you get started with using IRC, if you are new.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is seperated into channels and networks. An IRC network is a group of IRC servers that have agreed to link together, to share the same set of users and channels. There are many (1000+) different IRC networks. On each network, there are a set of channels users have created. Channels (sometimes called rooms) are places to chat with others in a public forum. The same channel name, on two different networks, will not have the same people in it. AfterNET is our IRC network, and you can see a list of our channels here. For a list of all networks and IRC channels try the site http://searchirc.com.
Most of you are probably using a program called mIRC. mIRC is one of MANY different programs that know how to speak to IRC servers. mIRC is shareware, but there are many free alternatives which are quite good as well. We have some guides available which can help you install an IRC program, or even embed IRC in your website!
After you get your IRC software installed, find AfterNET in the network/server list (File → Select Server in mIRC, choose AfterNET in the drop down box and click connect)
Since all the fun on IRC happens in channels, you will want to join a channel to find people to talk to. If you arn't automatically presented with a channel search box, open it (in mIRC its Tools → Channel List, then click 'Get List!' to get the list for that perticular network). Look over the channel list. Usually there are channels for specific topics, like a game, and then more generic channels just for hanging out and talking about whatever. On AfterNET, one such channel is #AfterNET. Find it in the list, double-click it, and close the channel search window.
You should now have a new window for the channel. (NOTE: All channels on IRC begin with the pound sign (#). Its just something about IRC. So get used to seeing # in front of channel names, and dont forget to type it in commands)
In the new channel window, there is an input box. Type something friendly (like, 'hello everyone') to begin meeting new people.
If none of the channels you find are quite what you want, or you have an idea for a new channel, anyone can create a new channel. All you have to do is join it, and if it doesn't exist, it will be created for you. To do this, use the commandline: in any input box (where you chat) type /join #newchannelname. You will see a new window open for it, and you will be the only one in the userlist. If you are the first to join a new channel, you will be givin operator status (also called ops, chanops, @, or +o) which allows you to change modes, kick, ban, and more.
You do not want your new channel to go away when you leave, and it would be nice if you were protected, so that you always got ops when you joined. This is where bots (short for robots) come in. Bots are special users on IRC which are operated by software instead of people. On AfterNET there are 2 bots you need to know. The first is called AuthServ. It is the account management bot. You login to it, and it helps everyone on IRC know who you are, including the other bot you need to know, called X3. X3 is our channel services bot. Once registered with X3, your channel is reserved for you. X3 will manage a list of friends and enemies (called users and lamers) in your channel, and help you with modes and the topic.
You can communicate with bots by sending them private messages. Most bots respond to the word 'help' with a menu of commands. Try this now: type /msg authserv help
For detailed instructions on registering your account with AuthServ, and registering your channel with X3, follow this link.