Ircd Comparison Essay

This tutorial is specifically for the freenode IRC network, the network that Wikipedia uses for IRC communication. Some features on this network aren't necessarily on other networks, and features on other networks aren't necessarily here.

In a modern web browser follow this link to visit Wikipedia's help channel.

Alternatively, to access the freenode IRC servers, you could also use an IRC client. There are three types of graphical clients for IRC: the independent program client, the web browser add-on client and the web-client started by opening up a website.

  • Stand-Alone clients: These require administrative access on the computer.
For Windows, for many years the major graphical client for Windows has been mIRC ( Pidgin ( is also available. HexChat ( is available for Windows as well and is a flexible professional opensource package which stands alone and can be extensively modified by the experienced person. Textual and Colloquy (GPL/BSD) are available for Mac. Quassel IRC is also easy to set up on Windows, Linux, BSD, and Mac.
Packages for various IRC clients may be included on your operating system install CDs and links to web sites for the client software can be found here. Trillian also has an IRC client where you have to check the text box for plug-ins.
Text clients include irssi, ircII and BitchX.
  • Browser-attached client: These install as a web browser add-on and do not require administrative access.
For platforms that the Firefox Browser supports (Windows, Mac and Unix) there is an IRC client called ChatZilla. ChatZilla is built-in to SeaMonkey, and Opera also has a built-in client.
  • Web-page clients: These do not require administrative access. Unlike browser-attached clients, they also do not save your settings or previous chat conversations. These require JavaScript.

See also Comparison of Internet Relay Chat clients.

How do I connect?[edit]

Once you have a client, you'll need a server. You can simply use to reach the main rotation of servers. You can also find a full list by executing:

  • (Linux)
  • (Windows)

Having connection problems?[edit]

After you've obtained your client and the name of a server, you may still need a bit of help in getting connected. Take a look at this tutorial[dead link] or this IRC primer[dead link] on, which contains a variety of other useful information as well.

About the network services[edit]

Nickname registration[edit]

If you want to use a certain nickname on the network and don't want anyone else to take it, you must register it with the network.

You can do so by typing (in any window): , of course substituting for any password of your choosing, and with your email address. Try not to make your password too predictable or guessable, but also avoid using any password you use elsewhere since it's very easy to accidentally type your password into an IRC channel revealing it to others. You should now check your email for the confirmation message from freenode, and complete the steps it contains. Please note that disposable/throwaway emails are not allowed and doing so could delay or negatively affect your registration.

Registering your nick will also allow you to be added to a channel's access list; for example, some of the people in #wikipedia-en-help have +'s beside their nicknames (to identify "helpers").

Note: You only have to register your nickname once. Every other time you connect from that point on, you need to prove who you are, with this command:

Some IRC clients allow you to set performs (this is: command or commands that will automatically be performed on connect) so this would be an ideal command to put in your perform list. On mIRC, you can find the perform list at: File | Select Server.. | Options | Perform.

There are some other options you can set (as well as privacy options), you'll want to get a list by typing:

Setting your IRC client to identify upon connect[edit]

Some IRC clients allow you to automatically issue commands when connecting to a server:

  1. Go to File, Select Server, Options, Perform
  2. Go to Network, click Add, find 'freenode' in the list and click OK.
  3. In the Perform Commands section, add:
    • Click OK as many times as you need to get out of the menus and you're all done.
    1. From the menu choose ChatZilla -> Preferences. Navigate to Global Settings.
    2. Navigate to the Startup tab. Scroll down to Locations.
    3. Click Add and use the following formats to add a and , and to identify:
      (in the last example replace with your freenode account password)
    4. Click Apply, followed by OK, to get out of the ChatZilla Preferences dialog
    5. To add all of your channels individually in the same format once you've joined them, right-click the tab of each channel -> Open this Channel at Startup
    6. To bookmark a channel without joining it automatically at startup, drag the tab for that channel directly to Firefox's Bookmarks Toolbar or Menu
    HexChat (Windows version)[edit]
    1. Go to HexChat. Select Network list. You will see five boxes for you to fill in:
      : The nick you wish to connect with by default.
      (optional): An alternative nick if the first is unavailable.
      (optional): As above.
      (optional): This is your ident. For example, in , "example" would be generated from this field. This can be anything you want, with a maximum of nine characters.
      (optional): This is your "real name" field, visible when the command is used. This doesn't necessarily have to be your real name; you could just have your Wikipedia username, or a URL to your account. It can be anything you want.
    2. Once the details have been completed, highlight the tab under "Networks". Then click the "Edit..." tab.
    3. Click "Add" next to "Servers for FreeNode". Type the following:
      This is the port you can use to connect to the network. See also the advanced section below.
    4. Check the "Use global user information" box under "Your details".
    5. Check the "Auto connect to this network on startup" box under "Connecting".
    6. In the "Favorite channels" box, fill out the channels you wish to join automatically in this format:
      Please note, however, that there is a 256 character limit for this option (see also the advanced section below).
    7. Leave the "Connect command" and "NickServ password" fields blank. In the "Server password" box, type the password you use to identify yourself to NickServ.
    8. Finally, select your character set (by default, "IRC (Latin/Unicode Hybrid)" is selected).
    9. Now click "Close" and you should be all set. Close HexChat and reboot; you should now be identified and connected to your selected channels.
    Advanced options for HexChat[edit]

    There are a few advanced options available for HexChat. If you join more channels than the 256 character limit allows, you can set up an alternative autojoin using Notepad.

    1. Open Notepad.
    2. You can specify your user modes (see ) on the first line. For example, you could type (without the leading ):
    3. On the second line, type
    4. On the third line, you can type out the channels you intend to join. Type in the following format:
    5. Save the file as autojoin.txt
    6. Navigate to HexChat, Network list, highlight FreeNode and click "Edit..."
    7. If you specified "Favorite channels", you may now delete the contents of this field if you wish; the autojoin will be retrieved from the Notepad file.
    8. In the "Connect command" box, type:
    9. Close HexChat and reboot. The changes should now take effect.

    You can also use HexChat to connect to freenode using a secure connection (SSL). To do this, you will need to specify a different port and alter the settings slightly.

    1. Navigate to HexChat, Network list, highlight FreeNode and click "Edit..."
    2. Highlight the entry under "Servers for freenode" (for example, ) and click the edit tab.
    3. Change this line to:
    4. Under "Connecting", check these tickboxes:
      "Use SSL for all the servers on this network"
      "Accept invalid SSL certificate"
    5. Click "close".
    6. Close HexChat and restart the program. The changes should now take effect.
    Emacs (ERC)[edit]

    ERC is part of the GNU project. It is included with recent versions of GNU Emacs.

    to run Type: - if you run erc in this way you need to pass "" as server "6667" as port and your nickname (you can omit the password unless you have registered the nickname).

    You can speed up connection process if you put this in your init file (~/.emacs)

    (defunirc()"Connect to the freenode"(interactive)(erc:server"":port6667:nick"YOUR NICK":password"PASSWORD OR nil"))(global-set-key"\C-ci"'irc)

    Then you can run irc client with

    1. click Accounts -> Add/Edit.
    2. Click the Add button.
    3. Change the protocol to IRC and enter as the server.
    4. To register your nickname. Click on Buddies>New Instant Message>Fill in NickServ for Name.
      • send a message "register PASSWORD EMAIL" (where the CAPs are replaced by your info)
    5. click join a chat and add the channel, ie. #wikipedia-en-help
    1. Go to the "Manage Accounts" screen
    2. Press "Add New Account"
    3. Choose IRC from the list
    4. Fill in the details for:
      • Account Name ( What you'd like to call the connection )
        Nickname ( What you'd like users to see as your "name" )
        Server Host ( Should be set to )
    5. Connect the Account. You should see a "status window" pop up. You can close it at any time
    6. Click on the "Other Connections" button (furthest on the right from the "Status" field)
    7. Browse to IRC
    8. Click on "Join a Channel"
    9. Enter the name of the channel you'd like to enter.
    1. Go to Settings, Configure Quassel...
    2. In the left pane, click "Networks" (under "IRC")
    3. Select the "Auto Identify" tab.
    4. Check the "Auto Identify" checkbox, and fill in the server (should be NickServ) and your password.
    5. Click "Apply" at the bottom, and then "OK" to close the window.

    Applying for a host cloak[edit]

    See the instruction page on Meta-Wiki.

    "Unaffiliated" cloaks[edit]

    If you'd like a cloak that doesn't advertise Wikipedia, please ask in #freenode for an unaffiliated cloak or if you're looking for a member of freenode's staff directly, you can do so via the command or join #freenode and use the command in your IRC client.

    IRC channel list[edit]

    Main article: m:IRC/Channels

    Channels on freenode include but are not limited to:

    IRC client settings[edit]

    • The realname (or Full Name) field can be set optional to anything you want.
    • The ident setting should ideally be turned on, and again set to anything you want.

    I want to send a file to someone and it's not working![edit]

    You have to define a port range in your IRC client, add an exception in any firewall software you may be using and allow that port range in your router. Or just go to and ask them for help.

    What are some basic commands?[edit]

    Here are some basic commands for IRC: (as taken from Wikibooks)

    CommandWhat it doesExample
    Sign on to a server/attach
    /nickSet your nickname/nick YourName
    Join a channel/join #en.wikibooks
    /j #en.wikibooks
    /msgSends a message (can either be private or to the entire channel)Message the channel: /msg #en.wikibooks Hello, World!
    Send a private message: /msg JohnDoe Hi, John.
    /whoisDisplay information about a user on the server/whois JohnDoe
    /stats pDisplays a list of active, on-call network staff/stats p
    /clear all
    Clears a channel's text.
    Clears all open channel's text.
    /clear all
    /awaySets an away message. Note: Type /away again to return from away./away I'm away because...
    /meSends an action to the channel. See example.The following:
    /me loves pie.
    would output to the chat in the case of JohnDoe:
    JohnDoe loves pie.
    /quitDisconnects you from the IRC network. You can also quit with a quit message./quit Off to bed.

    What happens: JohnDoe has quit (Off to bed)

    Throughout your academic career, you'll be asked to write papers in which you compare and contrast two things: two texts, two theories, two historical figures, two scientific processes, and so on. "Classic" compare-and-contrast papers, in which you weight A and B equally, may be about two similar things that have crucial differences (two pesticides with different effects on the environment) or two similar things that have crucial differences, yet turn out to have surprising commonalities (two politicians with vastly different world views who voice unexpectedly similar perspectives on sexual harassment).

    In the "lens" (or "keyhole") comparison, in which you weight A less heavily than B, you use A as a lens through which to view B. Just as looking through a pair of glasses changes the way you see an object, using A as a framework for understanding B changes the way you see B. Lens comparisons are useful for illuminating, critiquing, or challenging the stability of a thing that, before the analysis, seemed perfectly understood. Often, lens comparisons take time into account: earlier texts, events, or historical figures may illuminate later ones, and vice versa.

    Faced with a daunting list of seemingly unrelated similarities and differences, you may feel confused about how to construct a paper that isn't just a mechanical exercise in which you first state all the features that A and B have in common, and then state all the ways in which A and B are different. Predictably, the thesis of such a paper is usually an assertion that A and B are very similar yet not so similar after all. To write a good compare-and-contrast paper, you must take your raw data—the similarities and differences you've observed—and make them cohere into a meaningful argument. Here are the five elements required.

    Frame of Reference. This is the context within which you place the two things you plan to compare and contrast; it is the umbrella under which you have grouped them. The frame of reference may consist of an idea, theme, question, problem, or theory; a group of similar things from which you extract two for special attention; biographical or historical information. The best frames of reference are constructed from specific sources rather than your own thoughts or observations. Thus, in a paper comparing how two writers redefine social norms of masculinity, you would be better off quoting a sociologist on the topic of masculinity than spinning out potentially banal-sounding theories of your own. Most assignments tell you exactly what the frame of reference should be, and most courses supply sources for constructing it. If you encounter an assignment that fails to provide a frame of reference, you must come up with one on your own. A paper without such a context would have no angle on the material, no focus or frame for the writer to propose a meaningful argument.

    Grounds for Comparison. Let's say you're writing a paper on global food distribution, and you've chosen to compare apples and oranges. Why these particular fruits? Why not pears and bananas? The rationale behind your choice, the grounds for comparison, lets your reader know why your choice is deliberate and meaningful, not random. For instance, in a paper asking how the "discourse of domesticity" has been used in the abortion debate, the grounds for comparison are obvious; the issue has two conflicting sides, pro-choice and pro-life. In a paper comparing the effects of acid rain on two forest sites, your choice of sites is less obvious. A paper focusing on similarly aged forest stands in Maine and the Catskills will be set up differently from one comparing a new forest stand in the White Mountains with an old forest in the same region. You need to indicate the reasoning behind your choice.

    Thesis. The grounds for comparison anticipates the comparative nature of your thesis. As in any argumentative paper, your thesis statement will convey the gist of your argument, which necessarily follows from your frame of reference. But in a compare-and-contrast, the thesis depends on how the two things you've chosen to compare actually relate to one another. Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another? In the most common compare-and-contrast paper—one focusing on differences—you can indicate the precise relationship between A and B by using the word "whereas" in your thesis:

    Whereas Camus perceives ideology as secondary to the need to address a specific historical moment of colonialism, Fanon perceives a revolutionary ideology as the impetus to reshape Algeria's history in a direction toward independence.

    Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis. This relationship is at the heart of any compare-and-contrast paper.

    Organizational Scheme. Your introduction will include your frame of reference, grounds for comparison, and thesis. There are two basic ways to organize the body of your paper.

    • In text-by-text, you discuss all of A, then all of B.
    • In point-by-point, you alternate points about A with comparable points about B.

    If you think that B extends A, you'll probably use a text-by-text scheme; if you see A and B engaged in debate, a point-by-point scheme will draw attention to the conflict. Be aware, however, that the point-by- point scheme can come off as a ping-pong game. You can avoid this effect by grouping more than one point together, thereby cutting down on the number of times you alternate from A to B. But no matter which organizational scheme you choose, you need not give equal time to similarities and differences. In fact, your paper will be more interesting if you get to the heart of your argument as quickly as possible. Thus, a paper on two evolutionary theorists' different interpretations of specific archaeological findings might have as few as two or three sentences in the introduction on similarities and at most a paragraph or two to set up the contrast between the theorists' positions. The rest of the paper, whether organized text- by-text or point-by-point, will treat the two theorists' differences.

    You can organize a classic compare-and-contrast paper either text-by-text or point-by-point. But in a "lens" comparison, in which you spend significantly less time on A (the lens) than on B (the focal text), you almost always organize text-by-text. That's because A and B are not strictly comparable: A is merely a tool for helping you discover whether or not B's nature is actually what expectations have led you to believe it is.

    Linking of A and B. All argumentative papers require you to link each point in the argument back to the thesis. Without such links, your reader will be unable to see how new sections logically and systematically advance your argument. In a compare-and contrast, you also need to make links between A and B in the body of your essay if you want your paper to hold together. To make these links, use transitional expressions of comparison and contrast (similarly, moreover, likewise, on the contrary, conversely, on the other hand) and contrastive vocabulary (in the example below, Southerner/Northerner).

    As a girl raised in the faded glory of the Old South, amid mystical tales of magnolias and moonlight, the mother remains part of a dying generation. Surrounded by hard times, racial conflict, and limited opportunities, Julian, on the other hand, feels repelled by the provincial nature of home, and represents a new Southerner, one who sees his native land through a condescending Northerner's eyes.

    Copyright 1998, Kerry Walk, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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