Saturday, November 26, 2011

SL hacktivists: Your guide to joining the IRC


Yesterday on IRC about three of us were having a chat on the number of people in the IRC. Or rather, the lack of it. Fact is, most people haven’t really used IRC at all since it can be just a very cumbersome and tiring process. Especially if you happen to use Windows seeing that the most popular client out there isn’t free. Neither is the second most popular client. It doesn’t help that most of the tutorials out there have been written for those two either. Given that, I though it would be best to write a tutorial for joining the channel on IRC using one standard process. No choice of clients, no frills, no nothing. Just one standard process which once you are comfortable with you’ll be free to move on to try other things. Be warned however, IRC can be addictive once you get into it. Let’s get into it then.

Edit – Screenshots have been provided for the whole process. Scroll down if the text doesn’t interest you.

Step 1: Downloading and setting up the client.

This is the worst step usually. Wikipedia’s comparison of IRC clients is worthless. It’s a mess of colours and columns which makes one wonder if they are in the process of inventing some form of chinese tic tac toe. To make things standard, let’s all get on the same boat with Trillian. (For windows. For mac users I have an instruction all the way at the bottom so it doesn’t confuse anyone up here in wondering which one to take)

1.1 Go to

1.2 Click on the download button (I’m loving the simplicity. Are you?)

1.3 Standard install process. No frills. Refuse the bloatware that comes with it.

1.4 Go through the basic sign up process. Note that this account you sign up for is like an account with any other website. The account is with trillian and not with the IRC so go ahead and set it up like you would a normal accout. Username and password. Yey. You are done with that

Step 2: Setting up the IRC connection

You should now have a skinny column on the left of your screen. Welcome to trillian. Time to IRC.

2.1 Click on the trillian menu bar. And click manage accounts.

2.1.1 Ideally you should be in the screen Basics->Accounts. If you aren’t, then go there.

2.2 Click Add New Account. You should see a nice tall column of various types of accounts to click on. Click IRC (doh!)

2.3 Ok this is usually the tough part right? It’s simple.

2.3.1 In account name, just type what you want to call it. SL hacktivists account maybe. It’s just a name for your reference.

2.3.2 In nickname, choose what you want to be called*. This is the equivalent of a twitter handle. We’ll see you as ‘crazym4dd0g’ when you log in (or whatever you choose to call yourself. I’m kiriappeee).

2.3.3 Just type in here. IF you are wondering what that is. That’s the server where our slhacktivists and slhackathon channels are. That’s all you need to know.

2.4 Click connect. And once done. Close the window.

Step 3: Joining the channel

Notice now that your skinny column has a new tiny blue logo on the top right of it? Click it.

3.1 Click join a channel

3.2 In the window that opens, type slhacktivists and press Join.

Welcome to the IRC.

There’s the slhackathon channel you also want to join. Do the same process above (3,3.1,3.2) again and type slhackathon this time into the channel name.

Do bear in mind that we are building the community at this point. It may seem a little empty but that’s ok. Come on in and just leave yourself logged in. Even if you are idling don’t leave. Conversations will pop up from time to time and things will eventually get started.

* Note that if you choose to use an existing username you will probably be automatically given a username of the format [existingusername]_ . So if you chose kiriappeee you’d be giving kiriappeee_ <- notice the ‘_’ :D

For mac users you can use the plugin chatzilla with firefox. I think. Either way, if you get something that has no graphical user interface like trillian, then type this into the chat line when you join.

/Nick <your username> (like kiriappeee)


/join slhacktivists

/join slhackathon

Hope to see you guys in there soon. Please share this tutorial. We understand that IRC is a geeky thing but there really is nothing better to get people into one place where they can chat and wait. Let the hacktivism, begin.

Edit – Big thanks to ‘AJ’ who provided screenies for how to join the IRC if you are using a MAC. Choice of IRC client here is Adium.


I’ll put up tutorials for all other clients as well soon. If you’ve got screenshots for Linux and iOS I would really appreciate that.

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