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1.6 Lag and splits

Lag: when a connection between a computer somewhere between you and another individual on IRC is slow. If someone says, "gabs is lagged tonight", this means that gabs' connection to everyone is slow. The way to fix this is to quit the server that you're on and try another one. How do you know if you're lagged? You ping the entire channel and look at the response times. If they are all fast except one, you aren't lagged, but that one person is. If they are all slow, you are lagged. What is slow? A ping time of less than 5 seconds is great. A ping time of 6-13 seconds is OK. A ping time of 14-20 seconds is unpleasant. A ping time of 21-30 seconds is tolerable on a night with few people in the chat and a relaxed pace - it's very confusing and annoying when the channel is full and people are responding quickly. Anything over 30 seconds is generally untenable. If you get something higher than 60 seconds, you should automatically start looking for another server.

Splits: when a server or group of servers disconnects itself from the rest of the network of servers. What it looks like to you is that a bunch of people on your channel just quit at the same time. They didn't quit, however. They're just on the other side of the split commenting on how you've disappeared. There is nothing you can do about a netsplit except wait. It may take a little while, but the missing people will reappear.


1.7 Basic survival and etiquette

Yes, there are basic rules of behavior to IRC, just as in everything else in life. Here are some basic IRC-wide rules of thumb.

  1. Don't ping everyone every 30 seconds. If you think that you're lagged, check once. If you're not lagged, leave it alone for a few minutes. If you are lagged, tell everyone that you're looking for a new server and then go find one.
  2. Don't kick and/or ban people from a channel for silly trivial things. Do kick/ban people from a channel if they change the topic of #duesouth to "Donkey sex" every five minutes or spew profanity. And then unban them in a couple of minutes - they most likely won't be back.
  3. Don't hit people with trout unless they really deserve it.
  4. No name calling, hair pulling, or spitting.
  5. Do not give people ops (operator status) unless you know them!!! Do not take ops away from someone without a very good reason. Ops allows a user a great deal more power in a channel - you can kick people out of a channel and basically make their lives miserable with ops, if you really want to. And let me repeat - do not give people ops unless you know them!!!
  6. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Don't write the great American/Canadian/Australian/British/etc. novel in the edit box before you hit return. Three sentences or less at a time is the best way to send out your thoughts. Remember, this is a real-time medium, and works best with compact thoughts and sentences.
  7. Learn at least 1 or 2 good smileys. Just like e-mail, you convey your thoughts through your text. Subtle humor doesn't work too well without a smiley or two. The basics are the best - they're easy to type quickly and universally understood :) :-) ;) :/ :D :P ;P :O By the same token, don't accompany every line with a smiley.
  8. The only stupid question is the one you don't ask. People get on IRC because they want to talk to someone else. If you're having problems talking to them because you don't understand something, it's in their own best interest to answer you.
  9. When a stranger starts a private chat with you and tells you to type some little command or phase, the appropriate response is, "My mother told me never to talk to strangers." Nasty people will try to get you to use commands that will either help them create trouble or will get you into trouble. Depending on what they want you to do, it may get everyone from your site banned from that server.


1.80 Bots

Bots are little programs that sit in a channel and perform some simple tasks. Fraserbot and Raybot occasionally visit #duesouth (usually only when there's a special guest). Some bots will respond to simple phrases, but you can't carry on a conversation with a bot - it just is not a person. Running a bot may get your site banned from a server.


1.81 Clones

One of the great sins of IRC is running clones. Cloning is the act of logging into one IRC network more than once at a time. The sin part is logging into the same server more than once; if you log into two different servers at the same time, most people don't have a problem. Simply stated, IRC connections are a limited resource, and no server wants you using any more of their connections than you absolutely have to. This is usually interpreted as one connection. You may find yourself, and everyone at your ISP, banned from a server for cloning.


1.82 Takeovers

Sometimes sad, pathetic people who have no friends, and therefore way too much time on their hands, come into #duesouth and take control. This usually involves the person getting ops either by being the first person in the channel or by impersonating a regular of the channel and getting ops from a person in the channel. For the most part, takeovers are like netsplits - just wait a while, and they go away. Most takeovers don't last more than 1-2 hours and the person who accomplished the takeover is not seen again.

Probably the best tactic to take when the channel has a takeover is to regroup in another channel. Some of the fallback channels we use are #ds, #duesouth2, and #fods. It is possible to have all of the regular users in the fallback channel and having single individuals make forays into #duesouth to try to talk the person out. Once #duesouth empties out, the person who had taken the channel over often gets bored and leaves. At this point, the regular users can return to the channel.

On occasions when the person who has taken over the channel has done so by impersonating a channel regular, it is prudent to disable any auto-ops you may have. For a day or two after regaining the channel, don't give ops to anyone who can't answer a simple question about DS or about their own regular activities. Some questions have been:

  • What is the dog's name?
  • Who is TDL?
  • Who is IV/VV?
  • What is WATE?
  • Who is Dief's girlfriend?

On the rare occasion when a takeover lasts for more than one day, try to get some identifying information on the person who has taken over the channel, and contact that person's ISP. Most ISPs want to know if their users are coming online and abusing other people.