1.1 Internet Relay Chat

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of instant communication over the Internet. It is mainly designed for group (many-to-many) communication in discussion forums called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication.

Contrary to most Instant Messenger (IM) systems, users usually don’t connect to a central server. Instead, users connect to a random server in a network, and servers relay messages from one to the next.

Here’s a typical example:

When you connect to the Libera.Chat network (https://libera.chat), you point your IRC client at the server irc.libera.chat. That server will redirect your client to a random server on the network, such as zirconium.libera.chat.

Once you’re connected, you can send messages to all other users connected to the same network, and you can join all channels on the same network. You might join the #emacs and the #rcirc channels, for example. (Typically, channel names begin with a hash character.)

Once you have joined a channel, anything you type will be broadcast to all the other users on the same channel.

If you want to address someone specifically, for example as an answer to a question, it is customary to prefix the message with the nick followed by a colon, like this:

deego: fsbot rules!

Since this is so common, you can use TAB to do nick completion. By default rcirc will use the default completion system, but you can enable rcirc-cycle-completion-flag to cycle nicks in place.