Twitter Bot Upgraded

Twitter Bird SketchTwitter bot, the network bot that posts your Twitter updates in your channel, works with the new Twitter API now, thanks to some code wrangling by the admin, the tech, and the teacher, Allan Jude (also network staff). Hooray!

The bad news is that in the process of updating things recently, we discovered some corrupt information in the database the bot uses to determine which channels to join. Unfortunately some records were lost. If the Twitter bot hasn’t joined your channel again, you will need to register again. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you weren’t using the Twitter bot, register now to have your status updates shared in your channel. It’s a simple process. Let us know in #help if you have any questions.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Channel Management Capabilities

A channel on the network can have six different kinds of users. You might think of them as levels of permission and access. They are, in increasing amount of capabilities:

  • Regular User
  • Voiced, VOP or +v
  • Half-Op, HOP or +h
  • Op, Auto-Op, Full Op or +o
  • Super-Op or Admin, SOP or +a
  • Founder, or +q

Click on the links above to learn hot to set each level. Regular users and voiced users have no power over how the channel is managed. Everyone else has at least some control over who can be in the channel and general channel management.

The channel founder has the highest level of control, with the ability to remove or set any of the lower access levels. Only channel founders can set a channel successor or change the ownership of the channel, which is why we do not recommend having more than one founder for a channel. See tips on How to Choose Staff for Your Channel for more details on how to choose people to trust with your channel’s management.

The table below shows some of the channel management capabilities that are used most often:

Capabilities VOP HOP OP SOP Founder
Can speak when channel is moderated (+m) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can change channel TOPIC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can change Channel Modes (*) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can Kick/Ban users with lower status than themselves Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can Voice/Devoice users (+v) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can Half-OP/DeHalf-OP users (+h) Yes Yes Yes
Can use Botserv (/bs) commands Yes Yes Yes
Can OP/DeOP users (+o) Yes Yes
Can view/add/remove AKICKs Yes Yes
Can SuperOP/DeSuperOP users (+a) Yes
Can add successor Yes
Can add founders (not recommended) Yes

*See the Channel Modes page for details on which modes can be set by which levels. For instance, only the founder can link the channel (+l).


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Leaving Holiday Messages with Memoserv

Want to tell someone Happy Hanukkah and you aren’t online at the same time? It’s Memoserv to the rescue! MemoServ lets registered IRC users send short messages to other registered IRC users, whether they are online at the time or not. You can think of it as a simple IRC mail system.

Sending Messages

To send a message, use this command:

/msg MemoServ SEND nick memo-text

For example, to send a holiday message to LordBaconCheeseburger, I would use this command:

/msg MemoServ SEND LordBaconCheeseburger Happy Hanukkah!

In your status window, you’ll see something like this, confirming your message:

-MemoServ- Memo sent to LordBaconCheeseburger.

Finding Out If You Have Messages

If you are logged in when someone sends you a message, you will see a notification in your Status window, which looks something like this:

-MemoServ- You have a new memo from tengrrl.
-MemoServ- Type /msg MemoServ READ 1 to read it.

Some IRC clients will show the message in your active channel as well.

Of course, you might miss the notification if you are away from your computer, so you can check the list of messages to see if anything new has arrived. To get a list of your messages, use this command:

/msg MemoServ LIST

You’ll see a list of your current messages. Any messages with an asterisk (*) by the message number are new. You’ll find additional options for the LIST command on the command pages.

When you log into GeekShed, a notification message will be in your status window. Check the status window to see if you received any messages while you were not logged in.

Reading Messages

Reading messages is easy, but you have to know the number of the message first. If you need to, use the Memoserv LIST command to get the message number. Once you have the number, read the message by using this command:

/msg MemoServ READ num 

Just replace “num” with the message number from your list. For instance, to read message number 1 from my list, I would type: /msg MemoServ READ 1

There are additional options for the READ command that allow you to read all the new messages or to read a range of messages.

Additional Options

You can learn more about the Memoserv commands, including how to delete messages and how to set up notification options. Now that you have everything you need for simple messages, send me a message if you have any questions (or just want to send one of those holiday greetings).


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Help with the Obscure Password Error

One of the more frustrating errors you can get on GeekShed asks you to use a “more obscure” password. In most cases, when people comes to #help to ask about this error, they have tried a strange and random password, but still get this error:

Please try again with a more obscure password.  Passwords 
should be at least five characters long, should not be something 
easily guessed (e.g. your real name or your nick), and cannot 
contain the space or tab characters.

This error is almost always an indication that the command to register a nick is not being entered correctly. The clue in that error message is that you cannot use your real name or your nick as your password. Be sure that you’re entering the command in this order:

/msg nickserv register supersecretpassword

You do not need to include your nick or real name in the command at all. If you’re looking for information on how to choose a good password, check out the suggestions in How to Protect Your GeekShed Password.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Automatically Voicing Users in Your Channel

You can automatically voice all users or all registered users as they join your channel. Some people use this command to help manage their channel. With everyone in the channel voiced, it’s simple to set the channel to moderated (/mode #channel +m) and devoice any troublemakers. Using the setting that voices only registered users can keep trolls and flooders from interrupting your channel.

There are important limitations to note however. Since the Autovoice command voices everyone who joins, someone you devoice can simply part and rejoin the channel to regain voice. It’s generally more effective to ban and kick the person instead.

Here’s how to use the Autovoice command. To voice everyone in the channel:

/msg chanserv autovoice #channel all 

For example: /msg chanserv autovoice #topgear all. In your status window, you’ll see something like this:

 -ChanServ- Autovoice option for #topgear set to ALL.

For other autovoice options, you change the last word in the command to the setting you’d like, as these examples show:

Purpose Command
To voice registered users only:
/msg chanserv autovoice #channel reg
To see the autovoice status:
/msg chanserv autovoice #channel status
To turn off autovoice:
/msg chanserv autovoice #channel off

If you are using Access Levels in your channel, you have another way to automatically give voice to all users who join your channel:

/msg chanserv levels #channel set autovoice 0

For example: /msg chanserv levels #topgear set autovoice 0. Access level zero (0) is the level for regular users.

To remove the command, use the disable command, as in this example:

/msg chanserv levels #channel dis autovoice


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


A Tip for Connecting with Mibbit

Mibbit is a free, Javascript-based IRC client that can be embedded on a web page or used from the Mibbit site to connect to GeekShed. To connect properly, Mibbit needs to pass the correct information to the GeekShed server.

If you type out a server name for Mibbit , your personal information (like your IP address) can be revealed to everyone. To protect your privacy, please be sure to choose GeekShed from the list of networks on the Mibbit site. Do not click the “Server” link to enter a server name.

Here’s what that part of your screen will look like:

Mibbit Server Choice

If you have any other questions about using Mibbit, check out the documentation on the Mibbit site.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Barebones Commands for New Users

There are certain basic commands that are handy to know if you are new to GeekShed and helpful to pass along if you’ve just invited a friend to join you here on the network.

First, you need to know that all commands use the same basic format. They all begin with a / and then include the specific key term for what you want to do.

Second, in most cases, no one else will see you type a command. Most commands that begin with a / will not be visible to anyone else. I’ll note the exceptions.

Third, the client you use may have buttons or menus (at the top or on right-click) that will execute some of these commands for you. Check your documentation to learn more about what your client can do. For the purpose of this barebones guide, I’m going to assume you want to type your commands out.

For all these commands, my example username (or nick) is LordBacon and the example channel is #TopGear.

Command What It Does
/nick NewName
/nick LordBacon
Change your nickname to something new. Note that your nick has to be unique. You can’t use a name that belongs to someone else.
/join #channel
/join #TopGear
Join the specific channel.
/list Gives you a list of all the IRC channels, how many people are in the channels, and the channel topics. Your client may pop up the list in a new window.

You can also check out the list of channels on the website.
/me action you want to do
/me passes out bacon
Everyone in the channel sees a statement about you. For the example, people would see this:
* LordBacon passes out bacon
/part Leave the channel.
/whois nick
/whois LordBacon
Gives you some basic information about the person whose nick you use.
/msg nick text
/msg LordBacon hi!
Sends a private message (the text) to the person you indicate. If someone asks you to PM, this is the command they want you to use. The message will usually pop up in a new window or a new tab. Exactly how it works depends upon your client.

In the example, the private message "hi!" is sent to the user LordBacon.
/notice nick text
/notice LordBacon hi!
Sends a private message (the text) to the person you indicate, without opening a new window or a new tab.

In the example, the private message "hi!" is sent to the user LordBacon.
/ignore nick
/ignore LordBacon

Blocks messages from the person whose nick you indicate. You will not see anything else that the person types. This example ignores LordBacon.

For more information, see How to Use the Ignore Command.

/help Gives you some online help or documentation. The way the command works will depend upon your client.
/quit Off to buy more bacon!
Disconnect from the network. In some clients, you can include a message that will display after the command. For the example, people would see something like this: LordBacon has quit IRC (Quit: Off to buy more bacon!)

For more information on commands, you can check out our documentation pages or search the pages on our site. If you want to stay on the network, you can register your nickname and even register your own channel.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


I’ve Been Banned from a Channel!

On GeekShed, channel moderators are free to ban anyone from channels they control for any reason at all. They do not need to explain the reason, and they do not have to be “fair.” Since every channel is different, you need to look at the situation and figure out the best approach:

  • Check your ban and/or kick message for details on what went wrong. When someone bans you from a channel, you may find the reason in that message. If there are appeal instructions there, you can follow them if appropriate.
  • In some channels, you can just wait the ban out. In channels where basic bans are only 3 hours, waiting is probably the best solution.
  • Look at the Channel Appeals page for an appeal process for the channel.
    • Follow the instructions if the channel is listed. Wait for channel staff to reply.
    • If the channel isn’t listed, they have no appeal process. If you are in another channel with the person who banned you, you can ask him if you can talk to him privately.
  • When you post an appeal or ask about a ban, be polite and respectful. Apologize if you have broken channel rules, and calmly explain why you think the ban should be lifted. You might review the guidelines on Manners and Polite Behavior on GeekShed as well as any rules posted for the channel itself.
  • If the ban stands or cannot be appealed, just accept it and move on. Don’t try to force your way into channels where you are not wanted.

And a few don’ts:

  • Do not complain or ask about the ban in other channels (that includes #help).
  • Do not PM network staff. Opers will not get involved in channel bans.
  • Do not post complaints or arguments in the GeekShed network forums. You’ll just get yourself banned from the forums as well. It’s okay to post in a channel forum specifically for appeals, if one exists (for instance, as in the case of #chris or #ericjess).
  • Do not rejoin the channel until the ban is lifted. Do not use a BNC, a new connection or alternate nick to rejoin. These actions are ban evasion and you will be banned from the entire network, not just the channel.

If you happen to be looking for information on a ban from the GeekShed network (rather than from a channel), please check the Ban Appeals page.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Setting More Specific Channel Bans

Last week, I explained how to set a simple channel ban that takes care of most situations. Occasionally, you need a stronger or different kind of ban. This week I’ll explain the more complicated channel bans that you can use. Check the Extended Ban tutorial for additional options.

First, you need to understand the different parts of a person’s connection information, which you can find using the WHOIS command. This is the way that information is included in a ban:


Here is what that information means, with examples from the WHOIS information for LordBaconCheeseburger, which is

  • nick = the user’s nickname
    LordBaconCheeseburger in our example

  • ident = the user information, either set by the client or set by the user in the client’s settings
    TFlash in our example

  • specific-hostmask = the unique part of the person’s network connection information
    protectedhost-BACONYUM in our example

  • domain-info = the more general information about the network connection in our example

You can set a ban using any of this information. The basic format stays the same. You simply vary the unique information necessary to identify a person. I’ll provide examples for several options below:

To ban someone who uses a specific nick: /mode #channel +b nick!*@* For example, to ban anyone using the nick LordBaconCheeseburger from the channel #topgear, you would use this command: /mode #topgear +b LordBaconCheeseburger!*@*

To ban someone whose nick changes slightly: You can also use the * as a wildcard in the nickname. Say the person has a habit of adding endings to the nickname (like |away, |home, and |work). Just add a wildcard at the end of the nickname to ban all the different versions. Your command would look like this:
/mode #topgear +b LordBaconCheeseburger*!*@*

To ban someone who always has the same ident: /mode #channel +b *!ident@* Because this information can by set by the client, be careful with these bans. In the case of web-based clients like GeekShed’s Flash client or Mibbit, the ident is the same for everyone. For example, this command: /mode #topgear +b *!TFlash@* would ban everyone using GeekShed’s Flash client from the channel #topgear.

To ban everyone who uses a specific network connection: /mode #channel +b *!*@*domain-info. You can make this ban as specific as you like. Here are some examples, using the information for banning LordBaconCheeseburger from the channel #topgear:
      /mode #topgear +b *!*@* bans everyone using Comcast
      /mode #topgear +b *!*@* bans everyone in Georgia using Comcast
      /mode #topgear +b *!*@* bans everyone using the Comcast hsd1 server in Georgia

To combine bantypes: You can also combine these different banning techniques. For instance, you have had a lot of trouble with people using the GeekShed Flash client who connect from Georgia using Comcast. To ban them all from the channel #topgear, use this command: /mode #topgear +b *!TFlash@*

Before you try any of these bans, of course, be sure to check the information against others in the channel to avoid accidentally banning someone. Be sure that you have set the appeal information for your channel, so that people know what to do if they are banned accidentally.

Finally, for more details on how these bans work, check out the Bans & Mask Type Definitions from the Undernet website.

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny