How to Block Private Messages (PMs)

Private messages (PMs), as the name implies, pass only between two users on the network. any registered users on GeekShed can use the commands /msg, /query, and /notice to send PMs to each other.

There are times when you’re just not up for conversation or a troll is bothering you with lots of private comments. One simple solution is to block your private messages (PMs). The command to block all PMs is easy:

/umode2 +D

If you use mnemonics to remember commands, the “D” stands for Deaf. Enter that command exactly, and you should no longer receive PMs from other users on the network. Note that IRCops (network staff) can still PM you.

When someone tries to PM you, they will see a message like this from the server:

Message to '<your nick here>' not delivered: User does not accept private messages 

TIP: This command is not persistent (or permanent). You have to enter the command every time you connect to GeekShed. If you’re using a client that can perform commands when you connect to a network, you can use that capability to make sure PMs are always blocked.

How to Unblock Private Messages

To reverse the command all you have to do is change the plus to a minus, like this:

/umode2 -D

Private Messages with Unregistered Users

Private messages from unregistered users are automatically blocked on GeekShed. This default setting helps protect everyone against spammers. If you don’t want these message blocked, just follow the instructions to receive Private Messages with Unregistered Users.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

How to Choose Staff for Your Channel

Once you register your channel, you can add staff to help you keep order or enforce any rules you have for your channel. The commands for making someone a permanent admin, operator or half-operator are relatively simple. You can even add someone as a founder (though we don’t recommend it).

The harder part is choosing people who will make good staff. Promoting someone in your channel gives them control over what happens there. To make sure your channel stays YOURS and that it’s run the way you want it to be, you need to be cautious about choosing your staff.

Before you make someone an op or hop, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I know the person well?
  • Do I trust the person?
  • Does the person have good judgment?
  • Is the person polite, helpful, and knowledgeable?
  • Is the person cool under stress?
  • Will the person follow my instructions?
  • Does the person follow the channel and network rules?
  • Has the person been in my channel for a while?
  • Is the person active regularly?

If you can honestly answer “Yes” to all those questions, then the person could make a good member of your channel staff. If you answer “No” to even one, you should probably choose someone else.

The worst people to choose are the people who ask to be staff members. Anyone who demands, begs, or continually asks to be network staff does not have the patience for the job. Worse yet, some trolls will ask for ops in a channel only to cause trouble. Save yourself a lot of trouble, and just don’t make these folks a member of your channel staff. You’ll have a lot less drama to deal with!


[If you ended up on this page because you were looking for information on becoming a member of GeekShed network staff, visit Can I be an Oper on GeekShed?]


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Welcome to Felicia Day and Geek and Sundry!

Felicia Day of Geek and SundryHave we got a great April Fool’s Day present for you! GeekShed got a lot geekier today.

Join us in welcoming Felicia Day of Geek and Sundry to the network, along with the cast and crew of the great Geek and Sundry shows.

The Geek and Sundry Subscribathon is underway today, and the official chat is taking place in channels across GeekShed. You can see what’s going on by checking out their related Google+ Hangout.

How can you welcome the Geek and Sundry crew? Visit their site, subscribe to them on YouTube, and check out their channels!

Did you know that when you look up “GeekAndSundry” in Wikipedia, it asks if you meant “gunfoundry”? Someone needs to make them an official Wikipedia page.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

Choosing a Nickname

One of the first things that you do when you join us on GeekShed is choose and register a nickname. The basic guidelines are pretty simple. Just choose something that is unique, that is easy to type and remember, and that doesn’t give away private information.

Beyond that, there are some restrictions on nicknames. Your nickname

  • Cannot start with a number
  • Can only use letters, numbers, and these characters: [ ] { } \ | ^ ` – _
  • Cannot include a space
  • Can only be 30 characters long

First Come, First Served

Nicknames on GeekShed have to be unique. In other words, there can only be one login for any particular nickname. The first person to register a nickname gets it, and following people who want that nickname will have to choose something else. For example, the nickname Rob is registered on GeekShed. No one else can use the nickname Rob.

Restricted Words

GeekShed has a list of words that cannot be used as a nickname, either because they are impolite or they could cause confusion. For instance, you cannot use many rude and explicit words as well as most racial or religious slurs. The list of forbidden nicks is not public (After all, who wants to put a list of rude, impolite words on their website?). Other words are forbidden because they can cause confusion, including server names and words associated with IRC and the services on GeekShed.

If you try to use a forbidden nick, you will see an error message in your status window that says:

Erroneous Nickname: This type of nick is not welcome on GeekShed. Please choose a different nickname.

Please choose another nickname if you encounter this situation. Nicknames will not be removed from the forbidden list. Your choice of nickname is not protected by free speech.

Protecting Network Staff Nicks

In order to guard against imposters, your nick cannot contain the name of any member of network staff. In most cases, this rule will not cause any problems, but there are some tricky cases. For instance, because a member of network staff is named Atri, you are not able to register nicknames like Patrick, Patricia, or Atrium.

Staff Decisions Are Final

While the server may allow you to use a nickname, network staff has the last word. If a member of staff asks you to change your nick, please do so immediately.

Channels May Have Additional Restrictions

Channels on GeekShed are free to create their own rules. Even though you may be using a nickname that is allowed on the network, the moderators in a channel may ask you to change your nickname or leave the channel. Channel staff are within their rights to do so. Please follow their instructions.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

Using Channel Modes to Hide Your Channel

You can use channel modes to make dozens of customizations to your channel. Last week, I talked about using channel modes to set a channel key, which works like a password for your channel. Today I’m going to talk about another way to keep your channel a private place: the channel modes +s and +p.

Secret vs. Private

There are two modes you can use to hide your channel: +s, for a secret channel; and +p, for a private channel.

Originally (that is, in earlier days of IRC), there was a difference between these two modes. On GeekShed, the two commands do the same thing. If you set your channel to +p or to +s, your channel will not show up:

  • in the channel listing that someone gets after using the /LIST command
  • on the website’s list of channels
  • in a /WHOIS list for a user who is in the channel (unless the person using the command is also in the secret channel)

Since the two commands do the same thing, you can only set one or the other.

Setting the Secret or Private Mode

To set the secret mode, use this command:

/mode #channel +s

In that command, replace "channel" with your #channel. For instance, for my super-secret channel, I used this command:

/mode #baconmylove +s  

To set the private mode, use this command:

/mode #channel +p

For instance, I used this command:

/mode #baconmylove +p  

Restrictions on the +s and +p Modes

If you set your channel to +s and then decide to set +p, the server will respond by removing the +s setting. You’d see something like this:

* tengrrl sets mode: +s
* tengrrl sets mode: +p-s

In the second line, the server set +p (adding the private setting), and -s (removing the secret setting). This is normal. Since the commands do the same thing, you only need one or the other (never both). As long as you have the channel set to +s or to +p, it will be hidden.

Removing the Secret or Private Mode

If you no longer want your channel to be hidden, you can remove the secret or private mode easily:

To remove the secret mode, use this command:

/mode #channel -s

To remove the private mode, use this command:

/mode #channel -p

Once you remove the setting, your channel will be visible to everyone on the network.

Two Tips on Using the Secret or Private Mode

  1. Remember that even though your channel is hidden, the people you ask to join you in the channel can tell others about it. Only invite people to join your channel if you trust them to maintain your privacy. If you cannot trust someone not to tell others about the space, don’t ask them to join your channel.

  2. Any moderator (half-ops, ops, and admins) on your channel can change the channel mode. Don’t add someone as a moderator in the channel if you cannot trust that person to leave the channel with the settings you want.

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny


Using Channel Keys

If you ever had a secret password to get into your clubhouse, you understand the way that channel keys work. You can set a channel key for your channel, and only those people who have the key will be able to join the channel. If you want to have private conversations, using a channel key is a simple way to make it happen.

Setting a Channel Key

To set a channel key, use this command:

/mode #channel +k channelkey  

In that command, replace "channel" with your #channel and replace "channelkey" with your channel key (your password). For instance, for my super-secret channel, I used this command:

/mode #baconmylove +k nomnomnom  

When you set a channel key, everyone in the channel will see the new key. When I set my channel key, for instance, the server announced this in the channel:

 * tengrrl sets mode: +k nomnomnom


  • Be sure that you choose a strong password that others will not easily guess. Follow these guidelines for strong passwords to make your choice.
  • Make sure you remove anyone you do not want to have the key before you set it. You can ask him to leave OR kick and ban if necessary. Remember that the server announces the key in channel when you set it, so everyone in your channel will see the new key.
  • Anyone who has half-op status or higher in your channel can change the channel key. If you cannot trust someone, don’t make that person a moderator. He could easily change the password and lock everyone out of the channel! See the Troubleshooting information for what you can do if you get locked out.
  • The channel key will only remain as long as someone is in the channel. If everyone leaves, the next person who joins will be able to do so without knowing the channel key. The easiest solution to this problem is either to add a bnc user to the channel or create a private bot to occupy the channel. Note that services bots will not hold a channel open.

Joining a Channel with a Key

You need to provide the password to join your channel now once you set your key. Here’s how to use the JOIN command with a channel key:

/join #channel password

For my super-secret channel, I used this command:

/join #baconmylove nomnomnom

You’ll need to give your password and this command to everyone who you want to grant access to your channel. Only give your channel password to the people you trust with access to your private space.

Changing your Channel Key

To change your channel key, just use the same command with a new password:

/mode #channel +k newchannelkey 

The command is exactly the same. You just indicate the new channel key when you use the command.


You see this error message in your status window: #channel :Cannot join channel (+k)
Either you didn’t include the password or you used the wrong password. Check with the channel owner for the correct password or to ask for access to the channel.

You get locked out of your own channel.
If you forget your password or someone else changes it, you can just change your channel key and join with the new key. If a moderator in your channel changed the password without your permission, you may want to talk to that person or remove his access. Remember you should only add people as half-ops, ops, or admins if you trust them completely.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

What Is A Hostmask?

When you connect to GeekShed, the server reads information from your client and sets a hostmask that is used to identify you on the network. Perhaps obviously, your hostmask hides (or masks) some of the specifics about your connection (in other words, your host). Your hostmask will take this general format:


For example, here’s the hostmask for the LordBaconCheeseburger:


For that example:

  • nick = LordBaconCheeseburger
    It’s whatever nickname the person is using.

  • user = ~TFlash
    It’s the name set in your client. If there’s a leading tilde (~), the client is not running identd.

  • host =
    It’s the masked hostname of your connection. Your unmasked hostname is never publicly available.

You may have noticed that some people have vhosts, a virtual hostname, which hide their real connection’s name. On the GeekShed network, you can be assigned a vhost if you donate to the site or if you have been registered for 90 days or longer. If LordBaconCheeseburger donated $5 to the network, for example, his hostmask could change to LordBaconCheeseburger! If someone has a vhost, you can still see the person’s actual hostmask with the command, /userip <nick>.



—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

Getting a Channel in the List of Chat Rooms

If you’re looking for a channel to join, all you have to do is visit the Chat Rooms page here on the site. The automatically generated page lists channels, their topics, and the number of users currently in the channel, listed from the channel with the most users to the channel with the fewest users.

To get your channel to show up on the list:

  • Make sure that your channel is not set to +s (secret) or +p (private). Private or secret channels do now show up on the list.
  • Maintain more than 5 people in the channel. The list is limited to channels with 6 or more users.

That’s it. If you have a public channel with 6 or more users, it will show up in the official list on the website. The channel doesn’t have to be registered, but we always recommend that you register your channel. It’s free and gives you better control over your chat room.

How do you determine if your channel is public?

Just use the command:

/mode #channel 

For example: /mode #topgear. In your status window, you’ll see something like this:

Mode for room #topgear is "+ntrS"

The Channel Modes page will help you decipher that response, but for our purposes, notice that there is no “s” and no “p.” That means the channel is neither secret nor private. Note that case matters. The channel #topgear is +S (strips color codes), but not +s (secret).


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

Learning More About A User

If you were on Facebook and wanted to know more about someone, you’d go to their profile and click the Info or About link (depending upon whether the person has set up the Timeline). We don’t have profile pages in IRC, but you can use some basic commands to learn a little bit more about someone.

For Someone Logged On Now

If you are chatting with someone or see the nick connected in a channel, use the /WHOIS command to learn more. To use the command, type:

/whois nick nick

There’s no mistake there. Type the nick twice to get complete information on the person, as in this example:

/whois LordBacon LordBacon

In return, the server will give you this information (with line numbers added):

1 LordBacon is * TFlash NextGen
2 LordBacon is using modes +iRx 
3 LordBacon is a registered nick
4 LordBacon on #theshed 
5 LordBacon using Sponsored by Phil
6 LordBacon Ruler of all that is the glory of bacon
7 LordBacon has been idle 13secs, signed on Thu Feb 16 21:31:58
8 LordBacon End of /WHOIS list.

Here’s what the info means:

  • The first line gives you the hostmask and the name entered in the client (TFlash NextGen, in this case).
  • The second line tells you the user modes.
  • The third line (obviously) tells you that the nick is registered. You won’t see that third line if the nick is not registered.
  • The fourth line tells you what channel(s) the person is on. The server will add extra lines here if the person is on a lot of channels.
  • The fifth line indicates what server the person is using.
  • The sixth line gives the SWHOIS for the person, if one is set. Most people will not have this line.
  • The seventh line tells you how long the person has been idle. Note that if you type the nick only once, you will not get the idle time for the person.

For Someone Who Recently Logged Out

The /WHOIS command will only work for people who are online. If the person just logged off, try the /WHOWAS command. To use the command, type:

/whowas nick

Here’s an example:

/whowas LordBacon

In return, the server will give you this information (with line numbers added):

1 LordBacon was * TFlash NextGen
2 LordBacon using Sponsored by Phil

You may see more information if the person was logged on more than once recently. This command is especially useful if you want to ban someone from your channel and they leave before you can check the hostmask you need to ban.

For General Info on Someone

For general information on someone who is registered, you can use the nickserv INFO command. To use the command, type:

/msg nickserv info nick

Just swap in the nick of the person you want information for, as in this example:

/msg nickserv info LordBacon

In return, the server will give you this information (with line numbers added):

1 LordBacon is TFlash NextGen
2 LordBacon is currently online.
3 Time registered: Feb 17 02:46:36 2012 UTC
4 Last quit message: Quit: Off to find more bacon
5 URL:
6 For more verbose information, type /msg NickServ INFO LordBacon ALL.

Here’s what the info means:

  • The first line gives you the name entered in the client (TFlash NextGen, in this case).
  • The second line tells you if the person is online. This line is skipped if the person is not online.
  • The third line tells you when the nick is registered.
  • The fourth line tells you the person’s quit message (if there was one).

You may see additional information if the person has set details for the nick with the NICKSERV SET command. In this example, the person has added a URL, for instance.


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

How to Protect Your GeekShed Password

Yesterday I witnessed this little series of events (and the names have been changed to protect the innocent):

* Joins: HarryLime (
<HarryLime> msg NickServ IDENTIFY passw0rd
* HarryLime is now known as Unidentified1337
* Quits: Unidentified1337 ( ) (Quit: 
         Unidentified1337 )
* Joins: HarryLime_ (
<HarryLime_> hmm
* Quits: HarryLime_ ( ) (Quit: HarryLime_ )
* Joins: HarryLime (
* Quits: HarryLime ( ) (NickServ (GHOST command 
         used by HollyMartins) )
<HollyMartins> lol
<HollyMartins> it was his real password...
<HollyMartins> lol
* Joins: HarryLime (
<HollyMartins> HarryLime, change your password
<HollyMartins> and don't identify in the channel
<HollyMartins> you posted this: <HarryLime> msg NickServ IDENTIFY passw0rd
<HarryLime> not my best day today O.o
<HollyMartins> obviously not

Now in case you don’t follow, let me explain what happened there. The user HarryLime logged on and accidentally typed the command to identify in the open channel. Everyone in the channel saw HarryLime’s password. Harry’s friend Holly decided to test out the password and used the GHOST command to log Harry out. [Warning: Ghosting someone’s nick as Holly does may well end up in a ban from the network so don’t try it!]

That situation inspires me to share four pieces of advice with you:

  1. Use the identify command in the status window (the tab or window that welcomes you to the server and tells you to follow the Terms of Service) and no one will ever see your password. It’s best to use that status window anytime you’re typing something you might not want everyone else online to see if something goes wrong.
  2. Change your password immediately if you do type your password in an open channel accidentally. You are at risk. Anyone can take over your nick, and gain access to everything you have on the network. Use this command:
    /msg nickserv set password supersecretpass123
    Replace “supersecretpass123” with your new password.
  3. Choose a strong, unique password. Harry’s password of “passw0rd” is not a good choice at all. Follow these guidelines for strong passwords to make your choice.
  4. Store your passwords in a secure place. Software like LastPass can keep track of all your passwords and even generate unique passwords for you. You can learn more about LastPass below by watching the video from Jupiter Broadcasting.
  5. Even the most secure password can be lost or exploited. In case you think you won’t ever have this problem, read this post on The Myths of Password Security by GeekShed staff member and security expert Allan Jude. No one is immune. Be sure you do what you can to protect your GeekShed login!


—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny