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


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

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

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

What is Identd?

When you use the /whois command or /ns info on yourself, you may notice the tilde before your connection information. Here’s an example:

That leading tilde (~) indicates that you are not running identd on your machine. As Phil explains it, identd is an age-old service that runs on port 113 and was designed for shared shells. It’s essentially a process that confirms that you are who your ident says you are. For the full, geeky details on identd, see RFC 1413.

Basically, your client sends your required ident as part of the initiation commands when you connect to GeekShed. The server then checks to see whether you have an identd running and uses the ident reported by that in your hostmask. If the server does not find identd running on your machine, it adds the tilde (~) to your ident.

Note: don’t confuse any of this with the tilde (~) you may see in your nick list as an indication of a channel’s admins. Those are nick prefixes.

How do you enable Identd on your machine?

Many clients either have Identd built in or include the option to turn it on. Check the documentation for your particular client. Note however that there are clients that will not provide support.

ChatzillaSee How do I enable ‘ident’?
ColloquySee Enabling Identd.
LightIRCNo longer available for use on this network.
MibbitSee ident.
mIRCSee Why am I unidentified and what does it matter?
SnakSee “The server keeps saying something about ‘Ident’ problems” on the Troubleshooting page.
TFlash (GeekShed’s
web client)
No longer in use.
X-ChatSee How do I enable identd in X-Chat?

Additional Troubleshooting Information

You can connect to GeekShed even if you cannot get identd running on your machine. You’ll just have the tilde (~) show up before your connection information. If you cannot get it to work, relax because there’s no penalty.

That said, if you investigate things further, you may find that you need to open up port 113 on your firewall or enable identd on your router. For more information, check out Section 4.3. “No identd” of IRC Connection Problems or Setting Up Identd on the IRCPolitics site.



How to Join Channels Automatically

The AJOIN command is a server-side command that keeps track of the channels you join each time you connect to GeekShed. If you login with your nick and identify with your password, you can join all the same channels automatically. It works no matter what client you use or where you connect from since all the details are kept on the server.

Note that your client may have an option to keep an auto-join locally. Check your documentation for details on using a client-side system if you want to keep your settings on your machine(s). This explanation will focus on the server-side system only.

What is required to join channels automatically?

Your nickname has to be registered, and you have to identify before you can use the AJOIN command. Additionally, the channel that you want to join has to be registered. Remember that you can only be in 100 channels, so you can only include 100 channels in your AJOIN list.

How do I join a channel automatically?

To add a channel to the list of those that you join every time you connect to GeekShed (your AJOIN list), use the following command:

/msg NickServ AJOIN ADD #channel

For instance, /msg NickServ AJOIN ADD #topgear would add the channel #topgear to your AJOIN list.

How do I add a channel that uses a key to my AJOIN list?

If the channel you want to add uses a key, you need to include the key when you use the command:

/msg NickServ AJOIN ADD #channel key

For instance, /msg NickServ AJOIN ADD #topgear hAmsT3r  would add the channel #topgear with the channel key “hAmsT3r” to your AJOIN list.

Can I just add every channel I’m in right now?

Yes, you can. Join all the channels you want to add, and use the command:

/msg NickServ AJOIN ADDALL

The command will also automatically include the keys for any channels to your AJOIN list.

How do I see a list of all the channels I join automatically?

To see a list of all the channels on your AJOIN list, use the command:

/msg NickServ AJOIN LIST

Use wild cards with this command to list only the channels on your AJOIN list that match a specific pattern. For instance, the command /msg NickServ AJOIN LIST #top* would return all the channels on your AJOIN list that begin with “#top” (for instance, #topgear).

How do I remove a channel from my AJOIN list?

To remove a channel from your AJOIN list, use the command

/msg NickServ AJOIN DEL #channel

For instance, /msg NickServ AJOIN DEL #topgear would remove the channel #topgear from your AJOIN list.

How do I delete all the channels that I join automatically?

To remove all the channels from your AJOIN list, use this command:

/msg NickServ AJOIN CLEAR

The command will delete all the channels from your AJOIN list. When you connect to GeekShed again, you will not join any channels automatically.

What if I get banned from a channel I usually join automatically?

If you are banned from a channel, please be sure to remove it from your AJOIN list, using the AJOIN DEL command above. Keeping a channel you are banned from on your AJOIN list may result in accidentally evading the ban.

Video Demonstration of the AJOIN commands

If you’d like to see some of these commands demonstrated, take a look at UKGeek’s video below, which was entered in our birthday competition last year:




Setting Up Greeting Messages

When I join #theshed the channel bot, Sheldon, posts this greeting:

[11:20] Sheldon: [Bunny] Go Hokies!

That’s a channel greeting, an individualized greeting that is announced to the entire channel. It’s different from the Channel Entry Message, the private message sent to everyone who joins a channel. You’ll only see greeting messages for users with operator or founder status and only in channels where the messages are turned on.

There are two parts to setting up greeting messages: (1) a channel founder has to turn the greetings on, and (2) the channel operators have to set up the specific greetings.

Part One: Turning greeting messages on (or off) for a channel

Who can change the greeting setting for a channel?

Only the channel founder can turn greetings on or off.

How do you can turn greeting messages ON for all channel operators?

To turn channel greetings on, the channel founder first has to assign a bot to the channel. Once a bot is assigned, the channel founder uses the following command:

/msg BotServ SET #channel GREET ON

For example: /msg BotServ SET #topgear GREET ON

Once the setting is turned on, the channel bot will display the personal greeting for any operator or founder who joins the channel. Operators and founders still have to set up their greeting message for it to appear in the channel (see Part Two).

How do you can turn greeting messages OFF for all channel operators?

To turn channel greetings back off, the channel founder simply changes the command setting from “on” to “off”:

/msg BotServ SET #channel GREET OFF

For example: /msg BotServ SET #topgear GREET OFF

Part Two: Setting up your personal greeting message

How do you add a greeting message for yourself?

To add a greeting, you use the following command:

/msg NickServ SET GREET [message]

For example: /msg NickServ SET GREET I come with Bacon!

After setting the message, the bot will announce the greeting when you join channels where you are an operator and the greeting option is turned on. For instance, when the user LordBaconCheeseburger joins #topgear, where he has ops, everyone in the channel sees this:

[23:49]<&Stig> [LordBaconCheeseburger] I come with Bacon!

How can you check what your greeting is set to?

If you want to check your greeting, use the INFO command on yourself:

/msg NickServ INFO [YourNick] ALL

For example: /msg NickServ INFO LordBaconCheeseburger ALL

The system will return information about your login, including the greeting you have set. Here’s the information for LordBaconCheeseburger, for instance. Note the bold line indicating the greeting message:

[23:54] -NickServ- LordBaconCheeseburger is TFlash NextGen
[23:54] -NickServ- Is online from:
[23:54] -NickServ- Time registered: Apr 15 05:23:55 2011 UTC
[23:54] -NickServ- Last quit message: Quit: LordBaconCheeseburger
[23:54] -NickServ- E-mail address:
[23:54] -NickServ- Greet message: I come with Bacon!
[23:54] -NickServ- Options: Protection, Security, Private, Auto-op

How do you change your greeting message?
To edit your greeting message, just use the command again, with the revised version of the message. It may be useful to copy the original message into a text, revise it there, and then paste in the revision.

If I wanted to change the greeting message for LordBaconCheeseburger, for instance, I would use this command:

/msg NickServ SET GREET I come with Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato!

The new message will replace the old one.

How do you turn off your greeting message?
If you prefer not to have the bot greet you when you join channels, you can remove the message completely. To remove the greeting, use the command without any message information. The command would be:

/msg NickServ SET GREET

Note that you can only remove your own greeting message. To turn off all the greetings in a channel, the channel founder must use the BotServ command explained in Part One.

What makes a good greeting message?
Your greeting message can say whatever you’d like. Ideally, choose something appropriate for all the channels you join. If your greeting uses inappropriate language, the channel founder may ask you to change your greeting or remove you from the channel staff.


—Posted by tengrrl

Grouping a Nick: Why and How?

So you’ve registered your nick, but have more than one computer/device that you join IRC from. You might be wondering “do I need to register a new nick and have people add that nick to access lists as well? Certainly there must be an easier way.”

Well luckily for you, there is. You are able to group nicks together so that permissions and other data are shared among accounts. Some of the items that are shared include (but are not limited to): channel ownership, permission levels (owner, halfop, etc.) on channels, group info that was provided when you registered, password, and virtual host. Pretty much anything your single nick has associated with it will be associated with the group of nicks that you have registered.

Here’s how to group a nick to one that you already have registered:
  1. Switch to the nick that you want to group
    • NOTE 1: Before you enter the next command, make sure that you are using the nick you want to add to your existing group. Do NOT be using your main nick. Example: if I wanted to group JayneCobb to my account, I would /nick JayneCobb.
    • NOTE 2: If you use a registered nick when the next step if performed, it will first be dropped, then grouped to the main nick. Example: if I try to group JayneCobb (which is registered) to my main nick MalcolmReynolds, Services will first drop JayneCobb, then have it join the MalcolmReynolds group. By being dropped, any permissions JayneCobb had will be gone.
  2. Enter the following command in the server/status window: /msg nickserv group main_nick password, where main_nick is your primary nick, and password is the password belonging to the primary nick.
    Example: I want to group JayneCobb to my primary nick, MalcolmReynolds, and the password for it is S3reni+yV@ll3y (you do use something secure for your passwords, right?). I would type the following as JayneCobb: /msg nickserv group MalcolmReynolds S3reni+yV@ll3y
  3. Look for nickserv to either tell you that you have joined the group of your primay nick or give you an error message, such as “you must wait at least 60 seconds before using the group command again”.
And just to give you the commands again, they are, in order:
/nick theNewNick
/msg nickserv group main_nick password

Now what if you want to delink a nick, i.e. remove it from the group, is there some way to do that? Yes there is, you just drop it by switching to the nick, and doing /msg nickserv drop. Doing that will make nickserv completely drop the nick – it will no longer exist, have any permissions, etc.

Is there someway to delink it without dropping, or without it losing the permissions and other information? Not currently, although I suppose it is possible that it could end up in a future version of anope, or someone could create a module that could drop a nick and register it using the credentials of the former group and preserving permissions, etc.

Should you have any questions about grouping nicks, feel free to leave a comment here, or to join #help and ask in there.

Why should I register my nickname and how do I do it?

Registering your nickname on GeekShed provides a number of benefits. The most notable of these is that registering your nickname prevents other people from using it. Once a user starts using the nickname, they will be asked to ‘identify’ to it with a password. If they fail to do so, their nickname will be changed. This helps to stop people posing as you.

Once you register your nickname, you can be added to the auto voice and op lists in other people’s channels. This enables you to be a permanent staff member in channels. You are also entitled to a vhost once you have been registered for 90 days.

Registration provides you with many benefits and is completely free.

To register your nickname on GeekShed, you must first be using it. If you are not currently using it, change to it with the command:

/nick <nickname>

For example:

/nick CrazyUser

Once you are using the nickname, you may register it in one of two ways. If you’re using GeekShed’s Flash client, register your nick from the “Options” menu at the top of the window. In most other clients, use the following command:

/ns register <password> <e-mail>

Note that some older clients do not recognize the abbreviated /ns syntax. Instead you must type out the full command:
/msg nickserv register <password> <e-mail>

For example:

/ns register supersecretpassword

Following this, you will be sent an e-mail giving you the details required to finish off the registration. Follow the instructions in the e-mail.

Each time you connect and start using the registered, you will be told that “This nick is owned by someone else”. You must ‘identify’ to it using the following command:

/ns identify <password>

For example:

/ns identify supersecretpassword

If you use mIRC, you can load the following script into the Remotes section of your script editor (press alt+R to access this) to identify you automatically. Just replace ‘YOURPASSWORDHERE’ with your actual password:

on 1:NOTICE:*This nickname is registered and protected*:?: {
   if ($nick == NickServ) {
      ns identify YOURPASSWORDHERE

on 1:NOTICE:*This nick is owned by someone else*:?: {
   if ($nick == NickServ) {
      ns identify YOURPASSWORDHERE

If you require help, come and see us in #help on