#IRChelp Channel Rules

updated 5/12/02

So you want to help on #IRChelp?

We are the helpers of #IRChelp on EFnet/freenode/IRCnet. (There are #IRChelp channels on most large networks, but those others are not directly affiliated with this web site.) We try to conduct ourselves in a professional, courteous manner. Anybody is welcome to help, but you must follow these guidelines:

  1. Do not idle excessively - that is, staying silent for days and even weeks and not responding when prompted. We reserve the right to kick idle clients at any point based upon our best judgement of their intent and possible risk to our users. This rule enhances channel security and improves our ability to know who needs help. You’re welcome to learn by watching, but be sure you stay awake and respond when somebody talks to you. A better way to learn is to study the #IRChelp FAQs or our many other help files. More information on this rule is at the bottom of this page.
  2. Answer only questions you are absolutely sure about, using clear and concise English. No jokes or pranks please.
  3. Give help publicly on the channel, since the help may apply to other users, and so that we may monitor who is getting help and if that help is accurate.
  4. No help on anything that violates IRC server policies, e.g. how to annoy, takeover, flood, clone, collide, spoof, etc.
  5. No help on anything illegal, e.g. how to do denial of service attacks, illegal file trading etc.
  6. No automated scripts please, including automatic greetings, automatic replies, public away messages, file serve announcements, etc. If we want something automated in the channel, it will be set up and provided by the channel operators.
  7. Avoid annoying behavior which is not tolerated on most channels, e.g. insults, profanity, ads, invites, slaps, ALL CAPS, colors, bold/underline/inverse, etc.
  8. It’s OK to field simple scripting questions such as how to create short aliases or remotes, but otherwise we usually do not provide extensive bot/script help, as they are beyond our scope and best referred to other channels which specialize in them (e.g. #egghelp for bots, #mirc for mIRC scripting). We do not support any 3rd party scripts, not even our own.
  9. Avoid help on non-IRC issues unless the channel is really quiet. Refer the questions to #help, #pc, #windows, #unixhelp, etc. depending on the question.
  10. In general, follow the lead of the channel ops. When in doubt, don’t say anything. It’s better for a visitor to not be helped than for them to be misled or confused. PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE RULES ARE NOT OPEN TO DEBATE. We have been helping countless people since 1992, and we have very good reasons for doing things the way we do. As a guest on our channel, you are expected to respect our rules. Thanks for your cooperation.

Give me ops!?!

If you are interested in gaining ops on #IRChelp, you should know that we are very selective. Ops are for channel maintenance only, and we currently have more than enough people to keep the channel running smoothly. For us to even consider you for ops, you need to be a very dedicated helper (several hours a day, several days a week, for at least several months). You also must have tremendous knowledge and a good personality. In fact, our last few recruits all provided several years of service before being trusted with ops! Finally, although many IRC operators frequent our channel, earning ops on #IRChelp is not a shortcut to becoming an oper.

If you are genuinely interested in helping other people to use and enjoy IRC, you would help with no expectations of reward other than a job well done. If that describes you, welcome aboard!


Many relatively new IRC users are surprised by this rule, but in fact it is common on established, well-run channels. We enforce the rule for the benefit of ourselves and our visitors. Consider the analogy of a bank, where customers are always welcome, but are discouraged from loitering on the premises when their business is done. This lets other customers get help promptly without having to wade through a crowd of people just hanging out. Alternatively, think of us like the help desk at a mall. There are many places in the mall where you can hang out and have fun, but the only purpose of the help desk is to provide help quickly and courteously, and that becomes much harder if there is always a big crowd of people blocking the desk.

Anti-idling also helps to prevent security problems associated with any large crowd of people, which is not appropriate for either a bank or technical help channel. We often get troublemakers who spam ads, distribute trojan horses, launch denial of service attacks, etc. It’s hard to prevent such idiocy when dozens of bystanders are cluttering up the channel. Finally, the presence of idlers can get in the way if we need to cycle the channel due to technical problems.

Some people have pointed out that our ops idle all the time. That’s true, but remember (1) our ops are known and trusted, and (2) they idle to maintain the channel, just like the security guard at the bank who serves a purpose even though he looks like he’s sitting around all day looking bored. The bottomline is, all of our rules are based on a lot of experience and commonsense. If you really disagree with any of them, we respectfully submit that you are not well suited for our channel.