Channel Lists: Troubleshooting

This guide covers some common problems when trying to do /list. If you just want to learn how to find channels, see our channel list page instead.

Server load is temporarily too heavy. Please wait a while and try again.

The message is self-explanatory. Some servers are handling tens thousands of users and just can't keep up with everybody typing commands like /list. Just wait a few minutes and try again, or try another server on the same network. You can use /links to get a current list of servers on any network, or see our web-based server lists.

"SendQ Exceeded" or "List output too large, truncated"

Often on large networks such as EFnet, by typing /list you get disconnected or don't get the full list. The following is a technical explanation, but basically the server is too impatient to send you all the information for 10000+ channels. With some patience you can sometimes find other servers on the same network that will work. If all else fails, just use the web-based channel lists on our site.

Boring Technical Explanation: When you type /list the IRC server starts to send you the list of channels, which can be thousands of lines (several hundred kilobytes) in a few seconds. If your network connection cannot absorb that all at once, the server attempts to send it to you as quickly as you can take it, storing any excess data in a buffer called the "SendQ" or send queue. If this buffer gets filled up, the server has nowhere else to store the pending data and must therefore break your connection. Others will see you signoff with "SendQ exceeded" message. Instead of disconnecting you, some servers will just throw away the excess data, and send you the "list output too large, truncated" error.

The size of the SendQ varies for each server, depending on how much of its finite resources the administrators want to devote to this task. Some servers have such a small SendQ that they will disconnect anybody who tries to list, no matter how fast your connection is. These servers have effectively broken their /list feature to maximize their resources for actual chatting.

Why can't I find a channel that I know exists?

So you know a channel exists because you can join it and see other people in it, but why won't it show up in /list? All /list commands (including web-based channel lists which use those commands) are able to show only "public" channels, i.e., those which have not been set to "secret" channel mode "+s". Up to half or more of the channels out there are secret, because the operators of those channels do not want it showing up in lists. That is their choice and their right to discourage newcomers or outsiders. Chances are you wouldn't be welcome there anyway.

How can I abort a channel list?

This depends on the client you use and sometimes the type of server you're connected to. If you're using mIRC you have to wait for it to finish, you cannot interrupt it. Sometimes the servers are malfunctioning and do not send the end of channel list signal, so even though the number of channels is no longer increasing, the list window is still locked up. The easiest way to fix this problem is to do a one-channel list, by typing /raw list #channelname such as /raw list #help. This will not lock things up since it is asking for just a single channel's information, but it will close the previous, hung list.

If you are using a client like ircII such as on a shell account, you can try to issue the /flush command which flushes the server's buffer and tells it stop sending further data to you.