Introduction: How to Use the Instructables IRC Chatroom!

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Before the implementation of the Meebo Chatroom, which most of you have been in, or heard of, Instructables had an IRC chatroom.

The meebo room has served us well, but it is limited, has many flaws, and bogs down most average computer systems. IRC can be accessed via a dedicated program, or via your browser as the previous meebo room was. Were going to run the two systems in tandem for a while, to make the change more smoothly, and so we can move back to meebo if all else fails.

So, here is a brief overview of IRC, and how to access the Instructables IRC room.

If you know exactly what your doing, then the room is -


and is located on the freenode server. You'll also need to identify yourself, as explained in step 5.

If not, head on over to the next step..

Step 1: IRC Clients

Web Based Client

To make the IRC chatroom easily accessible, we have chosen to use an online IRC client called mibbit, you can access this via two methods.

Via the Instructables Chatroom Topic
Or directly via Mibbit

A few other online clients to have a look at are CGI:IRC, and Loq.

Windows Programs

Since I use Firefox, I use Chatzilla. Its a clean and simple IRC client, which works wonderfully on most computers.
You can download it here: Chatzilla

You might want to try xchat If you love the command line and irssi which is a powerful client with a steep learning curve.

Programs like Pidgin, and Trillian have IRC capabilities, while also supporting AIM, YIM, gTalk, and more.

Mac OS X Programs

For Mac there are two main programs, colloquy and babbel.

Babbel also produce a windows version. Gmjhowe has been using colloquy with no problems, and found that it had the simplest interface.

Linux Programs

I am yet to get hold of any major linux users, so for the time being check out this Top Ten Guide.

If any of you have some good suggestions then please shoot them off in the comments.

iPhone, iPod Touch, and other systems

The two best options for iPhone apps are colloquy's mobile version, and IRChon who offer a free version.

I know a few years ago one could access IRC via their cell phone, alot of the my googled results came up with websites a few years out of date, again, suggestions welcomed in the comments.

Step 2: Logging On... (Mibbit)

Mibbit is the easiest to set up.

You can get to mibbit via the Instructables Chatroom Topic
Or directly via Mibbit

Enter your username into the space provided and the site does the rest of the work for you.

Once set up be sure to complete the 'Identifying IRC nick with Instructables' Step.

Step 3: Logging On.. (Chatzilla)

When using Chatzilla on Firefox, go to Tools>Chatzilla.
  • Once its open, click in the browser bar, and type: "/attach freenode"
  • Once freenode is attached, click in the browser bar again, and type: "/join #instructables"

And you should be in!

Once you are in Chatzilla, you can then go to IRC>Open This Channel at Startup. By selecting this option, Chatzilla will automatically connect to both Freenode and #Instructables each time you open it.

Another hint: entering "chrome://chatzilla/content/chatzilla.xul" into the Firefox address bar will allow you to run Chatzilla out of a tab, rather than a separate window.

Once set up be sure to complete the 'Identifying IRC nick with Instructables' Step.

Step 4: Logging On... (Colloquy)

Load up Colloquy, got to the menu and click on File>New Connection.

In the new connection box enter the nickname you intend to use, select 'IRC (Internet Relay Chat)' in the drop down box.
For the chat server choose ''

Double click your new connection and you will be prompted to enter a chatroom name.
Ensure you select the newly made ' (your_username) connection, enter '#instructables 'for the chat room name. Mac users can enter a #(hash symbol) by pressing 'Alt+3'.

Once your in the room you might want to select 'Auto Join' by right clicking on the room.

Once set up be sure to complete the 'Identifying IRC nick with Instructables' Step.

Step 5: Identifying IRC Nick With Instructables

In order to speak, you must be "voiced" by the bot by identifying yourself!

On #instructables, there's a bot currently known as fauxrobo. He does a lot of different things, but the most important one is identifying users to prohibit identity theft.

Some users in the channel will have light green, or white dot, this indicates that they have "voice". This setting is used in some channels to restrict who can speak, but in #instructables, it is used to distinguish sync'd instructables members with drifters and outsiders.

In order to indicate the nick (nickname) you want to associate with your instructables account, add "IRC@your_nick" to your locations on your instructables profile, but replace your_nick with the nickname you're using on IRC. If you already had a location, separate it with a comma like "Massachusetts, IRC@zbanks"

Once you're in the IRC channel and you're using your nickname, activate the bot by saying ".id" followed by your username. Example: ".id zachninme" The bot should then give you voice.

Feel free to message members in the room for help:
/msg whomever I need help!
(see next step for more details)

Step 6: IRC Commands

In order to do certain things in IRC, you use what are known as IRC commands. Although you only need a few, the more you know, the more you can do. They begin with a slash (/), followed by the name. You've already used some to connect & join the channel.

/join #channeljoin the specified channel

/part #channelleave the channel

/nick new_nickchanges your nickname

/me msga 3rd-person action, such as "***bumpus ate a pie"

/msg nickmsgsends a message to the user

/topic new topicchanges the topic - not allowed on all channels

/away away messagesets, or if blank removes, an away message

There are a few more, such as /mode and /kick, but are only used by moderators.