Ubuntu Open Week - Basics of and Behavior in Ubuntu IRC channels - KurtvonFinck and JussiSchultink - Thu, Nov 5, 2009

  • utc

(12:01:38 PM) mneptok: OK, let's get started on this next session.
(12:01:40 PM) james_w: thanks dholbach
(12:01:44 PM) james_w: you rock as always
(12:01:53 PM) mneptok: Hello all, and welcome to the self-referential Open Week IRC session on using IRC. :)
(12:02:02 PM) ***mneptok is Kurt von Finck
(12:02:11 PM) mneptok: I'm a member of the Ubuntu IRC Ops Team, and co-presenting with me is juss01 (Jussi Schultink). Jussi is also a member of the ops team.
(12:02:19 PM) mneptok: We would ask that you save your questions until the end of the session, and ask them in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(12:02:30 PM) mneptok: Our session is divided into two parts. First, Jussi will discuss what IRC is and how it works. If you're new to IRC, and want to know more about connecting servers, / commands, registering a nick on Freenode, and similar issues, Jussi has your answers.
(12:02:31 PM) mode (-o james_w ) by james_w
(12:02:43 PM) mneptok: Second, I will discuss how Ubuntu channels operate, and what netiquette we expect from users of official Ubuntu channels. If you want to know where to go for help, how to ensure you get help in a timely and efficient manner, and how to stay off ban lists, my section will be of interest to you.
(12:02:58 PM) mneptok: So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen ... Jussi Schultink! Take it away, Jussi!
(12:03:14 PM) mode (+o jussio1 ) by ChanServ
(12:03:20 PM) jussio1: ahh thats better
(12:03:23 PM) jussio1: Hi Everyone! :)
(12:03:33 PM) jussio1: As Kurt Just mentioned, I'm Jussi Schultink. I am a member of the Ubuntu ops team and also part of the Ubuntu IRC council.
(12:03:46 PM) jussio1: First I'm going to go through how to connect to IRC properly, register your username, and generally getting set up.
(12:04:05 PM) jussio1: Then I am going to show you some useful commands and how to use the bot efficiently.
(12:04:25 PM) mode (+v ubottu ) by ChanServ
(12:04:26 PM) jussio1: After that, Ill hand off to Kurt and he will tell you some more about how to behave on IRC.
(12:05:38 PM) jussio1: Ok, So lets start with connecting to IRC. Youve all done this already, although there might be some who are reading the logs who are still interested. You can connect with a number of different clients, depending on your situation. The default client installed in ubuntu is Pidgin and the default client in Kubuntu is Quassel.
(12:06:00 PM) jussio1: You can also connect with freenodes webchat if you don't want to or cannot install one on your system. You can find it here:
(12:06:29 PM) jussio1: Ok, Ive been corrected, the latest ubuntu has empathy :)
(12:06:42 PM) jussio1: (yeah, Im a kubuntu user  :D )
(12:06:58 PM) mneptok: we love you anyway
(12:07:08 PM) jussio1: Once you are connected, you need to find a free nick. If you connect and you are using someone elses nick who has nick protection on, your name will be changed to Guest##### after 30 seconds. To see who owns a nick you can use the following command: /msg nickserv info <nick>
(12:07:53 PM) jussio1: If the message from that command comes back with "<nick> is not registered" then you may then switch to the nick with /nick <nick> and register it with /msg nickserv register <password> <email@address>
(12:08:24 PM) jussio1: Please remember to do these commands in your server window, so if you mess it up you don't post to the whole channel  :)
(12:09:02 PM) jussio1: So, about / commands. We have already been through a few for registering your nick. Some other common ones include:  /me - which will print your name first, as if you have done an action - like this:
(12:09:09 PM) ***jussio1 waves to everyone!
(12:10:06 PM) jussio1: Also, / commands are used if you want a way to private message someone with out actually opening a query with them, as we have just done with nickserv. ( /msg nickserv <message> )
(12:10:42 PM) jussio1: Now, Freenode has several services bots available, Im not going to go through all of them, but the 2 most important ones. They are Nickserv and Chanserv. As you might have guessed, Nickserv handles anything to do with nicknames and Chanserv anything to do with channels.
(12:11:15 PM) jussio1: You can get help with the commands from these two bots by messaging them with the help command: "/msg nickserv help" or "/msg chanserv help". Also, you can ask the services bots for help with specific commands by adding the command on the end, ie. /msg nickserv help <command>
(12:12:05 PM) jussio1: Now Im going to talk a little about ubuntu's info bot, ubottu. You can find her (yes, thats right, its a she :D ) info pages at: and a wiki page about ubuntu bots generally at:
(12:12:31 PM) jussio1: Ubottu also has several clones, (ubot*) these do very similar things so I wont really talk about them here.
(12:12:32 PM) ubottu: Error: I am only a bot, please don't think I'm intelligent :)
(12:12:38 PM) jussio1: hehe
(12:13:15 PM) jussio1: Our Ubottu is a (somewhat) intelligent IRC bot. (even though she claims she isnt). The idea behind ubottu is that it remembers answers to commonly asked questions and that users of #ubuntu/#kubuntu (and other channels she is in) can easily recall them when needed. You can recall a factoid by doing the following:
(12:13:35 PM) jussio1: !bot
(12:13:36 PM) ubottu: Hi! I'm #ubuntu-classroom's favorite infobot, you can search my brain yourself at - Usage info:
(12:14:00 PM) jussio1: You can switch out !bot for any factoid you like, although we do ask you know which one you want, as to not create undue noise - see:
(12:14:05 PM) jussio1: !botabuse
(12:14:05 PM) ubottu: Please investigate with me only with "/msg ubottu Bot" or in #ubuntu-bots.  Search for factoids with "/msg ubottu !search factoid".
(12:14:27 PM) jussio1: If you notice a factoid is incorrect, or feel a factoid needs to be added, then you can suggest a new one to the ops with "!factoid is <reply> fact".
(12:14:48 PM) jussio1: Ubottu also does a few other tasks, if she notices a bug number in the form "bug 2" then she will tell the channel what the bug is and give a URL for it. She also will tell information about packages in the following way:
(12:14:50 PM) ubottu: Error: Launchpad bug 2 could not be found
(12:14:52 PM) ubottu: I'll remember that, jussio1
(12:15:18 PM) jussio1: !info kubuntu-desktop
(12:15:19 PM) ubottu: kubuntu-desktop (source: kubuntu-meta): Kubuntu desktop system. In component main, is optional. Version 1.154 (karmic), package size 23 kB, installed size 52 kB
(12:15:35 PM) jussio1: If you dont know the whole package name, she is able to search the repository for you with the "!find" command.
(12:15:48 PM) jussio1: !find mnemos
(12:15:49 PM) ubottu: Found: mnemosyne, mnemosyne-blog
(12:16:14 PM) jussio1: Both of the above commands can have a certain version of ubuntu attached if need be, for example if you want to see the version of kubuntu-desktop in jaunty, then:
(12:16:22 PM) jussio1: !info kubuntu-desktop jaunty
(12:16:30 PM) ubottu: kubuntu-desktop (source: kubuntu-meta): Kubuntu desktop system. In component main, is optional. Version 1.122 (jaunty), package size 21 kB, installed size 48 kB
(12:16:49 PM) jussio1: Ok, Now Im going to hand off to Kurt and he will take you through some IRC etiquette.
(12:17:28 PM) mneptok: Alright! Thanks Jussi!
(12:17:40 PM) mneptok: Now, onto how to use Ubuntu IRC channels specifically.
(12:17:50 PM) mneptok: Official Ubuntu IRC channels are all hosted on Freenode. If you are connecting to another network you may well find channels dedicated to Ubuntu discussions, but these are not official, and may well have guidelines different from those I will discuss. Be sure you know where you are. :)
(12:18:08 PM) mneptok: Behavior on IRC, like any medium in the Ubuntu world, is subject to the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct, often abbreviated to CoC. All IRC users are expected to adhere to the principles set forth in this document. Here's a link to the CoC:
(12:18:18 PM) mneptok:
(12:18:31 PM) mneptok: the bot knows about this, as well
(12:18:33 PM) mneptok: !coc
(12:18:34 PM) ubottu: The Ubuntu Code of Conduct to which we ask all Ubuntu users to adhere can be found at
(12:18:47 PM) mneptok: In addition to the CoC, IRC users are also asked to familiarize themselves with the official Ubuntu IRC Guidelines, and follow those, as well. Here are those guidelines:
(12:18:57 PM) mneptok:
(12:19:02 PM) mneptok: !guidelines
(12:19:03 PM) ubottu: The guidelines for using the Ubuntu channels can be found here:
(12:19:16 PM) ***mneptok pats ubottu 
(12:19:27 PM) mneptok: Let's cover some of those guidelines with some more depth, and give some of the reasoning behind them.
(12:19:39 PM) mneptok: Many of the guidelines involve input to the channel. Such things are a big issue, as the Ubuntu channels can be very busy.
(12:19:53 PM) mneptok: Pasting, flooding, /away messages, multiple inputlines for single questions, bots ... all of these are frowned upon.
(12:20:04 PM) mneptok: Anything that adds input to the channel, but is generally superfluous, is a bad idea. If every user spent no time thinking about this issue, the channels would quickly spiral into a chaotic mess that no one could read.
(12:20:19 PM) mneptok: Take for example /away messages. Imagine a channel the size of #ubuntu (>1K users) where every user sent text to the channel every time they looked away from the chat window or went for a snack. It would be bedlam. Hence, public /away notification (including nick changes) are not allowed.
(12:20:37 PM) mneptok: then there's
(12:20:40 PM) mneptok: the issue
(12:20:42 PM) mneptok: of people
(12:20:46 PM) mneptok: using multiple
(12:20:50 PM) mneptok: inputlines
(12:20:53 PM) mneptok: to express
(12:20:56 PM) mneptok: a single
(12:20:58 PM) mneptok: thought
(12:21:11 PM) mneptok: Well, that was annoying when I did it. Now imagine 1,000 people doing it. Once you have regained some semblance of snaity, you'll know why the !enter factoid exists.
(12:21:17 PM) mneptok: !enter
(12:21:17 PM) ubottu: Please try to keep your questions/responses on one line - don't use the "Enter" key as punctuation!
(12:21:35 PM) mneptok: Sometimes it becomes necessary to share multiple lines of information with people on the channel. For example, some kind of output from your machine that is necessary to help people help you.
(12:21:55 PM) mneptok: For these occasions, we ask users to use a "pastebin" service, that allows you to paste output to a web page that anyone can read. The Ubuntu pastebin is at:
(12:22:03 PM) mneptok:
(12:22:08 PM) mneptok: !pastebin
(12:22:08 PM) ubottu: pastebin is a service to post multiple-lined texts so you don't flood the channel. Ubuntu pastebin is at | To post !screenshots use | !pastebinit to paste directly from  command line | Make sure you give us the URL for your paste - see also the channel topic
(12:22:21 PM) mneptok: Instead of pasting to the channel, use pastebin.
(12:22:34 PM) mneptok: Another type of annoying input is IM speak. Ending your sentences with "lol" or "roflmao" or using text shortcuts like "u" (you) or "2" (too/to) isn't necessary in a medium where there is no per-character cost. Be aware, the person that can best help you with your problem may not be a native English speaker, and your IM speak will be off-putting.
(12:23:01 PM) mneptok: IRC is not SMS, or IM.
(12:23:25 PM) mneptok: About bots. One word is enough here. "Don't." The guidelines are quite clear on this point. Do not bring your own bots into Ubuntu IRC channels.
(12:23:46 PM) mneptok: A final piece of channel etiquette advice: don't send other users private messages (/msg or /query) without asking first. Many people find it disruptive, and you're more likely to get help if you ask a group than a specific individual.
(12:24:04 PM) mneptok: Now on to Ubuntu channels, and their use.
(12:24:20 PM) mneptok: If you are using Ubuntu, and you need help, #ubuntu is the correct channel. #ubuntu is a support channel, and should only be used for support issues.
(12:24:41 PM) mneptok: If you are using Kubuntu, use the #kubuntu channel. The same rules about "support only" apply.
(12:25:03 PM) mneptok: If you feel like socializing rather than looking to receive or give help, #ubuntu-offtopic exists for just that reason.
(12:25:22 PM) mneptok: The channels above are English language channels. We ask that you only use English on those channels. But that does not mean that Ubuntu IRC is for Anglophones only.
(12:25:45 PM) mneptok: There are many local channels that cater to users in native languages other than English. try /join'ing #ubuntu-$ICANN_TLD to see if such a channel exists. For example, Romanian speakers congregate in #ubuntu-ro and Mandarin speakers in #ubuntu-cn.
(12:26:04 PM) mneptok: A fairly complete list of Ubuntu channels is located on the Ubuntu wiki
(12:26:12 PM) mneptok:
(12:26:29 PM) mneptok: Often the purpose and policies of Ubuntu channels are stated in the channel /topic, which your IRC client should show to you when you enter that channel. Always read channel /topics so you don't make easily avoidable errors.
(12:26:45 PM) mneptok: So, long story longer ... be sure you are using the correct channel for the conversation you are having. And be sure you're using the correct language.
(12:27:01 PM) mneptok: Now, on to how to ask questions in order to get help. There is a great link on the IRC Guidelines page I would encourage you to read.
(12:27:10 PM) mneptok:
(12:27:22 PM) mneptok: Some of the points there are worth repeating.
(12:27:34 PM) mneptok: Don't ask to ask a question. Or tell people you have a question. Just ask.
(12:27:37 PM) mneptok: !ask
(12:27:38 PM) ubottu: Please don't ask to ask a question, simply ask the question (all on ONE line and in the channel, so that others can read and follow it easily). If anyone knows the answer they will most likely reply. :-)
(12:27:57 PM) mneptok: Don't repeat yourself more than once every 5 minutes. Be patient. If someone knows the answer, they will answer. Or not. Pestering an entire channel is a good way to ensure you're ignored.
(12:28:01 PM) mneptok: !repeat
(12:28:02 PM) ubottu: Don't feel ignored and repeat your question quickly; if nobody knows your answer, nobody will answer you. You can search or while you wait.
(12:28:22 PM) mneptok: Remember, users helping other users are volunteers. You don;t have an inalienable right to help. That being said, people should always be patient, helpful, and friendly when helping others, per the CoC.
(12:28:26 PM) mneptok: !patience
(12:28:43 PM) ***mneptok jiggles ubottu 
(12:29:00 PM) mneptok: Finally, what happens when it all goes wrong? What if another user is in violation of the CoC or the IRC Guidelines? What if you have been, and have been kicked or banned because of it?
(12:29:15 PM) mneptok: The Ubuntu IRC Ops Team has a channel designed for just such ocassions, #ubuntu-ops. Use this channel to report bad or suspiscious behavior, or to speak to an op about results of your behavior.
(12:29:29 PM) mneptok: The #ubuntu-ops channel has a no-idle policy. It's clearly stated in the channel /topic, and we all read channel /topics when we /join, right? ;)
(12:29:59 PM) mneptok: you can also call the ops to a certain channel like so:
(12:30:02 PM) mneptok: !ops
(12:30:03 PM) ubottu: Help! Channel emergency! (ONLY use this trigger in emergencies) -  elky,  imbrandon, DBO, gnomefreak, Hobbsee, rob, Madpilot, CarlK, crimsun, ajmitch, tritium, Nalioth, thoreauputic, apokryphos, tonyyarusso,  PriceChild, Amaranth, jrib, jenda, nixternal, Myrtti, mneptok, Pici, Jack_Sparrow, nickrud, jpds, bazhang, jussi01, Flannel or ikonia!
(12:30:30 PM) mneptok: consider that the IRC equivalent of the emergency flare
(12:31:00 PM) mneptok: And with that, we'll move on to the question and answer section of this session. Please ask your questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat and , Amber, Jussi and I will paste them here.
(12:32:31 PM) mneptok: there was a question about Empathy's support of basic IRC / commands
(12:32:58 PM) mneptok: be aware, Pidgin and Empathy are bare-bones IRC clients.
(12:33:27 PM) mneptok: if you are going to use IRC for any length of time, most experienced users would encourage you to use a more feature-rich client.
(12:33:47 PM) mneptok: XChat, Smuxi, Konversation, and Quassel are all good choices.
(12:34:12 PM) mneptok: a lot of old-time IRC users use command-line clients. my preferences is irssi.
(12:34:31 PM) mneptok: you'll probably want to become fairly familiar with IRC before trying a CLI client
(12:35:09 PM) mneptok: next q?
(12:35:46 PM) jussio1: akgraner: ?
(12:36:09 PM) akgraner: <IdleOne> QUESTION: is the IRC council and IRC ops team considering adding irc helpers ( half-ops ) to help out in #ubuntu?
(12:36:13 PM) jussio1: Ok, Ill answer this one.
(12:37:01 PM) ubottu left the room (quit: Read error: 104 (Connection reset by peer)).
(12:37:53 PM) jussio1: The IRC council considers all suggestions sent to it. Currently we are in the process of elections, and we will consider this after the new council is in place.
(12:38:09 PM) ubottu [n=supybot@ubuntu/bot/ubottu] entered the room.
(12:38:24 PM) jussio1: you can see more about the IRC council here:
(12:39:25 PM) ubottu left the room (quit: Read error: 54 (Connection reset by peer)).
(12:39:26 PM) jussio1: next?
(12:39:30 PM) akgraner: <Amaranth> QUESTION: Why are the ops so awesome? :)
(12:39:47 PM) mneptok: we're sure to drink our Ovaltine
(12:39:50 PM) mneptok: next?
(12:39:56 PM) akgraner: <Lithium_Rain> QUESTION: How many ops are there? Are they the same for all ubuntu channels?
(12:40:11 PM) mneptok: i'll take this.
(12:40:25 PM) mneptok: currently there are ~20-30 active members of the ops team
(12:40:51 PM) mneptok: the ops team is responsible for official namespace Ubuntu channels, with the exception of LoCo channels.
(12:41:35 PM) mneptok: as i pointed out during my part of the talk, a list of official Ubuntu channels is at
(12:42:00 PM) mneptok: and yes, the ops team has consistent across Ubuntu IRC namespace
(12:42:05 PM) mneptok: next?
(12:42:10 PM) akgraner: <akgraner> QUESTION: about bots in Ubuntu channels.. do you mean just the ones that begin with #ubuntu or does that mean LoCo team channels as well?
(12:42:49 PM) jussio1: Ill get this
(12:43:43 PM) ***mneptok will just point out that #kubuntu does not start with #ubuntu ;)
(12:44:23 PM) jussio1: Ubuntu channels have some official bots, as on the page I mentioned before. however, some loco channels have their own localised versions of ubottu. The key here is whether the channel owner permits the bot. be sure to ask before bringing any bot into a channel.
(12:44:31 PM) jussio1: next?
(12:44:43 PM) akgraner: <AlanBell> QUESTION: as mentioned at the start, this IRC based intro to IRC is self-referential. How can IRC better promote itself to new users outside of IRC?
(12:45:00 PM) mneptok: i'll take this.
(12:45:16 PM) mneptok: i think a good amount of promotion is done via the Ubuntu wiki and other resources.
(12:45:39 PM) mneptok: read through the documents there, and if you find weak spots or omissions, correct them
(12:46:11 PM) jussio1:
(12:46:17 PM) mneptok: that being said, i think that if someone *wants* to use IRC, the resources for learning how to do so are already available.
(12:46:35 PM) mneptok: so, then the question is "how do we make people want to use IRC?"
(12:46:46 PM) mneptok: there are a few things you can do.
(12:47:15 PM) mneptok: blog/dent/tweet about it. "I use IRC to get help with Ubuntu, and it's a LOT faster than the forums!"
(12:47:46 PM) mneptok: talk about IRC at LoCo meetings, release parties, conferences, etc.
(12:48:19 PM) mneptok: when that fails, get a big board with a nail through it and start ringing doorbells in your neighborhood. >;)
(12:48:27 PM) mneptok: next?
(12:49:13 PM) akgraner: <sebsebseb> QUESTION:  So in reply to questions  if ubottu is going to be used it should only really be used once per question?  With some possible exceptions.
(12:49:26 PM) jussio1: Ill get this :)
(12:50:27 PM) jussio1: The real answer to this is use common sense. This will differ according to the question, but please dont spam some poor soul with 15 bot replies :D
(12:50:32 PM) jussio1: next?
(12:50:57 PM) akgraner: <amichair> QUESTION: how do u teach ubottu new tricks?
(12:51:11 PM) mneptok: i'll answer this
(12:51:27 PM) mneptok: first, like a trained seal, be sure to have botsnacks at hand.
(12:51:33 PM) jussio1: :)
(12:51:33 PM) mneptok: !botsnack
(12:51:52 PM) jussio1: She is a little sick atm :/
(12:52:09 PM) mneptok: to add a factoid, the syntax is !new_factoid is desired_reply
(12:52:23 PM) mneptok: like so:
(12:52:38 PM) mneptok: !mneptok is a hoopty frood who knows where his towel is.
(12:52:44 PM) mode (+v ubottu ) by ChanServ
(12:52:46 PM) mneptok: next?
(12:52:57 PM) akgraner: <simula67> QUESTION:Can ubuntu bots be brought to any channel?if yes, How?
(12:53:03 PM) jussio1: OK, Ive got this
(12:54:12 PM) jussio1: Ubuntu bots have limited resources, however, they are available for official ubuntu channels. if you would like ubottu's functionality in your private channel, you can set up and run your own.
(12:54:13 PM) mode (+v kirkland ) by jcastro
(12:54:30 PM) jussio1: !botclone
(12:54:31 PM) ubottu: Ubottu uses supybot, which is available in the main !repositories, with additional plugins that are available at
(12:54:56 PM) jussio1: She is open source, so you are welcome to modify her and create things :)
(12:54:59 PM) jussio1: next?
(12:55:05 PM) akgraner: <akgraner> QUESTION: Since emotion and body language can not be seen on IRC and it is not SMS or IM how do you suggests people showing tone emotion etc?
(12:55:15 PM) mneptok: OK, i'll take this
(12:55:35 PM) mneptok: not only are emotion and body language impossible, so is tone.
(12:56:05 PM) mneptok: so one of the few things that translates well from IM to IRC is emoticons.
(12:56:28 PM) mneptok: ;) :) >;) :O :( :/ O:)
(12:57:01 PM) mneptok: use these to denote your tone and intent.
(12:57:40 PM) mneptok: for example, i have met akgraner and her husband in person. akgraner's husband could kill me with 9 fingers tied behind his back.
(12:57:48 PM) mneptok: if i say:
(12:57:59 PM) mneptok: akgraner: someday i will steal you from Pete
(12:58:13 PM) mneptok: Amber will, quite rightly, think about putting me on /ignore
(12:58:20 PM) mode (+v stgraber ) by ChanServ
(12:58:21 PM) mneptok: but if i say:
(12:58:31 PM) mneptok: akgraner: someday i will steal you from Pete ;)
(12:58:49 PM) mneptok: it's fairly clear i'm kidding, and that i know Pete could destroy me using only his mind.
(12:59:15 PM) akgraner: and with that time is up..
(12:59:17 PM) akgraner: :-)
(12:59:18 PM) mneptok: now, be aware that humor on IRC is always good, like being of good humor anywhere in life.
(12:59:23 PM) akgraner: thank you mneptok and jussi01
(12:59:34 PM) akgraner: :-P
(12:59:44 PM) jussio1: :)
(12:59:44 PM) mneptok: but support channels like #ubuntu do not benefit from jokes, as many people are having problems and are frustrated to begin with.

MeetingLogs/openweekKarmic/IRCEtiquite (last edited 2009-11-05 19:34:31 by ausimage)