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Undernet IRCop FAQ (for Non-IRCops)

This FAQ was initially written by BrightEye.
First revision by stoney` (Py Fivestones) Oct. 29, 2001
Second revision by Phaze1NE Dec. 6, 2003



     Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is an IRCop?
  3. What are they doing on IRC?
  4. How can I get to be an IRCop?
  5. How do I find IRCops?
  6. What are the duties of IRCops?
  7. Will IRCops reop my channel, kill my ghost, or G:line an abuser on my channel?
  8. Do IRCops get paid?
  9. Why won't most IRCops help warez or porn channels?
  10. Why don't IRCops do more to get rid of the warez or porn channels?
  11. Why do some IRCops refuse to answer my messages?
  12. What is the difference between an IRCop and an Admin?
  13. Uworld, Euworld?



1. Introduction

This is a FAQ about IRC Operators (commonly called IRCops) written for people who are not IRCops. These are the questions users most often ask about IRCops, and this document was written for users that have unclear issues regarding IRCops. These are honest answers from a real IRC Operator who respects the users and understands that it is OK to have questions answered.

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2. What is an IRCop?

An IRCop (also called oper or irc op, and sometimes mistakenly called a Mirccop, IRCCOP, or just cop) is someone who has an O:line on an IRC server. This simply means that they have the ability to use some server commands that are restricted from ordinary users. IRCops also have the ability to use Undernet's services like Uworld, EUworld, and Uworld2 in attempts to keep Undernet together as a network and to make sure that everything (users and channels) is OK. The primary responsability of IRCops is to keep their servers connected to the Undernet.

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3. What are IRCops doing on IRC?

IRCops maintain the servers. That means that when a server is linked to Undernet, it needs to have at least one IRCop who takes care of it. Each IRCop represents one primary server (although they may have O:lines on more than one server, which are called backups) and should be concerned with keeping that one server connected and working well. Of course, IRCops are also on IRC to chat and have a good time just like everyone else. 

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4. How can I get to be an IRCop?

The easy answer to this question is that if you go around asking IRCops how you can get to be one, you will never be one. There is no list of potential IRCops or any kind of application. There are actually two ways to become an IRCop:
- start your own Undernet server
- get asked by an admin to be an IRCop on their server
Starting a server is not practical for many people, so the latter is the more common way. Here it becomes a bit tricky - an admin will only ask someone they trust to be an IRCop on their server, but if they think someone is cozying up to them just to get an O:line, they won't take that person seriously. You must be asked by a server admin, and asking an admin to make you an IRCop is a sure way of never becoming one.
It is actually very difficult to become an IRCop on Undernet, but please don't think this means you can't help. #Userguide, #Help, #mIRC, #CService, and the many other help channels are always on the lookout for well-intentioned people who really want to help out without looking for a quick way to get an O:line and become an IRCop.

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5. How do I find IRCops?

If you need to find an IRCop, /join #ZT or #Nastrand and explain your problem or reason that you need an IRCop in the main channel. Never /msg a channel op in #ZT / #Nastrand unless you are asked to do so. Those are not chat channels. Please leave after you are helped so that others can join and be helped.

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6. What are the duties of IRCops?

The primary duty of an IRCop is to keep their server connected to Undernet. That means that after a netsplit, they try to figure out the best way to reconnect their server so the users will be least disrupted. Of course, they also try to prevent netsplits as best they can. Secondary duties are somewhat less important, and different IRCops have differing opinions of what those duties are. Generally, they may include: G:lining or /killing abusers (see G:line/K:line FAQ for details http://www.user-com.undernet.org/documents/k-gline.txt), hanging out in help channels, and using Uworld, Uworld2, or EUworld to resolve channel problems. An IRCop's responsibility is to maintain the servers and the network. All other duties performed by an IRCop is done because that IRCop wants to help users and has the spare time to do it.

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7. Will IRCops reop my channel, kill my ghost, or G:line an abusive user in my channel?

Maybe, maybe, and maybe, in that order. Seriously, it is very difficult to give an answer to any of these situations. There are some IRCops who spend a lot of time reopping channels that have lost ops. Usually they will consider the kind of channel (i.e., what goes on there), why it isn't registered to prevent opless situations, how ops were lost in the first place, how often the channel asks for help, and other criteria to decide whether to help or not. IRCops are human, some have more patience than others, so if you don`t receive an answer from one, you might have to keep trying. Ghosts (ghosts are nicknames that stay on IRC after that person quits IRC) usually go away by themselves after a few minutes, so /killing should not be necessary. However, if you have a particularly obstinate ghost, some IRCops will probably be happy to oblige, after they have determined that you are really asking for your own ghost to be killed and not somebody else. Everything about you and the ghost should be exactly the same if you really expect an IRCop to kill it. If you have a flooder in your channel and you want then gone, there are channel modes tailor made for you. Kick and ban work very well. If you have clones joining, try invite only mode for a while. Topic change wars? Make the channel +t, or deop some of the overzealous ops. Almost all channel problems do not require IRCop intervention, however, some might warrant a visit by an IRCop. Clones in particular (several connections from the same host, usually joining at the same time with random nicks like XnOiP1GaB) should bring IRCop action. Remember, IRCops are not required to do anything concerning channels, and they would much prefer you take care of your own channel and let them deal only with clones or other network abuse.

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8. Do IRCops get paid?

Not for being an IRCop, no. Like every other position with Undernet, that of IRCop is a purely volunteer job that brings no monetary benefits.

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9. Why won't most IRCops help warez or porn channels?

Personal ethics is the reason. Even though Undernet is an unmoderated medium and does not monitor or police the activities of its userbase (outside of those who are actively abusing resources), no IRCop is required to help any channel, especially a channel that goes against his or her principles. If they think warez trading undermines the software industry, or porn is degrading to women (or dogs, or whatever) the are certainly not under any obligation to give such channels ops or help of any kind. Mp3-trading channels usually fall under this category, as well.Also, remember there are laws that forbid trading copyrighted material, and everyone (even the mighty IRCops) has to obey the law. 

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10. Why don't IRCops do more to get rid of the warez and porn channels?

In view of the answer to question #9, many users feel that it is hypocritical of Undernet IRCops to not get rid of warez and porn channels. However, Undernet is an unmoderated, world-wide medium. Undernet does not censor what kind of channels can exist, but this lack of censorship should not be viewed as an endorsement. Also, there are many legal issues to consider. Undernet has servers in many countries, and each one has different laws on censorship, freedom of speech, and exports. It would be impossible for IRCops to know what is legal in each and every country that has servers, much less all the countries that have people using Undernet. If warez, porn, or any other types of channels are offensive to you, don't go there and ignore users who do, but please respect other people's right to use Undernet and choose what channels to join. Or, if you feel really offended, you could try joining #ZT and report warez/porn/mp3 channels there.Some IRCop might help out by closing down the channel.

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11. Why do some IRCops refuse to answer my messages?

You have to understand that IRCops are busy people. Some are at work, or they could be working with a server-related or network issue. Others may either be busy talking to friends, or away from their computer for a while. And quite honestly, many do not answer private messages from people they do not know. 

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12. What is the difference between an IRCop and an Admin?

An Admin (server administrator) actually runs and maintains a server. They are the ones who have physical access to it. The Admin has all final decisions about server-related matters, like who is an IRCop, what they are allowed to do, whether bots are allowed, etc. The Admin is probably an IRCop, but it is not required for him/her to be one. The server admins as a group make all decisions regarding Undernet and how it is run.

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13. Uworld, EUworld?

You may have noticed, while reading through the document, that IRCops may use some very useful things called Uworld and Euworld.In fact, these are oper service bots which allow irc operators to gline users, op users on channels, and perform other network maintenance.


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This page was last updated December 6th, 2003
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