By Marge Reid - firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to my asking Marge whether she could make up a list of hints and guidelines for chat users, Marge, an experienced IRC user has the following for you!
IRC is a wonderful resource for Family Historians, but it CAN be a bit overwhelming for Newbies.
Now, as some people can attest, I personally spend a LOT of time in chat channels - here's some hints that may make the chat experience more productive AND more fun!
There are two general types of chat channels - one kind is "scheduled", the other is "open". We'll talk about "scheduled chats" first.
A "scheduled chat" has a TOPIC. It's "organized". The Moderator or person "running" the chat, has a plan - perhaps it's a particular topic like "Using PEI Land Records". There may even be "guest experts" in the channel, who have important information to share with everyone.
Now, imagine the chaos in such an scheduled chat if everyone is "talking" at the same time!
- When I'm in a scheduled chat, I remember what it was like in Sister Mary Clement's sixth grade classroom. We sat there and listened to Sister, and if I had a question or a comment, I'd raise my hand and wait for her to call on me. If a visitor came into our classroom, I'd wait quietly for Sister to give the whole class the go-ahead to greet the newcomer - can you imagine the noise if all 45 of us had individually greeted each and every visitor? Sister Mary Clement would NOT have been pleased (and THAT usually involved A RULER)
- Same thing in an scheduled chat room - only instead of raising my hand if I have a question or a comment, I type a question mark - and only that. Then, when I'm "called on", I can type in my question. When a new chatter enters the channel, the Moderator does the greeting, and the newcomer is expected "to quietly take a seat in the back of the classroom"... again, imagine the chaos in a scheduled chat channel if every newcomer was greeted with "HI, MsMarge", "WB (welcome back), MM", "MARGIE-POO" (I just HATE that!) "MsMarge! LTNS" (long time no see) - well, you get the idea - let the Moderator do the greeting!
- Many times, a Scheduled Chat will be "opened" for a general discussion. This does not mean a "free-for-all", though... there are still ways to make the conversation more organized.
- If I want to converse with a person in the channel during this "open" time, it's helpful if I add the person's name BEFORE I start to "talk". It's hard to tell who is saying what to WHOM... an example - if I want to ask Miss Linda a question, or to comment on what she has just said, I'd type in:
Linda - GOOD point! But what about checking first at the PAPEI?
- Linda's reply to me - which may be a few "conversation lines" away from my original question - might look like this:
MsMarge - I DID check there, but they don't have those records!
- By typing in the name of the person you're talking to FIRST, you BOTH have a better chance of keeping track of the "thread" or conversation, and so do the other people in the channel. Of course, if there's only TWO people in the channel, you won't need to do this, but it's still a good thing to get used to doing...
- You don't have to use a person's "full nickname" - you can abbreviate it (as in "MM" for "MsMarge" or "TMM" for TheMaskedMan) just as long as people know to whom you're speaking...
- The PEI chat channel has been set up to NOT allow long and complicated "scripts" or graphics... if a more experienced chatter attempts to "play" such a script (it may be a list of every surname that person is researching, for example), there will be a message to everyone from ChanServ that the oversized script was NOT permitted (that sort of prepared script upload is called "flooding" and it's a no-no here in the
- PEI chat channel)
There are a lot of other "points of etiquette" that you'll learn in the first few times you log into the channel - you'll find that people are VERY helpful and understanding...
For the first few PEI chats, though, there WON'T be any formal topics - it's a time for us all to "meet and greet" and learn how to use IRC. I DO wish I could be in the channel tonite, but I have to work... sigh...
Now, I AM in the channel every morning from 9 to 10, Pacific Daylight Savings Time... I've been known to stop by at other times during the day, too... if YOU are a newcomer to IRC, DO stop in and talk! If you're an experienced chatter, stop in ANYWAY!
- An excellent resource page for those starting out in IRC, is Dalnet's Help Page at http://help.proroom.com/faq.html - It will answer questions on the basics of IRC'ing, getting online, does and don'ts, common questions and answers, and has information on DalNet services. If you have a question about IRC that isn't answered here, check out this page! Read the information there on Nickserv - it details how to register your nickname so others can't use it....