Bring Your Community Closer With IRC

cmanns

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cmanns submitted a new Article:

Bring Your Community Closer With IRC

What is IRC
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat, the first chat setup back in the 1980's, before AOL and such, It was initially used for Military purposes then in the 90's more so for chatting, discussions and pirating software.

A lot of websites these days use Internet Relay Chat, often times people stay online 24/7 (Their computer) thus they can be informed about things. It's very helpful.

Why should my site have IRC?
I love IRC for websites because I can get into the community, when theres a hot topic, no need to look for it people can post links to the latest hot stuff, even from a 3rd party site. You can get to know members and staff, thus a tight community.

This IRC can also do many other things, if the website appears down for a member they can ask in the IRC, if every member is experencing issues they can "mesg" the admin if known or possibly someone may read about the issue and inform the admin if they have such contact information.

Shoutbox or IRC?
IRC is a free service provided by a 3rd party, you may use CGI/Java IRC clients ON your website which I'll discuss further below, they do not affect your hosting with any BW or CPU usage except for CGI clients, which I do not suggest the usage of.

Shoutbox's use tons of queries, a "decent" shoutbox will be refreshing via ajax every 2-3 seconds, causing about 5 queries so lets say theirs 10 members online viewing where a shoutbox is, thats atleast 50 extra queries every 2-3 seconds, this builds up and eats up cpu, it also eats up your traffics computers resources, ajax isn't always cpu friendly ;), with so many powerful computers these days you rarely hear a complaint but it does waste much cpu resources, the shoutbox's my clients use can kick up my firefox cpu usage to over 10% on avg, I have multiple cpu systems too :hopeless:

How do I get started with this IRC?
Well first you need a IRC client

XChat
I'd suggest to read (Pictures) this, and this guide at my site (Short guide)
and get the free version of XChat here.
On my site I list some other clients you may obtain.

PJIRC
This is the best Java client, you can predefine it to login to the IRC Network & Channel you use for your site, and integrate it.

http://www.pjirc.com/

Then for your...

Read more about this article here...
 
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sedaniel

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Aug 24, 2008
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(If I have questions, can I post them here? Or should I start a separate thread elsewhere?)
 

sedaniel

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Aug 24, 2008
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Okay cool, I just wanted to make sure :)

I am looking for some way to set up a chatroom type thing with my forum, and maybe IRC is the way to go. I'm worried about a few things though:

1. My users having to learn a new system. Is this hard to learn how to use? I was reading up on it at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRC#Technical_information) and it seems a little involved. I don't want to scare members away, especially because we have a lot of other changes going on at the site. Also, would they need to each download an IRC client individually, or is there a way that they can just logon via the internet?

2. After reading this article, let me make sure I have this correct. So there is a network, and a client, and channels. I would use someone else's network right, and then have to have my own client downloaded or installed? Also the article mentioned "random spam," is there a way to allow only my forum members into a channel?

3. Can you make channels permanent, or do the channels disappear when all the members log out of it?

4. Is there any way to automatically log a copy of what is said in a channel? That would be really helpful for my forum.

Sorry that's so many questions, this is totally new territory for me!
 

shawnhartwell

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Jun 23, 2007
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I don't quite understand. DO I need to download that IRC client to allow others to connect? I'm totally confused on what the client itself does.
 

cmanns

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May 15, 2007
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159
Theres JAVA clients like PJIRC, it runs on your website, Theres one for Invision Power Board by M4rtin that works very well that you can get at invisionmodding.com.

I suggest your websites staff uses an IRC client like XChat so they're online more often, but the web client will work fine for your websites users :)

The channels are registered I'm adding a new section to my guide about that now =)
 

cmanns

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Joined
May 15, 2007
Messages
159
Okay cool, I just wanted to make sure :)

I am looking for some way to set up a chatroom type thing with my forum, and maybe IRC is the way to go. I'm worried about a few things though:

1. My users having to learn a new system. Is this hard to learn how to use? I was reading up on it at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRC#Technical_information) and it seems a little involved. I don't want to scare members away, especially because we have a lot of other changes going on at the site. Also, would they need to each download an IRC client individually, or is there a way that they can just logon via the internet?
It's not hard, they can use a client on their computer or a web based client (such as on your website, pjirc)
2. After reading this article, let me make sure I have this correct. So there is a network, and a client, and channels. I would use someone else's network right, and then have to have my own client downloaded or installed? Also the article mentioned "random spam," is there a way to allow only my forum members into a channel?
One way to only allow your forum members is a channel password but if they're new thats out of the question. If you want to prevent spam once you get the channel going (with 20 people or so, and some staff members with Operator access) you set the channel to +m which is moderation and requires everyone to have voice (+v) or higher to talk, you can put in the channels title (PM x person for voice) I wouldn't suggest that, most channels aren't spammed :)
3. Can you make channels permanent, or do the channels disappear when all the members log out of it?
Yes you can make them permanent, read the new section in my guide.
4. Is there any way to automatically log a copy of what is said in a channel? That would be really helpful for my forum.
Yes theres quite a few ways to do this.
Sorry that's so many questions, this is totally new territory for me!

Hope that helps
 

sedaniel

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Aug 24, 2008
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Thank you so much! That cleared things up for me. I may be back with more questions though after I've set things up :D
 

Solitary_Seraph

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Aug 24, 2008
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You should probably mention that a lot of web hosts don't allow irc servers, so that they'd probably need to use existing ones. Which is what we use.
 

cmanns

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May 15, 2007
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You should probably mention that a lot of web hosts don't allow irc servers, so that they'd probably need to use existing ones. Which is what we use.

I'd never suggest to start your own IRC network, theres a reason hosts don't allow it.
 

cmanns

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May 15, 2007
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Heres a "good" online client.

Heres an example online irc client

CGI:IRC
http://evilpuma.com/ircapplet/irc.cgi

I do not suggest to use this!!!!

It'll cause twice the bandwidth usage, java irc applets (clients) use NONE of your bandwidth, yet this causes you twice as much, not me (the network), not the client, you!

If you guys do not like java irc applets (I don't really like em, if I was a website visitor) and you REALLY think a CGI:IRC applet will help you, I'll run one for you that you can iframe or something, I've already setup another for a site. You must show that this will be 1)Used and 2) will be useful to your site. It's cake to setup thats why I'm offering, as I'd rather run it so your not costed bandwidth, you may as well run a shoutbox instead of CGI:IRC for instance :unhunh:

Now this will use up my bandwidth a tad, but it'll do the same as the irc network I run, we had 30 people using it earlier, didn't use up much cgi resources...:whew:

Why do I run CGI:IRC? I use it because it connects to s1.evilpuma.com which is a private host on the server evilpuma.com runs off, so it uses no bandwidth besides to send out the text and receive to the client
 
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