IRC for complete beginners
Reaching Tor people on group chat
Tor Project staff, volunteers, and other community members communicate using IRC (Internet Relay Chat). IRC is a group chat platform a bit like Slack, but it is open source and non-commercial. IRC is a place to ask for help with Tor software or discuss volunteering (Tor has a volunteer portal on the website).
Here is the simplest possible guide for getting onto IRC and starting to chat with Tor people in real time.
Click this link: https://webchat.oftc.net/
Fill in the blanks:
NICKNAME: Anything you want, but choose the same nickname (nick) every time you use IRC to talk to people on Tor. If your nick is already being used, you will get a message from the system and you should choose another nick.
- Click Enter.
Congratulations! You’re on IRC. After a few seconds, you will automatically enter #tor, the biggest Tor channel, which is essentially a chatroom. The #tor channel is like a big train station. It usually includes Tor developers, founders, and other community members. There are some random people in #tor as well. Feel free to ignore.
You can ask questions here (in the empty bar at the bottom of the screen), and people may be able to answer right away, or there may be a bit of a delay (some people are listed on the channel but are away from their keyboards and record channel activities to read later). If you want to chat with someone specific, start your comment with their nick (if you know it) and they will typically receive a notification that someone is trying to contact them.
Sample questions: “This is my first time ever on IRC. Who can I talk to about doing translations for Tor?”
“ailanthus: Who can I talk to at Tor about volunteering for UX?”
“I’m new on IRC. Can someone help me solve a problem I am having installing the Tor browser on Windows? Thanks.
IRC has been around for over 30 years and has its own culture. One tip for using IRC is not to ask whether you can ask a question. Instead, just go ahead and ask it. Another tip is to be patient and polite.
=== Other resources ===
Here are some other tips for navigating IRC:
then hit Enter
Good luck! The author of this post is ailanthus, often on IRC. Come say hi!
The #tor-project channel is where Tor people discuss and coordinate daily Tor work. It has fewer members than #tor and is more focused on the work at hand. You are also welcome to join this channel. To access #tor-project, your nickname (nick) must be registered and verified.
Here’s how to reach #tor-project and other registered channels. This can be tricky; bring your patience and a cup of your favorite beverage.
Register your nickname
Log onto #tor (directions at the top of this page).
Then, click on the word “Status” at the top left of the screen.
In the window at the bottom of the page, type:
/msg nickserv REGISTER APassWord youremailaddress
/msg nickserv REGISTER gL&Wn*G firstname.lastname@example.org
- If all goes well, you will receive a message that you are registered.
The system may register you as your nick_ instead of your nick.
If so, just go with it but remember you are **wibblechatter_ **and not wibblechatter.
- Every time you log on to IRC, to identify your registered nick, type:
/msg nickserv IDENTIFY YourPassWord
==== Verify your nickname ====
Then, to complete the registration and ultimately gain access to the #tor-project channel, your nickname must be VERIFIED.
To verify your nick, open a new browser window and go to https://services.oftc.net/.
Log in with your IRC nickname and password.
Look for the word VERIFIED and log in there. It may appear that nothing has happened. Look at the top of the page, and there will be a column called ACCOUNT.
Click on ACCOUNT.
Click on the small sentence at the bottom of the square that says: Verify account.
Fill out the captcha that pops up, and click ok.
A tiny message will appear: “Your NickServ account has been verified.”
- Go back to the IRC webpage where you are logged in and type:
/msg nickserv checkverify
- If all is well, you will receive a message that says:
*NickServ*checkverify Usermodechange: +R NickServ- Successfully set +R on your nick. Your nick is verified! Hurrah!
- Now, to join #tor-project, you can just type:
and hit enter.
You will be allowed into the channel. If so, Congratulations!
However, if you get stuck, you can ask for help in the #tor channel. You can toggle back and forth between channels by clicking on the different channel names at the top left of the IRC window.
Tor also maintains an email list for the Community Team, which includes volunteers. To join this email list, start here: Community Team