#code4lib irc channel faq

Like any community, the #code4lib IRC channel can be intimidating to newcomers. For those who are new to the channel, here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What is IRC? How do I login to #code4lib?

Basic technical information is available here.

Is the channel logged?

Not publicly, no.

Who will I find on #code4lib?

There is an incomplete list of regulars here. This is not an official list of any kind. If you're not on it yet, feel free to add your nick, your name, and a link to your website.

What about panizzi zoia?

Zoia is a supybot who hangs out in #code4lib. To get a list of commands it understands, type @list (the "@" symbol tells zoia you're talking to it). Here's a quick list of the more common commands:

@help
Find out how to use a particular command. The correct syntax is (usually) @help followed by the command name, e.g. @help karma. You can also just ask the other people on the channel how to do something.
@quote
Add or display quotes that have been added to zoia's quote database. Type @quote add " welcome to code4lib!" to add a quote, @quote jeffdavis to see the last quote from a specific person, or @quote random to see a random quote
@naf
Look up a term in the Library of Congress authority files.
@ana
Create an English-language anagram of the word or phrase that you enter.
@tunes, @alltunes, @blockparty
These commands look up people's listening history on Last.fm. @tunes jeffdavis displays the last song that jeffdavis listened to, @alltunes jeffdavis lists the last half-dozen or so songs jeffdavis listened to, and @blockparty lists what people in the code4lib group on Last.fm are listening to. (Go ahead and add yourself to the code4lib Last.fm group if you like. You need to type @audioscrobbler add yourusername to be added to the blockparty.)
@insult, @praise
Causes zoia to insult or praise the person or thing of your choice.
@karma
You can increase or decrease the karma for a person or thing by appending two pluses or two minuses to the person or thing's name. For example, if you type jeffdavis++, my karma score will increase by 1. (You can't raise your own karma.) Type @karma jeffdavis to see the karma for that person/thing, or just @karma for the three highest and lowest karma scores. You can only raise or lower karma by one point at a time (so jeffdavis++++ will only raise jeffdavis' karma by one point, not two), and commenting does work (jeffdavis-- # you suck! works correctly, thanks to gsf's regex-fu).
@google
Do a Google search and show the first few results in-channel.
@more
If the results of a command are over a certain length, zoia may end his response with "more" or "2 more messages". You can use the @more command to display the rest of zoia's response. If you didn't give zoia the original command, add the nick of the person who did, e.g. @more jeffdavis (this only works for one message deep on another nick).
@dunno
When you send zoia a message it doesn't understand (for example, if you address it as if it were a person or get the syntax of a command wrong), it responds with a random error message. You can use the @dunno command to add a new error message to its repertoire, e.g. @dunno I don't know what you're talking about.

What do people talk about in-channel?

Information technology, software development, librarianship, cultural heritage, digital repositories, the web, programming languages, cataloging, metadata standards, beer, food... just about anything!

The channel is informal, and a lot of off-topic socializing takes place. Music is a common topic (many code4lib regulars are indie rock fans, and a disproportionate number are current or former bassists). There are also a number of inside jokes, since many of the people on the channel have known each other for a long time. Common in-jokes include:

  • Yngwie Malmsteen -- Wikipedia says: "Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, pronounced 'INGvay' ... is a virtuoso guitarist from Sweden who achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s due to his technical proficiency and fusion of classical music elements with heavy rock guitar."
  • Wheedly-wheedly-whee! -- This is the sound Yngwie's guitar makes.
  • Unleash it! -- A common catchphrase, referencing the title of an Yngwie record.

If you don't understand something, just ask. That goes for the techie stuff as well as the social stuff -- for many regulars, #code4lib is where they learn about all kinds of interesting technology.

What are the ground rules?

  1. Respect everyone.
  2. Be sensitive of the fact that cultures, opinions and ideas of what is
    funny or appropriate are different, and that text is a very poor medium
    for conveying humor.
  3. Because this is the case, and people will be people, be quick to forgive and slow to take offense.

Aside from that, it's a bit of a free-for-all. Basically, use common sense, be respectful of others, and don't do anything that will get everyone kicked off of Freenode.

what does "++" mean?

The double-plus is used to increment someone's karma (see above, in the section about zoia).

How do you do that thing where you talk about yourself in third person?

Type /me agrees. This allows you to send a message like ***jeffdavis agrees rather than literally saying "I agree".