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 can I ask for help?

#code4lib has a designated group of “helpers,” who can answer questions or provide support. The channel’s official group contacts to Libera are Mark Matienzo (anarchivist), Dan Scott (dbs), and jeff; all three of them have channel operator privileges.

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:


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.


Add or display quotes that have been added to zoia’s quote database. Type @quote add "<jeffdavis> 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


Look up a term in the Library of Congress authority files.


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 @tunes jeffdavis displays the last song that jeffdavis listened to, and @alltunes jeffdavis lists the last half-dozen or so songs jeffdavis listened to.

@insult, @praise

Causes zoia to insult or praise the person or thing of your choice.


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).


Do a Google search and show the first few results in-channel.


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).


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, games, food… just about anything! The channel is informal, and a lot of off-topic socializing takes place. 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. Follow the Code4lib code of conduct.
  2. Respect everyone.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Libera.

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”.