Manners are so important in life, be it at home, at work and, yes, even on the Internet. How you are perceived by others makes all the difference in how they treat you. So if you want to be thought of well, do follow these basic rules.


How to Behave in a Help Channel flowers

Common courtesy, social graces and socially acceptable behavior are all terms used in a civilized society where humans interact with one another. IRC is not any different. How you will be perceived, the type of human being that you are or for that matter are not, your credibility, your levels of professionalism and ethics will be judged by how you communicate with others online. Manners online are no different from manners in your real life. Be aware that help channels are staffed by volunteers, they give freely of their time, resources and expertise; no one pays them to help you, so treat them with respect and courtesy.

Here are some guidelines to help you appear to be a nice person, attract other nice people to you and help you get that answer you need.

First consider your nick. If you go into a help channel with an obscene or offensive nick, you will probably not get helped, and may very well earn a ban. Help channels help people of all ages and cultures and using a nick that is offensive is just plain dumb. This goes for offensive language as well. Do not use foul or offensive language.


  • Read the topic of the channel when you get in. It often has the rules posted in it. If it is in English, use English, if in French, use French or ask what languages are allowed in the channel.
  • Ask your question. One big no-no is asking to ask a question. This will only annoy the helpers in there who are already waiting to answer questions quickly so they can move on to the next person. If after you ask your question and there is no immediate reply, wait. Ops are often busy and they may be helping someone else first - it does not mean they did not see your question or that they are ignoring you. Lag may be a factor too, and it may take quite a few seconds for them to even see the question you posted.
  • Do not repeat your question over and over again; that will be considered abuse in the channel and result in a kick or ban. Repeatedly asking the same question only makes you irritating and it will not speed up the response.
  • Do not use colors, bold text or other formatting to draw attention to yourself. That kind of attention is not the kind you are looking for. Many IRC clients cannot process your client's text formatting and others may not be able to read what you ask.
  • It is advised that you generally keep one nickname, and do not change it while in a help channel. This allows helpers to keep up with the person asking the question.
  • Do not type in capital letters. This method of typing is considered YELLING and it's considered bad manners to type everything in caps. Some people do this because they think they'll get noticed more if they use caps. They're right, but that extra attention usually comes with a kick.
  • Keep in mind that a help channel is a help channel, not a chat channel. People are there to get help, not to chat and get to know you. Keep chat to a bare minimum in a help channel.
  • Do not ask for ops, access or voice in a help channel. If the administrators of that channel want you to have access, be assured, they will let you know.
  • When you ask your question or post any follow-ups to your question, please try to type it all on one line, without hitting the Enter key after every other word. You do not want to flood the channel, you want help, remember? It makes it very difficult to follow your meaning if you keep entering a few words at a time.
  • Do not ask about anything illegal in a help channel. You will not get help on it.
  • Do not use a help channel as a testing ground. Test elsewhere, and never bring a bot into a help channel.
  • Don't play sounds in a help channel, and be sure you have turned off any auto greets you may have running before going into the channel.
  • Do not use any channel to spam. Spam is unsolicited advertising. Do not advertise your channel and do not ask for supporters for your channel!
  • Always ask in the channel and do not message an op or helper for help in a help channel.
  • Remember ops are the rulers of the channel and what they say, goes. Do not argue with an op. Ops are always right! ;-)
  • It is always nice to thank people for helping you.
  • Do not idle in a help channel, unless told you may do so. Many help channels do not allow idling, ask your question and leave. In general, treat people the way you would like to be treated. IRC is for fun, show your best side and you will attract others who are fun to be with.

For some great tips on improving online communication, be sure to check out