IRC conversations can be strange indeed. Several topics seems to be going
on at once; people are coming and going all the time, filling the channel with
hellos and goodbyes; your screen will sometimes freeze for a while and then suddenly
spew out more text than you can possibly read. Worst of all, you will see rejoinders
to comments that were never made, or amused reactions to a joke whose punch line
you never saw. It does not take long before you are asking yourself, Am I missing
The answer is yes, you are and it has nothing to do with the program you
are using or the vagaries of the Internet. No, the point is that on IRC the public
conversation is only some of what is going on. Underneath the general run of chat,
like a discreet whisper lost in the rhubarb of a cocktail party, are private and
semi-private conversations that you are not made aware of unless somebody wants
you to hear them.
The command mostly responsible for this is:
/msg <nick> <text>
/msg Perry Didnt we meet yesterday on #chat ?
Perry sees "*YourNick* Didnt we meet yesterday on #chat ?"
"YourNick:->Perry: Didnt we meet yesterday on #chat ?"
No one else see anything.
When you receive a private message it will usually be colored red and be accompanied
by a sound unless you have changed the Snak settings.
The /msg command has two useful variations:
/msg . sends to the last person you messaged.
/msg , sends to the last person that you received a private message from.
Using the period to stand in for somebody you are messaging can be very useful
but the comma for "whoever last messaged me" can be dangerous. You could
be concentrating on composing an affectionate message to Millie, and completely
miss the fact that a new message comes in from DavyJ. You hit your enter key with
a flourish, and off goes your Millie message to DavyJ. This usage is probably
responsible for many misdirected messages, and misdirected messages can be embarrassing.
Furthermore, messages that accidentally become public rather than private because
you get the syntax wrong can be very entertaining (for the other channel members
If misdirected private messages plague you then you may find the command /oops
useful. /oops is an alias (see the chapters on scripting
for more information) but it's used just like a built in command.
The syntax is:
/oops <intended nick>
The result is that "Sorry, that wasnt meant for you" is sent to
the "misdirectee" and the original message is sent to the intended nick.
However, you can avoid misdirected private messages entirely by using the /query
command which is described in the next chapter.
The query command opens a special panel intended for private messages to and
from one recipient only.