IRC and #pokemon

By Minus. Art by princessofmusic.
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What is IRC?

Usually, when I meet someone new on the forums, I tell them to "hop on IRC" for a quick chat. More often than not, though, I'm met with a "What is IRC?" or a "?_?", which is pretty understandable, as I never used IRC before joining Smogon either. For starters, IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat", and it's where Smogon users tend to hang out to talk to their buddies in real time, rather than using forum PM or the like. IRC is the sole reason the Quote Database exists, as well as the reason so many people are good friends with each other despite never meeting them in real life. IRC bonds everyone on Smogon and makes us the community that we are. People use it so frequently that many users have helped me with writing this by advising me to write about one thing or another. For more information on IRC and how to use it, be sure to check out the IRC Guide. It explains how to download a client, lays out some basic rules, and introduces #pokemon, Smogon's official IRC channel. If you want to hop right in, just click on the "IRC" link in the navigation bar on the home page!

Commands and Scripts

Once you've gotten yourself set up on IRC, there are still a few more pro tips I've got for you. Commands on IRC always contain a few things: the actual command, the name of the user the command affects, the channel name, the mode, and maybe even a command-specific parameter (add/del/list). For example, a command can look like "/cs akick #pokemon add Minus", or "/invite Minus #pokemon" (but why ban me and then invite me back is beyond me @_@). As far as shortcuts go, in a command, you can replace "nickserv" with "ns", "chanserv" with "cs", and "identify" with "id", among other abbreviations (so "/nickserv identify [password]" can be shortened down to "/ns id [password]". Speaking of which, you might be wondering what the above command does. Using the command lets you identify yourself, sort of like logging onto the forums. If you don't identify yourself, no one can confirm that you are actually you and not an impostor. You also automatically get your rank back in a channel once you've identified yourself.

If you're using an IRC client, such as mIRC or HexChat, you can use something called "scripts", which allow you to automatically do something. For example, one useful script can allow you to automatically identify when you connect, while another lets you automatically rejoin a channel after being kicked. You aren't limited in what you can do! My good friend Magnemite had a script that would say "@_@" if someone else said it automatically. Similarly, esteemed Smogon Moderator Alumnus Redew had a script that posted "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" in the chat whenever someone said "shrug".

Scripts are also useful for coding bots, which you'll see all over the place on IRC. They are built to simplify work, like pretty much any robot you will meet. TIBot and CDXCIV are both useful bots scripted by Smogon users The Immortal and V4Victini, respectively. They have a bunch of useful Pokémon-related commands, sort of similar to the ones found on Pokémon Showdown!. For more information about them, go here [link coming later when i find it hehe].

#pokemon and its Reset

Recently, you may have noticed that the ranks (I'll talk more about ranks below) of #pokemon were reset earlier this year, and all members of Smogon's senior staff received HOP (%). The idea behind the reset was to encourage more people to contribute by freeing up the authority slots and promote more Pokémon talk. We've even had a couple of promotions already; be sure to congratulate the new VOPs if you haven't already!

Aside from the authority getting stale, there was also the problem of people chatting about anything BUT Pokémon. If you've ever been in #pokemon before the reset, you would see people talking about things from anime to Fire Emblem. While this isn't necessarily bad, it completely overshadowed any sort of Pokémon talk going on, which drove people away. Hopefully with the reset, we can change this and make it so Pokémon discussions are the main discussion.

So, what are you planning on doing to improve #pokemon?

There are still quite a few discussions going on among Senior Staff and #pokemon SOPs (&) about increasing activity. Here are a few of the ideas:

Semi-Official Smogon Channels

Aside from the main channel, #pokemon, there are many other semi-official channels too. Each section of the forums has one, notably the channels for the tiers (such as #xyuu, #rarelyused, #neverused, and #littlecup), and channels where you can learn to get better at Pokémon (#battling101 and #ratemyteam). The full list is located here. If the staff think you're a good presence in the chat, you may even get promoted to a rank! The ranks are VOP (+), HOP (%), AOP (@), SOP (&), and Owner (~). Something to keep in mind is that, while getting a rank means you can moderate, people are very rarely given it for moderating; it's for being a good chat presence. You can do a couple of more things depending on your rank, including changing the topic, banning users, and even promoting other people. Some of these channels have a tendency to be dead, but don't worry! Just go ahead and say what you want, and someone idling will answer you.


I hope this article was informative and will encourage more people to participate on IRC while also talking about the upcoming features and events for #pokemon. If you have any ideas for increasing the activity of #pokemon, just shoot a PM to anyone who has authority in the channel (or me, so I can relay it to someone more relevant). If you ever need to talk to me, hit me up on IRC!

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