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March 2001: the Undernet gods have reintroduced channel service bots, and there's now only one bot: X. There used to be two, X and W, and #sinister got W, but she's gone forever, bless her, so we get X. If the original X and W were Xavier and Wendy, then the new X is Xerxes, Xavier's evil twin brother who drinks too much and broods menacingly. And he's tough, and can't be hacked by Romanian hackers, apparently.
I made our own bots, aunt wendy and uncle xavier (and their tarty little niece, kiki, who can play tarty little games) in the interim to protect the channel. They still do some things Xerxes can't (I've changed the idle-kick to 60 minutes idle, do we want to keep it if things get stable with Xerxes?), and I'll keep them there at least until the new system looks stable. Besides, Ken wants me to add more tarty games to Kiki. I can give you accounts to talk to wendy, xavier and kiki too if you want (I have to a few who were around) but you probably don't need them.
You can read about the new X at:
The real difference is that Xerxes doesn't recognise ops by their ISP's anymore, you have to register at the site above, which makes things much easier in the long run - you don't need to worry about changing ISPs. You should go and register now at:
Once you've got a username there, mail me and tell me what it is: I'll add you to Xerxes as an op for #sinister. I've edited the rest of the old document below for the new system (making some deliberate mistakes, presumably), so you can nip down to "Your First Time With Xerxes" and read on from there. It's more or less the same as it was for W with some minor changes. Mwah mwah x
You're reading this because you've been asked if you'll be a channel op on the #sinister channel on Undernet (or you might be one already). It explains what X (you can call him Xerxes) does and what comes with the job. Thanks for offering and please read this rather boring stuff carefully. In particular you need to do the kinky stuff under "Your First Time With Xerxes" (mmm...) right now.
If you look at this and think "god I'm not reading that!" then please let me know if you've changed your mind and don't want to be an op.
If you look at this and think "I know all this, you patronising tart", then skip to "#Sinister opping" and read that, and maybe "Being an OP" before it if it contains anything you don't know.
This is a big document (sorry) because I'm trying to cover all possibilities and stuff you may or may not know. All you'll ever probably normally have to remember is:
Points 1. and 2. look complicated but they're dead easy and very quick once you set it up and understand what you're doing. 3. is something you will VERY rarely need to do: your job as channel op is simply to "be around" and know what to do if the channel gets hacked. This might occasionally happen on Undernet, but in many cases Xerxes will take care of it.
Please remember one thing: being an op isn't anything to do with status - it's a constant drag to be asked repeatedly on IRC "can I be a channel op" as if it's something to do with being cool. It's not, it's just a job, like a traffic warden and they're not very sexy. All you have to do is "be around", and the criteria is simply that you, like me, waste too much time on IRC. Please help me out by explaining this to others, as I get an awful lot of people who feel left out somehow because they aren't ops - please do your best to not flaunt it, and explain to them what it's really about. All I'm trying to do is ensure there's enough ops so that most times of the day there's someone around to help out, and not too many to make the whole thing intimidating for everyone else, and too much work for me to keep up with your ISP changes.
All this doesn't mean of course you aren't dead sexy, but it doesn't guarantee it. You probably are though :)
To use Xerxes, you first need to register at the Undernet site, and get yourself a username. Go to:
and fill in the forms. Then mail me the username you chose and I'll tell Xerxes that username is an op for #sinister.
In the meantime you can change the password they give you to a password of your own. To do this first you send him a message to tell him you're you: type this (in any window):
/msg X@channels.undernet.org login username oldpassword
where "username" is the username you registered above. Don't worry if replies from X look like they're appearing in the channel, they're not - they're /notice's and only you can see them. Xerxes should tell you you're authorised. Next set yourself a new password - one you can remember, and more than 6 characters:
/msg X@channels.undernet.org newpass newpassword
Here substitute your chosen password for "newpassword", dur. Again wait until X's replied to you.
This is the only time you'll have to do all this, unless you disclose your password to someone else or say it in the channel (oops). If you do, please set a new password as above immediately, or let me know.
You need to tell X you're you again - for this just use the first command above:
/msg X@channels.undernet.org login username password
where "username" is the username you registered above. Normally this won't actually op you, it's just saying hello to Xerxes. Please don't op yourself except at those times you're about to need it - like if there's some danger to the channel, or you need to set channel modes. Lots of ops in the channel at other times can be intimidating, and it's a good idea to spring it as a surprise on a potential intruder: if they see who the ops usually are, they might pretend to be them.
If you do need ops at a particular time, once you've logged in to Xerxes as above, just type:
/msg X op #sinister
where "yournickname" is.. your nickname.
You'll have to do this every time you need to get ops. It looks long and convoluted, so see the section below "talking to Xerxes" for some tips on how to make it much quicker. But you shouldn't need ops very often.
Three things: firstly you'll notice in the commands about, sometimes you need to talk to X in his long form i.e. "X@channels.undernet.org". You ONLY need to do this when you're logging on to X, i.e. sending him your password to identify yourself (it's for security). All other times you can just type "/msg X command".
Secondly: /msg X is just the same as private messaging another user. So if you want you can just double-click his name in the room and talk to him like anyone else. So if you are opping yourself having sent him your password, you can double-click him (he likes it) and when the chat window opens, just say
It's the same thing as /msg X.
Finally logging in to X when you connect to IRC is still a long line to type. If you're using mIRC, and usually on other IRC programs, you can set up an "alias" to abbreviate a long command into a short one. On mIRC click on the "/a" button near the top of the screen. A white screen will pop up; at the bottom on a new line type:
/hixerxes /msg X@channels.undernet.org login username $1
where username is the username you registered on the Undernet website with. Then click OK and close the box. Now you can abbreviate the whole of that line by typing just:
everytime you connect to IRC. Remember you may well still have to op yourself after doing that as above. You can work out similar on your own IRC program of choice.
Xerxes is just another user of IRC and sometimes he'll get horribly lagged like we all do. All you do at these times is be patient and wait for his replies. Sometimes he might disappear from the channel completely (during a "netsplit") but he'll return. Just occasionally you might even have to log in to him again after a netsplit too - just something to bear in mind.
OK so Xerxes's given you ops, what can you do. You can kick people directly either via /kick command, or using menus on your IRC program (in mIRC right click the user and find the "kick" menu). You can ban people from the channel, which means they can't rejoin when they're kicked, via /mode commands, menus, or most usefully by asking X to ban them, because he remembers who's banned and for how long, and he constructs the complicated commands (including the "userhost" for you - where you connect from and your IRC program setup). To do this you would type:
/msg X ban nickname
Note that banning this way via Xerxes will kick them immediately too. The unban command is pretty obvious. If kicking isn't obvious on your IRC program and you want to do it that way, get another: I'd recommend mIRC if you're using Windows.
The ban above is a quick fix: to do banning more effectively you'll have to read up I'm afraid, and use the /mode +b commands. Kicking on its own can be done via the /kick <nickname> command. For complex banning, for those of you who know a bit already:
To set up a proper ban on someone, you'll need to make it independent of the dialup they're using, else they can just dialup again and get straight back in. So if someone's /whois information is:
then to properly ban them you should type
/mode #sinister +b *!*evildead@*.iinet.net.au
/mode #sinister +b *!*@*.iinet.net.au
because that would ban the whole ISP and be unfair on innocent visitors, the wee lambs.
You remove bans with "-b". Banning doesn't really work if you know what you're doing, but don't tell the others that :) The key thing to remember is that the threat of banning is much more powerful than actually using it. And a geeky hacker will only be encouraged by a ban to show you how great he/she is at getting back in.
So it'll be VERY rare when you have to ban someone: if you do tell me as soon as possible why, just so I know what's up. Even kicking will be a very rare occurence, and if you do PLEASE log what happened, so we can see and maybe pass on to the IRC policeman plod. Please record a /whois nickname of the person you're kicking to and mail it to me.
If the channel gets deluged by people talking crap who are clearly trying to trash it, you can set it into "moderated" mode. You should only have to do this once every geological aeon. To do this type
/mode #sinister +m
Then no-one but ops can talk. To give non-ops voices, type
/mode #sinister +v nickname
where nickname is the person who you're voicing. The idea is you only allow true children of the Sinister faith to talk, the others get bored and leave.
Sometimes hackers who can't get ops try and trash the topic by changing the channel so rapidly that everyone gets flooded, or joining/leaving rapidly so you can't ban them quickly enough. Your protection against this may be to "limit" the number of users the channel can take for a very short period, so they can't rejoin, e.g.
/mode #sinister +l 20
if there are 20 proper users. Only do this for a minute or so if you really have to, to save the universe, as innocents won't be able to join later.
Finally, always leave the channel in modes +n (no private messages from outside) and +p ("private", not listed in channel listings), except when we're protecting it especially for some reason. On occasions we may have to set the channel "secret" (+s) so that no-one outside it can see anyone inside, but generally it's +p. +t will occasionally be used so that non-ops can't change the topic, if we have to pass an important message around. And remember if the channel isn't +s and you aren't set invisible, other people will be able to see you're there, and may come in and whack #sinister if you whack them elsewhere.
Remember you can create your own channel to play with these things. Also remember that your IRC program may well have buttons and menus to allow you to change channel modes, voice/devoice people easily.
There are some other things you can ask Xerxes about: try the "status", "access" and the "chaninfo" commands for instance. See the URL below to learn more about these if you want.
Few golden rules for being an op in #sinister:
If Xerxes ever does things that you're not sure about, please record a log of it and send it to me. He has several protection mechanisms (such as "flood protection") and may occasionally stop people who do crazy things like sending millions of lines to the channel at once, or changing nicknames too fast. Just let me know what he's up to.
If you ever get really stuck and I'm not around, you can try the Undernet channel #cservice, where there are people who can help. It's very busy though and you should wait for replies. Only ever trust replies there from someone who's an op in #cservice. Never ever hand out your password to anyone, if someone asks for it they aren't genuine and want to steal your baby and eat it.
Please take a look at the Cservice website at:
All people receiving this messages will have been added at "userlevel 100" for reference in reading these pages.
That's it really - let me know if you've read all this and are still confused. But please have a good read first. And if you ever decide you don't want to be an op and can't be bothered with all this please let me know.
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