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Nicknames
Nicknames
This page and content by Topkapi #gaysa channel op and IRC webmaster for this site.

This page has been created to make life less of a headache for all of us. It is a sort of "rules" page, relating directly to NickServ and ACCESS levels.

This page assumes that you know what IRC is. If you don't, please find read all the other irc info on this site. This page is only for telling you how to register and use nicknames properly on ZAnet and Lagnet.

This page may have some technical details slightly wrong, but this being a disclaimer, I have to say that I cannot be held responsible for anything that goes wrong regarding IRC or NickServ. This page is merely to help you set it all up so that we have less chance of channel takeovers and the like.

Who is NickServ?

First off, who or what is NickServ? Well, the Nick(name)Serv(er) controls who uses a nickname on IRC. It works on a first come, first serve basis, so if you really want the nickname "God", tough luck. And I don't even recommend trying that one either. You will get K-lined immediately.

How to Register your Nickname

It is generally good practice to register the nicknames that you will use. This will eliminate confusion, and makes it easier to figure out who everyone is. It also helps when you are a regular op on a channel to have a registered nickname, to eliminate confusion and takeover attempts by preventing just anyone using your nickname.

To register a nickname, make sure that you are connected to the zanet.org.za network, and type this anywhere in your IRC program:

/msg NickServ register password

For the password, put in something you will remember, but nothing that other people can guess easily. For instance, don't use the actual word "password".

This registration is now valid for a period of 30 days. If you don't identify yourself within those 30 days, the nickname will expire, and anyone else will then be able to use it. It is your own responsibility to keep yourself registered.

This does not mean you should register hundreds of nicknames, because you may one day decide that you like it. That is considered NickServ abuse, and you can be K-lined.

How to Identify Yourself

When I speak about identifying yourself, I mean that NickServ is not so clever as to know that the person using a registered nickname is the right person. NickServ was designed to assume that you are not who you claim to be without at least some proof. This is why you used a password to register your nickname.

Whenever you change your nickname to the original registered nickname (and this does include every time you connect to IRC), you need to tell NickServ that you are really who you claim to be. It's a simple philosophy to follow.

To identify your nickname, make sure that you are connected to the zanet.org.za network, and type this anywhere in your IRC program:

/msg NickServ identify password

For the password, make sure you use the same password you used when you registered your nickname. Now you can see why you should not use the word "password", because then anyone will be able to use the nickname.

So What is the Fuss About ACC 3?

Once you are registered and identified, you are automatically assigned an access level (ACC) of 3. The access levels work according to the following list:

0 = No such registered nickname
1 = User is not online or not identified to NickServ
2 = User is identified via ACCESS lists
3 = User is identified via IDENTIFY command

ACC 0, 1 and 3 are simple to understand from what I have explained so far. ACC 2, however, needs to have its own section.

So What is ACC 2 and how safe is it?

When you register your nickname for the first time, you will notice how it gives you a reply similar to this:

-NickServ- "Topkapi" is now registered under your account:
 

The account in the format is called a hostmask. The part before the @ sign is known as the user, while the part after the @ sign is known as the host, hence hostmask or ACCESS mask. Each hostmask in a list makes up an ACCESS list (see above).

When you register, this hostmask that is registered with your nickname is the then current hostmask. If you are a dial-up subscriber like I am, the part after the @ sign will change whenever you dial in to your Internet Service Provider. This obviously means that your current ACCESS mask does not match the original one. All that you have to do then, to remedy the situation, is to add another mask to the ACCESS list.

Firstly, take the original hostmask (not my one, silly!), and take off the user part (topkapi), put in an @ sign (@), and then an asterisk and a dot (*.), followed by the Internet Service Provider's generic domain name (in this case .dial-up.net). This will give you topkapi@*.dial-up.net.

To work out the ISP's generic domain name, take a look at the hostmask and see which part is unlikely to change. UUNET Internet Africa users will have user@*.iafrica.com, Global Internet Access users will have user@*.gia.net.za, M-Web subscribers will have user@*.mweb.co.za, and Intekom users will have user@*.saix.net. Hopefully, this is clear to you.

Once you have worked out what your generic hostmask is, type in the following:

/msg NickServ access add topkapi@*.dial-up.net

ACC 2 can be explained more easily now. When you connect again, and you have the generic hostmask in your ACCESS list, you will automatically have an ACC level of 2. Why? Because your current mask and your registered mask are "the same". The asterisk acts as a wildcard, which can be substituted with any value.

Those clever people who can connect through UNIX machines already connected to the Internet without having to dial up (usually called shell accounts and run an IRC program called ircII), automatically get the name of the UNIX machine as the host part (e.g. shell.icon.co.za). In this case, the host does not change, so their ACCESS list will not have to be updated.

So Who Gets Channel Ops?

Ultimately, anyone with a constant hostmask (for instance, someone who uses a UNIX account) who does not identify themself to NickServ will be alright (ACC 2), because generally speaking, you can assume that their account and password are not being used by an undesirable person.

With regards to giving Channel Op status to a person, the general rule of thumb is that only people with an ACC 3 level should be allowed. This does not mean that anyone can get ops because they have a level of ACC 3. It is merely a way of letting you know that the person who has been an op in the past is still the same person, and not an unwanted takeover attempt waiting to happen. On the other hand, if someone uses a static hostmask (one that does not change - see UNIX above), and they have an ACC 2 level, they are safe.

How Do I Check this "ACC" Level?

A simple command like this:

/msg NickServ acc Topkapi

will ask NickServ whether you are a trusted nickname. It will respond with a reply along the lines of:

-NickServ- ACC Topkapi 3

Hopefully that clears a lot up for you all.

Related Links
ZAnet The South African IRC network go!
LagNET The new South African IRCNetwork go!
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