Last major edit (later minor edits)

Summary: Remove leftover mention of birny's command syntax.


< '''[::birny]'''
< Commands to BirnyTheBot begin with an initial period. Birny searches its knowledge database for things following a question mark.
< <kensanata> .seen rms
< <birny> I've never seen rms before.
< One of the most beloved commands of birny is '''.quote'''.

The official Emacs IRC channel is #emacs on freenode, since the GNU Project made freenode its official IRC network in 2002.

If you just want the channel rules, skip to the Conduct and Law and Order sections. Also check the Community FAQ before asking questions on the channel.

About #emacs and related channels

The freenode IRC channel #emacs is a place for a merry get-together of all the Emacsfolks out there. People from all the corners of the world do populate the channel, largely from the “West”, though (see EmacsChannelDemographics).

The chatter is in English and EmacsLisp, but other flavours of Lisp and French, Finnish, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Swedish, Icelandic, Tagalog, Persian, and who knows what else are heard from time to time. Pour les francophones, allez voir aussi SalleEmacsFr. Para la gente hispanoparlante, también vea CanalEmacsEs.

After spending some time on the channel, one’s mind might start suspecting the EmacsChannelPeople are mere slackers, doing little else than idling on their beloved channel. The EmacsChannelDemographics certainly proves such accusations downright rubbish. These “slackers” come from all aspects of life and are involved a vast range of most Useful Things indeed. Besides they’re so busy doing their Useful Things, they have only time to idle on the channel, and not chit-chat all day long. Many have even automated the joining process (f.ex. ErcEmacsChannel), to minimize the distraction. If the channel does seem rather quiet at times, a gentle stir usually attracts audience.

Though a separate XEmacsChannel does exist, it’s not to separate Emacs-people from one another. The Emacs channel is a generic channel, not just for GNU Emacs. We’re all one jolly family, forget you not!

It would be naive to think only strictly Emacs-related issues were discussed on the channel, especially on a channel where ‘strict’ itself is such an unpopular idea. At times discussions, especially about politics, can get rather carried away as we all so well know. It might be best to take it to the IdeologiesChannel when that happens. All in all, the Emacsfolks being such a well-behaved lots, there isn’t much to EmacsChannelMaintenance beyond fighting EmacsChannelHarassment.

Channel list:

We prefer no public logs of the Emacs channel. See EmacsChannelLogging.



In addition to freenode's network-wide policies, we have some of our own rules (some of which are redundant):

If you violate these rules, we will beat you with a cluebat.

Oh, and don’t encourage the punners (not really); offenders are not listed here to protect the guilty, I mean innocent.

Law and Order

If you need the help of a friendly operator (usually for kicking and banning obnoxious fellow channel members), you can get a list of these from fsbot. Just say:


In the background the Freenode server maitains an access list for the channel. Try it for yourself:

    /msg chanserv access #emacs list

ChanServ will reply with a list of people who have some sort of power on the channel. These are the important flags:

The most powerful flag is the founder flag (+F). Currently (2013 Apr 25) delYsid, johnw and kensanata have it.

If you’re in trouble:


The channel is probably logged by a gazillion bots (and human users). Some of the bots one might encounter are described below.

In addition to addressing the bots like any other person, by prefixing the message with the recipients nickname and a colon, the bots understand a variety of special syntax among the traffic. For example, fsbot parses strings surrounded by pairs of double commas.

The bots generally provide help if you ask them for it. Better do that in private though, to keep it off the channel.


Fsbot, an instance of ErBot, is the simplest to use. It has pointers to nearly all the pages on this wiki, among massive amounts of other usefulness. Fsbot commands start with an initial comma. It’s cunning enough to respond to other syntaxes too.

    <kensanata> ,setfonts
    <fsbot> me thinks SetFonts is at


offby1 runs this bot in the channel. Its sole useful feature is using http://tinyurl.com to convert long URLs to short ones. Other features, only arguably useful, include entertaining its author; spewing random quotes on demand; a “seen” feature similar to birny’s; and a Scheme evaluator (handy for confusing Lisp novices who are unclear about the difference between Emacs Lisp and Scheme). Its source lives at https://github.com/offby1/rudybot.