Guides to internet chat (Pidgin)

For some webchats, we use IRC. For this you need a small bit of software: Pidgin (or possibly, if you have a Mac, Colloquy or Adium).

It is also possible to connect to IRC via a web browser at http://webchat.freenode.net. It takes you to the IRC service irc.freenode.net by default. You type in a nickname (of your choice) and captcha text (which is there to fend off spammers), and select chatroom, or channel, #wlsite. However, this is a technically more complicated way of connecting - like using a helicopter to go to the supermarket - and more subject to glitches (usually "time-outs") than using Pidgin, Colloquy, or Adium.

Pidgin (for Windows and Linux) is free and very easy to set up. Adium and Colloquy are other options for Macs.

Download and install one of the programmes

  • Pidgin for Windows or Linux or Mac
  • Colloquy for Mac OS X
  • Adium 1.4+ for Mac OS 10.5.8+ (not Adium 1.3 for older Mac OS, which does not do IRC)

Set up the programme to connect to server irc.freenode.net. (This as an IRC server, not a website. You don't use a browser - Internet Explorer, Firefox, or whatever - to connect to it. You use your IRC programme, Pidgin, or whatever). You choose a username - something like Joe1917 (numbers so that it doesn't duplicate another username already on the server), but not Joe Soap1917 (with a white space).

Setup is especially easy for Pidgin, which offers you irc.freenode.net as the default server, and Colloquy, which offers you a window to type the name of the server you want.

Once connected to the server, choose the command "Join channel" or "Join chat room" to join channel #wlsite.

As easy as that. One little warning: if you mistype the name of the channel, e.g. as #wliste, then you won't get an error message, because the programme thinks you're setting up a new channel with that name, #wliste. Only there's no-one else on that channel.

Pdfs here with screenshots for step-by-step instructions for:

  • Pidgin
  • Colloquy

    Your screen may look a little different, since Pidgin and Colloquy programs change over the years.

    Thanks to Daisy Thomas for the Pidgin guide.

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PDF icon colloquy.pdf261.99 KB
PDF icon pidgin.pdf186.4 KB