This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Shea Bennett recently started a Web-based BBS with multiple
topics, called "Cook County, the ER Message Center", located at
<http://homepages.force9.net/sheamus/ER>. I've had some experience with
Web-based BBS's (good and bad), and I wish him luck with this.
People gather on Thursday nights on IRC on the channel #ER to
discuss, joke about, and just chat about ER.
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. The simplest way to see if you
can get onto IRC is to type IRC at the command prompt of your service
provider. If your system already has IRC installed the program should
start to load and connect you.
At any time, 24hrs a day, 365 days a year, there can be thousands
of users on IRC at any given time. There also channels for discussing just
about anything you can imagine. (And a few things you probably can't.) :)
For example, #xf for X-Files Chat, #riskybus for playing Jeopardy,
If your system does not have IRC installed, you have 3 options:
1. See if someone else on your system has it compiled and get a copy
2. Ask your system admin. to compile or add to your system
for you. (I hope you have a very nice admin.)
3. Compile the program yourself. This can be very daunting
for the novice user, and I suggest either option 1, or getting
help from your system admin.
There is also supposed to be telnet interfaces connections to IRC,
but they are rare and extremely slow.
If you plan on compiling IRC yourself, you can get a copy of the
source from ftp at cs.bu.edu. (I think)
If you already have IRC on your system (lucky you!), then after
loading IRC, you will be presented with a command prompt.
/join #ER [to join the #ER channel] /leave #ER [to leave the #ER channel] /part #ER [same as above] /bye [to quit IRC] anything [to say something public on your channel eg. 'Hello everyone!' Note there is NO '/'] /msg Bill [to send a private message to Bill, or whoever you wish - just substitute their nick for Bill] /nick JCarter [change YOUR nickname to 'JCarter' or whatever you wish] /who #ER [to list who's on the #ER channel]