Will there be any way of accessing the chat over IRC?

As beautiful ajax interfaces are ... IRC is still #1 for chats.

  • 13
    +1 chat should have been made based on IRC from the ground up, but having a way to point an IRC client at it would be most welcome.
    – Welbog
    Aug 5, 2010 at 12:09
  • 23
    I would argue that not considering IRC in the design of the chat feature was a mistake, perhaps lack of vision. Many of us already use IRC, has many freenode channels open at any time. If you are adding a chat channel, nothing more logical than to make it integrate with other channels you are already in. Guess which will be the #1 application when the chat API is established...
    – Juliano
    Aug 5, 2010 at 13:46
  • 3
    The main thing which lacks, is not vision, @Juliano. Aug 5, 2010 at 14:31
  • 11
    I hate IRC, and I'm still up-voting this, simply because the IRC client for my phone works better than the web app, and if past experience proves anything it's that the web app stands little chance of not sucking for mobile. That said, I'd still rather see XMPP. IRC kills my battery life...
    – Shog9
    Aug 5, 2010 at 22:14
  • 8
    See also Offer an XMPP method for chat. Aug 6, 2010 at 9:01
  • 1
    I'm voting up! There are all of open source developers sit in IRC.
    – toreator
    Jul 24, 2013 at 8:17
  • @Shog9 can this be revisited?
    – Tim
    Jul 6, 2015 at 19:04

4 Answers 4


update: initial author isn't working on this anymore (last commit was 2010)

As Andy E's head mentioned, I've started to create an IRC interface for the SO chat. The current state of the code is on Github: http://github.com/ghewgill/soirc

It's all ugly, nascent, fragile code right now but I expect that will improve in time.

  • 9
    Those of us who prefer to use a terminal for everything thank you!
    – Ether
    Aug 6, 2010 at 18:09
  • 1
    How are you handling chat time-out periods, message migrations, message editing, flagging, starring, multiline messages, de-beautifying oneboxes, ... :/
    – badp
    Sep 1, 2010 at 16:15
  • 2
    @badp: I'm not (to much extent) yet, but those can be considered as enhanced GUI features. IRC is a basic interface, you get just the facts. However the chat server interface code can of course see those events happening, and inform the IRC user in some appropriate way. Sep 1, 2010 at 19:46
  • Thanks for your excellent work on this @Greg! I plan to use your code as a guide in my attempt to create an XMPP interface Sep 11, 2010 at 15:48
  • Looks like it would be nice if SO supported an API to the chat to get raw markdown instead of HTML messages. Then it would be easier to transform them to use irc-style formatting. Feb 14, 2012 at 19:06
  • Project abandoned? Last commit was 2010.
    – tshepang
    Mar 18, 2012 at 23:08
  • @Tshepang: Yup, I'm not using it anymore. Feel free to fork and improve it! Mar 18, 2012 at 23:09
  • Nah. Just wanted a note added to that effect.
    – tshepang
    Mar 18, 2012 at 23:10
  • ........ #soirc Jul 15, 2016 at 21:32

The chat isn't based on IRC, so I think this is unlikely. It would have been possible to build that kind of interface on top of IRC, but I think the team did a very good job of building it from scratch.

Greg Hewgill is looking for some help putting together an unofficial IRC interface for the chat.

yay it works, typing this from a hacked-together irc interface now. :)
ACTION whistles innocently
this is a program you run on your local machine which acts as an irc server
you connect your client to localhost on its port and away you go


  • 1
    Downvotes because they didn't do a good job or what?
    – Andy E
    Aug 5, 2010 at 13:46
  • 4
    @Justin: ouch! Way to hurt a guy's feelings... you try keeping yourself trim when you're just a head!
    – Andy E
    Aug 5, 2010 at 14:44
  • 3
    the ajax chat looks certainly nice. but it is a cpu hog and because it's a website it lacks the system integration my other chat/im clients offer. (bouncing in the dock, etc.) I am just not comfortable with the idea of letting the SO chat run in the background. :(
    – jsz
    Aug 7, 2010 at 9:03
  • @jrk: yeah I can see that being a problem for some. Let's just hope Greg's project is successful :-)
    – Andy E
    Aug 8, 2010 at 9:16
  • @jrk: Or you can use the XMPP bridge I'm writing, it does bounce dock icons etc Nov 14, 2010 at 21:43

I love IRC, but I think the ship has sailed on this one. The problem with IRC as an add-on is the authentication problem. This chat system is inherently based on authenticated users with known reputations.

You can't really get that connected to IRC meaningfully unless you run your own customized IRC server so you can merge the IRC account (and you'd incur the cost of supporting username:password logins).

Implementing it as a proxy you run on your own machine (where you could provide your ID to the proxy) seems like the only choice, with custom /commands for the special features of StackOverflow chat (starring, flagging, editing ...)

  • 6
    There are channels that handle this. A channel +i with a bot that checks the username for account/rep on the website and then invites the user into the channel solves that. Aug 6, 2010 at 16:33
  • Or +m and assigning +v once you authenticate.
    – user7116
    Mar 19, 2012 at 2:08
  • Actually, some IRC servers already support login/password and SSL encrypted chats. Writing an AJAX page like we have already is trivial, and the ajax page could easily support all of the same features that we have now, as you said with custom /commends those same features would be available to power-chatters. Also it's even more trivial to write a services bot, as @RebeccaChernoff hints at, (She is saying use a channel bot, I am saying use an IRC Service.) to do most everything else. Honestly, using the service to track starring, flagging etc would be cool too. May 4, 2012 at 18:19

I'm not sure an IRC bridge is appropriate for SO chat... authentication would be one issue (how do you login with OpenID to IRC?), and another issue would be ensuring appropriate connectivity between the IRC bridge and the AJAX interface's backend, which is probably not inherently made for long-running TCP connections.

  • The server could PM you with an OAuth link. One would have to do this on every reconnect though... Feb 14, 2012 at 19:07
  • 2
    You'd just place +m on the channel and +v authenticated users.
    – user7116
    Mar 19, 2012 at 2:08

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