Chaos FAQ

This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document is maintained by Michelle A. Hoyle ( It is normally posted on a monthly basis to the IRC Games mailing list maintained by Eingang. Copies are also available on the Games page available at

Table of Contents

Section 1: What Is Chaos?

What is Chaos?

Chaos is a multi-player game, based on on an idea provided by a popular word game, which allows teams of players to compete in a fast-paced category guessing experience. Chaos can be played day or night with people from all over the world through the magic of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC). If you do not know about the IRC and how to use it, please consult the primer which will explain how to connect, where to obtain clients, and how to navigate and communicate on the IRC.

The Gameshow Hosts

The scoring and questions are controlled by a 'bot, which is an independent C program designed to work on the IRC. Depending on where you are playing, the name of the robot host and its shorter nickname will vary. The following table illustrates the different robots and their nicknames.

   | Game      | Server         | Robot Name |  NickName  | Gender |
   | #Chaos    | EFnet          | ChaosBot   | Cb         | Male   |
   | #Chaos    | UnderNet       | ChaosBot   | Cb         | Male   |
   | #Chaos    | StarLink       | ChaosBot   | Cha        | Male   |
   | #Chaos2   | DALnet         | ChaosBot   | Cha        | Male   |

In all cases, a player submits an answer by saying "[NickName], <answer>." For example, Cha, <answer>, where <answer> and is an answer for the current category. question. Hereafter, the host will be referred to as "C*" or "C*bot". Insert the correct name for your variant of Chaos.

Where to Play Chaos

There are four different places where you can indulge your need to play Chaos. DALnet, a splinter network, offers you the chance to play Chaos in what was originally a Star Trek like environment. DALnet currently hosts about 45,000 users on about 30 different servers. You can access DALnet at

DALnet's Chaos is currently unavailable.

The newest network for the games is StarLink, organised originally by a group of women. StarLink differs from many other IRC networks in that it does not allow any sex or software piracy channels. This is still a relatively new network, but quite friendly and reasonably free of lag. You can access a StarLink server at Denver.CO.US.StarLink.Org. New players to Chaos might consider starting on StarLink or DALnet, as they are much smaller and tend to be friendlier than the EFnet.

StarLink's Chaos is currently unavailable.

The most common location is on the group of IRC machines known collectively as the EFnet. Most client software for the IRC comes with a list of EFnet server sites to which you can connect. An example of an EFnet server site is EFnet tends to be quite crowded, lagged, and prone to netsplits.

An alternate group of machines form a network known as the Undernet. On the undernet, netsplits, hacked channel operator privileges, and such like are relatively uncommon due to the structure of the network. Your same client software for EFnet will also work wonderfully well for the Undernet. Some common Undernet sites are or

You're not sure which network you're on? A quick and easy way to tell is by using the /lusers command. If it comes and reports to you that there are over 30 000 users connected on 70+ servers then you're connected to the EFnet. If there are fewer than 30 000 but more than 15 000, you are likely on the Undernet. DALnet will report around 40000 users. To change servers, type /server machine_name, where machine_name is something like or

A Description of the Game

Chaos is a multi-player game, played in teams of two. Play starts with a category being displayed, such as Famous Risky Business Players, and the two teams then have 1.5 minutes to guess as many of the answers that appear on the answer card. Sample answers might be Mach, Eingang, WittLess, etc. For each new correct answer, a team scores one point. The game ends when one team scores 30 or more points. The name "chaos" derives from the actions of the players who shout out answers during the course of game play. As might be obvious, this game is based on the real-life board game Outburst.

The scoring and categories are controlled by a 'bot, which is an independent C program designed to work on the IRC. The 'bot, named ChaosBot, normally sits on the channel #Chaos. If you are using EFnet/Undernet, the 'bot requires your commands and answers to be prefaced with the nickname of "Cb". If you are using DALnet/StarLink, the 'bot there answers to "Cha".

Answers will not be recognized from a player until a player joins one of the two teams. This can be done at any time by typing <BotName>, join team 2, where BotName is the appropriate nickname for your local 'bot. When ChaosBot displays a category, players can try to register answers for their teams by typing <BotName>, <answer>. The 'bot does not acknowledge answers until the 1.5 minutes are up. At that point in time, correct answers are displayed and points are awarded.

It is important to note that at the start of a new game, all players must join a team. Teams are not carried over from game to game! Also, most categories have more than 10 possible answers. The bot just picks 10 answers at random from his list of possible answers each time the category is played.

DALnet/Starlink Game Features

The 'bots on StarLink/DALnet differ from the ChaosBot on the other IRC networks. First of all, you address them as "cha" instead of "cb." Also, you no longer have to put "cha" in front of your answers. "cha" is only required for bot commands. Other differences are perhaps not so obvious. For example, on DALnet, when a user leaves the channel, is kicked off the channel, or signs off, he or she is automatically placed on Team 0. Furthermore, if the user returns during the same game as they left, the are automatically placed back on their original team. During regular game play, a summary of how many points each team made in the last round is displayed. The DALnet/StarLink ChaosBots keep a count of how many correct answers each user has had. At the conclusion of a game, the player who had the highest number of correct answers is congratulated. If, heaven forbid, the bot should happen to crash, ChaosBot will restart with the team names and the scores from the most recently completed round. This feature will also restore player scores and names as well. Finally, the ChaosBot messages you current team scores and number of players on each team when you join, so you know which team needs help.

Section 2: Controlling the 'Bot and the Channel

ChaosBot Commands/Game Commands

A number of commands can be issued by players to C*Bot. The only real commands which should be issued on the channel to C*Bot is <BotName>, join team <x> or <BotName>, name team <name>.

The following list of commands should be sent via a private message to C*bot. This can be done by typing /msg ChaosBot cmd, where cmd is one of the following:
* help 
    This provides the current list of commands to which  C*bot will 
    respond. This command may be disabled due to users attempting to
    flood the 'bot with help requests.

* show category Displays the current category.

* show comment Messages you the comment for the current category. Comments are intended to provide some information about the content of the category and sometimes will also indicate the category author.

* show scores Displays the current points accumulated by the teams for the current game.

* show teams This causes Chaosbot to show the current team compositions.

* show standings Displays the current individual player scores in the game. (only on DALnet/Starlink)

* name team [name] Will change the name of the current team you're on to the specified name. Please be curteous with the use of colour in team names. Not everybody has colour and some colour combinations look terrible.

* show version Displays the current version of ChaosBot (only on DALnet/Starlink)

* note [comment] This can be used to inform the game administrator of bugs in the categories. Please be sure to include the category name in your comment. These comments are saved to a file. This command can only be used by messaging the 'bot whereas the previous commands will also work on the channel.

Channel Operators & Game Masters

Channel operators are users entrusted to maintain order on the channel as well as correct errors and notify the administration in the event of errors or mishaps. If you are not on the bot op list and think that you qualify, contact the appropriate game administrator.

People are granted operator status on EFnet/Undernet by Mach ( For StarLink/DALnet, you need to contact Eingang ( Usually, operator privileges are granted to people who have played the games for awhile so that their behaviour can be evaluated.

We do not find it amusing if people are constantly asking us for operator privileges for the games. Being an operator is not just a status thing, it is also a responsibility. If you just want to be an operator because you think it is cool, please do not even bother to ask. In fact, in general, operator privileges are granted automatically to people deemed capable of assuming the responsibility for managing the channel.

We cannot stress the importance of operators behaving appropriately. With so many games running, it is impossible for the game administrators to monitor all the channels all the time. As such, we rely on the operators to enforce the rules, particularly the rules regarding language and conduct on the channel. The games are designed to be family-friendly. If you are an operator or would like to be an operator, please be sure that you are also committed to this.

If you think someone is abusing their operator privileges or perhaps using them to cheat, please feel free to contact the appropriate game administrator with details of the problem.

Channel Rules (For Everyone)

Thousands of people have played our games, from countries all around the world, at many different times of the day and the night. In order to make sure that everyone has a good time, we have formulated the following rules which lay out guidelines for proper behaviour from all the users of our game channels. With so many games running, it is impossible to monitor all the channels all the time. Therefore, we rely on the operators to enforce the rules, particularly the rules regarding language and conduct on the channel. The games are designed to be family-friendly, which means we do have restrictions on language and content, for the comfort and enjoyment of all.

Channel operators are users entrusted to maintain order on the channel as well as to correct errors and notify the administration in the event of errors or mishaps. If you think someone is abusing their operator privileges or perhaps using them to cheat, please feel free to contact Eingang with details of the problem.

The most important rule for our game channels is that all people on the channel must be treated with respect, be they just regular game players, operators, game hosts ('bots), or game administrators. Treating people with respect means being polite, obeying the rules, and contributing in a positive way to a healthy channel atmosphere.

If you find yourself in a position where you are being verbally attacked, flooded, or otherwise harassed, please ask the offending party to cease. If they fail to cease, make use of the /ignore user@host -all command to ignore any message, public or private, coming from them and report to the problem to one of the game channel operators. Do not bother to respond to the person.

If you have a fight to pick with another user, please do it off channel or in private messages. Respecting other people means letting them enjoy the game without being subject to any personal problems you might have with other users. This would, of course, include any slights aimed at people on the basis of the colour, religion, sex, or age.

The games are meant to run in a "family" atmosphere, which means, ideally, no profanity or vulgarity at all. The users on the channel range in age from 10-80+. While the majority of us are adults and can handle language that is a little blue, it would be better to keep such language to a minimum. Going hand in hand with this is a caveat on language of a sexual nature. Vulgar comments or comments of a sexual nature are prohibited. This injunction also extends to the development of categories for any of the games.

The profanity rules do not constitute a violation of the American Constitution regarding free speech. The rules for free speech only apply to printed materials and areas of public congress. With these games, the administrators are inviting you into a private space and therefore are exempt from the rules regarding free speech. If you find their rules intolerable, you do not have to visit their "home."

We recognize that, at times, the game can be extremely frustrating. We would like to suggest that you make use of the following fun and clean expletives to express your displeasure: Krunk! Aaaargh! Ack! Wok?! Eep! Krunkola!

Channel Language
The official language of all the game channels is English. Unless the game category calls for something in a foreign language (in trivia or Chaos), all conversation on the channel and answers submitted to the bot should be English. Derivatives of English, such as Singlish, are frowned upon. The games are open to people from all over the world, so be friendly! Use proper English!

Category Complaints
Please refrain from complaining about the Americo-centric categories. The games have been running for a number of years now and most of the original players who contributed categories were from North America, which does the tilt the balance of play in their favour. Complaining about it, however, does not do anything and just annoys the other players. Instead of complaining, why not check out the category writing FAQ and write your own categories for inclusion in the game? This is a much more productive action than just complaining.

The operators are on the channel to ensure that the game runs smoothly. Operators are drawn from the pool of regular players. Asking an operator to op you is pointless and futile. If you are a regular IRC user, you probably already know how annoying it is to be constantly asked for access on a channel. If you are interested in becoming a channel operator, check out the FAQ on how to become a operator and apply!

Game bots and Errors in the Game
The game bots are programs, albeit programs with some degree of sophistication. The game bots have no idea of what is really right and what is really wrong. All they can go by is what was programmed into them by the category writer. Therefore, when the bot claims that the answer is "Aplpe" instead of "Apple," there is not much point in abusing the bot about it. Often channel operators will fix your score in such cases. If not, you yourself can report the problem using the "/msg botname /note answer x in category y should be answer z" so that it will be eventually fixed. Please do not bother to message one of the channel operators to reset your score. If they are paying attention, they will likely fix your score without prompting.

Flooding is defined as the rapid dumping of material to the channel or to other users via private messages, or repeated ctcp commands aimed at another user. Flooding often includes dumping ASCII art pictures to the screen, large pieces of conversations, textfiles, repeated pinging, etc. With the advent of colours in Ircle, mirc, and Pirch, dumping large amounts of coloured text to the channel can also be construed as flooding. We would request that you keep the use of colours to a minimum, since not all clients support colour.

Bot Commands
Most of the commands that can be issued to the game bots on a channel can also be sent to the bot via a private message. Repeatedly issuing "show scores", "show categories," etc. on the channel can be annoying. Use the /msg command instead to accomplish the same thing.

Idling on the game channels is not permitted except by the game administrators and the game show hosts ('bots). Most of the channels have a restriction on the number of users allowed on at a time. If you are idling there, you are probably preventing other users from playing.

Cheating often depends on the game being played. In general, however, the use of scripts to provide answers to trivia questions, solve Boggle boards, or provide Chaos category answers would be construed as cheating. There are some scripts around to help you play the games, such as the Boggle script and the IRC Game Machine (IGM). These scripts do not store answers of any kind, and thus are permitted. In a game such as Acro, cheating would include collaborating with other players on your acryonym expansion, using multiple nicknames or logins, or exchanging information about authorship of acronyms for the purposes of gaining points. For all the games, using multiple logins or multiple accounts to play is considered cheating as is using a search engine to look up material or keeping lists of answers. Cheating does not make the game fun for other people and, if you are caught, can be embarrassing and will result in a ban from all of the games. (See also the discussion of this in April, 2000's EinLetter. )

Electronic Terrorism
This category of behaviour includes nuking, sending people viruses or other programs when they join the channel, and spamming for other channels, networks, games, or anything that doesn't have to do with our games. In the case of nuking, firewall logs will be collected and sent to your ISP and you will be banned from all of the games. If you're auto-dccing people files when they join, you'll be told to stop and will be banned until you do so. You may be directed to an appropriate help channel on viruses or IRC for instruction on how to do this. If you're spamming inappropriately, you'll be asked to stop and banned if you fail to stop.

Revealing Answers
In the trivia games, there are moments when it is inappropriate to reveal the answer to a question, especially during the final round and during a steal. Please pay close attention to the status of the game before typing your answer.

Giving Up
In the trivia games, it is possible to say "we give up" and have the 'bot go on to the next questions. The 'bots all ignore repeated "we give up" commands from the same user for the same question; so only say it once. Secondly, it is better to have a concensus on the channel before giving up; try asking if it is OK to give up before issuing the command.

All interactions are logged and will be monitored in the event of a complaint. Please abide by the guidelines. Repeated violations of the guidelines will likely result in a global banning from all the game channels with little or no warning. Permanent channel bans for any user are the right of the game administrators.

Finally, if you have any complaints or questions about the channel guidelines, please contact one of the channel operators first and then one of the game administrators (See the game FAQs for information on contacting game administrators). We do want the games to be enjoyable for everyone.

Section 3:Submitting Categories and Problems

Submitting Categories

We welcome new categories and additions to currently existing categories from players. Categories for Chaos can be submitted to via e-mail to or use our online submission form at

When submitting categories, the category name should be placed in the subject line of your message along with the keyword "Chaos". The remainder of the file should conform to the following sample Chaos category file:

Famous Risky Business People.   Category by: Eingang

The following additional comments are offered as guidelines to creating categories:

Reporting Bugs and Problems

Problems with a question or an answer somewhere? Or perhaps a bug in ChaosBot? Please send e-mail to Eingang and include the following information for a question/answer bug.

  • Category Name
  • Paraphrase of Question with the problem
  • Whatever correction is required

  • For a problem with one of the 'bots, try to include as much information as possible about what actually occurred before the bug and then what the bug was. Errors can also be reported online by messaging the 'bot "/note details of error or mistake."

    For a problem with one of the operators or with users on the channel, please send e-mail to the appropriate game administrator (Eingang on DALnet and StarLink) including the names (user@host & IRC nickname) of the participants, details of the problem, location of the problem, and any actions that have already been taken.

    About the Authors

    Who Are They?

    Chaos was developed developed by the team of Mach and Eingang in the summer of 1994. Mach was a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of California at Davis. He is now working for Intel in Portland, Oregon. Eingang is a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of Sussex in England. Mach and Eingang have also combined to produce some other IRC games such as Risky Business, AcroPhobia, and Boggle.

    More information can be obtained from their home pages. Mach's home page is located at More information about Eingang can be found at

    Contacting the Authors

    Mach's e-mail address is Eingang's e-mail address is The e-mail address for categories is

    Section 5: Other Items of Interest

    Other Items of Interest

    In addition to the IRC Games Information Server (, a number of other support groups and areas are available for Acro players and people interested in IRC Games.

    Eingang moderates an on-topic mailing list devoted to the games on her networks. Announcements of upcoming tournaments, machine problems, game upgrades, new games, etc. are sent to this list. To subscribe to the mailing list, send an e-mail to with "SUBSCRIBE IRCGAMES your_email@address" as the subject of the message. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to with "UNSUBSCRIBE IRCGAMES your_email@address" as the subject of the message. Or use our online form.

    Gigi44^ has slaved over her editor and her paint programs to bring the DALnet and StarLink game players the "Ein-Gang Pages", in which you can find pictures and short paragraphs about all your favourite players. The page is located at

    Sker has provided us with a bang-up script to help make your game playing easier when you're using a UNIX-based IRCii client. This script simplifies play on #riskybus (and variants), #acro, #chaos, and #boggle! Check it out at!

    For Windows users, check out Dwight Duensing's IRC Game Machine (IGM), which provides an interface to all of our games. (His WWW page seems to be missing so the latest version here in .zip file format is stored here at Games/Information/

    Online category submission for Eingang's Chaos games is possible via the category submission page. You can find it at

    If you have a page or resource that should be added here, contact Eingang!


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    Michelle A. Hoyle
    About Chaos, Last modified: November 25, 2002