As any user of IRC will tell you, the ignore command is a gift from the Gods: it allows you to ignore any output being generated by a particular person or nickname, whether it's plain noise or something downright malicious. In the irssi client, you can go one further and specify ignore for any messages which match a given regular expression, from whichever nick they originate.

In some cases, you may not wish to ignore a person entirely; they may have the occasional insight into a topic, but simply act foolishly for most of the day. Alternatively, a particularly chatty bot may have some useful features, but will simply get in the way of channel discussion most of the time. In these situations, a halfway house between full participation and total ignorance is required.

Line coloring

If the channel window of a given IRC client has a standard high-contrast colour scheme (either white text on a black background, or vice versa), it's trivial to define a halfway point between text being fully visible and text being altogether hidden from view: grey text. Similarly, any lines of text that need particular attention paid to them can be highlighted in red, as an example. What is required is a way to denote lines worthy of attention, and lines eligible for half-ignore.

For the irssi client, the nickcolor extension comes close: it is able to assign a specific colour to a given nick, and highlight the rest in random colours. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks with nickcolor as it stands:

  • Only the nick is coloured, leaving the line in its normal colour; this is insufficient for our purposes.
  • Other nicks get coloured in, aside from the ones required; ideally, these should be left at their normal state.
  • As the name implies, nickcolor only works by nickname; it cannot apply regex matching on messages for the purpose of highlighting.

To address these issues, an adapted version of the nickcolor is put forward in this article, which I've renamed as linecolor. An example of its usage would be as follows.

linecolor: Sample usage

/color set Bucket 14 /color rset ^Bucket 14

The above rules specify that any output from "Bucket" is to be marked as colour #14 (grey), and any output from any nick starting with the word "Bucket" is also to be marked grey. The resulting output is shown below.

Example of line colouring Figure 1: Colouring IRC lines for half-ignore

The code is shown below, and is also available from

linecolor: An irssi script for rule-based line colouring

# Line Color - Assign colours to lines from specific nicks, or matching patterns # Adapted from "Nick Color" by Timo Sirainen, as modified by Ian Petersi use strict; use Irssi 20020101.0250 (); use vars qw($VERSION %IRSSI); $VERSION = "1.2"; %IRSSI = ( authors => "Timo Sirainen, Ian Petersi, Imran Nazar", contact => "tss\", name => "Line Color", description => "assign colours to lines through nick/regex rules", license => "Public Domain", url => "", changed => "2010-01-28T18:30+0000" ); # hm.. i should make it possible to use the existing one.. Irssi::theme_register([ 'pubmsg_hilight', '{pubmsghinick $0 $3 $1}$2' ]); my %saved_colors; my %saved_regex_colors; my %session_colors = {}; my @colors = qw/2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13/; sub load_colors { open COLORS, "$ENV{HOME}/.irssi/saved_colors"; while (<COLORS>) { # I don't know why this is necessary only inside of irssi my @lines = split "\n"; foreach my $line (@lines) { my($type, $nick, $color) = split ":", $line; if ($type eq "NICK") { $saved_colors{$nick} = $color; } elsif ($type eq "REGEX") { $saved_regex_colors{$nick} = $color; } } } close COLORS; } sub save_colors { open COLORS, ">$ENV{HOME}/.irssi/saved_colors"; foreach my $nick (keys %saved_colors) { print COLORS "NICK:$nick:$saved_colors{$nick}\n"; } foreach my $regex (keys %saved_regex_colors) { print COLORS "REGEX:$regex:$saved_regex_colors{$regex}\n"; } Irssi::print("Saved colors to $ENV{HOME}/.irssi/saved_colors"); close COLORS; } # If someone we've colored (either through the saved colors, or the hash # function) changes their nick, we'd like to keep the same color associated # with them (but only in the session_colors, ie a temporary mapping). sub sig_nick { my ($server, $newnick, $nick, $address) = @_; my $color; $newnick = substr ($newnick, 1) if ($newnick =~ /^:/); if ($color = $saved_colors{$nick}) { $session_colors{$newnick} = $color; } elsif ($color = $session_colors{$nick}) { $session_colors{$newnick} = $color; } } sub find_color { my ($server, $msg, $nick, $address, $target) = @_; my $chanrec = $server->channel_find($target); return if not $chanrec; my $nickrec = $chanrec->nick_find($nick); return if not $nickrec; my $nickmode = $nickrec->{op} ? "@" : $nickrec->{voice} ? "+" : ""; # Has the user assigned this nick a color? my $color = $saved_colors{$nick}; # Have -we- already assigned this nick a color? if (!$color) { $color = $session_colors{$nick}; } # Does the message match any color regexen? if (!$color) { foreach my $r (keys %saved_regex_colors) { if ($msg =~ m/($r)/i) { $color = $saved_regex_colors{$r}; last; } } } if (!$color) { $color = 0; } return $color; } # FIXME: breaks /HILIGHT etc. sub sig_public { my ($server, $msg, $nick, $address, $target) = @_; my $color = find_color(@_); if ($color) { $color = "0".$color if ($color < 10); $server->command('/^format pubmsg {pubmsgnick $2 {pubnick '. chr(3).$color.'$0'. chr(3).'15}}'.chr(3).$color.'$1'); } else { $server->command('/^format pubmsg {pubmsgnick $2 {pubnick $0}}$1'); } } sub sig_action { my ($server, $msg, $nick, $address, $target) = @_; my $color = find_color(@_); if($color) { $server->command('/^format action_public {pubaction '. chr(3).$color.'$0'. chr(3).'15}'.chr(3).$color.'$1'); } else { $server->command('/^format action_public {pubaction $0}$1'); } } sub cmd_color { my ($data, $server, $witem) = @_; my ($op, $nick, $color) = split " ", $data; $op = lc $op; if (!$op || $op eq "help") { Irssi::print ("Supported commands: preview (list possible colors and their codes) list (show current entries in saved_colors) set <nick> (associate a color to a nick) rset <regex> (colorize messages matching a regex) clear <nick> (delete color associated to nick) rclear <regex> (delete color associated to regex) save (save colorsettings to saved_colors file)"); } elsif ($op eq "save") { save_colors; } elsif ($op eq "set") { if (!$nick) { Irssi::print ("Nick not given"); } elsif (!$color) { Irssi::print ("Color not given"); } elsif ($color < 2 || $color > 14) { Irssi::print ("Color must be between 2 and 14 inclusive"); } else { $saved_colors{$nick} = $color; } Irssi::print ("Added ".chr (3) . "$saved_colors{$nick}$nick" . chr (3) . "1 ($saved_colors{$nick})"); } elsif ($op eq "rset") { if (!$nick) { Irssi::print ("Regex not given"); } elsif (!$color) { Irssi::print ("Color not given"); } elsif ($color < 2 || $color > 14) { Irssi::print ("Color must be between 2 and 14 inclusive"); } else { $saved_regex_colors{$nick} = $color; } Irssi::print ("Added ".chr (3) . "$saved_regex_colors{$nick}$nick" . chr (3) . "1 ($saved_regex_colors{$nick})"); } elsif ($op eq "clear") { if (!$nick) { Irssi::print ("Nick not given"); } else { delete ($saved_colors{$nick}); } Irssi::print ("Cleared ".$nick); } elsif ($op eq "rclear") { if (!$nick) { Irssi::print ("Regex not given"); } else { delete ($saved_regex_colors{$nick}); } Irssi::print ("Cleared ".$nick); } elsif ($op eq "list") { Irssi::print ("\nSaved colors:"); foreach my $nick (keys %saved_colors) { Irssi::print ("Nick: ".chr (3) . "$saved_colors{$nick}$nick" . chr (3) . "1 ($saved_colors{$nick})"); } foreach my $r (keys %saved_regex_colors) { Irssi::print ("Regex: ".chr (3) . "$saved_regex_colors{$r}$r" . chr (3) . "1 ($saved_regex_colors{$r})"); } } elsif ($op eq "preview") { Irssi::print ("\nAvailable colors:"); foreach my $i (2..14) { Irssi::print (chr (3) . "$i" . "Color #$i"); } } } load_colors; Irssi::command_bind('color', 'cmd_color'); Irssi::signal_add('message public', 'sig_public'); Irssi::signal_add('message irc action', 'sig_action'); Irssi::signal_add('event nick', 'sig_nick');

Imran Nazar <>, Feb 2010.

Article dated: 1st Feb 2010

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