A cloak is a custom hostmask that replaces your client hostname or IP address, as shown in IRC operational messages or /whois.

For example, the hostmask might appear with a cloak as jsmith@user/jsmith.

A cloak can help other users and bots identify you simply and consistently. It can also help limit the exposure of your IP address on the network, although it does not necessarily provide anonymity or prevent the discovery of your IP address.

As an individual, you can get a generic user cloak in the form of user/username. If you are involved with a well-known project or community, you may be able to get a cloak that indicates your affiliation with that group.

You may also sometimes see some temporary or gateway cloaks associated with gateway services, such as when using our tor hidden service. These only last for the duration that the user is connected through that service and help users of the service be differentiated from each other. You cannot request these cloaks.

Generic user cloaks

You can request a generic user cloak from the bot in #libera-cloak. The cloak will be in the form of user/<NickServ username>. Registration with NickServ is required.

Requesting a self-service user cloak

Please note: This process may change in the future.

  1. Register with NickServ if you have not already done so. You will also need to be identified.
  2. /join #libera-cloak
  3. Say !cloakme

The bot will give your account a generic user cloak and then — because its work is done — politely kick and ban you from the channel.

Your new cloak takes effect immediately. It will automatically activate each time you log in to your nickserv account in the future.

If it does not work

If you already have a cloak and wish to change the nickname in it, you will need to have a staff member update it. This is to prevent abuse.

Also for abuse prevention, accounts sometimes get flagged. When this happens it will require a human to approve the cloak. Please contact a staff member directly if the self-service channel does not cloak you.

Generic bot cloaks

If you run a bot on the network, you may also get the bot cloaked. While you can simply obtain a self-service user cloak for the bot, it is recommended to get a proper bot cloak by contacting staff. These look like user/<your username>/bot/<bot's username> and help other users know to find you if something goes wrong with the bot.

Project or community cloaks

Projects and communities that are aligned with our mission are eligible for group registrations. One of the perks of group registration is the ability to request cloaks for participants.

Getting project or community cloaks

If you are involved with a registered project or community, you may request a cloak indicating your affiliation. Rules and procedures for project or community cloaks vary by group. For help with this, ask a group contact for your project or community. If your project has listed group contacts publicly, they will be listed as “Public contacts” in /msg ChanServ INFO <channel>. If not, ask for help in the relevant channel.

Instructions for Group Contacts

If your project or community has had an official group registration approved, then you are probably able to request cloaks for your users and contributors. Registered projects are represented by Group Contacts (also referred to as GCs). Only these people have the right to request cloaks for group members. If you are a GC, then you will have a standing invite to #libera-communities where you may request cloaks for projects that you are a registered GC for.

While it is not mandatory, we do recommend having some internal standards for your users to meet to be eligible for your project’s cloaks. Bearers of your cloaks are seen by others as representatives of your community and as such the bearer’s behaviour will reflect onto the reputation of your project or community.

Re-identifying with NickServ

Assigned cloaks must be associated with an account and will not appear if you are not identified. If you are not using SASL or a server password in your client, you may need to re-identify with NickServ before getting cloaked or before the cloak is active. See /msg NickServ HELP IDENTIFY for more information.

Checking your cloak

You should see your cloaked hostmask in /who <yournick>, in /whois <yournick>, in /join or /part messages, and upon connection to the network.

You may see your own IP address when you /whois yourself. This is visible only to you and network staff, and is not part of the hostmask visible to others users.

Removing your cloak

Cloak removal is not automated. To remove your user cloak, ask someone on staff for help. To remove your project or community affiliation cloak, ask the group contact for your project or community.

Anonymity and privacy

Cloaks are not intended as a privacy feature.

While a cloak helps limit the exposure of your IP address, other tools can more reliably provide a greater degree of privacy protection, including bouncers, cloud-based hosts, and Tor. To connect to Libera.Chat via Tor, see Connecting to Libera.Chat.

Caveats of Cloaks