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Channel operators are the people who moderate a channel on the network. The owner of a channel may appoint operators to help him run the channel, and these operators are in charge of maintaining the channel's ban list, modes, and settings, as well as moderating any unwanted activity.
Types of operators
Half-operators, also known as "hops", have the ability to moderate a channel and can prevent users from accessing a channel through kicks and bans, but they have a very limited set of administrative powers, as they can only adjust a small handful of channel modes. The half-operator role is designed as a supervisor position, as they only have access to tools that will assist them in moderating the room.
Operators, also known as "ops", have the same ability to moderate a channel as half-operators do, but can also can adjust most of the channel's modes and use a few ChanServ tools to manage the channel. Operators have the ability to make other users into half-operators, although staff appointments are usually done by administrators or the channel owner. An operator can be thought of as a manager, as they supervise the activity in the room and also handle management tasks through manipulating the channel modes.
Administrators, also known as super operators or "sop"s, are operators that have the same access to channel modes and moderation commands as operators do, but in addition, have access to several of the channel's ChanServ settings. Administrators are primarily responsible for maintaining the administration of a channel through their extra tools and to supervising the subordinate regular and half operators. Channel administrators have the ability to make users into half-operators and regular operators, and depending on the owner, can either act independently, with the approval of the other administrators, or with the approval of the channel owner when appointing and dismissing staff members.
The channel's owner is the ranking user of a channel, acting as its representative, and he has full access to all modes and ChanServ commands. As long as the channel remains within network rules, the channel's owner has supreme authority over how his channel is run and may kick or ban users, or appoint or dismiss operators at his full discretion. Realistically, channel owners are usually conservative over the use of their authority and delegate most of their power to administrators and operators. The leadership and management styles of each channel owner can differ greatly, although they typically assist in supervising the channel and managing the channel modes and ChanServ settings, making decisions that are appealed to him through his administrators, and often times approves any staff changes made by his administrators.