What is Soulseek?
Soulseek a Server-Based PeerToPeerNetwork, which means that to find other people and their files, you need to be connected to the server.
The Server is a special program that runs on a dedicated box at slsknet.org.
What Types of Features does Soulseek have?
Rooms are virtual places where users congregate to discuss various topics, or to simplify finding other users with similar interests.
When you join a room, you will see a list of users in the room, an chat log, a status log, an entry box and other things depending on your Soulseek client.
Each message has a timestamp in front of it, followed by a pair of brackets with a username inside. After the username, is the actual text the user typed in.
If you type in:
hey, what's that?
You should see something like:
17:35:03 [username] hey, what's that? /|\ /|\ /|\ | |__ Username |__ Message | |__ Timestamp
The timestamp may be in a different format.
Another type of message, the /me message looks different.
If you type in this:
/me is referring to herself in the third person
It'll show up as:
17:35:03 * username is referring to herself in the third person
Within this, you will be able to see when users join the room, leave, or change their away status. If you are familiar with IRC, this is a significant difference. The reason for this feature is that it'd be simply impossible to follow a conversation in a large room, as the status messages would drown everything out.
The User List
In each room, you should have a list of users along with some statistics (speed, files shared) and an away status indication (such as an icon).
Private Chat is like Chat rooms, except you are one-on-one with whichever user you like. Suitable for discussing stuff that you'd rather not everyone and their dog see and poke fun at.
Searching for files is straight-forward. Select the search method (such as global, rooms, or buddies) and enter a search query. Once you received results, you should see several columns of data identifying each file and queue status of the user who has it.
If a user has a large queue (hundreds or thousands), you are probably better off looking for another user to download from. Wait times can be extremely long if you decide to try anyway. Getting global privileges, or on the user's buddies list can improve matters.
Most clients support at minimum, the ability to abort, retry, and remove downloads and to abort and remove uploads. If a user is abusing your shares, you can ban them. Banning a user will block all uploads to that user, as well do several other things.
To help communicate your desires and wishes, you can craft a 9 point treatise on file-sharing and place it in your User Info. or you could just describe yourself. Anything goes. Same for the user image.
If you plan on not getting banned, you should share some files. Browsing shares displays a directory list, similar to a file-manager, with the contents of a user's shares database. To find a file in the list, you can use the built-in search function, if available, or manually hunt-and-click until you found it.
Recommendations are basically a popularity contest. If you like something, add it your likes and if you dislike something, and it to your dislikes list. Then you get lists of similar users who like one or more of the things you do.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what Soulseek network is about.
If you need more information, try reading a guide expressly for your Soulseek client.