The following are guidelines to help members of Phoenix Rising interact with clarity and goodwill and also to navigate the forums with ease. Forum communication is different from face to face communication but both have standards of etiquette that facilitate mutual understanding and clarity.
- General Information
- Posting New Threads
- Replying to Threads
- Responding to Other Members
- Moderation Related
- Posting About Suicide
1. General Information
Know the Rules
- If you have not done so, please review our rules. The rules are important for keeping Phoenix Rising a safe, supportive, and effective resource. Please respect both their intent and content.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spell Check
- Please try to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation when you post. Use spell-check or reread your posts to make sure you don't have any errors. If you click on the 'More Options...' button, you can use the 'Preview...' button to see what your post will look like before you submit it.
Use Short Paragraphs
- Please break up your posts into small paragraphs for ease of reading.
- Different colors, fonts, sizes, bold, underline, italic and CAPITILIZATION are all available to add emphasis to a post. Please avoid using them for entire posts as that can be annoying and difficult to read. It's perfectly fine to use CAPS and bolded fonts to highlight a few important words. You can also use smilies for emphasis .
- Overusing colored fonts can be a problem: some members have vision problems and some colors are difficult to see in a few of our 'Style' choices.
Language and Images
- Avoid offensive language.
- Using acronyms like LOL, ROFL, OMG to excess can confuse members whose language is not English. Please avoid it.
- Please be sensitive when posting images. We come from many backgrounds and cultures and what is funny to one may be offensive to another.
- Please use the 'Like' button to show support or agreement rather than making a separate post to simply express agreement.
- Please avoid posting smilies with no text unless it adds to the humor in a light-hearted thread.
- Use smilies to indicate emotional tone. The use of a smilie sometimes makes or breaks a conversation. Smilies are meant to enhance communication. Please do not use them against another member.
Posting Personal Information
- Posting your email address within a post attracts spammers -- none of us want that.
- Please remember that just because a forum is 'Private' doesn't mean that a member won't copy and paste the information elsewhere.
- Use 'Conversations' (Private Messages) to give out personal information to 'friends' on the forum.
- If you would like personal content removed, contact a moderator.
- Huge signatures tend to distract more often than convey a message. We currently have a limit of three lines for a signature. If you want to add a lot of information that you think is important -- add it to your profile and put a link to your profile in your signature.
2. Posting New Threads
- Starting identical threads in different forums causes confusion rather than highlighting the subject. Please, only post your thread in one forum.
- Make sure you put your thread into the right forum. If you are unsure, start a Conversation with a moderator and ask them.
- Prior to posting a thread, search the forums to make sure the topic hasn't already been posted. If there is an existing thread, please add to it rather than starting a new one. The 'Similar Thread' feature will also show you if a similar thread already exists.
- Please keep thread titles direct, descriptive and accurate. Avoid titles like 'Hey, I found out something new', or 'This supplement works for me'. If you post a thread and later wish to delete it, please contact a moderator rather than trying to delete it yourself -- the software won't let you. We don't usually delete threads unless it is for privacy reasons.
3. Replying to Threads
- Posting identical posts in more than one thread creates confusion rather than bringing wider viewing -- members don't know where to reply. Please avoid this.
- Please avoid deleting posts unless you have a very good reason. Deleting posts interrupts the continuity of a thread.
- When replying to a post by quoting it, only quote the specific phrase or comment to which you are replying to, rather than the whole post. Highlight the text you wish to reply to and then click on the pop-up 'Reply' button.
- Please try to be concise. Sometimes an extremely long post is warranted but, on a regular basis, long posts are difficult to process for members with cognitive impairment.
- Please do not post serial posts on the same thread to respond to different members, use one post to answer questions/comments. The 'Multi-quote' feature is useful when responding to more than one member.
- When linking to another website, make the link as descriptive as possible. For example, rather than saying 'see here', post something more descriptive like 'see the rules of Phoenix Rising'.
Avoid Off-topic Posting
- Hijacking forum threads is not only impolite but destroys a thread's continuity. If you would like to discuss something tangential to the central topic -- start a new thread and insert a link to the original thread.
- Starting a personal conversation in the middle of a thread also breaks the thread's continuity. Rather, start a 'Conversation' (private message) with a member/members, or open a chat.
- Please don't use existing forum threads to promote your own special interests. If you have a special interest in a particular topic/supplement/doctor/med etc, start a thread and keep the conversation there.
4. Responding to other members
- Please remember that members are offering their personal opinions in posts. Everybody has unique beliefs so please don't try to invalidate another member's beliefs simply because you disagree with them. Opinions are debatable as long as the debate remains constructive.
- When you post, be open to being challenged. Your ideas may challenge others and this can facilitate growth but do not personally attack others for not sharing your opinions. Always respect the views of other members even if you don't agree with them.
- If you vehemently disagree with a topic being discussed on a thread, please do not repeatedly interject your views, disrupt the flow of conversation and sow discord. The beauty of forums is that you can start your own thread to discuss your own point of view. Constructive disagreement is fine. Explaining the reasons why you disagree is a lot different than simply posting negative critical comments without backing them up.
5. Moderation related
- If a Moderator contacts you regarding editing or deleting a post, please respond politely. Moderators are patient-members who are volunteering to help keep the forum running smoothly. Responses that are rude, contain offensive language, or personal attacks indicate that you do not respect Phoenix Rising, its goals and the efforts of its volunteer staff.
- If you want to draw a Moderator's attention to something in a thread, rather than tagging them or inserting a message in the thread, use the 'Report' button. Moderators see 'Reports' immediately if they are online.
- Please leave Moderation to the Moderators. If you consider a post to be offensive or unacceptable, please use the 'Report' button.
- Please do not chastise other members for rule breaches or make personal negative comments about their behavior in the middle of a thread. Use the 'Report' button
- Do not publicize private Conversations between yourself and the Moderators/staff.
- Moderators were all Phoenix Rising members before volunteering to moderate. As Moderators, they remain patient-members and post in line with their own personal opinions. When posting in the role of Moderator, they will post using bold, blue characters to distinguish from their personal posts. Their own personal opinions, expressed in their member posts, have nothing to do with Moderation issues or Phoenix Rising policy.
- If you have questions regarding Moderation practices on Phoenix Rising, please feel free to discuss this with any of the moderators.
6. Posting about suicide
We lost a member to suicide recently and we are still grieving. But grieving can too easily become a way of life for us as loss is built into this disease. Some grieving can't be avoided but we also need to be alert to any possibility that we are adding to each other's stress levels.
There are times when many of us consider suicide. The Emotional Support sub-forum gives us an opportunity to express these thoughts and feelings when members wish. But it also presents a subtle danger: repeatedly posting expressions of our wish to die to other members (who may also be fragile) could possibly be a negative influence that is contagious.
The forum is straddling a very difficult line—on one side is compassion and the powerful wish to help, and on the other the danger of influencing other members who are “on the edge of the bridge” themselves. There is no easy answer as to what to post on a public forum and what to share with a professional, but we truly need to be aware of this dilemma.
Aside from heart-felt expressions of support and a sharing a powerful sense of community, there is not a lot that members can do for each other except referring the poster to professional services.
Phoenix Rising has several primary functions:
1) An up-to-date source of news about research
2) A place to share treatment experiences and ask others about their treatment experiences
3) A place to connect with others with whom we have things in common
4) A place to laugh together and share anecdotes of the ME/CFS life.
However, Phoenix Rising is not primarily a support group. Recently, the Emotional Support sub-forum was added to give members a place to talk through the difficulties that go hand-in-hand with life with this illness.
Phoenix Rising staff and members are not qualified in crisis support and Phoenix Rising does not function as a crisis hotline. Members should be aware that they may be urged to seek outside professional help when it seems necessary. Please keep in mind that we are all trying to do our best to help one another, and sometimes that best help is outside professional help. There are, however ME/CFS support groups online and some members might like to explore them.
This post is a reminder that our posts have power and we should consider carefully before hitting “Post Reply” (especially if posting in an emotional support thread)
Because of the sensitivity of these threads moderators (working in partnership) may decide that it is wise to edit a member’s post out of an abundance of caution. The need to keep each other safe is paramount.
Please refresh your memory by re-reading the forum's rule number 10:
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