Posting Guidelines for the TeachingMOM Message Boards

Don't be afraid...this is a long read, I know, but most of the guidelines deal with very specific situations and so only a small part will affect your everyday posting habits. Please take the time to read through the whole page at least once and don't worry, if you forget or aren't sure, you'll simply be given a very friendly reminder. :o) We'll do our best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and plenty of grace. Just enjoy yourself!

1. New to TeachingMOM?
   a. If this is your first visit, please introduce yourself on the board(s) before you begin to post regularly. You can share about your family, where you live and how you homeschool...whatever you feel comfortable sharing.

   b. Register with ONE name only, please.

   c. Find more help on specific topics within this Board Help Forum.

   d. If you are not new to the boards and you notice someone who is new, please make them feel welcome. If you believe that there is a new person in the form of a troll on the boards, please email/bmail Leigh Ann or one of the moderator accounts for assistance or to voice your concern.

   e. Want to use one of our pre-made avatars (little pictures by your name when you post)? Here you go: TM Avatars. Do NOT use these anywhere but TeachingMOM.

2. Post safely.
   a. Do not use your own last name when registering.

   b. Be cautious and remember that our boards are open to the public. Don't share personal information like your address, phone number, names of your children, what time you're going to be meeting your girlfriend for lunch at Applebee's this week for the first time you've been away from the kids in, oh, about 6 months...and other identifying info!

3. Etiquette & Special Circumstances
   a. Do not post with all CAPS.

   b. Do not link to inappropriate sites, particularly anti-Christian ones. If you think someone might be offended by a site, please don't post it. This includes posts to funny video clips, pictures, etc.--YOU are responsible for checking sites that you link for anything inappropriate that may be on the page. Any links to pages that contain nudity of any kind will be deleted.

If you believe a site or article is worth linking but has a few obscenities, please post a warning in the subject line of your post! (There are sites by non-Christians that are thoughtful and relevant in many ways, but may have a few swear words sprinkled in. If it is otherwise in good taste, that is usually fine if you add the appropriate warning in the subject line. Please be aware that sometimes I have to make a judgment call on what is appropriate and that it is not personal if I delete a link that doesn't pass my inspection.)

   c. Do not post obscene language or images. Posting questionable words/phrases using asterisks (*) to replace letters is also not allowed.

   d. Use discretion when posting topics of a personal, sensitive nature. Intimate issues that would embarrass you, your spouse or those on the boards should be avoided or handled with much tact. Remember that the boards are not private!

   e. Please request permission from me before posting for donations of ANY kind. If you would like to organize a donation for a mom or family in need, please let me know before you post. Remember that requesting and transferring funds online is never guaranteed to be 100% safe. TeachingMOM will not be held responsible for any lost donations--financial gifts are between you, God and those you are trusting to handle your gift!

   f. The SpecialMOM board is only for those who are parenting a special needs child. If you would like to offer advice, encouragement or comments to any of the moms there, but are not a special needs parent, please use email/bmail. Thank you.

   g. Please use the edit function sparingly. Its purpose is for correcting errors or adding forgotten information, etc. Do NOT add or take away significant portions of your message, especially in such a way that it changes the orginal meaning or intent! Think carefully before posting.

   h. Cite authors and/or sources when quoting materials.

   i. Do not post questionable information, news, prayer requests, etc. from emails you have received (or other online sources) without checking the validity of the material. Please check or another site dedicated to finding the truth behind urban legends and other questionable items BEFORE posting. Whenever possible, include a link that explains the legitimacy of your information. TeachingMOM does not want to be a part of speading misinformation, fear or ignorance on the web.

   j. If, for whatever reason, you feel led to leave the board(s) temporarily or permanently, please do so politely without criticizing the site or board in general (and definitely not individuals!). Negative goodbye posts will be deleted.

   k. Make your jokes obvious. Joking and sarcasm (which should be avoided, if possible) do NOT translate well on a message board so be sure that your intent is clear. :o)

   l. Please do not post for homework help for yourself or your children. Polls and short surveys are fine, as are requests for grammar/spelling assistance. Avoid asking for detailed assistance on assignments or projects that might be considered cheating or plaigerism!

   m. Try to stay on topic and avoid unrelated tangents which could be posted in separate threads. (This does not apply to the natural course of discussion or saying "hello"/"hey, I emailed you" in a thread. I am referring to complete changes in topic that draw away from the original post.)

4. Peaceful Posting & Hot Topics

   a. Please read our Proverbs for Posting for some thoughts on how the Bible can guide our posting habits!

   b. Do not resort to harassment, name-calling, severe criticism (of individuals, businesses or other websites--libel), or general rude behavior.

   c. Do not preach, promote or give advice of a non-Christian nature or quote from religious texts (other than the Bible) without citing the title/source. This may include denominational information and issues as well.

   d. Do not argue about non-salvation issues, denominational differences or personal convictions. Unless an issue is being addressed in way that opposes Scripture, it is probably unnecessary to debate it. (For example, if a sister feels convicted to wear her hair long, that is not up for debate or negative comment. However, if she states that all Christian ladies should wear their hair long, that is up for debate from a Biblical perspective--done politely, of course.

   e. Our boards are not the forum for questions about public school issues. We realize that there are some moms here who no longer homeschool or only homeschool some of their children. However, they have a "heart" for homeschooling and may hope to continue someday! But please try to limit discussions about public school. (Proud mom posts are always welcome, though, of course!) On the other hand, please do not post public school "horror stories" or bash schools in general.

   f. If you find a particular thread bothersome for any reason, click on the "-" next to the orginal post and it will collapse the thread so that all the replies are hidden. This is also helpful for very long threads that may stretch the board and cause sideways scrolling!

   g. The ignore feature. Not all personalities mesh--that's putting it simply! If you would like to avoid seeing comments from a particular user, open one of their posts and click on "Ignore Poster". This is an option which has both pros and cons because only YOU know who you are ignoring and you will not see that poster's messages. BUT, to the rest of the board it may seem as if you are, well, ignoring someone! LOL Do not post and announce who you are ignoring, if you choose to use this option. Bmail the person in question if you must.

   h. I (Leigh Ann) try very hard to allow all debates and polite disagreements to come to their natural conclusion on the board. In the event that a thread gets too heated, I (or one of my volunteer helpers) will try to post a warning or ask for things to cool down. But when necessary, a thread will be closed against further postings. Please do NOT continue a topic that has been closed in a new thread in order to restart the discussion.

If a thread is tense and moves to the 2nd board page, please continue the discussion on THAT page rather than bringing it to the main page for another round. This helps to avoid rehashing intense situations and debating in circles. Keep the conversation within the original thread!

   i. Do not ask about deleted posts or threads on the board. You may email/bmail Leigh Ann or one of the moderator accounts if you really need clarification. It does not happen too often in the whole scheme of things. But when deleted posts are inquired about on the board, it only serves to bring them up all over again. I may or may not respond to emails asking about deleted posts so please move on and enjoy the board!

   j. Please do not hassle the volunteers who assist in moderating the boards. They have been given instructions by me on how and when to step in. When you see an orange-colored message inside a moderator post, it is copied and pasted directly from my own words. Usually, if applicable, I (or a moderator) will try to include a reference to the guideline that is in question (e.g. "Refer to 4b.") to help you understand why anything was said. If you need further assistance or have more questions that you'd like to discuss in-depth, you may post on the new All Things in Moderation board. Moderators reserve the right to act on my (Leigh Ann's) behalf in closing threads and selectively deleting posts. I advise them to give grace and not to step in too early, however I trust their judgment and ask that you respect their willingness to assist all of us in having a pleasant place to communicate!

4. Advertising

   a. You may include a web address to your personal site--including a home-based or other business or blog--in your signature line only so that it is not an active link. Do not put the URL in the space for links when you post, please.

   b. Do not use our site to refer visitors to yours! This includes blogs. If you have something to discuss, post about it. Don't simply link your blog. A good rule of thumb for posting about your business is that posts should only be a reply to a direct question about it. In other words, if you start a thread about your business, you are advertising. However, see c. & d. below!

   c. NO dealer ads (those selling homeschool materials and/or with home-based businesses) on any Classifieds boards other than the Dealer boards, please!

   d. If you post on the Dealer boards, you may post once on the MOMcafé chat board to announce that you are becoming a representative/consultant or opening your own business. You may also post once to direct people to your first listing on the Dealer board(s). After that, please allow visitors to find your information on their own and conduct all business matters OFF the boards.

   e. DO NOT COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES from this site!

   f. Do not post your own affiliate links on the boards, whether for your own business or affiliates associated with your website/blog.

   g. Please see "3.e." above for our policy about donation requests.

5. TM-Friendly Posting Habits!

Running a site with as many as 10,000 visitors a month requires the use of many resources, including a fun little thing called bandwidth. The more that pages are viewed on our site (loaded on your computer!), the more bandwidth (which we pay for) is used. Here are some tips for posting in a way that is bandwidth-and-site-resource-friendly!

   a. Do NOT bookmark the main board pages (the ones with all the messages!); instead, bookmark/place in your favorites the board list page: TM Boards . This is a big help because every time you open your browser to surf the internet, these larger pages use more bandwidth to load.

   b. Use graphics sparingly. Just try not to post more than a few pictures in a post and be sure they are hosted either by you or a site that does not mind that you link their pics!
If you'd like to have some fun with smilies in your message, you can use some of these, hosted at TM: TM Smilies But please use them ONLY on our boards and not elsewhere. Linking to our graphics from elsewhere steals our bandwidth, a valuable site resource!

   c. Email (from the Contact Us link on the homepage) or bmail me (Leigh Ann) with concerns rather than post them on the board unless it is an immediate need.

   d. Contribute to the community with your posts. This means, have something to say! As the traffic to our site grows, it becomes increasingly important to cut down on posts that really do not need to take up space on the boards. The message boards are NOT real-time chat rooms where idle chatter is beneficial! By all means have fun, post jokes and games occasionally, announce things you want to share with friends and talk. But try to keep in mind that each board page allows a specific number of threads--not individual posts--and every time you begin a new thread, it counts towards that total before the bottom threads scroll to page 2. I hate to see unproductive posts "push off" meaningful posts like prayer requests and such. Also, keeping the venting/complaining posts to a minimum is helpful in keeping the kinds of posts that encourage our community on the main page where we can all benefit from them!

Link-only posts should be placed on the new Links board, please! If you would like to discuss something at the link or comment about its content, it may be posted on other boards. Otherwise, keep link-only posts to the Links board.

   f. Discussions can take on a life of their own and sometimes the large amounts of replies in one line of conversation can indent so far that they "stretch" the board. This causes many people to have to scroll sideways in order to read all the posts. If possible--and I realize that many times it isn't--try to continue the long discussions back up in another part of the thread. Start a new reply to the original post, if you can. If not, don't worry, the use of the "-" (collapse) button will solve the scrolling problem for those not involved in the discussion.

6. Posting Habits That Cause Leigh Ann Vexation and Should Thus Be Avoided!

   a. Do not reply FOR someone else. This usually becomes a sore point in the thread and has negative consequences not matter how well-intentioned the response may be.

   b. In keeping with 5d. above, please do not use the boards for "blog posts". A blog is where you can announce the everyday details of what is going on in your life. Message boards are for discussion. If you would like to discuss what is going on in your life, that would be fine.

And, along with 4b., please do not simply link to your blog in place of posting. Sharing about your life is fine, and we love to hear about it, so if you have a blog entry of interest to share you may copy and paste it into a message!

   c. Do not post one-word messages such as "ARRRRGGGHHHHH!" without any further explanation OR post for the purpose of raising your user title (Lowly Serf, Damsel, Gentlewoman, etc.). It's a waste of space.

   d. If you are not happy with something or someone on the TM site and wish to share your strife elsewhere on the web in a way that belittles our community, please don't expect to keep an account here. I don't go looking to see if anyone is speaking ill of, gossiping about or making fun of this site and its members. You have the right to do so anyhow. And I have the right to delete your account and/or ban you from posting.

   e. I like to keep the community and atmosphere at TM one-of-a-kind, just as other site/board owners do. So please do not carry conversations from other boards to ours or vice versa. At the very least it can be confusing; at most it can be very disruptive and can lead to gossip.

Please enjoy yourselves and happy posting!!