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Member Since: Oct 2004
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Old Mar 15, 2007 at 01:04 PM
I've come up with the following helpful tips and reminders for our chat rooms here at Psych Central. I will also be posting this as a sticky here for further reference. Techie tips and Reminders for the Chat Rooms

Techie Tips for PsychCentral's Chat rooms

I've come up with a list of tips for using the chat room here. You can also go here Chat Help for more help or select "Help" at the top of your chat window.


Chat room Avatar:

If you want to use a certain avatar whenever you log into chat, go into chat and click on the "my profile" tab. Then click the avatar button. Select the avatar you like and hover your mouse over it. A number will pop up. Now you can go back to the forum screen and up at the very top, select "your profile". Scroll down and select "edit personal information". Scroll down and find "chat room avatar". Now you can enter the number you selected, submit the changes, and your avatar will appear every time you log into chat, automatically.

Text Colors and Appearance, Smilies:

On the bottom of the chat window, there are buttons. To change your text color, click on the button with the 4 color grid. This allows you to select the colors for your name, and your chat text. (Many members ask not to use the red colored fonts, as they can trigger people with seizure and/or migraine disorders.) Also down at the bottom near the color grid, you can select to bold your font (the button with the B) or italicize your font (the button with the italic I. Some members have a hard time reading the italicized fonts). The smiley face there allows you to add smilies and other pictures into your chat text.

Theatre mask button - emote users:

This is a fun feature to be silly and also lend support. If you click on the theatre masks on the bottom of the chat window, "emotions" appear under the list of chatters. You can select the emotion you want, such as "hug". Now you can right-click the user and select "emote user". In the chat window, it will appear like this: Raynaadi gives Kimmydawn a hug. Along the same lines, by typing a colon before your text, it has a different result. For example, in the text area I type :welcomes all in chat. It will appear in a light blue color like this: Raynaadi welcomes all in chat. You can do some fun things with this feature.


The "settings" tab on the top of the chat window allow you to customize how you view the chat. You can add sounds, choose to not view colors (I find this helpful when there's a color that is hard on my eyes, though it makes all the text black). Up at the very top, you can change the entire appearance of the chat by selecting "appearance". You can even change the font size so its easier to see. By selecting the "explore" tab, you can open up a new window to browse the forums while you chat, or even go google something. This is extremely useful if someone in chat tells you they sent you a PM, or if you want to look something up without logging out of chat. See more tips for multitasking during chat below.

You can select an "away" status if you're going to be away from chat by selecting the icon that looks like a piece of paper with a pushpin. This will post "Raynaadi is currently away" and also italicize your name in the list of chatters. When you're back, click the icon again and it will say "Raynaadi is back again" and take the italics off your name.


If a user is bothering you, you can place them on "ignore" by right clicking on their name and selecting "ignore".

You can private message a user by right clicking on their name and selecting "private message".

You can see a user's profile by right clicking on their name and selecting "user profile".

You can "emote" a user as described above.


The rooms tab allows you to jump to the different rooms. If you want to follow someone into the Support room for example, click on the "rooms" tab, select support, and click change room. You can also create your own room. If the support room is full, and you need to talk to someone privately, click the rooms tab and select "create room". You can name it and even protect it with a password. Just make sure to tell your friends the password! You will automatically be entered into your private room. Others can go to that room by clicking the "rooms" tab. Your room will appear there. To enter a private room, select that room and click "change room". If it is password protected, you will be prompted to enter the password.

***Just a reminder about the Support room: This room is for members in need of immediate support. Many find this room extremely helpful when they are going through something in need of immediate attention. Once the need for immediate support has been resolved, please move conversation to another room, so that Support is open for other members in need of immediate support.

You can also "see" who is in what room by clicking the eye button on the bottom of your chat window. This will make a list of rooms and members appear in your chat window.

Tips for multitasking while chatting:

You can open up a new browser window as described above with the "Explore!" button. You can also start chatting with 2 windows open with these tips:
When I first log into PC, if I have any private messages, I click on the pop up box and that gives me a second "browser window". I read the messages and then I have two windows open that are on PC. Now I can chat out of one of those windows and on the other one, read, post, check out pictures, send PM's, etc. If I don't have any PM's, I open up a second "browser window" by going all the way up to the top of my browser above the "back" button. I click file, and select "new" and then "window". You can also push the Ctrl button plus N.
When you have two windows open, you don't have to log out of chat if you want to go check out a post or the gallery or send a PM. You can also go do a google search or whatever you want! Sometimes I have up to 5 or 6 browser windows open.

Another useful tip: After I do all this to get two windows and I want to chat but no one's there, I'll log into chat and then at the top, I click the "Settings" tab, and select that the user entry/exit sound play. Hit apply and return to chat and then you browse the forums, but you'll hear when someone comes in!

Notifying the mod/admin team of a problem:

Another reason it is good to have 2 windows open is so that, just in case, there's a problem with someone in chat, you can easily go "get" a mod or admin. Now that you have two windows open, you can click the forums page and notify one of us one of two ways. The first way, is to check the "who's online" screen by hovering over forums and selecting who's online from the drop down menu. Those of us on the mod/admin team who are online will appear in green or red, and it will say "moderators" or "administrator" next to our name. You can click our name and send us a PM alerting us to a problem in chat. The other way is to scroll all the way down on the forums screen to the light blue area and find the little link that says "Send PM to all moderators". This will PM every one of us on the team.

Saving chat session:

This is a really useful tool when alerting the moderation team to a problem in chat. You can save the entire chat session, from the time that you logged in to chat. Click the little disk icon on the bottom of the chat window. This will pop up a window containing the chat session. You can now highlight the chat and press Ctrl C to copy. You can now paste the session into a PM for the moderation team by pressing Ctrl V. It is helpful to us if you are able to "point us to" the relevant postings. I usually use the asterisk (*) next to the posts before I sent the PM. It is also helpful for us to "see" who was in chat at the time, so before you save the chat session, click the eye button so we can see the list of rooms and members. You can also use this feature if you've missed something in the conversation and it has already scrolled off the screen.

***The best way to learn all the features of chat is to log in and experiment! You can either go in when no one's there, or just let the other chatters know that you're experimenting with all the features.

Learning all these "techie tips" will ease your chatting experience and make it more fun and supportive. Just remember to adhere to the guidelines, and above all, have fun, get and lend support, and enjoy the company that the chat rooms offer!

Happy Chatting!!


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Old Mar 19, 2007 at 05:43 PM
I also want to add a few things of my own...

1. Chat rooms are not for everyone. Chat rooms require everyone to act and be respectful of one another and the space they may be in. Some people may react badly if they go into a chat room and find they are talked to in a way they weren't ready or expecting. So please be aware that there are real live human beings, sometimes in pain or confusion, behind those user names. Please be generous and caring in your behavior in the rooms at all times.

2. If you find yourself starting to engage in a "serious" conversation one on one with another user, consider moving to private chat with that user. Anybody is able to setup their own private chat room on the system at any time. Use these rooms to hang out with friends or engage in that longer-term serious conversation with another member, without being bothered by other members. If you hang out in a public room with others, sometimes you may be expected to say something or asked a question. And if you hang out in a public room instead of creating your own private room, be aware that it is a PUBLIC room and anybody can and is welcomed to access it at anytime.

It is virtually never appropriate to ask another member to leave a room (unless you're a member of the community team enforcing a guideline). Ignore a member you don't like, or move to a private room. Every person who enters chat is responsible for maintaining their own safety and security by using the tools we've made available to you.

Thanks and enjoy!

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