MB & Chat Guidelines
Our guidelines result from the wealth of learning and experience gained since our messageboard and chat first opened in 2000.
In using our messageboard and chat you are agreeing to abide by our guidelines and terms and conditions of use.
Abiding by our guidelines at all times is essential to ensure that our messageboard and chat provide a safe and supportive environment for 'people like us' to give and receive support and encouragement for all aspects of living with depression and other mood disorders.
Members may join the dNet Facebook Group at any time. This can be helpful for sharing things that are outside the scope of dNet – since one 'place' can't be all things to all people!
Our messageboard and chat are intended as a supplement to, not a replacement for, essential ‘real world’ professional help or support.
Messageboard & Chat
You must take personal responsibility for your own health and wellbeing and for your behaviour within our messageboard and chat at all times.
Please read our guidelines (below) in full. The following list with links down the page are designed to make it easier to find and review specific parts of the guidelines.
- Some hints for Your First Time
- Some Quick Tips including 'Do's & Don't' s
- Change of Username
- Be polite & thoughtful… dNet has a 'PG' Rating
- Some hints on Coming & Going
- Sharing Opinions and disagreeing
- Sharing Advice and Factual Information
- Do not enter if you are at high risk of Suicide or Self Harm !
- Privacy & Anonymity
- Copyright Material
- The dNetWorking Teams
- Post to the ‘Introducing Yourself’ topic in the ‘Welcome’ forum to let others know a little about you and what brought you here.
- It is common to use 'shortcuts' to help communicate better and to save typing. These can be very strange at first! If you don't understand something, just ask – someone will be happy to explain. We also have a Chat Help page.
- When you enter the chat, say Hello and let the people in there know this is your first time. If you have never used a chat room before, let them know that too. This will help them to help you feel comfortable.
- Speak up in chat! Most people are very willing and happy to talk with you about anything you would like to (within our guidelines of course! 🙂 ) However, sometimes the conversation is moving quickly or people just don't think to ask. Don't be frightened to speak up. Let people know if you have a question or want to talk about something.
- Often it can be hard to follow a conversation in chat when there are a lot of people in one room. Ask someone to join you in another room where things are quieter.
- YOU are responsible for your health and wellbeing and your behaviour.
- Any ‘advice’ given here represents other members opinions only and should not be taken as factual information.
- None of the members here are health care professionals.
- Most people in our messageboard and chat have depression and related conditions and can be emotionally fragile at times.
- Hypersensitivity and paranoia are a horrible and common part of our illness. We need to be particularly careful of our reactions and the impact of our words on others.
- Behave in a mature, thoughtful and courteous manner at all times.
- Proactively avoid behaviours that may have a negative impact on others.
- Both give and receive support and understanding wherever you can.
- Avoid swearing. dNet has a PG rating.
- Present your opinions as opinions only, not as facts.
- Respect the opinions of others.
- Be careful with humour and avoid sarcasm.
- Protect your privacy and respect the privacy of others.
- Say a quick hello and goodbye when entering / leaving the chat.
- Turn the D’s paranoia off. Don’t assume anything. When we assume we are usually wrong! Include everyone wherever possible, and ensure no one feels left out, ignored or unwelcome. Avoid ‘in jokes’ and conversations others can’t take part in.
- Have fun or joke and play only where appropriate. Regularly check others are okay, and are okay with the ‘fun’. Fun always comes after providing support, a listening ear, etc.
- Seek first to understand, then be understood. People are more able to be understanding when they feel understood. Don’t feel misunderstood until you are certain you have understood the other. Approach and address any issues you may have with other members, including dNetWorking members in a mature and respectful manner.
- Presenting any ‘complaint’ with a constructive attitude and commitment to (helping to) finding a solution.
- Take responsibility for other members or their behaviour (no guilt)
- Rely on other members
- Use the support here in place of support in your ‘real’ world
- Discuss self harm (methods etc)
- Use our forums to air personal grievances of any sort
Our chat room and messageboard are NOT to be used:
- as a 'mental health service'
- if you are suicidal
- to discuss self harm (methods etc)
- to replace professional help and support
- to seek or promote personal relationships
- to air personal grievances of any sort
- to convey personal messages
- for research – professional or study
- to seek support for conditions other than depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
One site or service can never be all things to all people. There are other websites available for postings and behaviour not considered acceptable here.
There are also sites and services that are provided by professionals, government and other organisations where you will find professional help and counselling.
Please visit our links page or our help in your area section to find professional help. By being aware of how we and others are feeling and using these forums thoughtfully, dNet will be a safe place for us all.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email to: email@example.com – we are here to help! 🙂
Censorship is alive and well at dNet!
Our messageboard and chat are here for people like us – Australians living with depression and our families and friends.
The messageboard is regularly checked to ensure "pesky posters" have no chance to graffiti our board and that everyone uses the messageboard appropriately.
When we are in a very emotional state, it is easy to inadvertently post a message that may need modifying to bring it within the guidelines. If this happens one of our MB and Chat dNetWork team members will let you know how they have edited it or why they have removed it. If you ever have any concerns about the removal or editing of a post please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From time to time you may see something on the messageboard that varies from our guidelines as given here. depressioNet.org.au is about people and our focus at all times will be more on the people than it is on enforcing inflexible rules.
Yes, we could be strict and impersonal and never make exceptions. However, this would make dNet just another Internet site. What makes it special is the care and understanding of both the dNet Working teams and all our members. Remember that we often have more information about a person or situation than will be obvious to other members, and we do our best to care for all.
Occasionally we do miss messages that may need attention so please use the 'Report' button (located in the lower left hand side below each post) if there is ever anything that concerns you.
Each member may register once only and use one username only.
If you wish to change your username, send an email to email@example.com and someone will make the change for you. Remember to include your current username and the username you would like to change to.
In the past, people using more than one nickname has caused confusion and mistrust.
Be polite and considerate at all times. dNet has a ‘PG’ rating.
Swearing is not permitted in general. A broad range of ages and personality types visit dNet each day. Swearing is generally unnecessary and can be offensive. However we do acknowledge that there are times when you are really down and need to 'let off' some of the emotion and pain.
We do at times turn a blind eye to the odd word, however please understand that your post may be censored for swearing or we may have to ask you to modify your language for our chat room.
Without the voice inflections and body language of personal communications, it is easy for a remark meant to be funny to be misinterpreted. Subtle humour tends to get lost, so take steps to make sure that people realise you are trying to be funny. Emoticons (or ‘smilies’) are good for this J.
Sarcasm has no place in our dNet.
Do not type in all capital letters as it becomes very hard to read and is considered as yelling on the Internet. If you are not able to use the shift key it is preferable if you type in lower case only.
When someone new enters the chat, particularly the 'Welcome Room,' please take a moment to say 'Hello'. This may be their first visit to the dNet chat and they may be feeling very nervous and unsure.
If you are able to take some time to help new people feel at home and welcome them, that is great. Most of us remember those first people we met in chat for a long time and really appreciate their thoughtfulness.
However, there are times when we are just not able to welcome new people because of 'where we are at' ourselves. There is no need to feel guilty.
We do ask that if you are not able to welcome new people and give them a little extra care and attention, that you do not stay in the Welcome Room, but move into one of the other rooms. If the other rooms are all empty, ask someone else from the Welcome Room to join you.
Sometimes people enter a chat room and then leave without saying anything. There can be many reasons for this. Often, people are just not ready to talk in a chat room. It is important not to take this personally.
Hellos and goodbyes help. Depression can make us hypersensitive and more prone to paranoia than when we are well. It does help if you say hello when you enter a room, and just type a quick explanation when you leave.
Remember to 'Log Out'
Remember to always 'Log Out' of the messageboard and chat when you are not using them. This is for your safety and privacy as well as that of others members. Other people in chat may think you are still in chat, talk to you, and wonder why you are not responding.
There are no doors at dNet, so you can't 'leave'.
Sometimes dNet will not be what you need. That is OK. There is no obligation to visit or to post at any time.
Please do not post messages that say you are 'leaving' dNet. There is no need, and in the past people have been embarrassed to post or visit the chat room after they have said they were leaving.
Everyone's opinion is welcome and needed in order to provide a balance reflecting the diversity of people and personalities who make up the world we live in. dNet is here for all Australians living with depression and our families and friends. This will naturally mean that others will have opinions that you do not agree with. That is OK – you don't have to agree with everyone! The important thing is how you respond.
Open discussion is healthy, just remember to keep the focus on the issue and keep personalities and negative personal comments out of it! dNet is not here to solve the riddle of depression. The chat rooms and messageboard are here for everyone to communicate and share personal experiences. This is not a place to make judgments.
Leave any personal issues or differences out of our messageboard and chat.
So what to do if you disagree?
Learn, consider, grow, or if not in the mood for these… move on to another message or visit another room in chat just as you would in real life.
NOTE: If you are receiving email notifications of a topic that you don't want to participate in any longer, remember that you can 'Stop Watching' a topic by clicking on the 'Stop watching topic' button at the top of a topic.
Be mindful of emotions – yours and others!
Because the interaction we have with others at dNet is through a computer it is easy for situations to arise where emotions erupt and things are said which may hurt the feelings of others.
Do not attack people if you disagree or cannot persuade them. Criticising and/or abusing others only serves to make people think less of you and less willing to help you when you need it.
If you are upset at something or someone, wait until you have had a chance to calm down and think about it. Often just waiting 24 hours can work wonders on your perspective and prevent you saying something you may regret later. Hasty words create more problems than they solve. Try not to say anything to others you would not say to them in person in a room full of people.
Remember that depression brings with it a tendency to be overly sensitive and paranoid. Be aware of this both in yourself and in others. Check you are not ‘over-reacting’ and also be thoughtful about your wording and how you are coming across. This will help make our dNet a safe place for all.
Remember, members come from a variety of backgrounds and knowledge bases. Even information provided from very well meaning people may be incorrect, much like any advice you may hear at a BBQ with friends. It is important you check all information with your doctor or a suitably qualified health care professional before acting on advice from even the most well meaning friends.
Unqualified medical advice, including recommendations that people change or stop their medications, is illegal and not allowed here. The ONLY acceptable advice is to suggest people discuss their issues with their doctors or seek treatment and advice from qualified health care professionals.
Please be careful to let others know that you are giving your own personal opinion only, and to not state your opinion or any information you provide as fact. This is particularly important where medications and other treatments are concerned.
Our messageboard and chat are for us to share personal experiences only.
If you have any factual information you would like to share with others, post this information to the Noticeboard so that we can include it in the relevant section of the depressioNet.org.au website. We have members who will have the information checked by relevant professionals and/or consumers to ensure factual information displayed on depressioNet.org.au is accurate to the best of our knowledge.
Please remember that thousands of people visit our chat room and messageboard. This quite possibly includes your boss, your friend's boss, your girl friend's brother's best friend and one of your father's beer buddies. Information posted on the net can come back to haunt you or the person you are talking about.
Pictures & Photos (and other images)
While we allow the ability to insert a photos and other images into posts, please keep these to a minimum as multiple images in posts:
1. make the topic / post slow to load for people on slower computers; and
2. take up a lot of space on our servers.
3. make posts quite long and difficult to read / view. Our forum isn't designed for sharing multiple photos and doesn't have a suitable format for doing this. It can really detract from the real purpose of your message and our forums.
Your consideration in this is appreciated and allows us to retain the ability for all to share an odd photo or picture as relevent!
Suicide and Self Harm
Please do not post suicide notes or messages, or make comments in chat, that may be interpreted as intention to harm yourself. These are of no benefit to anyone and can be very upsetting to others.
It is unreasonable and unfair to put people who are halfway across the country or the world in the position of being responsible for your life, and particularly those who do care, are struggling themselves, or who may even be harmed by it.
We are not professionals, we are people just like you.
Please do not put other members at risk by expecting us to prevent your suicide.
If you think you may be in danger you need to seek help to keep yourself safe immediately!
If you are not in physical danger, but are struggling with unhealthy thoughts, it is much better to ask for help and support with getting through the tough times. Remember, this is what dNet is here for and there are plenty of us who know how you feel.
Do not rely on other members
Please remember that other members of dNet and our dNet Team are people just like you – not doctors or counsellors, and be careful not to rely on them for support more appropriately obtained from a qualified health care professional.
PRIVACY & ANONYMITY
We strongly recommend you do not give any personal information to anyone you meet on the Internet.
Personal contact details
While most members are trustworthy and good people, it is extremely unwise to provide personal contact details to any person you 'meet' on the Internet. You must not post any personal information (including email addresses, phone numbers and personal websites) on the messageboard, nor give it out in the chat room or via 'pm' (personal message). This is important for your own safety.
Please do not ever ask another member to give you any of their contact information, including email address!
If you do choose to give out personal contact or any other personal information, you do so at your own risk!
While we strongly discourage giving out any personal information to anyone you meet on the internet, ultimately the choice to contact another person you have 'met' on depressioNet, or to give your contact details to someone via email or another forum, is yours.
If an issue arises between two people outside of depressioNet, it should remain there and is not to be discussed in the depressioNet chat rooms or on the messageboard.
Do not use depressioNet to seek or promote a personal relationship in the 'real' world.
The depressioNet messageboard or chat rooms must not be used to seek or promote a personal relationship. Friendships will develop; however, for your safety and the safety of others we ask that these are restricted to within depressioNet and for the purpose of providing mutual support and encouragement along the road to recovery or effective management of depression.
Often depression and anxiety cause us to isolate ourselves and this can be very lonely. depressioNet can help to overcome the isolation caused by stigma; however, it is not for finding friends or filling a gap in our 'real' world. Other sites provide this service. The encouragement and support you will find here – along with professional support – may help you develop strategies to overcome these challenges, and help you to fill these needs appropriately from within your world.
As depressioNet is not to be used to seek a personal relationship there is no reason to provide personal contact details. If you do not have the support you need in your 'real' world, visit our Help In Your Area to find support groups and services in your area.
If you do choose to meet another member you do so at your own risk and any negative results or experiences are not to be discussed or brought within depressioNet in any way.
Respect the privacy of others
Never give out information you may know about other people – particularly contact details!
No personal information, including email addresses, is to be given to a third person regardless of how you know this person. If you have any concerns or questions – email the Team and we will be able to advise you.
Be careful that you are not inadvertently giving out email addresses without permission!
Use the 'bcc' = 'blind carbon copy' feature on email when you are sending an email to more than one person. This will ensure you are not inadvertently giving out an email address that was given to you in confidence.
The same goes for forwarding emails where there is an email address in the original one. Take the time to delete any email addresses before you forward.
When I give you my email address, I like to know that I am not giving it to you AND all your friends. If you don't use bcc, when your friends forward your email, my email address will go to all their friends too!
Musical Lyrics, Articles and Other Copyrighted Material
Often we may hear a song or read something poignant we would like to share with others. It is important we consider the copyright attached to others’ work and that we don't reproduce these things within depressioNet.
If you would like to share the lyrics of a song or a section of a book that you found helpful please list the title and the artist/author and what it means for you and how it has helped you, rather than copying it to the boards in its entirety.
This is so we do not inadvertently breach any copyright.
If you have read something in a newspaper, magazine or on another Internet site that you think is relevant and would be of interest and/or help to other members and would like to share it on the messageboard, rather than copy the article itself, please send it through to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can include it on the dNet website. We will then send you the link so you can share it with others on the messageboard. (see also External Links)
Health Care Professionals
All Australians living with depression are welcome to use the depressioNet chat and messageboard. This includes health care professionals.
Health care professionals are to use the chat and messageboard only as 'people like us'. You must not give any medical or health advice to other members or act as a health care professional in any way within the depressioNet chat or messageboard. This places depressioNet at great risk and you will be immediately banned.
If you have a product or service of help and/or interest to Australian depression sufferers and their families and friends, contact us[R19] and we will work with you to find the most appropriate way of letting others know.
DO NOT post this information directly to the messageboard or promote it in the chat room.
Similarly with research: if you have a research project you would like our help with, please send this to us directly via email to email@example.com.
News of the death or harm of another person
If you hear that a member of our messageboard and chat has died or is unwell, you are not to let other people in the chat know or post about it to the messageboard.
The people who use the depressioNet online communication forums are generally already more sensitive to issues such as death and mentioning that a person that they may have had contact with in the past has died may further upset them.
Instead, let a dNetWorking team member know and someone will validate the information before it is made common knowledge so that others are not unnecessarily upset. In the past such news has been proven to be false.
These guidelines are designed to help keep our messageboard and chat safe and maintain a healthy, positive, caring environment. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for improvement, please post to the dNetworking Corner.
We reserve the right to withdraw or restrict the access of any member at any time.
Our website and services are here today due to the combined efforts of people just like you… people living with depression.
There is no ‘team’ behind the screens, no strangers 'out there' in an office somewhere providing the depressioNet.org.au website, messageboard and chat. The members of the dNetWork Teams are people just like you who have used the depressioNet.org.au website, messageboard and chat in the past and have chosen to now contribute and work together to ensure it is here today and into the future for ourselves and others. Without the dNetWork Teams there would be no depressioNet.org.au
One of the many roles dNetWorkers fill is to care for (moderate) our messageboard and chat. The MB and Chat dNetWork Team are people just like you who live with depression and give their time to keep 'our dNet' safe and supportive. We ask you to treat us all with the same respect and consideration you would like to receive!
All members are welcome, and encouraged to contribute to our dNet!
Contributing to our dNet: a new approach
- By contributing to dNet, and helping others, we improve our self-esteem and sense of worth.
- In supporting dNet and others individually, we improve our own mental health.
- Everyone who chooses to be a part of our dNet chooses to be of value and contribute.
- Every person is important, and valuable.
- Those who think they have nothing to contribute, no value to bring, are wrong. Everyone can contribute in some way!
- No-one is any more or less valuable than anyone else, no role more or less important.
If you would like more information on how you can contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org