F.A.Q.: Frequently Asked Questions
Last Update: May 2009 Welcome to Young Mommies! Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers to help you quickly get used to being a member!
Don't forget to check out our Dictionary of Mommy Chat Slang!
Newbie to YM QuestionsQ- I have just found YoungMommies.com, how do I "join"?
A- There are lots of ways to be involved in YM! You may browse the site without signing up. You may add yourself to our mailing list to find out what's new at the site. Young moms/moms-to-be may join our YM Communities (e-mail discussion groups), our YM Boards (message board discussion groups), or join us in our YM Chat (24/7 Chat Room).
Q- What makes YoungMommies.com so different from the other teen mom support sites out there?
A- The first thing that makes YM so different is that we were one of the first websites out there created to support young moms. We also have many features that set us apart from the rest, including a set of YM Guidelines that ensure our discussion areas are as secure and supportive as possible for our members. We also have a Mandate & Pledge that respects young moms from all walks of life, and at any point in their lives as parents. We are the only site out there (to our knowledge) that supports and welcomes both pro-life and pro-choice moms and does not allow discrimination on a political level, or towards any minority group. We are a queer-positive site, we celebrate the diversity of ethnicity and race, we are a very pro-woman/pro-wimmin site. Add to that the fact that we're free, that we're Canadian-based, and that we're run by and for young moms or moms that used to be young moms, and there's no question that we're the most unique site out there for young mothers!
Questions about sharing photos online
Q: How do I post pics on the YM Boards?
A: Upload your photos to a photo storage site (like Photobucket) and place the url in your post using the BBCode tag "img" (button on top of the posting box). OR you can add a picture directly as an attachment (scroll down and find the "Upload Attachment" tab).
Q: Who can see my pictures?
A: If you post your pictures in the Salute area, only moms who have posted a Salute can see the picture. This is a very small group and includes only other moms who have taken steps to reassure everyone they are real moms. If you post your pictures in the other areas, only registered users of the Boards can see them.
Q: How would I remove my pictures?
A: Although the boards aren't set up technically to allow members to delete all pictures at once or delete posts with pictures, there are several things you can do if you ever wanted to remove some pictures. You can either edit the posts (and remove the picture) or delete the posts (posts can only be deleted if there are 0 replies) by hand. Or, you could move the pictures into a different album where they are stored, which breaks the link code. When members leave the boards (whether by request or because of loss of account from violating the guidelines), their previous posts remain in the forums and are pruned automatically with the other posts.
Q: What are some of the precautions I should take when posting pics online?
A: Choosing which pictures you want to share is a good start. You can always put the bulk of your photos in a password-protected album for family and friends and then pick a small handful that you'll share to others. Putting a watermark on your photos can help prevent the misuse of photos by dishonest people out there (like someone pretending to be a teen mom). You can add text to your pictures by using a free program like Paint.net.
Q: How do I get those picture siggies with added effects?
A: You can create your own "siggie" using a graphics program OR an online photo or scrapbooking site that has an editor set up. Or, you can request a siggie to be made for you in YM's Graphic Art forum and a member of the design team may have time to create one. :)
Questions about the CommunitiesQ- What are these YM Communities that I have just joined all about?
A- The communities are e-mail discussion lists where young mothers with common ties and interests can talk to each other through the group about parenting, life as a young mom, personal issues, and everything else! The communities were created as part of the mandate of The Young Mommies Homesite @ www.youngmommies.com (which is to “support, inform, and connect young mothers so they can better face the challenges of parenting”).
Q- What is the QOTD/QOTW/QOTM?
A- QOTD/QOTW/QOTM stands for Question of the Day/Week/Month, and it can be posted daily/weekly/monthly by either the group moderator or a designated group member (if a QOTW rotation has been set up by that particular group). Don’t feel as though you have to answer the QOTD/QOTW/QOTM each and every week, but it’s a fun way to get involved with your group, find out things about your fellow group members, and let them get to know you as well, so jump in with your answers if you can!
Q- What makes them different from the other online groups I’ve seen?
A- Although we are sure there are plenty of good online discussion groups for young/teen mothers out there on the internet, we also know the YM Communities are among the very best. We offer a very secure and supportive atmosphere for moms. Our extra security measures and our community guidelines mean that only real moms (no “fakers”), participating moms (no “lurkers”), and moms who follow appropriate “netiquette” (no “spammers”, “flamers”, etc.) are members of the e-mail groups and are present in our weekly chats. We also combine the “best of both worlds” when it comes to group size. We have smaller groups with more specific topics so that moms can feel very connected to a handful of individuals and aren’t overwhelmed with too much e-mail, but they are also connected to a large network of other young moms.
Q- How are they set up and managed?
A- Some of our older Communities are set up through YahooGroups, and our newer groups are now privately hosted here on YM. This allows us to send e-mail to one address (“groupname”@groups.youngmommies.com) in order to reach the people who have joined the list.
A- In a non-technical sense, the Communities are set up so that a group of members (about 5-35 depending on the group) talk to each other about various topics, with the assistance of a group Moderator to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Q- Why do I need to agree to the Guidelines?
A- In themany years that the Communities/groups have been around, we’ve had numerous problems with members and outsiders, and learning from all these situations led to the creation of the Community Guidelines to try to guard against them. We’ve found that all these negative experiences really hurt the “spirit” of the group, and were uncomfortable/sad/distressing for all the moms who were genuinely seeking support. For example, there were some moms who joined the group looking to "spam" other moms regularly about a product they were selling. Or a single father might join looking for a dating site instead of a support group! With the Guidelines now in place, these situations virtually never happen.
Q- What happens if someone breaks a guideline?
A- The YMTeam is informed when a group member breaks a guideline and they decide what to do about it on a case-by-case basis. This means what happens will depend on the mom, the group, the type of guideline that has been broken, etc. What usually happens is that the mom who has broken a guideline is given a reminder that she is done so, and is reminded that if she continues to break guidelines, she will be unsubscribed from the group(s) she is in.
Q- Can I join more than one group?
A- We recommend that you start out with only one group because some of the groups generate a good deal of e-mail and in our experience, moms who try to do too much all at once just become overwhelmed and unfortunately, they sometimes end up leaving the groups. If you are a member of a quiet group, or you are really interested in becoming a part of more than one group after you’ve been a member for a while, you are welcome to join other groups as well! We recommend that you join a maximum of 2-3 groups, but you are welcome to join however many groups you would like.
Q- What are the different ways I can be involved in the Communities?
A- Once you’ve been a member of the Communities for a while, you can volunteer your time to help out in their management and activities. Group Moderators help the members feel comfortable and happy by keeping the group going with regular and helpful conversation and support. Other moms help out with special Community events like card, gift and/or picture exchanges.
Q- What sort of things do we talk about in the group?
A- You are welcome to talk about anything that is on your mind in the group, not just what the groups’ topic is (e.g. if you are in Young Pregnant Mommies, you don’t need to limit yourself to discussing only your pregnancy!). Feel free to ask questions to your group members, start conversations, etc.
Q- Which topics of conversation are not appropriate to talk about?
A- Conversations which violate the community guidelines are the only things that are off-limits within the groups. This includes anything that is hurtful/disrespectful towards another person, chain mail, hoax mail, spam, advertising something for yourself or someone else.
Q- How much e-mail can I expect per day/week?
A- This varies from group to group as well as from month to month. Ssometimes a group will have a busy month and post over 1000 posts and the next month they will go back down to their average 700.
Technical QuestionsQ- Now that I’m in the group, how do I post a message?
A- Now that you are a member, you will need to post an introduction within one week so that other moms will know you have joined. Your first message needs to be an introduction to the group. You can post your introduction to "groupname"@groups.youngmommies.com (e.g. if you are in Young Single Mommies, you would post to YSM@groups.youngmommies.com).
Q- What is the difference between the “posts” and the “chats”?
A- Regular posting happens anytime between all group members via e-mail messages that are sent through the group. This means one message can be written on a Wednesday and replied to on a Thursday by another member. The weekly chats take place specifically in our members-only chatroom and happen in “real time” (i.e. whatever you type is seen by the other moms present in chat and they can reply right away). Combining both posting and chats help moms really get to know each other well and get the support they need.
Q- I use an e-mail service with Junk/Bulk mail folders, how do I make sure I get the group mail?
A- If your group mail is being sent to the Junk/Bulk mail folder, you need to set your filters to make sure your group mail gets to your inbox. Go to your settings/options to find your “filters”, and set it so that mail containing the word “youngmommies" in the subject line is automatically filtered into your inbox or a folder of your choice.
If this were a perfect world, a new mom would immediately feel “at home” in the group she has joined and would have no problems adjusting to the group… However, we don’t live in a perfect world, so here are some answers to potential difficulties that a new mom to the groups may encounter…Problem: I am not getting the messages.
Possible solutions: This could be due to a number of problems, so eliminate them one by one.
1. If there are messages being sent but they are not reaching you, first check to make sure that your group mail is not being sent into your Junk mail folder. If it is, set your filters to filter your group mail into your inbox.
2. If your web-based e-mail inbox is too full, you may not be getting the messages. Delete old messages to make room for new ones.
3. Sometimes it is not the case that you are not getting any messages, but that they are taking a long time to get through to your inbox. People who use hotmail have noticed this problem more so than other members. If you are finding the wait too long, try cleaning out your inbox so that it is not as full, or switching to another e-mail address (non web-based works best).
4. People with some services such as AOL find that AOL automatically blocks some group messages. E-mail AOL technical help if you notice that certain messages are being clocked and not others, and hopefully they can help you change your settings to that nothing is being blocked.
Problem: I am finding there are way too many messages to keep up with!
1. Wait and see- The level of activity tends to vary over time, and some groups can have very busy periods before settling back down to a more regular level. If you wait a little while, maybe the group will become less busy.
2. Switch to a quieter group- Each group has a different level of activity, with some groups being extremely quiet (a handful of messages per week) to extremely busy (over 100 messages per week). If you’re finding it hard to keep up with the group you are currently in, maybe you would prefer a quieter group. E-mail the coordinators and ask them which group they would recommend based on how much e-mail you are prepared to receive each week.
3. Take a break – notify your moderator that you are taking a “leave of absense” from the group for a while if life is getting too busy for you. You can choose to either go “no mail” or to leave the group. You will always be welcome back at another time. Please note that if you remain in the group that you must still reply to at least the monthly roll call.
Problem: I am having a problem with one of the group members.
1. Talk to that mom directly – Maybe this mom does not know that what she is saying is bothering you in some way. Sending her a quick message to let her know “hey, what you said the other day was offensive to me because…” may be all that is necessary.
2. Talk to your group moderator – Your group mod is there to help things run smoothly, and she can send a message to the other group member on your behalf to let her know there’s an issue that needs to be worked out. Also, if what the other member is doing is in clear violation of the Guidelines, your group moderator will let the Coordinators know so that they can talk to that member about her inappropriate actions.
3. Confront the issue on the list – respectful debates of opinions are welcome on the lists, so make a point in your defense and diplomatically state why you think what another mom said may not be the case for everyone.
That’s It! Thanks for taking the time to read through the Newbie FAQ File! We hope it will help you get the most out of YoungMommies.com! If you have any questions that this FAQ file can’t answer, please don’t forget that your Administrators/Coordinators/Moderators are available to answer whatever other questions you might have! :)