Help chapter Conversations

Help topic What are conversations?

Our conversations rooms allow members to really get to know each other by starting or participating in public discussions with each other.

Help topic How do I read the conversations?

To read the conversations, do this:

You can sort the conversations in a room in various ways, to make it easier to find interesting conversations.

Help topic How do I participate in conversations?

To participate in the conversations, do this:

If you want to start your own conversation, click the "Start a new conversation" link. New conversations are always pre-reviewed before publication, so they do not go online straight away.

Help topic How do I use bold and italics in the Conversations?

To use italics in your Conversations message, put an asterisk either side of the text you want to italicise. For example *this text will appear italicised*. To use bold, put two asterisks around your text. For example, **this text will appear emboldened**. Using bold and italics often helps to get your meaning across more clearly.

Help topic Why does it seem like there are missing messages in a Conversations thread?

If you have blocked another member their messages don't appear in the thread. If the conversation appears disjointed, check your list of blocked members.

Messages which have been removed by admin or by a helper, or which are under review and have not yet been posted, will not appear on the Conversations thread either but will still be included in the thread "Message counter".

Help topic How can I see all the conversations I have contributed to?

You can get a list of all the conversations you've taken part in. To do this:

Help topic How can I see only conversations I am interested in?

You can bookmark a conversation so you can easily get back to it later, even if you haven't taken part in the conversation. To do this:

To see a list of your bookmarked conversations, click "My conversations" on your left-hand menu when logged in.

To remove a bookmark from a conversation, do this:

Help topic What do some of the terms people use in the conversations rooms mean?

Sometimes it can be hard to understand what people are saying in the conversations rooms, because they may use acronyms or jargon. Here is a short list of very common jargon you might see:

Help topic Can I remove something I said in the conversations?

Because your contribution forms a part of the conversation, it does not make sense to remove individual contributions to the conversations after publication. So we regret we are unable to remove messages unless they go against our conversations guidelines. The same applies for threads you have started. Once you have posted to a public Internet forum, you cannot then ask for that thread to be removed as it no longer wholly belongs to you.

Help topic I just found something I wrote in the conversations on a search engine! Why is this?

Anything you publish on the Internet in a public web site (such as this) can be picked up by search engines, and kept for all to see, pretty much forever. You should never commit anything to writing on the Internet, including this site, if you don't want your friends, your neighbours, your employer, your employees, your husbands/wives/girlfriends/boyfriends, ex-lovers, parents, grandparents, children or anybody else to see. This applies to both forum contributions, profile details, photographs and everything else you publish online.

If you don't want others to see it, don't publish it on the Internet. There is no really such thing as "private Internet publishing". If it does appear in a search engine, please don't write in asking us to remove it because we do not own the search engines and we cannot control what they index and republish. We ask all members to take responsibility for what they publish to this public web site.

Help topic What are the guidelines for conversations?

We don't have any rules over the subject matter of what can be discussed. However, like any web site we do have a set of guidelines over how subjects can be discussed. In short, all conversations must be friendly and must obey our terms and conditions. The guidelines were drawn up in an open, collaborative discussion between admin and all site members. Here is our full set of guidelines:

Do's

  1. Be friendly, courteous, welcoming and kind. This is the spirit of Midsummer's Eve and it's what we're all about. We have higher standards than most other web sites.
  2. Report problems. If you have seen something not in the spirit of Midsummer's Eve, report it to the helpdesk through our Conversations complaints form.
  3. Block. If you don't like somebody, block them straight away so you will never see or hear from them again. It's far better to do this than get involved in a silly dispute.
  4. Remember that this is permanent. Your words will stay here for many weeks, months, maybe even years, and may be indexed by search engines. Show yourself in the best possible light, be a great ambassador for yourself, be the best person you can be.

Don'ts

  1. Unfriendliness/trolling. Covers: insults; counter-insults; attacks; counter-attacks; deliberate wind-ups; abuse of moderators or staff; accusations of being fake; continuing unfriendliness in public instead of reporting it;
  2. Bullying/playground tactics. Covers: low-level repeated sniping, sarky or backhanded remarks; repeated annoying behaviour not covered by other guidelines;
  3. Breaching privacy or confidentiality. Covers: naming and shaming; publishing anything where the other person would expect privacy; breaching confidentiality of single-sex or private group forums; posting for members when they cannot post themselves; pursuing private issues with others (including MSE) in public;

If you want to make a complaint about the Conversations, you must do so via the Conversations complaints form. We can't accept complaints in any other form, as we need to know the MessageID number of the posting you are complaining about.

Different rooms are for different types of conversation - so for example in the Common Room we can expect some light-hearted banter and in the Forum the conversation is a little more serious in nature.

Help topic How are the conversations moderated?

Conversations are moderated by trained Midsummer's Eve staff, with help from experienced member volunteers called Helpers. It is impossible for staff or Helpers to read everything posted as Conversations is a free service and huge amounts of new material is posted daily. All new messages are scanned for potentially problematic content, and those which contain such material are held back for review prior to publication.

Messages which receive a number of "Inappropriate" ratings from other members will be manually reviewed by a moderator and compared with the guidelines above. If they go against the guidelines they will be removed.

Help topic Blind, impartial, bias-free moderation

We understand that members are concerned that all moderation should be free of bias. Midsummer's Eve has done more to ensure this than any other web site we know of.

Help topic What do Helpers do?

You can read our article about Helpers.

Help topic Working to ensure everyone can join in

At Midsummer's Eve we want to ensure everyone can join in the Conversations at all times. As we are a friendship site it is important that the Conversations are kept friendly and welcoming (see guidelines above).

If a moderator sees a message you have sent which breaks the guidelines, you may be stopped from posting to Conversations, without warning. The reasons for doing this are:

Because Conversations are very much "real time" it is impossible to send you a pre-warning that your ability to post is going to be stopped. By then it would usually be too late for any warning to be effective.

Also please note that admin staff cannot know you have been stopped from posting, because our system is totally "blind". So please do not assume any member of admin staff is aware that you cannot post.

Help topic What happens if you are stopped from posting

Step one:. If you find you cannot post, we advise you to contact the helpdesk. Please note, the helpdesk will not contact you to tell you about this situation, as they do not know you have been stopped, due to our blind moderation system.

Step two: If you contact us, you will be asked to provide a written statement indicating that you have read and fully understand and intend to stick to the site rules.

Step three: If you send us a statement you will be allowed to post again.

If you are asked for a statement of intent to stick to the rules but do not provide one you will not be allowed to post again.

If you post more unfriendly material after having provided a written statement.

If you provide a statement of intent to stick to the rules and are invited to post again, but then break the rules again, your invitation to post to the Conversations will be permanently revoked as we will know that you cannot understand, or do not want to understand the way Midsummer's Eve works.

If you see somebody who has broken the site rules but is still posting, this is not because the moderators have favourites or are discriminating against you, it is because they do not know about the situation yet, or have already dealt with it. Alert the moderators using the "Inappropriate" link or by sending a message to us via the Conversations complaint form, quoting the message ID number of the offending message.

Help topic Why has my contribution not been posted?

If your contribution has not been immediately posted it has been held back for reviewing by our staff. It probably contains words or phrases which are frequently used in an unfriendly context. Please wait whilst we review your contribution.

Help topic Why do I see 'Cannot display conversation' when I click on a conversation?

There are three main reasons why you may see this message:

Help topic How do I report an excellent message?

If you find a message which is particularly insightful, informative, interesting or just extremely well written, we encourage you to rate it "Excellent". Click the "Rate: Excellent" link by the message to make your report. This will enable us to flag up particularly brilliant messages and give membership points to those who write them. You can only rate each message once, and you cannot rate your own messages.

Help topic How do I alert a moderator about a message?

If you find a message which offends you or you think breaks our guidelines, you can alert the moderation team. Click the "Rate: Inappopriate" link by each message to make your report. If a particular message receives a large number of inappropriate report we will manually review it and take the necessary action. You can only rate each message once, and you cannot rate your own messages.

This system works well because it is a distributed system - no one person can get your postings removed, so the potential for bullying or one on one grudges is minimised.

Help topic How can I complain about a message?

If you would like to raise a formal complaint about material you have seen in the Conversations area, please follow these instructions.

We need to ensure that all complaints are dealt with fairly and are investigated in the same way. So we have a simple process for raising, investigating and reporting back on complaints about Conversations. Here is how to raise your complaint:

Send us a note via the Conversations complaint form.


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