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  1. #11
    oimiloy
    Guest

    Default

    Holiday Exchanges!

    It's that time of year again, when boards start talking about holiday exchanges, card exchanges, etc. I know with LO's in Dec and Jan this is a big exchange season for me. Just a reminder that all exchanges need to organized by a mod and need to follow our Exchange guidelines posted below. We have already seen several boards getting excited about exchanges so try to be proactive if you think your board will want to do one.

    If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

    Michelle
    Site Assistant


    Quote:
    Hi all,

    I'm going to be making this an announcement so that you can all have it to refer to (as well as our new hosts that join later on.)

    In order to both encourage more participation as well as to help safeguard member's private contact information (full names/mailing addresses) we have put in place the following rules below. Obviously this is not going to resolve all issues, but at least we do hope that it helps those involved have a more pleasant experience:
    1. A host or preferably two (in case one gets sick) are asked to be the ones that are in charge of organizing all exchanges held on the board. This includes baby showers, birthday, holidays, cards, *secret sisters*... anything that involves collecting and giving out member's personal contact information -- full names/mailing addresses.
    2. It is fine and even encouraged to involve members in the actual planning process -- i.e. setting $$ limits, type of exchange, day of opening, etc.
    3. Make certain when posting about the signup that you DO mention that the member accepts any / all risks involved (i.e. neither you nor Pregnancy.org are responsible if they choose to participate.)
    4. You do respect the confidentiality of ALL personal contact information submitted and under NO circumstance share it with anyone outside of admin(that would be in an emergency) without the permission of the member other than within the guidelines for the exchange (i.e. the person they are matched with would receive their info. No one else.)
    5. NEVER post anyone's personal contact information or allow anyone else to. (See host instructions for more details) All submissions should be sent to the host organizing via pm or email. (*Tip* You may find that it is helpful to organize all this information as it is received in a separate folder on your computer.)
    6. We do have eligibility requirements for participants. This is not meant to prevent members for taking part in the fun but insuring some protection for our members that those signing up are *legitimate* members onsite. Eligibility for participation in exchanges (any form!) are set at a minimum of 3 months Pregnancy.org membership and a minimum of 300 posts. This information may be found on any of their post or profile.
    7. Please try to respect requests that ask NOT to have their private info sent to certain members. Obviously not everyone is going to get along and yes this does require a bit of extra effort. If you have problems please notify us using the email link at the top of this forum and we will help. This is not something that you should publicize -- simply if someone does come to you and specifically asks "Please do not give ______ my mailing address" then try to respect that if at all possible. (We obviously may have to revisit this in the future if it becomes a big ordeal.)
    8. Remember that this IS meant to be fun and enjoyable for all involved. Other hosts are welcome to post on this thread to offer their own advice and suggestions on what makes for a successful exchange (or what not to do!)
    Thanks everyone!
    ~Missy

  2. #12
    oimiloy
    Guest

    Default

    Security reminder

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle23 View Post
    Hi everyone.



    We at Pregnancy.org are extremely fortunate to enjoy such a supportive community. Together we share in the journeys of those TTC, thrill with the birth of every new baby, and offer cheers for the mom whose toddler finally went poop in the potty! Along the way, of course we also share in one another's sorrows, offer encouragement to those that are going through a difficult time, either in the work, illness, relationships, parenting, or simply struggling. We find hugs offered freely and many of our members have discovered some true friends.

    While we in no way wish to discourage this type of community (in fact it is our goal), at the same time we do wish to offer some basic internet safety tips for you to consider:

    Never, under any circumstance, should you post your personal contact information on the boards. This includes full names, mailing addresses, & phone numbers or where you will be delivering. Please note that if this does mistakenly occur that hosts or site assistants are allowed to edit out the information immediately.

    Just as in "real life", use caution about those you do share your personal contact info with privately.

    Review your profile & signature for information that you may not wish to share with strangers. Examples, full names, city & state combinations, tickers indicating when you are going to be out of town, etc.

    Use first names only for children and their photos

    When meeting online friends for the first time (or more), make arrangements to meet in a public setting. Take along a friend or relative if possible. If not, then be certain to let others know where you are going, what time you are expected to arrive back home. Carry a cell phone if possible.

    Always go in your own vehicle until you know the other person well.

    Trust your instincts - if something doesn't seem right then it may not be. Know that we are willing to help out when we can but of course cannot verify each and every member's life story, hence making private boards rather futile.

    Please understand that this does not mean that you should become overly paranoid or not enjoy sharing your family's photos, participate in online showers/gift exchanges, etc. Think of this as being akin to how you would act with people that are within your own hometown or neighborhood - perhaps other parents that you meet in a local playgroup or sports teams. Of course in those places, and many more -- from the mall to the local grocery store you meet & interact with strangers that eventually become acquaintences & a few even friends.

    I've been involved in online communities now for approximately 10 years and have been blessed to develop many wonderful friendships - including many of you! I've witnessed many of our boards enjoy the fun of gift/card exchanges, been amused by the *travels* of board mascots, and loved the photos of those that have been fortunate to meet in real life -- either with their families or as a board reunion! The board reunions have all been arranged similar to a convention - held in places such as Las Vegas, Dallas, New York City, and Orlando, FL. All, thus far, have been great success with everyone looking forward to the next year's. Since so many of our members participate across the boards, perhaps we can eventually look at hosting a Pregnancy.org Convention - who knows!

    Bottom line - stay safe, use caution -- but have fun!

    With these tips in mind we'll continue to enjoy one of the best online parenting communities around.

    Please feel free to contact me or nytewind at anytime if you have questions or concerns.

    Take care,
    ~Missy & Angelia

  3. #13
    brash_beauty
    Guest

    Default General Internet Safety Reminder

    From MissyJ!
    General Internet Safety Reminder

    Hi everyone, At least once or twice a year we take time out to post a reminder for all of our members encouraging you all to follow some basic internet safety tips - on this site and throughout the 'net. Some of this may be familiar to those that have been onsite for some time but we do hope that everyone does take a few minutes to read through as a refresher as well as gain updated information.

    We at Pregnancy.org are extremely fortunate to enjoy such a supportive community. Together we share in the journeys of those TTC, thrill with the birth of every new baby, and offer cheers for the mom whose toddler finally went poop in the potty! Along the way, of course we also share in one another's sorrows, offer encouragement to those that are going through a difficult time, either in the work, illness, relationships, parenting, or simply struggling. We find hugs offered freely and many of our members have discovered some true friends.

    While we in no way wish to discourage this type of community (in fact it is our goal), at the same time we do wish to offer some basic internet safety tips for you to consider:

    • Never, under any circumstance, should you post your (or someone else's) personal contact information online. This includes full names, mailing addresses, & phone numbers or where you will be delivering. Please note that if this does mistakenly occur on the boards that hosts or site assistants are allowed to edit out the information immediately. You are, of course, free to choose to give this information privately - such as signing up to participate in gift exchanges, secret sisters, birth buddies, etc.
    Some common examples that we notice onsite include posting unedited ultrasound pictures (complete with full name, doctor's name, and hospital); linking to baby's hospital page (again, giving full name, location); realtor and/or satellite images of your home (location); unedited birth announcements, shower / birthday invitations; and more.
    • Just as in "real life", use caution about those you do share your personal contact info with privately.
    • Review your profile & signature for information that you may not wish to share with strangers. Examples, full names, city & state combinations, tickers indicating when you are going to be out of town, etc. Offsite, take a close look at your personal webpages - such as MySpace & Facebook where a GREAT deal of personal information is often available. Be certain that you either have your page private and do personally know each person having access to these areas or - or do not post/share things there that you would not share with any stranger that may access. Recent studies have shown just how many on Facebook for instance, have a habit of adding friends, and then friends' friends, and so forth until they honestly have no clue who all may be viewing their personal data they have posted there.
    • Practice safety when sharing family photos online - particularly of children. Unfortunately, in today's world, we all should remain aware that there are those that may view any particular image in a way far from that which it was intended. This may incl. your pregnant belly shots; birthing photos; an innocent child splashing in the tub to quietly sleeping in bed.
    Please do know that Pregnancy.org does have a policy of removing any images shared publicly of children either nude or showing their "private parts" with a notification to the member. This is not because the photos are in any way offensive. Every one of us in admin has children. We have this site because of our own love and passion for our own families... and for yours! We LOVE seeing your little ones... and watching them thrive and grow. It is because we consider them as they should be -- precious, innocent, and worthy of our protection that we created and implement this policy... as recommended by those responsible for dealing with investigations regarding child safety whom have seen far, far worse.

    Our recommendation is that you ARE free to take these type (nudes/partial nudity) of photos and share them -- privately... ONLY with those that you know personally (family, close friends.) If you elect to show them on our site you may do so via private message or email OFFSITE. WE believe each and every child is worth this effort. By no means does this offer complete protection but certainly it does discourage those that were considered among the *worse offenders* by those that classify.

    For all other types of family/child photos - our recommendation is to simply be discriminating when doing so online as you would with strangers you meet. Use first names only. Be aware of backgrounds (school names, local landmarks, street names/house numbers) that may be more identifying than you would prefer. Be certain to watermark any images your post online prominently, (in a main portion of the photo), to prohibit it from being cropped and used by someone else. If you need instructions on how to do this, drop us a note. Certainly we do not believe you must stop sharing your cute family photos online any more than you would stop taking your child out in public and instead keeping them locked in your home with all the curtains drawn. Following these suggestions will allow you to enjoy sharing photos with your friends and family - including all of us here at Pregnancy.org! We love watching your families grow!
    • Private Messages/Emails: Again, use common sense when responding to these (whether onsite or off.) On Pregnancy.org, we do enjoy an open community. Members throughout the site may send notes of encouragement, support, comments, or suggestions to those that they may not necessarily *know* on a particular birth board. This remains a valuable asset of our community as through this interaction we benefit from others "been there, done that" experiences. If you have any question of whether a member is "legitimate" or not, you are able to check their profile easily enough.
    Obviously though, common sense should be practiced within these as well. If you do not recognize a person as a regular member and in looking at their profile note that they have zero posts associated with their account - then you may want to be more cautious in opting to respond. At any time if someone that fits this type of profile does contact you -- advising you to contact them offsite (via email/IM or other means) take a moment and report that user to any host or member of Admin onsite, retaining the note received, and not responding. We especially recommend that you avoid and report any solicitations received via this manner -- whether for your personal information, email addresses, phone numbers, work location, photos of your family, or any other information that you consider private. This does not mean that all doing so have ill intentions, but again - practice internet safety and err on the side of caution instead.
    • Instant Messaging (IM): Due to the increased number of spammers hitting IM's we *recommend* that you no longer post your Instant Messager information within your profile at Pregnancy.org or elsewhere online. Those opting to do here should recognize that this information is available to members and non-members alike. We additionally recommend that you change your security settings on your IM (whether MSN, AOL, yahoo, etc.) -- to accept messages only from those on your *buddylist*. Don't accept requests to add new users. (You can add friends yourself.) Much of the spam received include malicious spyware/viruses within the links/files they send.
    Use caution in choosing those that you add to your IM list. If you want to confirm that it is someone that is TRULY from Pregnancy.org -- pm them onsite (or find a way to contact them privately if offsite via another means.) This eliminates anyone from claiming to be someone that they are not and you will have a real record of those that you wish to communicate with. You can then add that person to your memberlist (and at the same time let them know your IM username.)
    • When meeting online friends (from anywhere!) for the first time (or more), make arrangements to meet in a public setting. Take along a friend or relative if possible. If not, then be certain to let others know where you are going, what time you are expected to arrive back home. Carry a cell phone if possible.
    Always go in your own vehicle until you know the other person well.
    • Internet Shopping: Increasingly, more and more individuals are turning to the internet for their purchases as a matter of convenience as well as to hunt for the best bargains. With many companies now offering free shipping certainly the temptation is there! If you do choose to shop online, be certain to look for a "lock" icon in your browser status and/or a secure URL which begins with https:// (S=secure) before entering your financial/personal information. Even with these safety tips, we additionally recommend that if you are not familiar with the company that you do research before ordering.
    • Phishing/Solicitations of Account Information: Have you ever received an email (or phone call for that matter!) with a message similar to this?:
    Quote:
    “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”

    This practice is known as "phishing" -- also known as soliciting your personal and/or financial information and may be used for the purpose of identity theft. Examples of phishing tend to mimic banking or credit card institutions; internet service provider; or online payment companies you may use for bills. (For the record, they are not certain you even have these accounts but are sending these out by the hundreds in hopes that *someone* that receives does and will respond with the information requested. NEVER click these links or give information out over the phone. Legitimate companies will not ask for your password and already knows your account information. If you DO have a question and want to be certain that your account / identity has not been compromised - go directly to the source (via opening a separate window and going directly to the company's website or hanging up and calling their customer service number.) Due to this problem increasing, most companies now have instructions on how to report or forward these type of scams.
    • Use antivirus and anti-spyware programs on your computer in addition to a firewall. Be certain to keep these updated along with your browser and operating system to keep things secured as possible.
    • Protect your passwords! Choose one with a combination of letters, numbers, and/or symbols. Never share your password - over the phone, email, etc. with others. Change your password regularly (recommendation by experts is to do so every three months.) Do not use the same password everywhere.
    • Back up your important files. No matter how careful you may be, things happen whether caused by a virus, spyware, or having a computer failure for unknown reasons. Save yourself the headaches (not to mention the heartaches!) of losing those items from your computer that are valuable for you.
    • Trust your instincts - if something doesn't seem right then it may not be. Know that we are willing to help out when we can but of course cannot verify each and every member's life story, hence making private boards rather futile.
    *whew* This is rather lengthy to have waded through but hopefully worth the read.

    Please understand that this does not mean that you should become overly paranoid or not enjoy sharing your family's photos, participate in online showers/gift exchanges, etc., or posting online. Think of this as being akin to how you would act with people that are within your own hometown or neighborhood - perhaps other parents that you meet in a local playgroup or sports teams. Of course in those places, and many more -- from the mall to the local grocery store you meet & interact with strangers that eventually become acquaintences & a few even friends. As stated earlier, most of us would find that it is not healthy (or practical) to lock ourselves away in our homes with zero interaction with the outside world.

    I've now been involved in online communities now for over 10 years and have been blessed to develop many wonderful friendships - including with many of you! I've witnessed many of our boards enjoy the fun of gift/card exchanges, been amused by the *travels* of board mascots, and loved the photos of those that have been fortunate to meet in real life -- either with their families or as a board reunion! The board reunions have all been arranged similar to a convention - held in places such as Las Vegas, Dallas, New York City, and Orlando, FL. All, thus far, have been great success with everyone looking forward to the next year's. At some point we hope to be able to arrange our own Pregnancy.org convention! Who knows?

    Bottom line - stay safe, use caution -- but have fun and reap the MANY benefits that the internet does have to offer!

    With these tips in mind we'll continue to enjoy one of the best online parenting communities around.

    Please feel free to contact me or another member of our Admin team anytime if you have questions or concerns.

    Take care,

    ~MissyJ (missyj@pregnancy.org)

  4. #14
    brash_beauty
    Guest

    Default New Topics Addition and Examples

    Announcement from Nytewind
    New Topics Addition and Examples

    As many of you may have noticed, we have added a new feature to the boards. Now at the top of the index page and every board page you will find a list of new topics related to where you are on site. The New Topics list also appears at the top and bottom of each thread. You can also find all new posts site wide by click on New Posts within the navigation bar (next to search and quick links) at the top of each board page. On the index page New Topics will show you a list of topics from all the boards. Category pages such as planning a family or birth boards will show you a list of topics from just that category and each board will have a list from just that board. If you do not like this feature you can easily collapse it out of your way by clicking the button with the two arrows up at the right of the section. You can also collapse categories on the index page the same way. They will stay collapsed until you change it or your cookie for Pregnancy.org expires. You can easily open these areas again by click the button with the two arrows down. This image helps explain where and how to collapse the sections. Also be sure to check out our community page for more new topics site wide, upcoming chats and featured boards. ~Angelia

  5. #15
    brash_beauty
    Guest

    Default Pregnancy.org is on Facebook and Twitter

    Announcement from Nytewind
    Pregnancy.org is on Facebook and Twitter

    Check out our official Pregnancy.org page on Facebook, click on "Become a Fan" to stay in touch. You can also follow us on Twitter!
    Tell your friends and hope to see you all there!

  6. #16
    Muhsan
    Guest

    Default

    Exchanges on the boards have run the gamut of pairing up for *virtual support* through email / IM / private messages (for instance having a buddy from a previous year's birth board); baby/birthday showers; holiday cards; secret sisters; & more! As a board we will be gathering ideas from our members and create some specific rules (regarding pricing, shipping dates, opening dates, etc.) based upon our group's needs.

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