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Frequently Asked Questions


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Got a question? Hopefully, it will be answered right here!

The FAQ is divided up into sections. These are as follows:

1. Survivor issues
2. Access to the board
3. Posting and forums
4. Moderators
5. Chat
6. Miscellaneous
7. Technical issues

1. Survivor issues

I need help NOW!
Click here for two pages of crisis line numbers, all over the world, and here for more crisis information and hotlines.

2. Access to the board

I just registered, but I can't enter many of the forums. What am I doing wrong?
Registering is a multi-step process. First you must fill out and submit the registration form, selecting a username and valid email address. Then you are sent an email (be sure to check your bulk/spam mail!) giving you directions on how to validate your account. Finally, a moderator must manually give you access to the private forums.

This may take up to 24 hours. Please, please please do not register more than once! Not only is it against board rules, but it delays the process and creates more work for moderators.

How do you check to make sure users do not have more than one username?
We use advanced IP-matching software. Basically, this software tells us whether or not two usernames are using the same computer or connection. If you have more than one person using the same computer with separate accounts, don't worry – just drop us an email or PM and let us know.

How do I get access to the password-protected forums?
We have several forums are password protected. The Male Survivors forum is limited to men, and we have this separate forum because of the particular stigma many male survivors face. The Body & Fitness forum is password protected to keep members suffering from body image and eating disorders safe from possibly triggering posts about weight loss. The DID Support forum is limited to those who have a DID diagnosis. The Women's Forum is limited to women and allows women to discuss specific women's issues that some may not feel comfortable discussing on the general board. The remainder of the password-protected forums exist to protect the privacy of those who have experienced specific types of abuse.

To get access to any of these forums, just send an email to admin@pandys.org or PM any of the board moderators.

How do people get banned?
If a member comes here with malicious intentions, we will ban that person immediately. For instance, people have been banned for posting crude and sexual remarks. Other people have been banned for viciously attacking members through email or PM.

However, this is an extreme measure. We only do this in cases of flagrant abuse of survivors by people who are clearly trolls.

We otherwise ban members in good standing in extremely rare instances and usually after repeated private messages and PM's with the member, as well as other steps to help them (e.g. placing them on full moderation of all their posts). A few instances of why we have banned people in the past include:

  • A member was banned for registering under another name, claiming that she had been disowned by her family and was penniless and then accepting money from another member.
  • Faking a death.
  • Claiming to be a man in an instant messenger conversation but a woman on the board, making extremely offensive and triggering comments to other members and then refusing to contact moderators after repeated attempts to resolve the situation.
  • Registering under a different name and posting personalized and highly offensive messages to members of the board.
  • Repeatedly harassing moderators with offensive PM's.
  • Registering under a new name to avoid a chat suspension.
  • Repeated violations of board guidelines, despite warnings from moderators

These sound scary – but with many members on the board these incidents represent the extreme minority, and the moderators make every effort to resolve these situations as soon as possible.

Please, please do not worry about being banned. We very seldom ban members.

Are there any guidelines on using the board?
Yes, there are a number of threads which contain guidelines on different aspects of using the board. Your registration and continued use of the board signifies your acceptance of these rules. They are:


I don't seem to have access to all the forums, despite being a member. What's going on?
If someone identifies themselves as a secondary survivor, then we will restrict their access to the Healing Together forum, Announcements, and other public forums. They can, of course, access all the public forums, but sensitivity is expected when using 'Wonderful Threads'.

This is because Pandora's is a peer-support group, and survivors have consistently articulated that advice from non-survivors, however well-meaning, can occasionally cause more issues than it resolves. The perspective of secondary survivors is frequently sought and gained in 'Healing Together'.

I can't get into chat!
First, remember that you must have been a member for seven days and made ten posts on the board, and then request the use of chat. See this announcement for more details. If you have the required posts and are still having problems, please try the tips in this thread, and post there for help if you are still having difficulties.

Which forums are public?
Some of the forums on the board are public, which means that anybody can read their content, no matter whether they are registered or not.

Public forums include: Wonderful Threads, Research, The Fun Forum, Board Guidelines, Suggestions, questions, and complaints

Secondary survivors are restricted to the Healing Together, Announcements and public forums.

3. Posting

Can I change the subject line of my thread?
Yes – Just open your post, click edit, and you can change the title as well as the body of your post. You may also delete your post – but if you delete your topic, the entire thread will be deleted.

Please do not start threads with really long 'hugs' in the title: e.g. ((((((((((((((((((Jes)))))))))))))))))))))). This will just make the entire forum wrap improperly, and make it more difficult to use.

Where did my post go?
We have specific forums about topics related to the aftermath of sexual assault so that people who are know a lot about a certain issue can locate posts easily and respond to them. In addition, people can be triggered by topics, so we try to keep them in one spot, so members can remain safe while viewing My Voice.

If your post in My Voice pertains to Pregnancy, Eating Disorders, Self Injury, Sexuality, or PTSD related issues, it is likely that it will be moved there.

In addition, we have a 'My Life' forum, for posts about general life issues. If your thread does not pertain to sexual violence issues then it will be moved here. Topics covered in this topic include general health, education, work, and friendship/family issues, which do not reference sexual violence.

Moderators will USUALLY inform you when any thread of yours is moved. At times, we either forget or are too busy, so please excuse us if we move a thread without letting you know. We almost always inform you if your thread was deleted, and the reason why it was deleted. We retain copies of posts we delete (not those YOU delete), so we can give you the text if you wish to read replies or conform the text to comply with the rules, to be posted again.

If posts are to be moved to 'Wonderful Threads' then a message will be posted ahead of time in the relevant thread. This is to enable people to delete any posts they don't want to appear in a public forum.

This board, in common with all message boards, sometimes 'loses' posts. Please be assured that if we were to delete a thread/post of yours then you will be informed of the reason either immediately or upon contacting us to inquire.

Why can't I start a topic in one of the two Wonderful Threads forums?
First a thread must be started in the appropriate forum so that we can see if it is, in fact, wonderful. Then the threads are moved to the one of those two forums.

Why can't I start a thread in the chat forum?
The chat forum contains a lot of information about particular scheduled chats, technical details etc. and this was being drowned by many different posts about technical issues. We have created a technical issues thread which is regularly checked.

If you would like to see another thread in the chat forum, please let us know.

How do I post a photograph/image?
Please look here for further information. If you don't have any server space of your own then please contact Shannon, Jes, or Louise, who may be able to post it for you.

Under no circumstances post a photograph of another person on the board without their permission. If you unsure about whether your image may be triggering, please get the opinion of one of the moderators.

You cannot post photographs of children without the permission of their parents.

Please be aware of which forums are public/private when you are choosing where to post any photographs of yourself, or that may identify you.

How do I get emoticons in my post?
When you are writing your post, look to the left of the textbox you are typing your words in. There is a table of clickable smilies – meaning clicking them puts them directly in your post. You can also see the entire list of smilies to put them into your posts.

4. Moderators

How do I contact the moderators privately?

You can use the private messaging system, by clicking on the little envelope icon to the top right of your screen, then composing a new message. Another way to contact us is by email at admin@pandys.org This will ensure that we each get a copy of your email, and can respond to it as quickly as possible.

You are, of course, welcome to contact any individual moderator that you feel most comfortable speaking to, but please be aware that we discuss difficult situations with one another in order to meet the needs of the majority of the community.

How do I get to be a moderator?
When we need new board moderators we choose them based on their length of time on the board and their contributions to the community, a desire for diversity among moderators (a need for moderators of different ages, locations, genders, and histories), and their trustworthiness to the moderators and members as a whole.

We advertise on the board from time to time for section and chat moderators, and you are very welcome to 'apply' for those role when they next come up. We always place these advertisements in the Announcements forum.

Who are the moderators?
The moderators are Patricia, Hope, Jesse and Alex. You can find more about them here.

My email bounced back from the moderators. How do I get in touch with you?
Odds are that if you typed our address correct, a bounce-back means that ONE mod has a full inbox. Rest assured that the rest of the moderators got your message.

5. Chat

Why can't I chat?

We understand that new members may be frustrated that they need to post ten times on the board, be a member for a week, and then request access to the chat room before they can chat. When you're looking for help right away, it can seem like a horrible burden. However, the goal of the policy is safety so we hope you can understand why it's needed. In order to access chat, you can post anywhere on the board - you need not post your story, or details of what happened, or anything personal at all. We hope that you'll introduce yourself in the Introductions forum, but even that is up to you.

Why do we have this policy?

First of all, we think the environment here at Pandy's is very special. We promote an atmosphere where each member is gently encouraged to take responsibility for his or her own healing path while respecting and learning from the paths that others are choosing. We would like members to spend a week here getting to know Pandy's and the climate we cultivate before going into chat, which is a very fast paced real-time environment.

We hope that the ten posts/one week policy is not viewed as a block to reaching out. On the contrary, the message board itself is available from the moment your registration is approved and you are encouraged and welcomed to introduce yourself, ask for support, and reach out by posting on the board (if you are unsure how to do so, please check out the Posting Tutorial). Additionally, the Resources forum offers hundreds of ways to reach out to get real-life, professional support.

Second, chat varies from the board in a couple of significant ways. The chat room is a real-time environment, where conversation occurs (and changes direction) quickly. If a person registers on the board solely to make trouble or hurt others, consequences are typically much harder to handle in chat than on the the board. Most chatters will tell you that, for example, a person in crisis affects others more emotionally in chat than in posts on the board.

Additionally, because close friendships are made in chat and very sensitive discussions take place, members appreciate the ability to check out a newcomer's profile and posts to get to know them a little bit before opening up so much.

Finally, we would like to give new members time to familiarize him or herself with the chat rules. We made the chat room accessible by-request only so we could be sure that each chatter had familiarized him or herself with the rules and had committed, in writing, to follow them. Hopefully new members take the time between their week of membership and making ten posts to read the chat forum so they understand how our chat room works.

We hope that all makes sense. This policy isn't to prevent people from reaching out, but rather to protect the safety of members, which is a primary concern for us.

You can find out everything you need to know about chat here in the Chat Forum.

Here in the FAQ are the most frequently asked questions related to chat, but there is a more comprehensive chat faq here.

Why can't I start a thread in the chat forum?
The chat forum contains a lot of information about particular scheduled chats, technical details etc. and this was being drowned by many different posts about technical issues. We have created a technical issues thread which is regularly checked.

If you would like to see another thread in the chat forum, please let us know.

I can't get into chat!

Please post in the Chat Technical Difficulties Thread.

What times are chats held?
When our staff have the time, they hold moderated chats, which are usually based on a particular topic. Check out the Chat Forum to find out when any moderated chats are going to be held, the topics, and who hosts them.

What are the chat rules?
Your answers can be found right here.

How do I become a chat moderator?
From time to time, board moderators will make an announcement, stating that we need chat mods. Please feel free to tell us you are interested at that time!

6. Miscellaneous

I have a problem with another member.
Please do not post about this publicly or put any identifying details in your blog. We suggest you either try to work things out with that member, or let a moderator know about it and we will work with you to resolve it. If a member is being harassing, it is important that you let a moderator know so we can keep the community as a whole safe.

Can you make another forum about (insert topic here)?
We do at times add additional forums. Recent examples of this are the Spirituality Forum and Well and Whole. If you have an idea for a new forum, please PM the moderators to get our take on it before posting the request. When adding new forums, we take into account the need for it in this community and the outside resources available to meet that need. If we find a compelling need for such a new forum within Pandys, we will consider adding it.

What do all of those abbreviations mean?
Here are some of the most common ones:
(((name))) = Someone is giving you a hug.
LOL = laughing out loud
T = Therapist
CSA = Child sexual abuse
ED = eating disorder
SI/SH = self injury/self harm
SU = suicide
*t* = triggering

How do I get email reply notifications to stop coming to my inbox?
Be sure that when make a new post, you've not enabled the notifications by email. If you want to end the notifications, go to My Controls, then manage topic and forum subscriptions.

How do you get one of those member titles under your name?
You can do this yourself, after you've posted once, by going to My Controls > Edit Profile Information > Custom Member Title.

Do stories posted in 'Share your story' get posted on one of the websites?
No! You have to send your story to any of the individual sites that posts survivor stories for your story to appear on it. 'Share your Story' is no longer pruned, so notwithstanding any technical glitches, your story will be here to stay unless you ask for it to be removed. 'Share your story' was pruned a while ago, so if you have been a member here for a long time and can't find your story, we're sorry but it may have been deleted.

Is it possible to tell whether researchers who have posted in the research forum still want you to answer their question?
Researchers rarely tell us when they are 'done', so the best bet is to email or PM them to find out if they're still looking for information.

Can I change my username?
Yes - this system allows a name change that will alter all your posts and PMs. A moderator needs to make this change for you.

Can you delete all of my posts?
Yes. However, we only do this rarely. The reason we discourage this is that if you started a post, all the replies to that post will be deleted as well. We are happy to delete specified posts for you, however.

I have a slow computer and/or dial-up connection. How can I make the board faster?
First, in My Controls > Board Settings, choose "no" to the ability to view images, smilies, and signatures. If the board is still very slow on your connection, you can read posts using the Lo-Fi version. The link to this in the green bar at the very bottom of each page. You cannot reply in Lo-Fi, however.

I have another question.
Please start another thread and we'll answer it as soon as possible.

7. Technical issues

I can't get into the board! What did I do?

First, make sure that you have been granted access. If you just registered and validated your email address a few minutes ago, chances are that the moderators have not had enough time to give you access. If you know you have access, check the capitalization on your password. The board is case sensitive.

If you know you have the capitalization right, clear your cache and delete your cookies. To do this follow the instructions that apply to your browser:

In Internet Explorer:

  • Open the Tools menu and choose Internet Options
  • Under Temporary Internet Files click Delete Files
  • Under History click Clear History
  • Click OK.

In Netscape

  • Open the Edit menu and choose Preferences.
  • Click the Advanced category and select Cache.
  • Click the Clear Disk Cache button and the Clear Memory Cache button.
  • Click OK.

To Delete Cookies

  • Find your Cookies folder, located on your computer's hard drive (for Windows machines it is usually C:Cookies or C:WindowsCookies).
  • Select all of your cookies and drag them into your trash.
  • Empty your trash.
  • Finally, do a hard refresh: ctrl + F5


If you still can't get into the board, please post in the questions and suggestions forum or the help desk.


Edited by Alex
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