The objective of the PeopleWithMS chat is to provide support for the MS-specific medical and general life problems which impact living with MS. None of us are doctors. We can only relate our experiences, those of other chatters, and medical news we have read. Each of us has our own beliefs. Leave it to each individual to choose their path. The primary focus should always be MS issues, and they should always take priority over non-MS issues. This is not to say that a wide gamut of other topics may come into discussion, whether as ice-breakers, distractions from someone's problems, or to generally fill the silence.
Deb and Red are the Owners/Managers. Jen Davidson provides support and coordination for general management and day-to-day oversight of the chat. is head of RAs. is Hosting Coordinator. They will coordinate actions and scheduling with all the Hosts and/or Buddy Hosts.
The Chat Host's primary role is as discussion facilitator and director. Sounds like an intimidating job, but not. It's knowing and remembering regular chatter's individual trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Making new chatters feel comfortable and welcome. Towards this end, every Chat Host should have a standard welcome boilerplate which can be pasted directly into chat whenever a newcomer pops in. This should introduce themselves, as well as establish their role as overall Host for that particular chat. Probably modified when Buddy Hosts are present, so it isn't too repetitive.
The role of a Chat Host is not MS Expert. Chat Hosts don't dispense medical advice, only informed opinions, and facts as known. Information from Clinical Trials or Research Studies is far more solid that anecdotal stories from sources with unknown interests or financial objectives. And it should always be made clear to chatters which is which. When possible, point them to authoritative sources of information like the Social Security Administration, rather than some periodical's interpretation.
The Chat Host needs to keep and eye on the direction and subject of chat. When it invariably drifts, the Chat Host must judge whether it lightens the mood, encourages comradeship, and promotes better living with MS.
Administrators are expected to take a broader and more responsible role than Hosts. Not only will they be responsible for hosting particular chats, but for observing the broader flow, subjects, and participants (and their behaviors) of chats, and across multiple chats. And making recommendations as to actions that will make chat a more effective, supportive environment. Including identification and recomendation as to action regarding difficult, unwelcome, or out-of-control chatters. Including immediate expulsion when necessary.
"Kicking" Policy *
N.B. - Deb, Red, and Jen need to be notified of the date, time chatter name, and general circumstances when any chatter is banned or banned with cookies.
"Kicking" can be the innocent action performed by an RA or host because a chatter forgets to log out, gets stuck, or just falls asleep at the keyboard.
"Kicking" can also be of an unruly, annoying, lewd, or just plain rude chatter. The RA should always warn the chatter, either publicly, or via private message, that they are getting out of hand. And warn them again, that they will be Kicked. Third time, they're out for the evening. If they come back in under another name, ask them to leave, and if they don't - kick 'em again. That's as far as a host can go. After that, it is up to an RA to step in.
If it suggests a bigger problem, Red, Deb, or Jen need to be notified of the problem within 48 hours.
"Banning" Policy *
It is not our intent to ban anyone unless absolutely necessary. Inappropriate behavior may always be the result of factors unknown to any of us, some medical reaction, or simply heat-of-the-moment excess. However, if someone repeatedly offends the basic objectives of the chat, we really would not have a choice. Banning someone will be based on a consensus opinion of the Room Owners, Room Manager, and Room Administrators after discussing the incident(s) leading to the recommendation.
version 05-09-2011 3:15