Laura's Playground Live Chat Rules
This page is required reading for those who wish to participate in our live chat rooms. This site is for people on the transgender spectrum and their friends, family, and allies only. Admirers, predators, and those seeking online sexual content are not allowed.
- Choose an appropriate username. Names cannot reflect stereotypes or authority, and should not mock the transgender community. We suggest that you use the first name you'd use on the street when presenting as your true self. If you want to be taken seriously, calling yourself "Man in a Dress," "Sissy in Panties," or "CutiePieXoXo" isn't going to work. Names referring to weapons or illegal drugs are also not allowed. Senior management has ultimate discretion over the acceptability of any username. If you stick with a simple first name by which you prefer to be addressed, you should be just fine.
- Crisis rooms are limited to the member in crisis and the crisis staff speaking with them. You must never enter a crisis room that is already in use. Also, do not start private messages with moderators or members while they are in crisis rooms. You may not ask either party for details about the crisis after they leave the crisis room. Our crisis chats are treated with the strictest confidentiality. As suicide prevention is the primary goal at Laura's Playground, anyone found to be deliberately interfering with that purpose will be subject to a ban.
- You may not intentionally misgender another member. We realize that androgynous names can create confusion, and that accidents happen. If you aren't sure of a person's gender, just ask. Continued or deliberate misgendering of other members may result in you being banned from chat. As a corollary to this rule, you should avoid entering chat with a generic greeting such as, "Hi ladies," or, "Hey guys." At any given time, there's likely to be members online from all over the gender spectrum. If you dislike being asked which pronouns you prefer, you should consider using a name that answers the question for you.
- Bashing, attacking, or harassing any group or member will not be tolerated. People from all across the transgender spectrum are welcome here. You're not expected to understand all the terminology, but you must treat everyone with the same level of respect and courtesy you would expect for yourself.
- Private messages are for your eyes only. You may not share the contents of a private message with anyone. However, if someone in a private message is speaking to you inappropriately or if you suspect they are in crisis, you should immediately open a private message with a moderator and let them know.
- Never start a private message with someone until you have obtained their permission in the main chat room. Staff members are the exception to this rule. You can PM a moderator to get assistance with something without prior permission. Staff can also PM users without permission. However, unless it's urgent, they will generally get your permission ahead of time.
- The Community Center, Treehouse, and Teen rooms are rated PG-13. No sexual discussion is allowed in these rooms. In all other rooms, adult transgender issues may be discussed, within reason. Packers can be discussed in the FtM room. Dilation is a topic suitable for the Post-Op room. If you dislike adult situations or language, you should limit yourself to the PG-13 rooms. Cybersex is not allowed in any rooms. Period.
- No one under 13 is allowed to use or view the chat rooms. If you are under age 13, we're sorry, but you'll have to wait until your 13th birthday to join us. If you have children under the age of 13, you must ensure that they cannot view the chat room while you're with us.
- Chat rooms labeled for certain genders are for use by people identifying with that gender only. The MtF room may only be used by people who identify, at least part of the time, as female. Likewise with the FtM room. If you are unsure of your identity, you may enter any rooms appropriate to your questioning until you are sure.
- Be supportive of other users. Never imply - or say outright - that someone is being overly dramatic or faking a crisis. This is dangerous, especially in a chat room whose purpose is suicide prevention. We encourage our members to open up in chat, and no one should suggest that another member's problems are too numerous or frivolous.
- Discussion of illegal activities or drugs is not allowed in chat. This includes all manner of crimes, including illegal drugs. If you are struggling with substance abuse, you are more than welcome to discuss your situation in a crisis room or private message with a staff member. This rule also includes hormones obtained by means other than a legal prescription. If medical marijuana is legal where you live and you have a valid prescription for its use, you are allowed to say so. You may not discuss your specific dose of any medication.
- Discussion about weapons, self-harm, suicidality, or other triggering topics are best kept out of public chat. You are welcome to discuss anything you need to talk about with a staff member privately, however. The aim of this rule is to prevent triggering multiple members when we may not have enough staff on hand to react appropriately.
- You may not solicit personal information from anyone under the age of 18. While we strongly recommend that all users keep their contact information to themselves, it is absolutely forbidden for minors to share their details or for another member, even another minor, to request them. We will turn over all possible information concerning sexual predators to the appropriate authorities.
- Advertising is not allowed. Soliciting for your business or personal website, fundraisers, or any other cause is not allowed in chat.
- If you wish to share a link to a site, image, or video in chat, it must first be approved by a moderator. All links must meet the PG-13 rating requirement. When you'd like to share one, simply PM it to a moderator and ask for approval to post it in chat. The moderator will review it to ensure that it's appropriate and then, in the main chat room, give you the go-ahead to post it.
- Please refrain from linking to other sites hosting forums or chat rooms. Laura's Playground cannot control our members' experiences on other sites.
- Please do not choose an inappropriate color for your chat text. Colors that are too light are hard to see, and colors that are too bright can cause eye strain and headaches in those reading what you have to say.
- Discussion of religion and politics must take place in the rooms designated for those purposes. The exception to this is religious or political topics that have a direct bearing on the transgender community. Be aware, though, that if the conversation gets too heated, a moderator will end the discussion.
- Use the siren sound (*emergency*) only when a staff member's attention is urgently needed. Valid reasons to use this sound include a member in crisis, a predator or admirer in chat, or receiving an overtly sexual private message. Note: the sound will only play for people in the room in which you use it. If the moderator whose attention you need is in another room, open a new PM with that moderator and sound the siren there.
- Finally, there is no point in arguing any of these rules or their enforcement with staff in chat. These rules have been set by Laura and must be followed at all times. Mouthing off to a moderator can get you banned. If you have questions or concerns about any of the rules, please contact Dev or Stu.
Laura's Playground Site Introduction
The following information is presented to all new chat members to help you get acquainted with the site.
- Please make sure your browser is set to allow popups from www.lauras-playground.com. If popups are blocked, our Java chat software may kick you out of chat when you click on a link.
- We prefer that members see a therapist about gender issues. Gender issues can be complex and have life threatening consequences. If you do not have a therapist, please consult our list of therapists.
- We provide much more than chat here. We have meetings here that members enjoy attending and we would love to have you join in. Check the calendar for upcoming meetings.
- Our forums require a separate login, but please feel free to use the nickname you use here. Members are able to read and post messages, and can send private messages after having submitted five posts or comments.
- We use icon colors in chat to help identify members and staff. These icons can be found next to the users' names at the right-hand side of your chat window. These are the colors and their meanings:
- Blue: Chat Member
- Light Blue: Greeter
- Yellow: Teen Mentor
- White: Moderator (Non-Crisis)
- Purple: Crisis Moderator in Training
- Red: Crisis Moderator
- Green: Crisis Moderator Supervisor or Chat Administrator
- Members may use sounds (accessed via the musical note icon above the blue text entry box). Please only use the siren sound (*emergency*) in an emergency as described above.
- Rooms with people in them have a tiny triangle to the left of the room name in the list at the right-hand side of your chat window. Empty rooms have a circle next to the room name. Double click on a room name to enter the room.
- The double window icon located just above the blue text entry box, between the red sign-out icon and the speaker, is where you click to unlock the chat room. You can then drag this window to a better size.
Welcome to Laura's Playground! We'll be very pleased to meet you in chat!
Last update August 4, 2016 (formatting update and clarification of terms)