GENERAL GROUND RULES
Offsprung members are subject to the Terms of Service laid out by our service provider, Ning, which can be found here. Please especially note Sections 14 and 23 with regard to the content you post and the interactions you have with other site users. The upshot is that Offsprung:
• Does not tolerate slurs, hate speech, attacks or any other hostile content (words, images, videos, etc.) that targets, intentionally or not, a person or group of people based on the usual protected classes. These classes include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability and so forth.
• Does not tolerate trolling, stalking, encouraging others to perform illegal acts, sharing others’ personal information or reposting content that has been deleted.
• Does not tolerate content that may reasonably be termed “not safe for work” (NSFW), nor links to such content that do not include a warning that the link leads to content that is NSFW.
• Does not tolerate spam, spammers, uploads of virus-infected files, hacking or other activities that would compromise the site. Spammer profiles will be deleted immediately.
We’re not really interested in spelling out for you what we mean by “slur,” “attack,” “spam,” “NSFW,” etc. Most reasonably intelligent people know the general definitions of these terms. However, if you have questions, or if disputed situations arise, we will clarify further. Some good basic guidelines are to be polite, think before you type and -- if you’re unsure whether a particular phrase, image or video crosses the line -- to restrain yourself.
The Playground and Play Groups are moderated to preserve the friendly nature of our community, however we encourage you to respond to violations, as much as is reasonable, by trying to work it out amongst yourselves. We’re all adults here and can usually come to some reasonable resolution. But we also depend on you, the members, to monitor yourselves and to report any offensive content by clicking on the “Report an Issue” button at the bottom of any page. Reports will remain anonymous.
Violations of the terms will result in notification, warning, deletion of comments, closing or deletion of threads, moving threads to other categories, temporary banning and/or permanent banning depending on the situation.
Finally, we don’t take responsibility for the stuff that happens between you and other Offsprung members, either on or outside of this site. We do our best to provide a comfortable and safe space for users, but ultimately we can each only be responsible for ourselves.
What is Offsprung?
Offsprung is an irreverent, inclusive, alternative online community for parents, potential parents and people who like parents. You can read more about us here.
Who owns this site?
In 2009 a long-suffering couple with two squirmy boys living in the backwaters of Los Angeles -- impulsively and inexplicably acquired Offsprung from Alternadad, who did all the hard work of starting it up in 2007.
What can I do on the site?
• Set up your own personal profile by joining the site (it’s free, and good for you!).
• Participate in discussions on the Playground and in Play Groups.
• Read and comment on our Featured Blogs.
• Invite your friends to join you on Offsprung.
• See who else is an Offsprung member.
• Share photos of yourself, your family and your life.
• Live chat with other Offsprung members.
What's the difference between the Playground and the Play Groups?
The Playground is the main forum area of Offsprung, where members gather every day to talk parenting, politics, sex, money, herbs and countless other topics. The Play Groups are a new spinoff of the Playground. They host ongoing conversations and resource areas where members can trade information and recommendations on fiction, nonfiction, music, movies, TV, food and shopping.
We created the Play Groups around topics that Offsprung members often come back to, for which a central and growing repository of information may be useful.
How do I advertise on this site?
Contact us! We’ll talk.
How do I report a technical problem with the site?
E-mail the problem to Offsprunger by clicking here.
How do I report a rude or abusive member?
Click on the "Report an Issue" link at the bottom of any page.
JOINING AND MANAGING MY CONTENT
How do I join Offsprung?
Click here. Your membership may be delayed if we need to verify if you are a spammer or a real person.
How do I set up a profile?
Set up your own personal profile by joining the site (it’s free!).
How do I customize my profile?
There are several things you can do to change your profile (which you can access by clicking "My Stuff" in the top menu of any page):
• Change your tagline at the top center from “Welcome, Screen Name!” to whatever you want it to say (up to 200 characters). Just click your mouse anywhere on the text and start typing.
• Rearrange your page by clicking and dragging on the horizontal green bar across the top of each box. (NOTE: Some boxes cannot be moved.)
• Add an RSS feed, for example to an off-site blog, by clicking “Edit” on the RSS box and entering the requested information.
How do I change my profile information (e.g., screen name, email address, password, birthday, gender, location, responses to questions)?
These kinds of changes can be made by clicking on “Settings” under your screen name in the right-hand column. This link automatically takes you to the “Profile” option under “Settings,” where you can easily change any of this information.
How do I change my privacy settings (e.g., who can view my profile page, blog posts, photos; how comments on my profile, photos and blog posts are managed; which of my activities appear in the site’s “Latest Activities” feed)?
Click on “Settings” under your screen name in the right-hand column, then click on “Privacy” in the left-hand column.
How do I change which notifications Offsprung sends me via e-mail?
Click on “Settings” under your screen name in the right-hand column, then click on “E-mail” in the left-hand column. Check or uncheck the boxes next to the items according to which types of e-mail notifications you'd like to receive. To receive no e-mail from Offsprung, click the box next to "I don't want to receive emails from Offsprung" at the bottom of the page. When you are done, click "Save."
How do I change the URL of my profile page?
Click on “Settings” under your screen name in the right-hand column, then click on “My Page” in the left-hand column.
How do I display more (or fewer) “Latest Activity” updates on my profile page?
Click “Edit” at the top right corner of the “Latest Activity” box and select from the drop-down menu the number of updates you’d like displayed. From here, you can also click “Set what activity gets displayed” to further refine the list that appears in this box.
What is Ning, and why do I have a profile there?
Ning is a platform for running online communities like Offsprung and others to which you might already belong. When you sign up for Offsprung (or another Ning-supported community), the platform creates a profile that brings together all your Ning communities into one place. You can customize your Ning profile and privacy settings so that you control who sees what of your online activities.
PARTICIPATING IN THE COMMUNITY
How do I "friend" other Offsprung members?
Click on the hyperlink of the member’s name from a Playground post/comment or wherever else you see their name on the site. You’ll be taken to the member’s profile page, where you can click “Add as Friend” in the left-hand column. The member will receive a message to confirm you as an Offsprung friend.
How do I find out when my Offsprung friends have posted a blog, photo or other content?
Click on your username at the top of any page. You will be taken to your Ning profile, which maintains a running feed showing all of your and your friends’ activities.
How do I start a discussion on the Playground?
Click on the “Playground” tab in the top menu of any page, then on “+Add a Discussion” next to your screen name. (Alternately, before clicking on “+Add a Discussion,” you may click on the Category that best corresponds to the topic you want to discuss [Parenting, Politics, etc.]). Enter the Discussion Title where requested (200 character limit) and then your comment or question in the “Post” box.
When you’re done writing your comment or question, please select the appropriate Category from the drop-down menu, and then enter 2-3 one-word phrases that describe your topic, separated by commas, in the “Tags” box. Doing this last step will greatly help people with site searches. Then click “Add Discussion” and wait for the responses to roll in!
How do I respond to a discussion on the Playground?
You may reply to the whole thread by entering your comment in the “Reply to This” box that appears just under the first comment, then clicking “Add Reply.” You may also reply to the whole thread by clicking on the last “Reply to This” box at the end of the thread. To respond to a single comment, click "Reply to This" directly under the comment to which you want to reply. Your reply will automatically include the comment to which you’re replying, underneath your own comment. Please truncate the quoted text manually if it is very long, in order to maintain the readability of the thread.
How do I follow discussions that I’ve commented on or am interested in?
There are a few different ways to follow discussions on this site; we recommend that you explore the various options and choose the one that works best for you:
1) Click on “Settings” under your screen name in the right-hand column, then click “E-mail” in the left-hand column. You can choose which types of activities you want to receive e-mails about. If you choose this option for following discussions, we recommend you set up a separate folder in your e-mail program that can receive messages from Offsprung so that you don’t feel your Inbox is overloaded with e-mails from us.
2) Click on the “My Stuff” tab in the top menu of any page to get to your personal profile. On this page, the “My Discussions” box will display data about the most recent updates to each thread you’re following. Click through to that thread to catch up. The “Latest Activities” box will also show similar activity, though more broadly than just discussions.
3) Click on the “Playground” tab in the top menu of any page, then click “My Discussions” just above the main area of the page. You will see a list of all the discussions in which you’ve participated, including when and by whom the latest comment was made.
How do I enlarge the Chat window?
Click on the Chat bar at the bottom of your screen, then click the "Pop-out" icon at the top right of the Chat window. You can enlarge the window either (a) by clicking and dragging its bottom right corner until the window is your desired size or (b) by clicking the "Maximize" icon at the top right corner of the window.
How do I turn on sound in the Chat window?
Click on the megaphone icon in the lower left corner of the Chat window (just above where you type your chat), then click and drag the volume "dot" to your desired sound level.
How do I start a blog?
Actually, you already have one! If you've joined Offsprung, you have your own profile page (Click on "My Stuff" above to access your profile page). Now click on the link “Blog Posts” in the left-hand column.
If you haven't yet posted to your blog, a screen will appear where you can immediately start writing a post. When you're done, tag it with a few keywords to make it easier for people to find, select the date and time you'd like to post it and choose your privacy settings. You can then either click “Preview” to see how it will look live, or click “Publish Post” to send it out for the world to read.
If you've posted to your blog at least once, then in order to post again, you will need to click on the link “Blog Posts” in the left-hand column, then on “+Add a Blog Post.” You'll be taken to the screen described above, where you can start a new post.
What are the Featured Blogs, and why are they Featured?
The Featured Blogs are a select number of blogs written by members with a particular expertise, special interest or unique voice. They're there to educate, inspire, amuse and/or provoke discussion among all Offsprung members. On some level, each one speaks to some aspect of our Offsprung Manifesto.
Can I have a Featured Blog?
Maybe! If you write well and frequently on a focused topic that supports the Offsprung Manifesto (or at least doesn't go against it), contact us! Let us know what you'd like to blog about and why, fill us in on your relevant background and send us a couple sample blog posts.
Alternately, you may want to consider posting on Use Your Words, a soapbox blog with rotating writers from among the ranks of Offsprung members. Click here to find out more.