Guidelines for All Members & Guests

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Guidelines for All Members & Guests
« on: May 07, 2015, 04:56:34 PM »
    Welcome to Out of the Storm (OOTS)

    This web site is intended to provide credible information about Relational Trauma Response (Complex PTSD), raise awareness, contribute to prevention efforts, and join with other organizations in calling for more trauma informed treatment, services and support.

    The forum is intended to help those with Relational Trauma Response (Complex PTSD) to: connect with peers and move out of isolation; give and receive support; contribute knowledge about the experience of living with and recovering from the disorder; and learn from one another.  A recovery focus is encouraged, as is respect for and consideration of others.


    The authors and members of this site are not medical or mental health professionals, and the site and discussion board are not intended to be a substitute or replacement for professional therapy or mental health services.

    Terms of Use

    By joining this forum you agree to abide by the OOTS Member Guidelines and give the Site Administrator/ Moderators permission to retain, edit or delete any of your posts that contravene these guidelines. Administrators/Moderators/others (e.g., researchers, authors) are not permitted to use/publish posts in any other context without the explicit written permission of the poster. In cases where a poster has left the forum and cannot be reached, permission may be granted by the Site Administrator.

    Administration & Moderation of the Board

    The Site Manager has overall control of everything that happens on the board; how the board is styled, what forums to create and how to organize them. While the forum is moderated members are asked to report posts which contravene Member Guidelines in order to keep this space safe, respectful and recovery focused. (Note: Reports are confidential and the identity of the member making the report will not be revealed.) Reported posts are actioned accordingly by the Site Administrator/Moderators (e.g., post will be edited or in some cases deleted and the poster will be informed).

    In the case of posts which contravene the guidelines outlined below, an informal/formal warning may be issued, and if the member does not alter their posting behaviour in additional posts, they will be banned. If the post is egregious enough or made by a spammers/trolls, no warning will be issued and the member will be banned immediately.

    Discussion of moderating decisions is not allowed on the board and posts of this nature will be removed immediately. Disagreements with any action taken must be taken up with the Site Administrator (  Rude/disrespectful behaviour towards the Moderators or Site Administrator will result in the member being banned. 

    Getting Started

    Begin by making a post in the "Welcome to OOTS" forum and tell members about how you developed Relational Trauma Response (Complex PTSD), what is your current situation, and what you have been doing or hope to do in terms of recovery and healing.  We highly recommend using a username (short if possible please) rather than your real name and avoid including any personal information that could be used to identify you (e.g., where you live, details of your life). 

    Posts that will be Edited/Removed

    Our focus here is on recovery and considerate and respectful discussion is emphasized.  As such, posts will be edited or removed which include:

    • nonsensical, demanding,  argumentative, offensive, aggressive/violent, suspected trolling, and/or manipulative attention-seeking (playing on members emotions to get responses; this is different from reaching out for care and support which we do encourage);
    • overly graphic content/details/words and/or offensive language;
    • anything about hurting others or language which demeans others (it's ok to say "X behaves like a jerk and they make me so angry" but not "X is a jerk and I just want to hit them"
    • telling members what they should/should not do
    • advertisements, solicitations including business web site URLS in members' signature, profile and/or posts);
    • sexually explicit, adult-oriented material; and,
    • religious references in any other context than the member's own beliefs (e.g., saying "God loves you" or "Bless you" in not acceptable because many survivors have been traumatized by religion and this can be retraumatizing).

    Double posts are not allowed and will also be removed.

    Posts about Suicide/Self-Harm

    For the safety and well-being of all members, posts about wanting to commit suicide and/or inflict serious self-harm are not permitted at OOTS.  Posts about either topic may only be very general in nature and any graphic content will be edited or removed.  Posts which do discuss any current desire/intent will be removed and the member will be advised to contact their physician or therapist, a local Emergency Room or any of the organizations listed  here

    General posts about suicide and/or self-harm are restricted to this forum and members' journals.  Posts made in any other forums will be edited, moved or removed. 

    Posts about Committing Violence/Harming Others

    Posts about wanting to cause harm to someone else in the present or future are not allowed and will be edited/removed immediately. While it is understandable that many of us have a lot of anger we need to express, talk about harming another or violence in general perpetuates the very thing we are are here to move away from.  Please report any posts or PMs of this nature.

    Modifying and Removing Posts

    Currently OOTS members may “Modify” and “Remove” their own posts.  This is different than most others discussion forums.  Our reason for allowing this is that members very often feel vulnerable by speaking up about their feelings and the trauma and abuse they went through.  Being able to modify and/or remove posts provides a measure of safety and control.

    This does have a downside as modifying and removing used often and/or in large amounts (e.g., removing all posts when a member leaves the site), can leave gaps in the threads and/or disrupt the flow and meaning of threads. We ask that you take this into consideration before you do remove/edit posts, but at the same time we encourage you to use "Modify" and/or "Remove' in a manner that helps you to feel safe and less vulnerable.   

    Posting Style Guide

    Most of us come here seeking validation from others who have been in similar situations. It can be a tremendous feeling to read an encouragement from another member who has read your post. If you want to have your post read and responded to by others here are a few helpful tips:
    • Pay attention to grammar and format.Write in full sentences, use punctuation, spell check and use emoticons and special fonts sparingly.
    • Use a plain font - and don't use colour, size, bolding, etc., for the whole of your posts as this can be hard on the eyes.  A few words here and there to emphasize something is fine.
    • Keep your posts short. Although there are times when a post may need to be longer, members are encouraged to keep posts to 2 - 3 paragraphs as a rule of thumb.  If your posts tend to fill more than an entire computer screen, some readers may be tempted to "speed read" or skip to the end. Further, long posts tends to flood the board if made regularly so that the member begins to dominate the board and quieter members may not feel they have a chance to weigh in.
    • Don't post a huge block of text 20-50 lines long with no line breaks. Many people find that very difficult to read and will ignore your post. Use paragraphs to break up text and break up text with a double return to create extra space between paragraphs. Moderators may edit posts that do not have include paragraphs to make them more readable. Overall please try and keep most of your posts to a reasonable length (2-3 paragraphs maximum).
    • DON'T POST IN ALL CAPS. MANY PEOPLE FIND IT HARD TO READ BLOCKS OF TEXT WHICH HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS AND SOME PEOPLE INTERPRET THIS AS SHOUTING. As appropriate, moderators may edit the text formatting of posts (e.g. "block of text" or ALL CAPS) to make them more readable for members.

    Offensive, demeaning and/or inappropriate language - This includes any language that is: reactive, defensive, provocative, inflammatory and/or hateful; and/or, is demeaning of others on the forum or in general (e.g., sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, calling someone a derogatory or demeaning name such as “jackass”). Most if not all members of OOTS have been demeaned through language in one way or another and as such, we require that posts be written in a respectful and considerate manner.

    Swearing - Many members find swearing triggering so it is not permitted in any form at OOTS. There is a filter in place to screen out most swear words, but it does not pick up words that use a combination of letters and symbols (e.g., f**k). If you do come across this please use the “Report to Moderator” button at the bottom right of the post. We will then edit it out and PM the poster. (Note: We do not ever reveal who has reported a post.)

    Overly Graphic/Detailed Posts  - OOTS members are survivors of ongoing trauma and emotional/ physical/ sexual abuse. As such, detailed/graphic accounts of the trauma/abuse can trigger painful emotional flashbacks for other members.  Please be very mindful of this and refrain from graphic descriptions of your trauma/abuse, just include enough information to give members the idea.  If you are unsure of whether or not a post is overly graphic, include the words "Trigger Warning" and give the reason for the warning (e.g., sexual abuse, domestic violence), in the subject line of your post. Posts which go beyond what is necessary to describe your situation will be edited or removed.


    Protecting the privacy of members at OOTS is paramount to members’ sense of safety and community and is taken very seriously. Absolute privacy/confidentiality  cannot be guaranteed, but we will do as much as possible to protect members.  This includes encouraging you to protect your own privacy and that of other members.

    Protecting the privacy of others - Members are expected to respect the privacy of others and not to solicit personal information via posts on the board or PMs. 

    Protecting your privacy - It is strongly recommended that you  do not use your real name and carefully consider posting any information, a user name, email address, avatar or photo which would allow others to recognize you and/or your family/friends.  Anyone may join this site including those who have perpetrated or been involved in your abuse. 

    Off-Board Information/Relationships

    Protecting the confidentiality and privacy of members at OOTS is paramount to our members’ sense of safety and community.  One risk to this lies in using the Private Message (PM) feature or emailing in off-board relationships, and revealing personal information to someone who is not trustworthy. While building friendships here at OOTS is encouraged, the fact of the matter is this is the Internet and people are not always who they say they are. 

    You are not obliged to answer any PM you receive or to provide any personal information to any individual, no matter how friendly or trustworthy they may appear. If you receive a first time PM which seems inappropriate, report it and the Moderators will discuss it with the sender. Members are strongly encouraged to go slowly and cautiously in any off-board PM relationship. If you start having red flags or the relationship has devolved into something negative: a) end the relationship immediately; and, b) block the person's emails/PMs.

    In terms of privacy and confidentiality, please be clear that members having personal information about another member they have learned off-board shall not disclose it to anyone.  This is considered a serious breach of privacy and extends to the contents of any personal communications including email, personal messages, texts and telephone/face-to-face conversations.  Any information of this nature which is posted in the forum will be modified or removed and the member warned/banned.  Please respect the privacy of others as you wish your own privacy to be respected so that we keep OOTS a safe haven in which everyone can focus on their recovery.   

    Hijacking Threads

    Posts should be targeted to the subject matter introduced by the originator of the thread.  You are welcome to introduce new ideas or topics by starting a separate thread. Conversations within a thread will often evolve and develop, and this is a healthy process that can help members come to a deeper understanding of the topic at hand.   However, when someone responds to a serious thread with an unrelated post which is mainly about themselves, an unrelated topic, or with a response that essentially derails the conversation, it is considered hijacking.  Do not hijack others' threads.  If you feel another poster has hijacked your thread, use the "Report to Moderator" function located at the bottom of the post you wish to report.

    Flooding the Board

    "Flooding" refers to making an ongoing overabundance of posts on the board.  Many of us post quite a bit when we first arrive at OOTS, but after we settle in we move into a more reasonable level of posting.  While we encourage members to post and find their voice in recovery (given that so many of us were silenced by our abusers), at the same time we each need to be cognizant of the fact that dominating the board may discourage other members from finding/using their voice. Thus, we encourage members to keep posts to reasonable length (1-3 paragraphs), to keep their daily number of posts to a reasonable level; and, to practice self-care and step away from the computer and try out recovery strategies and successes in real life. 

    Responding to Others

    Choose your words wisely!  Speak to others as you would wish to be spoken to, and offer your comments/opinions in a respectful, constructive manner.  Members are encouraged to recognize and accept diversity as part of the learning and healing process, and understand they may receive feedback/opinions they do not agree with. It is fine to disagree as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Posts which are antagonistic/ defensive, become personal, and otherwise do not attempt to resolve conflict in a healthy, positive manner will be edited or removed.

    Please be considerate and non-judgmental about how others live their lives.  If you post something that is harsh or judgmental it will be harder for others to post for fear of receiving similar responses. Posts that are considered judgmental, offensive or intolerant will be edited or removed by the Moderation Team, and the poster will be warned and possibly banned if the behaviour persists.

    Dealing with Anger

    Anger and frustration at your situation is to be expected at times, especially in the early stages of recovery.  However, anger and frustration expressed towards other members can be counter-productive.  Disagreements will happen from time to time, but you must remain respectful and refrain from personal attacks.  Posts which inappropriately express anger will be edited or removed and the poster will be warned and possibly banned if the behaviour persists.

    Giving Advice

    While we encourage members to support and encourage others in theirs recovery, it is important to remember that we are each here to work on our own recovery first and foremost.  Many of us with CPTSD have been trained to be caretakers and recovery for us involves resisting the temptation to do so here at OOTS.   

    Feel free to share how you cope or have coped with various situations and to make suggestions (as long as they are phrased as such) - that's the purpose of this forum, but please don't make blanket statements like "You *should* do this and that" based on what you think and/or have read in the resources about CPTSD.  Another person's situation may be very different from yours.  Often, people need to come to their own conclusions in their own time frame. We are all coming from different stages, situations, and backgrounds.

    If a pattern of giving too much advice to others and not focusing on one's own recovery is noted, the member will be warned and if the behaviour persists, possibly banned.


    Making provocative statements in any thread, and/or flaming members or inflaming an already volatile thread is not allowed and such posts will be edited or removed, and the poster warned and possibly banned if the behaviour persists. 

    If You are in Crisis

    We are not mental health professionals here at OOTS and, therefore, are not equipped to counsel anyone in the throes of a suicidal or threatening depression. If you are in crisis or a domestic violence situation, please do not wait. Reach out for help - it's out there for you! Please see "Emergency" at the top of the page for help lines.


    We are a diverse community, comprising many races, religions, value systems, and beliefs.  Sometimes people of certain religion or political persuasion assume that everyone shares their values & beliefs. While you may feel free to speak about what's important to you and how your values and beliefs affect your situation, you may not impose your values on anyone. (E.g., "Remember, God loves you and is watching over you!") Posts of this nature will be edited or removed. Similarly degrading or offensive comments about a member's beliefs or groups of people are subject to editing or removal.  Respect and consideration of others are emphasized here at OOTS.

    Solicitation and Promotion of Products and/or Services

    Solicitation of business, personal contact and direct marketing of products, services, websites, blogs & books or events for organizations, charities, individuals and groups is not permitted, subject to immediate removal and will result in a loss of the member's posting privileges.

    Note: These guidelines have been adapted from those of our sister site, Out of the Fog.
    « Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 06:20:52 PM by Kizzie »