Empty Closets Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I am worried about giving out my details when registering. What should I do?
A. To register at Empty Closets you only need to give your date of birth (just to make sure you are at least 13) and an email address. You also need to choose a username which will be shown by all your posts here. The username should not be your full name and could be your first name, nickname or just a name you like. It should not be a name you use at any other social networking communities or websites.
The email address will be used to notify you of new private messages and posts in threads you have subscribed to, however you can turn all these off. The date of birth and age can be hidden, however it is useful to have your age visible.
All other information is optional, and we advise you to think carefully about how much information you give out if you are concerned about people you know finding you here. So you can register here by giving very little information and having nothing other than the username publically visible. You should also think carefully before posting any photos of yourself in your profile, gallery or threads.
Q. I am a parent and am concerned about my child's use of this site.
We have a page here, specifically to answer your questions.
Q. What are Full Members and Regular Members?
A. These are usergroups that members belong in. It will display what rank you are underneath your custom title and username. New members will start off as a Regular Member which allows them to access all public forums, create and view blogs and albums, and send private messages to Advisors, Experts, Moderators and Administrators. They can also recieve comments on "My Wall" and post or respond to members on their wall. Full members also have those powers, but in addition they can comment on profiles, blogs and albums, access the Chat Room and send private messages to other members with Full Member status. They can also post wall comments on any members profile and respond to any written on their wall. There is no cost for any form of membership on EC.
Q. I am a Regular Member. How do I apply for Full Member status?
A. You must fill out a short application form on the forum and submit it for approval. The form can be found on the main forum page underneath the Ask The Staff forum. If you have any problems or questions then please post in Ask The Staff. This form is temporarily unavailable whilst it undergoes a maintenance period.
Q. Do I need a certain number of posts before applying?
A. You must have a minimum of 50 posts before applying. However, having 50+ posts does not guarantee you will be approved. We check numerous areas of your membership when you apply and if they're not all satisfactory we will reject your application. One of the main parts we check is your posts. If all your posts are in Fun and Games, or are short posts that don't tell us much about you, then we won't have much to go on. As we are a support forum, we are looking for people who are mature and willing to offer support and advice to any user that asks for it, or people who are seeking support and can articulate what it is they are seeking.
Q. What happens after I submit my full-member application?
A. Your application is sent to EmptyClosets staff who will then determine whether your application is suitable for Full Member status. As we are potentially approving an application that could give you the ability to communicate privately with members, we need to ensure that your identity and motives are consistent with the goals of the site. Our main priority when processing applications is that all members (including yourself) stay as safe as possible when using our site.
Q. Can I post pictures, e-mails and profile links on the forum?
A. No, the security measures we have in place are here to stop you being identified by a stranger off the site. You may only post pictures in your Gallery, and if you wish to inform members of this update then you may do so in the album update thread. You are not allowed to post any e-mails (such as MSN, Aim, Yahoo etc) on the forum, or any links to profiles off the site (youtube, myspace, facebook, bebo etc). If you wish to pass on your e-mail to another member then you may do so via PM. However, we strongly urge you to think carefully before giving out such information. If any staff members suspect that you are giving out personal information too easily or requesting personal information from other members then you will be warned and will be at risk of losing your privileges.
Q. Why can't I access the chatroom?
A. You must be a Full Member to access the Chat Room.
Q. What is a Wall?
A. Each member has a wall in their profile called "My Wall". This allows members to send public messages to a member and allow them to respond by posting on their wall. My Wall can be accessed by anybody, and both Regular Members and Full Members are able to post on other members walls. Please remember that comments are public and should not be used for private discussion.
Q. Why can't I comment on walls, blogs and albums?
A. As a Regular Member you are able to create and view walls, albums and blogs. You can use My Wall to receive comments from other members and respond to them using their wall. There is no restriction in place for Regular Members using the wall because it is public. However, Regular Members cannot comment on gallery photos or blogs. Please also be aware that all comments made on walls, blogs and albums are public and can be accessed by any members viewing that page.
Q. When I try to upload photos to my gallery it tells me they are too big. What should I do?
A. You need to resize the photos so that they are no bigger than the limits shown on the page. Most photo editing programs will do this (look for 'Resize' or 'Resample' in the menus). If you don't have a suitable program try IrfanView which is a free image viewer with some editing facilities for Windows.
Q. What age range is Empty Closets for?
A. Empty Closets is for all ages (from 13 upwards). While many of our members are in their teens or early 20s, we have an increasing number of older members who are coming out or questioning their sexuality later in life. Our community is very accepting and non-discriminatory, and most of our members realize that the core issues one faces in confronting sexual orientation are very similar, whether one is 13 or 73.
Q. How do I change my username?
You may change your username by requesting the change in Ask The Staff. Please make sure that the username you are requesting is not currently taken by another member. Please also be aware of the guidelines set out by staff regarding username changes, which you can read here.
Q. Why do you not allow people under 13 to join?
A. Unfortunately we are restricted by laws relating to obtaining personal information from children. To allow people under 13 to join would require parental consent which is likely to be a problem for many potential members. The registration system asks for your date of birth and simply denies entry if you are under 13. As soon as you are able to enter a date of birth which makes you 13 or older you will be able to join.
Q. Who are the moderators?
A. The moderators, admins and other key people are listed on the Forum Leaders page. The 'Chat Room Moderators' look after the chat room and the 'Moderators' look after the forum (though they can also moderate the chat room). The five 'Admins' listed, Martin, Mirko, Chip, BudderMC and Gravity, form the leadership team for Empty Closets, implementing the directives and long-term goals of the Board of Directors, and overseeing the day-to-day running of the site.
Q. What do the moderators do?
A. The moderators ensure the smooth running of the forums and chat room, and ensure that members messages are generally in accordance with the Code of Conduct. Most issues in the forum are resolved quietly by deleting or editing the offending posts and contacting the member by Private Message. Issues in the chatroom are normally resolved by asking the member to desist from the inappropriate conduct. The moderators have the power to ban members temporarily or permanently owever this is only done when the member repeatedly fails to respond to requests to moderate their conduct.
Q. What are Experts?
A. Experts are members who specialise in a particular area of the forum. BlairSW, a licensed social worker, is our resident social and mental health expert. Blair primarily supports the Advisors who work with members individually, but generally does not have time available to work with individual members. For any serious mental health issues, you should seek the advice of a local, licensed therapist, social worker, or counselor.
Q. What are Advisors?
A. Advisors are members chosen by EmptyClosets staff who have been recognised and rewarded for giving consistently good advice. Their role is to offer support and advice to any member who needs it as well as make members feel welcome. The current Advisors can be found by clicking here.
Q. Can the moderators access Private Messages?
A. Only Administrators can access private messages and this is only done when it is suspected that private messages are being used for inappropriate purposes. Access is limited to the minimum needed to establish whether or not there is a problem and if there is to deciding what action may be needed.
Q. Can the moderators access chat room discussions?
A. Yes, the moderators can access logs of all chat room conversations including private conversations. These logs are quickly scanned for any obvious inappropriate conduct during periods when no moderators are in the chat room. The logs are not read in detail unless a problem is apparent.
Q. Can the moderators see who posted anonymous forum posts?
A. Only the Administrators can access a list of who made every anonymous post, and this is only done when an anonymous post is problematic to the extent that it requires the poster to be contacted. It may also be done in the event of a suicide threat or other serious situation where intervention privately may be beneficial.
Q. Who owns Empty Closets?
A. Empty Closets is owned and run by Empty Closets Community Services (ECCS), a nonprofit, public benefit organization. Empty Closets was originally established as simply a website, an online community set up as asafe place for people under 18. Since its founding in 2004, it has grown considerably and now attracts people of all ages seeking discussion, support and community related to LGBT issues and the coming out process.
ECCS is governed by a Board of Directors that establishes long-term policy and provides guidance to the staff and admin team. Rather than a single executive director, day-to-day operations at ECCS are overseen by a leadership council (more commonly known as the Admin team.) Most operational and day-to-day decisionmaking is carried out by a staff of about 25 people, comprised of Admins, Moderators, Advisors and Experts, all of whom provide their services voluntarily. The media company that originally founded and owned EC until it was transferred to the nonprofit organization donates the cost of the site's hosting, advertising and other operating expenses as a charitable donation.
Q. My question is not on this page...
A. Firstly check the Help and Feedback section of the forum in case someone has asked it before. If there's nothing relevant there you could post your question in the forums, you could ask in Ask The Staff, use the Contact Us option, or send a Private Message to one of the moderators or admins.