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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ | Basic IMC information [Click to see summary view]

The skinny on IMC.

What is IMC?
IMC is a chat site by and for chatters. It is a free, not-for-profit system that is maintained by the donations of people like you. No advertising money is used to support the site, and we want to keep it that way.

Where did IMC come from?
IMC was created in the wake of the death of WBS.net, a highly-regarded ad-driven chat system that had a thriving gamer population. In 1999, WBS.net was shut down by its parent operation, the Go Network (now also defunct!). With very little time or resources, we created IMC to fill what we felt was a gap in the on-line chat universe.

Who uses IMC?
The main focus of IMC is people who are interested in role-playing games. The structure of the chat rooms is set up to reflect this: each room is a different world or settings.

What is IMC not?
IMC is not a general "meet-and-greet" chat site; its focus is role-playing games. It is also not a "hot tub" or sex-chat site. Even though some of the environments in IMC are labeled "M" for mature players, that does not imply that any explicit activities are taking place.

IMC is also not an MMORPG like World of Warcraft or City of Heroes. There are no 3D graphics or automated gameplay; the environment uses mainly text (and occasional static graphics) to drive the imaginations of its users.

Registering with IMC and IMC Accounts

How do I register with IMC?
To register with IMC, click the "JOIN!" link at the top of the page here. Be sure you read the Terms of Service completely and understand the Site Rules before signing up.

How long does it take for an account to be approved?
Generally about 48 hours, though it usually takes less than that. If 48 hours has gone by since you submitted your application and you haven't received a confirmation email, don't sign up for another account. Contact our Accounts Sysop, Genji (thegline@im-chat.com).

How come my account didn't go through?
Accounts may be rejected for a variety of reasons. If you didn't supply enough information with your app, such as a valid email address, you won't be approved. If you are a previously banned user trying to get back onto IMC by creating a new account, then you definitely won't be approved. We may also reject an account because of a username or handle which is against IMC's standards. Obscene or offensive usernames or handles will not be approved, since they can be seen by anyone on the site, and we do have areas that are designed to be friendly to children.

Can I use my IMC account on more than one computer?
Yes, you can. However, when you're finished using that account on that computer, be sure to log out so that the next person on that PC doesn't use your account by mistake.

Can I have more than one IMC account?
If for whatever reason you want to have more than one IMC account, contact our Accounts SysOp, Genji (thegline@im-chat.com), before submitting an application for the second account. This way we can note that the second account belongs to you ahead of time.

Can more than one person use IMC on the same computer?
This is a commonly-asked question and can be summed up a couple of different ways. If by this you mean can two people use two different IMC accounts on the same machine at the same time, the answer is only if the two of them are using totally different browsers, such as IE and Netscape. Otherwise, the only way they can do this is by signing out and signing in again.

What do I do if I forget my username or password?
If you've forgotten your username or password, but you still remember or have access to the email account you used to sign up with IMC, you can have your username and password emailed to you automatically.

To do this, go to this URL -- http://im-chat.com/oops -- and enter your email address in the form provided.

What if I can't remember anything about my account?
If you're really stumped and you can't remember even the email address you used, get in touch with our Accounts Sysop, Genji (thegline@im-chat.com).

How do I change my username?
If you want to change your username (i.e., your MUN name or login), email Genji (thegline@im-chat.com) with the requested changes.

Terms of Service and Disciplinary Actions

IMC's Terms of Service

Illusionary Minds Chat (IMC) believes that so long as these terms of service are met (see also “Site Rules”) how chat communities conduct themselves is up to them. Each community is encouraged to control its own destiny. Users should also familiarize themselves with IMC's Privacy Policy before using the service.

  1. AGE RESTRICTIONS. Users of IMC must be at least thirteen (13) years of age to register an account on the site, and at least eighteen (18) years of age to enter into and interact with M-rated rooms. Users found to be in violation of these rules will have their accounts terminated.
  2. ILLEGAL ACTIVITY. Chatters shall not engage in any illegal activities on or through the chat service (including but not limited to advocating hacking, cracking or spamming; distribution, use or advocacy of software piracy; illegitimate redistribution of copyrighted material; acts of vandalism and other forms of harassment) defined by the laws in both their own place of residence and in the United States where IMC is based; child pornography in any form (including but not limited to advocacy, distribution or participation in same); and use of the chat for advertising purposes for a business without prior permission. Such permission will be evaluated based on the form and content of the promotion. This includes but is not limited to spamming other rooms to advertise a room be it on IMC or elsewhere.
  3. SUITABILITY OF ROOMS. While IMC is happy to offer an M rating for some rooms, IMC will not accept application for rooms for which the primary purpose appears to be cyber-sex. Any room that degenerates into that state will be removed.
  4. STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR. Chatters are expected to behave respectfully towards each other and towards IMC site administrators, regardless of the room or community to which they belong. This includes but is not limited to: accepting and complying with the room's expectations for behavior; following the room rating; not taking part in any sort of impersonation or attempts to defraud.
  5. AUTHORITY. IMC's administration's standards of behavior will supersede room standards of behavior for IMC administrative actions.
  6. IC VS. OOC. IMC recognizes the difference between a chatter's own discussions ("out of character" / "OOC"), and a character's fictional actions as played by a chatter ("in character" / "IC"), both of which are subject to the community standards for the room in which the roleplay takes place. IMC expects the clear use of out of character (OOC) indicators on the part of the chatters to define in and out of character actions and statements.
  7. UPLOADED MATERIAL. All material uploaded to and stored on IMC's servers, including user images and avatars, must also conform to the guidelines described in these terms of service.
  8. PRIVILEGE OF USE. IMC reserves the right to cancel accounts at the discretion of the site owners and administration. Use of IMC services is a privilege and not a right.
  9. LEGAL GOVERNANCE. All dialogue and interactions which are facilitated by IMC are subject to U.S. law. IMC accepts no responsibility for your actions here, and cooperates in good faith with law enforcement agencies.
  10. SERVICES PROVIDED AS-IS.  IMC's services are provided AS IS. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided with the service. We do strive to insure continuous uptime and availability for the service, but we cannot guarantee it and will not be held liable for damages, loss or other remuneration in the event of a service outage.
  11. NO AMENDATIONS. This document constitutes the entirety of the Terms of Service and may not be amended or changed by anyone except IMC's own staff. By signing up with and using IMC, you have implied that you agree to meet these requirements without argument.

IMC's Privacy Policy

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site, subscribe to our newsletter, respond to a survey or fill out a form.

When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name or e-mail address. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: 

To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)

To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)

To process transactions.

Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.

To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature.

To send periodic emails.

The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you enter, submit, or access your personal information.

Do we use cookies?

Yes. Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer's hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information.

We use cookies to understand and save your preferences for future visits, and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential.

We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.

As part of the California Online Privacy Protection Act, all users of our site may make any changes to their information at anytime by logging into their account's control panel and editing any of the settings there.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Terms and Conditions

Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at http://im-chat.com/info/faq.asp?id=109.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our website's privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page, send an email notifying you of any changes, and/or update the Privacy Policy modification date below.

This policy was last modified on June 29, 2013.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below.

Box 854
Huntington, New York 11743
USA
complaints@im-chat.com

What are the site rules and regulations?

We have a very few rules regarding the use of this chat site. Please take a look at our guidelines governing the use of the site.

No hacking, IP spoofing, or other forms of computer theft and/or subterfuge will be permitted. This is an offense which will lead to permanent site-banning by the SysOps. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Discussing, endorsing, or in any way promoting other sites that:
    • promote illegal hacking activity or
    • provide access to pirated software.
  • Sharing passwords. This includes your login password.

Do not impersonate other chatters. This is an offense which will lead to permanent site-banning by the SysOps. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Appearing under more than one MUN name that you have registered with different email addresses, without advising the SysOps of both accounts.
  • Using a misleading handle to convince others that you are some other chatter.
  • Using a new identity to escape the consequences of previous actions which led to a ban from the site or other disciplinary action. 

Do not traffic in, discuss, distribute or endorse child pornography on this site, in any way. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Distributing any form of pornography involving a minor, including, but not limited to, text, images, video and audio.
  • Soliciting sex, or cyber-sex, with a minor in any portion of this site, whether public or private.
  • Discussing acts of statutory rape in any portion of this site, whether public or private.

This is an offense which will lead to permanent site-banning by the SysOps and a call to the local authorities about your criminal behavior.

What happens if I break one of the rules?
Admit the mistake and apologize to the wronged party. That might seem overwhelmingly simple, but it goes a long way.

That apology can be easy in relatively minor infractions, like used a picture in excess of the stated limits, or accidentally used language not appropriate for the rating. In those cases, the most important thing to do is not repeat it. Take the picture down right away, and watch your language in the future. Apologize to the room for the disruption.

For more serious cases, email the room host, fess up to what you have done, and ask forgiveness. A sincere and well thought out apology will go a long way, and usually inclines authority figures to take some consideration into whatever punishment may be assigned.

What do I do if I see someone else breaking the rules?
If there is a staff member in the room, PM them and tell them what you've seen. Do NOT assume that they have also seen it just because you have. If an room or site administrator is role playing, they may not even be looking at posts other than that of their partner.

If there is no staff member in the room at the time, and it is not an emergency (room disruption, breaking of the Terms of Service, etc... write the room host and explain what you've seen. Include the user name and a log of the events if possible.

If no one is around, and it's a time-sensitive issue, then, and only then, contact a site admin and they will address the situation.

If you believe you are witnessing a site-level issue, write a letter to Complaints (complaints@im-chat.com), and your problem will be dealt with by the Conflict Mediation and Damage Control (CM&DC) staff. Please refer to the Chain of Responsibility if you are unsure what is a room issue and what is a site issue. Also, and this is important, read the document "Filing Formal or Site-Level Complaints" to get an idea of what constitutes a valid complaint and how to file one. Frivolous or irrelevant complaints will not be considered.

I didn't do the things I've been accused of doing. Honest! How can I appeal?
If you want to appeal a decision made by the SysOps regarding your account, the only SysOp you should contact, in email, is Kit (kit@im-chat.com). State your case clearly and succinctly, without abuse or personal attacks. Supply any documentation of your position you feel is relevant.

Contacting any of the other SysOps will not help your case. We have had a number of people attempting to curry favor with the other SysOps in an attempt to play them off each other and circumvent the rules. Doing so will almost certainly guarantee that you will not get an appeal.

If you have a grievance against the sysops or a particular action, yours or someone else's, don't air your grievances publicly in a room or on a MB. Take the grievance you have to the appropriate sysop. We have had many problems in the past where someone aired erroneous or misleading information about a disciplinary action in a public room on on a MB, which led to all kinds of misunderstandings and bad feelings on both sides. The court of public opinion has a bad way of backfiring.

So you've done something really bad...
If you've violated the ToS or the Site rules, if you have lied to the System Administration or attempted to sign up for a second account to get around a previous ban, than the same advise is true. Admit the mistake, apologize and come clean. You may still be facing serious repercussions, but if you want any chance of salvaging the situation, that is the only way.

Such letters should be emailed to Kit (kit@im-chat.com) or the appropriate room host.

If you've been banned for a long time and you would like to come back...
We do reconsider old permanent suspensions in cases that do not involve safety concerns (i.e., if you were banned for stalking, harassment, or threats, don't bother).

A politely worded email to Kit (kit@im-chat.com) indicating how long ago you were banned and showing some awareness of why you were banned may very likely result in you being allowed back on the site. As with all the above cases, fessing up and admitting you were wrong goes a long way.

Using IMC

How do I enter the chat rooms?
The doorway for each room has a set of buttons: Frames, No Frames, and Streaming, each corresponding to the appropriate mode you want to view the room in. For more information on these modes, you will want to read the IMC User's Manual.

Can we bookmark directly into chat rooms?
Yes. However, if you want to bookmark directly into a room after entering your username and password, do it immediately after you enter the room. Don't bookmark a room after posting anything or hitting a refresh. This way you get a bookmark that preserves, as closely as possible, the data needed to enter the room properly.

Handles

What is a handle, exactly?
A handle is one of a set of names that you can use to post in a room with. You can set up different handles to correspond to the different characters that you play (subject to the handle's approval -- see "Source Material Handles" for more on that).

A handle is NOT a character per se. If we refuse a handle for a character you have played elsewhere, that does not mean we are refusing you permission to play that character. It simply means we cannot approve the handle as is for whatever reason.

How do I get more handles?
If you want to add more handles to your account, you can sign up for more than ten at a time through the Add Handles Form.

Keep in mind, you don't get your handles right away. Handle submissions are placed into a queue for evaluation by the Handle SysOps, and are processed in the order they are received.

How do I permanently remove a handle?
You can delete a handle permanently from your roster through the Remove Handles page. Keep in mind that this is irreversible, so don't delete handles unless you really mean it. You may simply want to disable the handle for the time being instead.

How come some of my handles didn't go through when I signed up (or when I applied for more handles)?
You should have received a letter in email when you signed up (or requested more handles) that clearly details what handles you did or didn't receive, and why. We cannot approve handles if they are:

1) obscene, defamatory, or unsuitable for children. The site's structure allows everyone to see handle names when they are posted (through the Who's On list). For this reason we can't allow handles not suitable for a general audience.

2) handles based on source material. See below for more on source material handles.

3) multiple variations of the same handle in one batch. If you are submitting a handle for approval, choose one variant of that handle at a time. Otherwise the queue gets overloaded with an immense number of identical handles which may not be valid.

4) handles in "leet-speak". This is partly because we have had such handles submitted before that turned out to be obscene, and also because they can be terribly confusing to many chatters.

What's a "source material handle" and why can't I have it?
A source material handle or "SMH" is any of the following:

1. The name of a character in a work of fiction -- including but not limited to a book, movie, legend, myth, or fairy tale. This includes works created by other IMC users, which may be copyrighted or trademarked. Note also that names of objects or things which are trademarked (such as "Coca-Cola") are considered source.

2. The name of a prominent real-life person, historical figure or celebrity -- including but not limited to actors, athletes, politicians, etc. (Example: College athletes would not be source, but pro-level ballplayers would be. A good rule of thumb is if this person hasn't made national news, he probably isn't source.)

3. Single names ("Dave") which cannot be reliably ruled out as not being source. Shorter single-word names generally have a greater chance of being rejected, because it's harder to rule them out as non-source. A longer name ("Tatarinistia") would have much less of a chance of being regarded as non-source. If you're in doubt, you can always email the Handles Sysop, Genji (thegline@im-chat.com).

4. Staff handles ("Room X Storyteller"). Staff handles do not count as generics, and must be applied for as SMHs.

We review all handle requests before assigning them to members. IMC is built around organized RP rooms and one of the methods we use to support these rooms is by controlling handles from source material, whether or not a room has been proposed for that source material yet. We have no idea what rooms will be proposed or handles requested by hosts down the line.

Many single-word handles will automatically be refused for being source. It is very hard to trace a single-word handle and establish it as being non-source. The best way to get around this is to append qualifiers. Instead of "David," apply for "David, warrior of the wasteland" (which distinguishes it from all the other "David"s out there).

The handles you request may be from source material whether you intended it or not. It is not uncommon and the handle staff members take that into consideration when refusing a handle. A source handle on an add handle form can be grounds for refusing the entire request and asking that you resubmit with all original handles.

If you are denied a handle on request, there are several avenues for you to pursue to obtain these handles.

  • You can use HTML in your taglines (see the Attributes Panel for information on editing taglines) to represent what character you are playing, as in "HANDLE is playing CHARACTER."

  • You can request that the host of the room in which you actively play the character ask me that the handle been listed for you. NOTE: You cannot expect the hosts to ask for any handle you feel like. You should be actively playing the character in that room. At least one host has stopped taking handle requests because members were trying to abuse this method.

  • You can provide some means of distinguishing the handle, such as a first or last name ('John' HANDLE, HANDLE 'Smith') or an eke name (HANDLE 'the Red). This will allow me to list the handle for you right away. NOTE: This does not mean asking for ¤¤Darth_Vader¤¤ or Õßï-wåñ Kêñøßî instead of Darth Vader or Obi-Wan Kenobi will allow you to have those handles.

  • You may also create up to six generic handles per account. Generic handles are those whose general use is to play NPCs, handles not yet approved or ghosting a source material handle. We limit these to six total per user because of limited availability and prevent handle hogging. Generics include: single punctuation, characters, and up to two combined punctuation/alt key/shift symbols (†~, o0, ?!, ‡= etc.), Mun names, descriptives including the mun name (example: Joe's NPC is...), general descriptives (example: The Shadowy Figure in the Corner).

  • If you are running an unsupported PR, you can apply for a PR handle, such as "PR: My_Room".  Note that this is only for people who are running an unsupported PR.  If we find that you are using such a handle outside of this context, it will be revoked and you may face suspension of handle privileges.

I want a particular source material handle. How do I get it?
You must contact the host of the room you plan to use the source material handle in. Hosts are not obliged to give out source material handles, however; they may have them reserved for specific users.

It is the duty of every player to first contact their room host with the following information:

  • Your Username (the name you sign-on to IMC with).

  • Your Email Address (the one you currently use with IMC).

  • The Source Material handle(s) you would like for that room.

DO NOT submit requests for the handles yourself! The handle request will be submitted by the room host you forwarded the request to (pending his or her approval).

When you are given a source handle, you should only use it in an approved context. For instance, if you're in an SPR, FPR, or public room where the handle you've asked for is needed, those are okay. You should not, however, use a source handle ICly in rooms where it's not part of the room structure, or in unsupported PRs.

Also bear in mind that SMHs are the property of the issuing room and can be revoked at will. Their issuance is a privilege and not a right.

How many handles can I have?
IMC does not have an enforced limit on the number of handles a user can have. However, we do ask that you use the Disable Handles function in the Attributes Panel to reduce the number of handles you have active at any given time. Having too many handles active will cause your pages to load very slowly.

You can also use the Handle Lists function to create specific lists of handles for specific rooms, which helps cut down on the amount of handles you need to have on at any given time.

Hosts

What's the difference between a room moderator and a Host?
None, we have simply used the term Host instead of Moderator. Hosts govern all aspects of a room's content. If you have a problem with things in a room, go to the Host of the room first.

Do room hosts have ban power?
Yes. Room hosts can suspend you for a period of time, or indefinitely, for infractions of room rules. They can also elect to revoke your capacity to show images in a room if you are using images which are too large or outside of the room's theme or rating.

Is each room allowed to post rules and assign operators?
Absolutely. In fact, if you read the section on Creating New Communities, you will see that there's a fairly set course of action for creating a new public room. This course of action requires establishment of a community with structure and internal support.

What exactly can and cannot hosts do?
For more information on this, you'll want to read the document on New Chat Communities.

Chain of Responsibility

There is a chain of responsibility in matters on IMC, just as there is at a work place, or in the military. Jumping the chain of command will not only not get what you need done, it will annoy both the person the issue should have been sent to, as well as the person it wrongly does get sent to.

If you have a problem within a room, go to the room staff.

If you have an issue with another chatter, and it isn't a violation of IMC terms of service, got to the room staff or host.

If you have a problem with a room staff member, go to the room host.

Violations of room rules should be handled by room staff, and will only be handled by IMC Site personal if there are no room staff present, or if the room staff request assistance. The only time IMC Site staff will interfere in a room is in the case of a violation of the trust between the room administration and the chatters. In short, an abuse of power.

On a related note, rules which are on the home page but not enforced are an abuse of power. We don't want to hear a room staffer or host say, "Oh, we don't enforce that one." If you don't follow the rule, it shouldn't be there, or you should be following it. The reason this is so important is that it takes away from community standards. There is no way for a chatter to tell what the "real" rules are from the "not real."

Appeals of a hosts ruling should deal with matters of a serious nature, such as a TOS violation. "S/he wont let me play the character I want," is not a matter that should be appealed to a site level.

Violations of the Terms of Service or the site rules are the only things you should approach a site staffer with. Site rules always supersede room rules, and staff will always be held to a higher standard of behavior than the average user. With the authority comes responsibility.

Unless it is an emergency, use email. Do not AIM or PM us unless, to give a few examples: a user who has been previously banned has somehow come back on the site; the site has apparently crashed or malfunctioned; a user is openly violating one of the three major site rules.

In addition, do not assume just because one of us is in the room, that we are aware of every post made in the room. If we're role playing, especially in a busy room, we are not going to be reading every post.

Please note that you do not have the right to choose who on the site staff will handle your complaint, or to go to a particular person you believe will rule in your favor. This didn't work (or shouldn't have) with your parents, and it won't work here. If you ever have a question as to who is in charge of an area, look at the Site Staff Roster.

Handles and Registrations: go to Genji (thegline@im-chat.com).
New Rooms and Room Relations: go to Radar (jenniferwylie@yahoo.com).
Technical Bugs: go to Genji (thegline@im-chat.com).
Damage Control and Mediation, including complaints about staffers or sysops: go to Complaints (complaints@im-chat.com).

Attempts to circumvent a SysOp's authority will only result in you being referred back to the person you should have emailed in the first place.

Filing Formal or Site-Level Complaints

What's a "site-level complaint"?

A site-level complaint is when you are petitioning the site admins, rather than room hosts, for a redress of grievances.

What are the rules about filing a site-level complaints?

There are four basic rules you must follow when filing a site-level complaint:

1. Go through all other channels first before filing a site-level complaint.

You should always try to work out the problem any other way you can beforehand. For instance, if it's a room host you have a problem with, try talking to the other room staffers before filing a site-level complaint. When you do this, use email to voice your complaints. It gives you time to think out what you want to say; it lets you find a neutral way to say it; it lets the person respond in their own time; and it provides everyone involved with a paper trail. [If you wish to CC: a copy of a complaint to a host to one of the site staff, you are welcome to do so, but let us know ahead of time.]

2. Complaints need to follow some basic stylistic rules.

a. Send all site level complaints in email to the central complaints email box, Complaints (complaints@im-chat.com). Don't send complaints over IM or in PM windows. As in #1 above, email gives us a paper trail. Also, the above email box is monitored by several people, so we can decide who will be able to handle the complaint best and most fairly.

b. Complaints must be specific and concrete. "This host used tactics and language unbecoming of a room host" is a legitimate complaint. "Chatter X won't play with me" is not a valid complaint.

c. Complaints must be accompanied with evidence. This means references to specific incidents, specific times and dates, or copies of chat logs that illustrate the complaint in question. No evidence means that your complaint will be that much more difficult to assess.

d. Complaints about activity in other venues should be avoided.  We only have the power to deal with what happens on IMC, and we will not investigate things that don't happen on IMC.  If you are being harassed on another site or service, we cannot deal with it here.  If you are being harassed in real life, call the police.

3. Once a complaint has been filed, please be patient.

It may take several days to two weeks, or longer, to assess a complaint.  We will contact you about the results of our findings, or ask you for additional information if needed.

4. Filing an official complaint against a Site admin, a Site policy or a Host is a court of last resort.

Any decisions made by the Syops are final and will not be reconsidered on appeal.  (This is one of the single biggest reasons you should not do this unless you feel you have no other recourse, since people have mistakenly felt they could appeal to the sysops to change the rules in their favor.)

Room ratings

You'll notice that every chat room has an rating icon at the doorway as you enter. Here's a summary of what those icons mean:

This rating would cover things like Harry Potter, Buckaroo Banzai, Yu-Gi-Oh (the uncensored version), Final Fantasy, most PG-rated Hollywood films, and Robotech. There is no extreme or explicit content but there may be some mature themes (marriage/divorce, for instance, rather than sexuality per se), and low-key violence (property destruction or injuries that may result in death later). The language of these rooms might include mild swearing ('damn', 'hell', 'ass').

This would cover rooms like X-Files, the X-Men films, Dune, most non-hentai anime, most PG-13 Hollywood action movies (like Jackie Chan films), The Lord of the Rings, the James Bond films, and so on. This rating would cover more mature themes like non-explicit sexual situations (characters can be described as being gay or lesbian, for instance) and moderate violence (including actual killing), but doesn't have the language or graphic nature of M-rated rooms. There can be references to things normally contained by the M rating, but they cannot be explicitly delineated. The language of these rooms might include mild-to-strong swearing, but not full-blown four-letter language.

Any room with an M rating is for mature chatters. The only guide to the content for these rooms is whatever standards the community itself sets -- so please check the homepages for these communities first. Content of these rooms may (but not necessarily) include extreme language, violence, sexual situations, and references to illegal activities, drug, and alcohol use. Some thematic examples are Blade (the films), the anime Akira, the World of Darkness roleplaying games, and most R-rated Hollywood action movies. This is the only rating where four-letter language is permissible in the room (the "Seven Dirty Words").

Picture Regulations

Pictures must be 60K or smaller in file size, and can not be animated. There are no pixel size limits mandated by the System Administration. Pictures including the following content are unacceptable even in M rated rooms.

Women's nipples showing.
Genitalia on either gender.
Pubic hair.
Sex acts (including masturbation).

Please refer to individual room homepages for specific community standards which are frequently more strict.

There seems to be some confusion regarding use of images in IMC rooms. To clarify the issue:

1) Only an image CREATED by an individual (not edited - created from 'scratch') can be considered to be owned.

2) If an image (drawing or photograph) meets IMC standards regarding size and content, IMC has no other restrictions on the use of that image. Individual rooms can have additional rules if desired, but cannot impose their rules onto any other IMC room. For example, a room based on the television show 'West Wing' may require all players to use images from the television show for the appropriate character. They cannot, however, prevent a player from using an image of one of those actors in another room.

Clear OOC Indicators

Out Of Character (OOC) is a term used in online chatting to describe the nature of a person's posts. When a person is posting Out Of Character, that means they are posting as the person themselves, not as a character being played by the person.

In every room, there's a box marked OOC next to the box where you type in your posts. Check this box to have your post automatically formatted with IMC's standard OOC marks (in this case, (( and )).)

IMC's Terms of Service requires that people use OOC indicators when they're speaking out-of-character. We do this to make it clear when, for instance, a character is engaging in a potentially illegal activity, so that the player could not conceivably get into trouble. Don't laugh: There have been a number of instances where overzealous law-enforcement authorities believed, for instance, that a game-book supplement that talked about computer hacking was in fact a genuine hacker's how-to manual! Consequently, we need some good, at-a-glance way to allow people to tell what's IC and what's OOC.

Use (( )) or the OOC box for OOC posts if you can. Note that different rooms may have different OOC markers in common use ([ ], [[ ]], { }, OOC:). IMC recommends that people do not use single ( ) because it could be seen as an aside in an IC conversation, and because the OOC filters in the RP Log function (which strip out OOC posts) are programmed to recognize (( and )).

You can also mark up handle tags to indicate that a given handle is OOC by default, but this is the least preferred option. For one, our system doesn't save tags in site logs -- just the user name, the handle, time/date stamp, post number, and message text. Having OOC marks in the post itself is a big help.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is using a computer to harass someone persistently. This includes using software like AIM or ICQ, and of course IMC's services, to "follow" people online and intimidate or terrorize them.

On IMC, cyberstalkers take a few forms:

People who post exclusively in PMs to their victims, so that often the only person who is aware of them at first is the one being harassed.

Banned people who return repeatedly under different guises to harass the same people over and over.

IMC takes cyberstalking very seriously. If you think you are being stalked by someone on IMC through one or more accounts, let us know. We can perform analysis on user behavior patterns to determine if the person is another chatter in disguise, and of course move to block that person from coming on the site.

There are several ways to avoid being stalked on IMC:

Don't give out undue amounts of personal information. This may sound simple, but unless you are prepared to take the consequences of people knowing where you live, it is best not to divulge information about yourself too openly. Don't give out your email address in a public room; NEVER give out your phone number.

Don't respond if someone starts harassing you in private messages. Block them and report them.

Save copies of harassing messages when you report the person. They can be compared against site logs.

Be aware that actions have consequences. Many people think that the relative anonymity of being online gives them the freedom to provoke any kind of behavior they like from others. This is dead wrong, and can be dangerous.

Cyberstalking is illegal in many jurisdictions and can have criminal consequences. If someone is using IMC's system to harass you, we need to know.

For more information on cyberstalking and related crimes, see this article on the WiredPatrol site.

Privacy Notice

Our policy about privacy is simple. We will never rent, sell, give away, or otherwise disclose ANY personal information about you, unless we are required to do so in the course of a law-enforcement investigation.

The only personal information that is disclosed is the email address that you use to sign up with IMC, and that information is only available to room hosts, room staff, and sysops. Chatters do not have access to your email address unless you post it publicly. If you receive unsolicited email from a room host, you have grounds for filing a complaint.

We're not a commercial site. We don't have paid advertisers, just banners to promote rooms within IMC (which are provided freely). Nobody pays for IMC except for IMC's owners and operators, and the folks who donate every month to keep it running. Because of that, we don't have to use anyone's personal information in exchange for ad dollars.

We do use cookies to track logins, which are kept on your browser. We do not use cookies to track anything else other than one's username and password. We do not send unsolicited email to addresses used for IMC signups, ever.

Conference Transcripts

Periodically, IMC will host conferences on particular subjects of interest to chatters. Whenever we host one of these conferences, the logs for the conference will be posted here.

03-09-2003
Transcript of Radar's conference on host duties. (50K ZIP file)

4-28-2002
Transcript of Stacy's conference on news-writing. (14K ZIP file)

4-6-2002
Transcript of Radar's conference on fanfiction. (33K ZIP File)

2-16-2002
Netiquette conference: how to handle situations in rooms and in RP with grace. (73K Zip file)

4-25-2001
Image Editing Conference II: The GIMP, the PNG image format, and working with video-captured images. (30K ZIP file)

7-29-2000
Source Material Handles conference -- what makes a handle source and what to do about it if you've had a handle flagged as such. (50K ZIP file)

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