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Frequently asked questions

General questions

Membership, login and registration

Contacting other members

Posting on the forums

About the software used on this forum


General questions

What's this site for? back to top
MakingContact.org is designed to be a place where families of disabled children or adults, their friends or disabled adults themselves can find and contact others affected by similar disabilities or contact other disabled people from the same area.

Do you monitor what people say on MakingContact.org? back to top
We don't have the resources to monitor everything that passes through this service but we do have systems that check for and block certain types of words and phrases. Anything posted on or sent through this service is subject to our terms of use. Posts are moderated after publication. If you see something you feel contravenes our terms of use then please e-mail us at info [AT] makingcontact [DOT] org

What if you don't list my condition? back to top
Firstly, make sure you have spelled the condition name correctly or try widening your search by entering fewer characters. We not only search for an exact match of your search terms but also for conditions that may sound like it, so if you enter 'bronk' we will search for 'bronch' as well. Checking with your doctor for other names for the condition may also help. If you still can't find it on this site then please e-mail us at info [AT] makingcontact [DOT] org

Will this site remember who I am? back to top
Yes, if you want it to. From your member homepage you can ask the site to remember you. If you do, a cookie will be stored on your PC so that we'll remember you next time. If you have such a cookie you will see a new menu option 'homepage for...', Clicking this will take you directly to your details page. Note that even in this case you will be asked to login each visit for some features (like posting to the forums or contacting other members). We do this to ensure it really is you and not somebody who is using your PC.

How will you protect my privacy / Will anyone ever see my e-mail address or name? back to top
Nobody using this site will ever see your real name or e-mail address - only your username. Contact a Family staff members also use this site to help families without web access. Our staff will see your real name and e-mail address but we will never use it for anything other than this service or for any other service you have requested. We will never give or sell your address to anybody. We also strongly recommend you do not include any personal information in your profile.

What exactly do you mean by the term disabled? back to top
Throughout this site we use the term disabled to describe someone who is physically or otherwise disabled or has a special need or a medical condition. We do appreciate that not everyone would classify themselves as disabled nor wants to be and we would like to reassure you that we use this term in this way purely to save room on the page and for no other reason.

How do I contact you? back to top
If you have trouble using this site you can contact us at info@makingcontact.org
Our address is : Contact a Family, 209-211 City Road, London EC1V 1JN. Tel: +44 (0)20 7608 8700

To contact us about abuse of our terms of service - send a message to : info@makingcontact.org

Is this site available in other languages? back to top
Initially, we had some funding to offer the site in a number of languages. However, this feature is no longer available. There are some free translation tools available online although the translations may not be 100% accurate.

What is HTML? back to top
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is a standardised language devised to allow website creation using images, text and possibly hyperlinks to other sites. These websites can then be viewed by anyone else connected to the Internet. It is relatively easy to learn, with the basics being accessible to most people in one sitting; and quite powerful in what it allows you to create. It is constantly undergoing revision and evolution to meet the demands and requirements of the growing Internet audience.

Membership, login and registration

How do I join? back to top
To register with us simply use our registration form.

How much does it cost? back to top
From 1 October 2011 charges for this service ceased and the site became free to use. At this date all existing members were given full access. Any members joining after this date are automatically given full access to this service at no charge.

What if I paid for membership between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011? back to top
Our terms and conditions state that "...there will be no refund of fees for withdrawal, modification or unavailability of our services." However, as a gesture of goodwill if a member joined during this period and they would like to request a refund they may do so by emailing finance.team@cafamily.org.uk. Please note that any refund will be made on a pro-rata basis.

How do I log out? back to top
There is no need to log out of MakingContact.org. Your login will expire when you close your web browser. If you have chosen to have the site remember you when you next return then you will be logged in at that time automatically. If this is not what you want to happen, go to your homepage and click the link clearly labelled to stop the site remembering you.

How do I alter my details? back to top
On the left menu you should see either a login button or a link to your member homepage. Login if required and go to your homepage. From there you can edit your details.

How do I remove myself from the site completely? back to top
Login and go to your member homepage (see above). One of the links at the top of that page is clearly labelled 'remove yourself from this site' - click that to unregister. Note that for security reasons, usernames must be unique. Thus if you unregister and, later, re-register you will be unable to use the same username again.

Why can't I log in? back to top
There are a number of reasons why you might be unable to login. Including:

  • Are you registered? You must be a registered member of this site to login
  • Are you using the correct username and password? If you have forgotten either of these you can retrieve them on our Login page (usually this is the problem). Usernames and passwords are also case sensitive, so please ensure you have entered capitals as appropriate. The same applies to spaces in usernames.
  • Your account may have been suspended. You should have been notified if this has happened. If you are unsure then please let us know.

Why do I keep getting logged out? back to top
For security reasons our logins expire after a period of inactivity (about half hour) unless you have opted to have the site remember you when you come back. So if you are logged in but don't move around the site within half hour, your login will expire. Simply log back and you will be able to continue as normal.

Why do I need to login twice sometimes? back to top
Although this site can remember who you are when you come back, for extra security we ask you to login each time you visit if you want to post a message on the forums or send an e-mail to another member. This is to guard against somebody abusing your login while you are not at your PC. You can click Cancel when you are asked to login if you just want to read the forums. This will disable the ability to post a message until you do login.

I've lost my password! back to top
Don't panic. You can recover your password and/or username by using the form 'Forgotten your password?'. If that doesn't work, just contact us

Will you let me know if someone adds themselves to one of my conditions? back to top
Yes. In your conditions management page you can request to be notified for any of your associated conditions.

How do I find someone affected by my condition? back to top
Using the quick search box at the left of the page you can search for a disability or condition. The system will try to match a condition to your search and return a list of people associated with it who are looking for contact. If more than one condition matches your search then you will see a list of potential matching conditions to choose from. Clicking on a condition will bring up a list of people registered under it. If there are more than 25 people you can filter the results by things like age, gender or family size. Alternatively you can use our advanced search option which enables you to search by criteria other than conditions.

How do I find someone (regardless of condition) in my town/country? back to top
Using the advanced search option, you can search for people by location or by other criteria such as whether they are a father or whether they are a disabled adult. The results of searches will be grouped into conditions.

How do I add myself to a condition? back to top
Once you are registered you can either manage your conditions from your details page or you can search for a condition in the normal way and click the button on the page listing the people associated with it.

Contacting other members

Once I have found someone, how do I contact them? back to top
When you see a list of profiles you can click the envelope icon next to their name to contact them. To start a conversation you click the envelope next to their name and fill in the form that appears.

Has my message been sent? back to top
When you log into your profile account you will see on the left side a link to your Conversation Record. This can also be accessed in the central area under the heading 'what to do now' (second option down). When you enter this section you will be able to see who you have contacted, who has contacted you and whose turn it is to write. You can see which messages are new (closed envelope and highlighted in bold) and which you have read (open envelope) and are waiting for a reply.

Why can I only contact five people per day? back to top
The limitation on the number of people you can contact was also introduced to protect members from people doing general emails to large numbers of people. In this way we ensure that those contacting others are genuinely wanting to make contact with a person who is in the same situation as themselves and looking for support/wanting to give support to others.

How do I receive the messages? back to top
When someone sends you a message you will receive a notification at the e-mail address you registered with. You must ensure that you have added info@makingcontact.org to your accepted list of email contacts or this message may end up in your SPAM/Junk folder. You will need to log into your MakingContact.org profile to read your messages and reply to them through the Conversation Record link on the left menu. (Please note: personal e-mail addresses will not be included in the heading information, all you will see is a person's username). You are able to send six messages to an individual member, and receive six replies from that member. Messages alternate, so in order to send the next message to a member you must await their reply. After you have sent your third message, we will suggest that one of you reveal your personal e-mail address in order to continue the conversation outside of our systems. This is simply because our system cannot manage the high volume of messages passing through. We have also found after a few messages people are generally able to decide whether they want to continue communicating with that person and trust them with their personal e-mail address. However, you are under no obligation to do so.

Why haven't I received any responses to my messages? back to top
Unfortunately we cannot force someone to reply to your messages. People may not respond because their family situation may have changed since they registered, it may be that now is not a good time, their email address may have changed and they have not updated their account OR email notifications have gone to their SPAM/Junk folder and they have not seen it. Email notifications are messages that come from info@makingcontact.org and we strongly urge all members to add this email address to their accepted list of email contacts in their personal email account - this will help to reduce the possibility of missing messages from other users.

I am using a smartphone and cannot reply to my messages back to top
It has come to our attention that a small number of people are using their smartphones to access MakingContact.org. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the site works fully using all options for browsers and technology, a few people have been unable to reply to messages using some smartphone devices. We apologise if this causes you any inconvenience and hope to be able to resolve this issue in the future. In the meantime, please use either a desktop computer or laptop to reply to your messages.

Can I send to more than one person in a single message? back to top
No. Because we use the concept of e-mail conversations, in order to protect our members privacy, you can only respond to the person who sent you the message. If you know another members e-mail address you can of course put that in the CC: box but remember that the member you are contacting anonymously will see that e-mail address so we recommend you do NOT give away any members e-mail address without their permission first.

I have received a spamming or abusive email from someone registered on MakingContact.org back to top
If you have any concerns about posts on the forums or emails from other members do let us know as soon as possible by email info [AT] makingcontact [DOT] org or telephone 020 7608 8700 and ask for the MakingContact.org Administrator. When contacting the Administrator by email you should send a full copy of the email you received as an attachment rathern than by forwarding. This is because it is very important to include the headers as these list details of the user that sent the email.

Posting on the forums

How do I post a topic in a forum? back to top
Once you have an account and are logged in you need only click the "Post a new topic" button. A topic is simply a set of message on a single subject. So if you create a new topic you are essentially asking a question for others to respond to. Your question and any responses are kept together as a "topic".

How do I edit or delete a post? back to top
Unless you are the MakingContact.org Administrator you can only edit your own posts. You can edit a post by clicking the edit button for the relevant post. If someone has already replied to the post, you will find a small piece of text output below the post when you return to the topic that shows it has been edited. This will not appear if nobody has replied to the orginal or if the MakingContact.org Administrator has edited the post (they should leave a message saying what was altered and why). Only the MakingContact.org Administrator can delete posts.

What is "BBCode"? back to top
BBCode is a special set of codes that you can use to format (bold, underline, colour etc.) your forum posts. Tags are enclosed in square brackets ([b] = bold for example) but it will be quicker to use the formatting buttons at the top of the form you use when creating a post. These buttons will apply the appropriate BBCode to the selected text. You don't have to format your posts, BBCode is just there if you want to.

Can I use HTML? back to top
HTML cannot be used on the forums. Formatting can be achieved using BBCode. Web links within your post will be made "live" automatically.

What are Smileys? back to top
Smileys (or Emoticons) are small graphical images which can be used to express some feeling using a short code, for example :) means happy, :( means sad. The full list of emoticons can be seen on the posting form. Try not to overuse smileys, though, as they can quickly render a post unreadable and the MakingContact.org Administrator may decide to edit them out.

Can I post images? back to top
Contact a Family are currently not offering the ability to post images on the message boards.

What are announcements? back to top
Announcements often contain important information and you should read them as soon as possible. Announcements appear at the top of every page in the forum to which they are posted. Announcements can only be created by the MakingContact.org Administrator.

What are sticky topics? back to top
Sticky topics are normal topics that the MakingContact.org Administrator thinks are of special interest. They are called "sticky" because they are always shown at the top of the message board above any topics that may have been created afterwards.

What are locked topics? back to top
Locked topics are ones that cannot be replied to. Topics are locked by the MakingContact.org Administrator. Topics may be locked for many reasons.

Who is the MakingContact.org Adminstrator/Moderator? back to top
Administrators/Moderators are Contact a Family staff members whose job it is to look after the running of MakingContact.org from day to day. They have the power to edit or delete posts and lock, unlock, move, delete and split topics in the forum they moderate. Generally administrators/moderators are there to prevent people going off-topic or posting abusive or offensive material.

About the software used on the forums

What software is used to run the forums? back to top
Contact a Family use PhpBB v3 for its forums. This is free/open source software and is very popular for web-based forums.

Why isn't a particular favourite feature available on the forums? back to top
For reasons of security and to keep the forums simple to use, some optional features of PhpBB are disabled on these forums.

© MakingContact.org 2018
Contact a Family, 209-211 City Road, London EC1V 1JN
Tel: (020) 7608 8700

Registered Charity No. 284912. Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales No. 1633333.
HM Revenue & Customs charity tax reference No. XN54769.
VAT Reg. No. GB 749 3846 82