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Online Chat Groups

For almost 10 years we have been conducting online chat groups using the internet. Currently we meet at 2pm E.S.T. on the third Sundays of odd-numbered months.

How our Chat Groups Work

  1. Our online chats are hosted either by me, , or or . Any time before the group starts put my handle ("rache1bart1ett"), Dean's handle ("Dean Hannotte") and Bob's handle ("rlfinkny") in your "buddy list". (WARNING: The things that look like els in my handle are actually ones.) Then you'll be able to see at a glance if any of us is logged on, and you'll be able to send an instant message asking to be invited into the chat room. (Interrogate us in the order shown.)

  2. Once the chat room owner sees your message, you will get an invitation to join. Once you accept, a new window will pop up on your monitor showing the chat in progress. From there on, any message you send will be seen by the whole group!

We are using the AOL/Netscape Instant Messenger (AIM). You can get it for free at www.aol.com or www.netscape.com. Alternatively, you can use a multimessenger like Trillian. The free version emulates AIM, as well as IRC, ICQ, Yahoo, and MSN. Finally, if you don't want to, or can't, install any software at all, you can use Meebo. It's free, and works with any browser. This is a great option if you are using a computer other than your own. (As of November 2007, we hadn't actually tried it yet!)

In any case, you will need an account with AIM, which you can get here.

Set this up a few days before the chat so you'll have time to get customer support if you need it.

Keep in mind that these chats are not private -- everything you say may be quoted back to you in unforeseen circumstances. Feel free to save a log file for your own records.

We hate spam as much as you do. To protect you, and us, against spam harvesters, our mailing list does not reveal your email address to the other recipients. To be notified in advance of each meeting, join our Yahoo or Meetup Group (see below).

Some groundrules: This is a serious group, about issues that are hard to understand, so we ask for your complete attention. Turn off the TV and, if possible, ignore the phone. Don't drop in and out of the chat either; continuity is crucial, so stay with us. Aim for candor, but avoid grandstanding. Disclose personal problems about which you can honestly use some advice, but avoid debating academic questions -- especially those which conventional people assume the failed ideologies of famous dead white men have already settled. If you have an ongoing problem with someone in your life, don't just complain about them or rehearse the speech you're going to make if you ever find the courage. We thrive on new ideas, so use your imagination rather than what you remember from Psych 101. Leave your legal problems at the door, too, and don't ask us about Dr. Phil's latest sensational revelation or what we think of that new soap opera hunk. Finally, please test out your messaging software before the group, not during it. Remember that if you violate these groundrules and then fail to heed the moderator's warnings you can be removed from the chat to protect the rest of us.


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