Thanks to Jewels, CPS Darren, Southpawboston and everyone who helped create the unofficial FAQS and provided content. (And a special thanks to those of you who caught my bad spelling and grammar... )
Here are some that we've come up with:
Here are some that we've come up with:
Thanks again to everyone for suggestions and additions.Unofficial Rules/Car-Seat.org etiquette.
1. Read the Stickied threads on the forums before you post.
Sticky about controversial threads, personal info, language and the like.
Sticky about controversial threads, again. A Reminder.
Sticky about the chat room.
Sticky about advertising and the rules that govern it on this site.
Sticky about supporting Car-seat.org.
Sticky about new features and other updates on car-seat.org.
Sticky about Car-Seat.org link exchange.
There is an actual sub-forum with offical FAQ's. It's the Articles, Reviews and FAQs sub-forum. You can find articles written by many car-seat.org contributors and techs on things like winter coat use, how to become a tech, the five step test, and car-seat replacement after a crash--along with many other issues that pop up often.
There are also the car-safety.org FAQs which are linked at the top of every page on the forum.
2. When asking a car-seat question it is important to include your childs age, weight, height, whether or not rf/ff, current car-seat and vehicles make, model and year in the original post. If these things aren't included in your original post you will be asked them.
3. To avoid duplicate questions, try using the search feature, to see if your specific question has been answered. Especially if it is a basic question, like "does this seat forward face to 40 lbs or 100?". But, by all means, if the search feature doesn't turn up any matches OR the answers don't seem relevant to your situation, post a new thread. We are here to help you.
4. The Child Passenger Safety Technicians, the Advocates, the Moderators and the Administrators of this site are ALL volunteers. This means that sometimes, questions may not be answered right away. It also means that there are no kickbacks from car-seat companies.
The reason certain seats/brands are recommended more than others is simply that those seats may fit better in a particular car, or may better fit a child of a particular size and weight. While all seats pass the same requirements and are equally safe in a standardized crash test with a standardized test dummy, the overall safety of an individual child depends on a proper fit of the seat to child and to the car.
5. If you find a craigslist, ebay or freecycle ad that is questionable, post it in the private areas only. This is an official rule.
Because many of these ads are flagged or taken down before the other forum members can see them, try to include the text of the ad in your original post. If there is a photo, describe it.
Do not just flag or report the ads. Try to contact the seller with information about WHY you are flagging their seat
Flagging CL ads is only encouraged when you are absolutely certain the seat is unsafe. Some CL posters may just misstate the specifications (like "can be used RF and FF" when in fact seat can only be used FF).
Some people here would unfairly flag that post, when in fact it could be a legitimately good seat and the poster just needs to edit the post. Also, try not to be sarcastic or judgmental toward CL posters. the vast majority are well-meaning, just uninformed.
You do not have to use your official email address for this. There are many sites out there that have free email, such as yahoo.
Definitely get one of those that doesn't include your real name, as we've had some former posters who have had scary experiences with CL/Ebay folks.
If you do contact them, do not represent yourself as a CPST unless you REALLY ARE one. And be TACTFUL. Do not assume that the seller is being malicious because they are selling an old or expired seat. If you start off on the attack, the seller is more likely to be defensive and what you say will fall on to deaf ears. (The same suggestion goes for the help forums here. )
6. If you are posting a link to any external website, IDENTIFY what the link is to. Do not just post "this is funny" "this made me cry" "interesting". Tell us it's a news story, that it's a joke, that it's something. If it's potentially not work safe, tell us in your OP. If it's something that might be inappropriate for children, tell us in the original post.
7. In a thread with lots of photos, do not copy the photos in the reply. We just saw the pics in the post before yours, we don't need to seem them again, and again.
8. Remember to keep your signatures within the limits for the site. This is addressed in one of the official stickies, but it bears repeating. For those of you who don't like large signatures, and would rather not see them, there is the option of turning them off. You can do this in your User CP, under Edit Options. You can also turn off avatars there.
9. Do NOT post photographs of other peoples children without their express consent.
10. Do not post other peoples photographs without their consent.
11. This is the stickied thread that describes what rep is about. Now that you know what rep is about, remember, it IS just for fun. You can disable it, if it bothers you. If you feel like the system is being abused, please contact Admin about it. Do not troll for rep.
12. There is no need to reply to every post in a thread separately. You can use the multiquote button at the bottom of each post, so that you can address everyone in the same post. Replying to each and every post separately makes it look like you're just trying to up your post count.
Also, there is no need to include all of the text of a lengthy post in your reply. You can edit down the quoted portion of the post, so that only the parts that apply to your reply appear. As with the photos, we've just seen the long post, we don't need to see it quoted again and again in its entirety.
13. If you must post on each and every thread, try to proofread your posts. Actually, do this regardless. No one expects perfection, but it does help to be readable.
If you're posting an answer in the help forums, it is especially important to look like you know what you're talking about! (A person who is inclined to not believe you will nitpick a typo, and sometimes typos change the entire meaning to something you didn't intend)
14. If you're going to include car-seat photos in your signature, please be aware that they will be scrutinized for proper use.
15. Britax is pronounced with a long I.
Chicco is pronounced Key-co
Graco is pronounced Gray-co
Evenflo is pronounced... Even-Flow
Recaro is pronounced? (Re-car-oh? Rec-are-oh?)
Eddie Bauer is pronounced Cosco.
16. Be Patient with the people who seek advice. Do not assume that they are idiots, do not assume that they don't care. If it's absolutely unsafe, then provide reasons why but don't assume that the parent is a moron. Don't ATTACK. Seriously, it makes people not listen to you.
It makes people say "screw this" and ignore all the great advice given.
Not everyone will be able (or willing) to purchase the PERFECT seat for their situation. Not everyone will want to practice extended rear-facing or extended harnessing. Of course we want all kids to be as safe as they could be, but remember, you want the kids to be SAFER than before, so sometimes that means not getting everything. Note: this does not mean you should condone people doing things before the absolute minimum.
Remember that the people posting questions ARE people. They want to do the best for their kids, as far as CPS goes, otherwise they wouldn't be here. (With a few exceptions). Think about how you come across.