The Golden Rule
Web Logs (Blogs)
All This and More
Communication over the Internet is always via an inanimate intermediary, a fact which is both a blessing and a curse. While the written nature of mailing lists et al gives you great freedom in expressing yourself, the impersonal nature of the Internet may tempt you to say things to others that you wouldn't say face-to-face. Unmoderated mailing lists and news groups are especially prone to periodic "flame wars", where everyone gets down and dirty. (Humor and emotion aren't easily and unambiguosly translated into the written word, so a poster's innocent statement mistakenly taken as an insult by a reader can set off a conflagration.) Consequently, a code of Internet conduct has informally arisen; known as Netiquette, this code basically boils down to the Golden Rule: treat other people as you would have them treat you. If you've been flamed or think you've been flamed, either ignore it or wait 24 hours and then compose a respectful response.
Enough moralizing ...
(There are even more chat rooms listed under All This and More.)
(There are even more discussion boards listed under All This and More.)
Web-based bulletin boards (once known as BBSes, but more commonly referred to now as discussion boards, on-line forums, etc.) require only a stock web browser in order to read and post messages to the board. When you visit a board's web page, you are presented with a list of the currently posted messages and their subjects; simply click on a message to see its full text. To post your own message, there is usually a form to fill out at the bottom of the page or on a separate web page. Some discussion board postings are indexed by web search engines, so be careful about posting personal information under your real name.
E-mail-based mailing lists are similar to bulletin boards, except that only subscribers are allowed to post and read messages. To participate in a mailing list, you must have an E-mail account and an E-mailer. If your E-mail account is provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you might be using an E-mail program (e.g., Microsoft's Outlook) separate from your web browser. If you have a web-based E-mail account, your web browser is your E-mailer. Before posting and reading messages, you must first subscribe to the mailing list; instructions are given separately for the different lists below. Immediately after subscribing to a list, you will receive (by E-mail) instructions and guidelines for list participation. As messages are posted to the list, they will be E-mailed to you. When you post a message, a copy of it will be E-mailed to each of the subscribers. Since subscription-based mailing lists are inherently private, please respect the confidentiality of the other subscribers.
The original OCD E-mail list, OCD-L, was founded in late 1994 and moderated by Chris Vertullo for many years. The list is now defunct and has been superseded by the OCD-Support group (see below).
Yahoo! Groups seems to have taken over the role of traditional E-mail lists. Yahoo! groups can be accessed either as E-mail lists (i.e., you read and post messages via E-mail) or as discussion boards (i.e., you read and post messages on a group's web page).
To participate in a Yahoo! OCD group, you need to (i) register (for free) with Yahoo! and (ii) join the group. Click on the "Register" link and the "Join This Group!" button, respectively, found on each group's web page. Messages posted to some of the lists are archived and accessible to the public, so be careful about posting personal information under your real name.
Yahoo! Groups hosts many mailing lists on many subjects; browse the list of OCD-related groups to find groups that might interest you. (The groups are sorted by membership; after the first 15 or 20 groups, you enter the realm of most-likely-inactive groups.) Of special note is the following group:
Some groups specialize in particular aspects of OCD:
Other branches of Yahoo! also host OCD-related mailing lists:
Some of the other international Yahoo! branches might also have OCD lists, but my foreign language skills are not good enough to track them down. Any help would be appreciated!
USENET news groups are like mailing lists, except that you don't need to subscribe to them. Anyone can read the messages in a news group and anyone can post messages to a news group. To participate in a news group, you need a news server that supplies the news (check with your ISP) and an E-mailer or web browser that supports news reading. (Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Netscape's Communicator, and Opera all do.) If your ISP doesn't provide a news feed, there are some web sites (most notably Google Groups) which let you access news groups as regular WWW pages. News group postings are public and are indexed by web search engines, so be careful about posting personal information under your real name.
If your ISP doesn't provide USENET news access, you can (i) read these groups and post to them at Google Groups (alt.support.ocd and alt.support.ocd.moderated) or (ii) subscribe to receive postings by E-mail from "Usenet via e-Mail" (alt.support.ocd and alt.support.ocd.moderated).