- See Also: Policies for Parent Q&A
Frequently Asked Questions
Only parent subscribers can access the Post a New Question button (why?). There are 3 ways to post:
- Click 'Post a Message' in the main menu on the website and then click Post a New Question, or
- On your account page (click 'my account' in the upper right corner) click 'Post a Message' and then click Post a New Question, or
- If you are reading archived reviews or advice, you'll see a button at the top that says Post a New Question
- Title: Type a title that is specific, so parents know what you're asking about without needing to read your question. "Playgroup in Albany for 6 month old" is better than "Seeking a Playgroup"
- Question: Type your question. Note the icons in the bar at the top of the message window allow you to format your message:
- B = Boldface. Select text that you want to be boldface and click this
- I = Italics. Select text that you want to be italicized and click this
- Bullet or numbered list. Click on a line of text and then click this to put a bullet or number in front of the line. Click it again to remove the bullet.
- Indent. Click on a line of text and then click left arrow or right arrow to indent it or remove indentation.
- Link to a website. (Looks like a carabiner) Select a line of text and click the carbiner icon. Type the URL (web address) you want to link to into the pop-up window and then click OK to create a link to a website.
- Include in "Parents of Teens" Newsletter? Check this only if you are asking a question about teens, preteens, or young adults. The Teens newsletter contains only the questions that have this box checked, and they are not included in the Parent Q&A newsletter.
- Category: The category is used to get your post to the right moderator who is going to review it. Moderators may change the category later to match a topic in the archives that matches your question.
- Hide username? If you check this, your username will not be displayed on your post, and other subscribers cannot reply to you directly. We don't recommend checking this box. If you want to be anonymous, instead choose a username that doesn't identify you. You can change your username on your account page.
After you have filled out the form, click Preview, and then Submit for Review. A moderator will review your post within 7 days.
Only parent subscribers can post a response to a question in Advice & Reviews (why?).
Ways to respond:
- In the newsletter, click "Respond" under the question you want to reply to, or
- Click on the title of question you want to respond to, whether in the newsletter or on the Parent Q&A page (look under "Listings" in the main menu) or on an archive page (if the question is not closed)
Filling out the 'Parent Replies' form:
- Post a reply: Type your response. Note the icons in the bar at the top of the message window allow you to format your message. (Instructions above in Filling out the 'Post a New Question' form).
- Hide username? If you check this, your username will not be displayed on your post, so other subscribers cannot message you directly. For this reason, we don't recommend checking this box. If you want to be anonymous, instead choose a username that doesn't identify you, that your posts can be signed with. You can change your username on your account page.
Click the Submit button. A moderator will review your post within 7 days.
Yes. Your name and email address are never included on your post unless you type them into the body of your message, which we don't recommend. Your post will be signed with the username you have chosen unless you check 'Hide username' when you post. If you choose to hide your username, your post will be signed "Anonymous."
However, we recommend including your username on your posts. It makes BPN friendlier, and it gives the community the chance to get to know regular posters. More importantly, other parents will be able to send you a private message by clicking your username on your post (only parents who subscribe to BPN will be able to see your username.) You can change your username on your account page if you have chosen a username that is not anonymous enough.
Parent subscribers can send a private message to another subscriber using BPN's messaging system, which relies on your username (not your real name or your email address.). To send a message, scroll to the end of the post and click their username. Note: If they elected to hide their username on their post, you will instead see "Anonymous" and you cannot send them a message.
Note that usernames are not displayed in the newsletter and they are also not visible on the website to anyone who ia not logged in as a parent subscriber. If you are reading the newsletter and you want to send a private message to the poster, click the title of the post to view it on the website - you must be logged in to your BPN account. Scroll to the end of their post and you'll see their username, as long as they did not elect to hide it when they posted. Click their username to send them a private message.
Please don't ask moderators to forward a message for you or say in your post "Contact the moderators for my email address." It is time-consuming for moderators to look up your post, find your email address, and then forward a message for you. Our moderators are volunteers with jobs and families and they are working on BPN in their "spare" time. Instead use BPN's messaging function, which was designed to allow subscribers to contact each other. As long as you don't check the box to hide your username on your post, other subscribers can contact you directly. You can change your username if it is not anonymous enough for you to feel comfortable about signing your post.
Once your question has been approved and is published on the website, you can check for responses in several ways:
Click Parent Q&A under "Listings" in the main menu, and then scroll down till you see your question. You will see the number of responses received so far --- responses approved by the moderator as well as those still awaiting review. Click on your question to read responses that have been approved.
You can go to your account page (click "my account" at the top of any page on our website). Find your post and click to view it along with any responses.
Wait for the weekly newsletter and look for this week's responses to your question. Are you subscribed to the newsletters? If not, edit your account and choose which newsletters you want to receive.
If you signed your post with your username (i.e., you didn't check "Hide username"), then people can send you a message directly.
Please Note: Sometimes questions don't get any responses. Read the following tips about how to post a question that is more likely to get responses!
Some questions posted to BPN do not receive any responses. Here are some suggestions about how to post a question that is more likely to get responses:
Don't post a question that is asked frequently and is well-documented on the website, such as "Piano teacher" or "Pediatrician." Few parents reply to questions that already have a lot of advice on the BPN website. Look at the previous discussions on the website first. If you still want to ask your question, make it more specific, such as "Piano teacher in Richmond" or "Pediatrician at Kaiser Vallejo."
Looking for a doctor or other medical professional?
Check the website of your insurance plan first to see who's available, then look on BPN for reviews. Most pediatricians and Ob/Gyns in the Bay Area are part of larger practices, and these practices, especially in the East Bay, most likely have many reviews on BPN. So check those first.
Don't ask for referrals to doctors who accept a particular type of insurance (except Kaiser, but say which Kaiser). Most parents do not know all the insurance plans their doctor accepts, so they can't recommend their doctor to you unless they happen to have the same insurance plan you have. Instead check the website for your insurance to find out which doctors accept your insurance.
Don't ask for doctors who are accepting new patients. Most parents do not know if their doctor has current openings. Instead please check the website for your insurance or phone the practice to see which doctors are available.
Be specific. If you have Kaiser and you live in San Francisco, don't post a question asking for "Kaiser Pediatricians" unless you are willing to travel to any Kaiser in the greater Bay Area. Say which area you're looking for. Your title should be specific too, such as "Seeking a Kaiser SF Pediatrician. "
Remember BPN's demographics when you ask a question. Subscribers live all over the SF Bay Area, so if you are looking for a preschool, include the specific neighborhoods you are interested in so you don't get reviews of preschools in faraway cities. On the other hand, the majority of BPN subscribers live in the East Bay cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, El Cerrito. So you may get few or no reviews for preschools in Danville or San Jose.
Make sure the title on your post is specific enough that people reading it know what you're looking for without having to read the entire text of your question. Readers tend to scan the titles to find questions they are interested in. A short general title such as "Problem with son" is less likely to draw the reader's attention than one that's more specific, such as "8 year old son refuses to dress himself."
Don't post a question that is too vague, such as "ISO a great preschool" or "Seeking a pediatrician." Make your question specific enough that readers will be inspired to give you their own inside information on the topic. Questions that get the best responses are those asking about specific features that aren't easy to find, such as a "Preschool with lots of male teachers" or "African American pediatrician"
But neither should you post a question that is so specific that almost no one reading it will know the answer to, such as asking about a specific daycare that only accepts 6 children at a time.