Online chat rooms are all about meeting interesting strangers, whether you're after casual adult chat or more of a sex chat experience. People come here to have hundreds of different people at a time to choose from as potential conversation and sexting partners, dating prospects, possible significant others, or more. At what point does the sheer volume of strangers vying for your attention become too much, though? Sometimes you just need a break. Fortunately, our website and chat software are designed to allow you to limit how much this impacts you.
Help for Hectic Chats
Are you beset on all sides by men you don't want to talk to, or unregistered users constantly popping up when you're in the middle of something more interesting? This article will demonstrate some of the various ways that you can keep your chat experience cool and calm, helping you chat with the people you want to talk to by blocking out some of the noise.
Private Message Settings
First, you'll need to be in a chat room. Join any of our chat rooms rooms to begin. Once you're in, look for the top-left button, just to the right of the globe logo. There is a "Menu" button, indicated by a gear icon (depending on your screen size, you may have only the gear icon, or the text as well as the icon). Click or tap that, then go to "options." There will be a "Private Messages" tab, the first one on the left. This is where we'll work to set things up just how you want them.
You'll see a list of checkboxes in this tab, the first of which is "Enable Private Messages," which is checked by default. Unchecking this enables a sort of "do not disturb" mode: All incoming private messages will be blocked except for thise PM sessions which you initiate. To talk to another user who has private messages disabled, you need only declare to each other, either in the chat room itself, or through whispers, that you intend to initate a private message session. Once you have both attempted to message each other, our chat software recognizes this, and, for the rest of both of your sessions, you each are on each others' "whitelist" -- a list people who are allowed to bypass the disabled private message setting for each other. Your messages to each other will then go through, but no one else's messages will make it.
This may seem undesirable to some, because what if you want certain to be able to message you automatically, but not every stranger out there? This is where the second checkbox, "Always Allow Friend PMs," comes in. If you are a registered user, then you have a friends list. If you uncheck "Enable Private Messages," but leave "Always Allow Friend PMs" checked, then only people who are on your friends list will be able to send you messages. This is basically "do not disturb" but with exceptions for the people you consider important. If you want a complete "do not disturb" mode, because you're in a very serious or enthralling chat session with someone, uncheck both of these options, and no one but the people you whitelist by initiating a private message session with for the duration of your session will be able to message you.
Perhaps you're not quite that tired of people yet, or you're holding out for an interesting stranger to come along and send you a compelling message, but you still want to sort out some of those you might consider undesirable. You can leave private messages enabled, but check any (or even all, but then why leave private messages enabled?) of the next four checkboxes. You may be a straight man or a lesbian, and interested primarily in sex chat, in which case you can check "block private from male users." You have the same option for female users, or "other users" (meaning those who have elected not to disclose their gender, or who do not feel that either option describes them adequately). Finally, you can disable private messages from unregistered users with the "block private from guest users" checkbox.
There is no guarantee that people are being truthful about their gender when they log in to the chat, and their declaration of gender at that time is what these blocking options are based on. Neither is it certain that registered users won't bother you. However, these blocking options do cut down on unwanted noise quite a bit, because they require people who would harass you to do more work in order to achieve their aims.
The above items will make up the bulk of how you defend your own sanity, but while we're in the "Private Messages" tab, there are two more minor items to cover.
After the individual user gender/status blocking options (male, female, other, guest), there is a checkbox, enabled by default, labeled "Open Private Messages in Background." This means that, while checked, any incoming private message will be added as a new tab (if you have sufficient screen space, otherwise it will only show up in the "Messages" dialog) without interrupting whatever you were doing at the time that it came in. If unchecked, any incoming private message will come to the foreground. This is enabled by default because its default setting is best for most people, but if you're waiting for an important message, and you've already got private messages from people you don't want to hear from blocked, you may occasionally want to uncheck this box.
Finally, whispers, or inline private messages (messages that display only to you, but in the flow of the chat room they were sent in, rather than in another window like regular private messages), can be blocked. Enabling this is the final setting to achieve a true "do not disturb" status.
There is no way to create a perfect set of default settings for everyone, so you may have to experiment with these settings to see how you like it best. We've left you in control of your chat experience, though.
Any kind of Internet profile comes with a certain amount of inherent risk. You might be opening yourself up to spam. You could inadvertently expose information that you'd rather keep private, or people could just put together a list of facts about you from information you've casually released until they have enough data to gain access to more substantial information. We get it; it can seem like you don't have a lot of control over that kind of stuff. You have more control than you think, though. First, don't panic. Second, we've got some tips for you.
Don't Fear the Followers
A lot of people panic when people on the forums "follow" them. The first thing to understand about forum followers is that they do not gain any access to special information or the ability to perform additional actions. While forum followers are integrated with chat friends lists, someone following you does not make them your friend. It puts you on their friends list, but they do not gain the ability to private message you if you have PMs blocked (except from friends) until you put them on your friends list. It requires mutuality before they gain that privilege. It's really nothing to worry about. The only thing a non-mutual follower can see about you is information that you have made public. (Please see our Chat Safety Guidelines for tips and warnings about what kind of information you put out there for everyone to find!)
Culling Contact Details
On the Forum Home Page, once you have logged in, at the top right, you should see your username. Click it, or hover over it, and you should get a drop-down list of options. "Contact Details" will take you to a page where you can change your email address, or specify your handles or profiles for AIM, Skype, Facebook, and so on.
We will never send you spam or sell your email addresses to marketers, but you have the option, nonetheless, to unsubscribe from site mailings, email notifications when you receive new messages, and so on. This is just about cutting down on the noise, but while we're here, it's worth having a look at if it still bothers you.
In the Contact Details section, you also have the ability to opt out of receiving "conversations" (private messages, but on the forum) at all by unchecking the "accept conversations from..." checkbox, or constraining the ability of others to start conversations with you to only those people you follow, by changing the dropdown menu setting from "Members Only" to "People You Follow Only."
In the dropdown under your username, just below "Contact Details," is a "Privacy" menu. Checkboxes here allow you to hide your online status or what you are currently doing on the forums from everyone, regardless of whether they are following you. You can hide your date of birth, either completely, or showing the day and month only. You can limit who can view your profile details, post messages on your profile page, or who can see your news feed, to all visitors, whether members or not, only people you follow, or no one at all. You can restrain who can start conversations with you here, just like on the "Contact Details" page. You can prevent people from viewing your "identities" -- remember those Skype, Facebook, AIM, etc details from "Contact Details?" -- unless you they are registered, or you follow them, or not at all.
We ultimately can't tell you exactly how to set these things up. Only you can decide what is best for you. Feel free to get started, though, and find that perfect balance.