FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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How do I access the GW+ Community?
- Follow this link. It will only work after your membership has been approved: http://ow.ly/umf50
What is GW+ ?
- GW+ is a quicker way of writing “Gateway Women Private Online Community on Google Plus! It’s a private, members-only discussion community hosted on the Google Plus platform. It is open to all women over 18 who aren’t mothers (or not yet), whatever the reason. There are many, many ways to find yourself childless when that wasn’t the plan – as I’ve written about here in “50 Ways Not To Be A Mother”.
- GW+ began in December 2012 and has grown rapidly. All members are ID checked personally by Gateway Women, so we are able to offer as safe a space as we can to discuss what is still a pretty taboo subject in our culture. At January 2016 we are c675 members.
- GW+ is part of Gateway Women, the organisation founded and run by Jody Day for childless-by-circumstance women. More information about Jody and Gateway Women here
How much does membership cost?
- Your first month’s membership is free so you can find out if this is the right place at the right time for you.
- Suggested subscription is £60 GBP per annum, or £7 GBP per month, payable by PayPal (which converts automatically from other currencies). It is also possible to pay by UK standing order or international bank transfer although PayPal is preferred if possible. Click here to request details for standing orders
- Free memberships are available at the end of the first month’s trial for those sisters who can’t afford to pay at present. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free membership. All free memberships are confidential and are not disclosed within GW+. They are there for you whatever the reason you might be struggling financially right now. Transitioning to our Plan B’s often entails some tough times and we want to support each other through them.
- If you’d like to support a sister who’s struggling, there is an option to ‘donate a membership’ as part of the PayPal sign up process. If at any point you’d like to make an additional donation to support the work of Gateway Women, please click here to donate.
Where are GW+ members based?
- Approximately 40% of GW+ membership is based in UK and Ireland, 40% US & Canada, 10% Australia & New Zealand and the rest in other English-speaking countries such as South Africa and the Philippines as well as English-speaking members globally.
- Once you are a member, we can connect you with others in your area, if you’d like that.
How do I organise a Meetup in my local area?
- The best way to get to know others in your geography seems to be to break the ice by getting to know each other online in GW+ and then progress to getting a meetup going…
- If you’d like to see if there have been any mentions of your local area or city, type it into the search box located just below the GW logo on the GW+ page. This only exists if you access GW+ on a computer, not on mobile or tablet versions.
- If you are UK/Ireland based, it’s also worthwhile joining our free private meetup.com group here: www.meetup.com/gateway-women This is a separate membership to GW+ so I’m afraid it’s another form to fill in!
- If you are based in the US, we have a dedicated meetup group which launched in July 2014 (so membership is quite small, but growing daily). To join this free private meetup group: www.meetup.com/gateway-women-usa
- We also launched a NZ Meetup Group on 1 August 2014. www.meetup.com/gateway-women-nz
- For a detailed outline of how to organise meeting others in your area, either using GW+ or Meetup, please follow this link.
What kind of ID to I need to provide to join GW+ ?
- Checking your ID is often the thing that will hold up your application being approved first time round so please read the following carefully
- If you have been to a Gateway Women event or workshop or have met Jody, just mention that. Alternatively, please provide one of the following:
- Your Facebook address (click your OWN NAME and then copy the URL that appears in the address bar after that)
- Your LinkedIn profile (the address below your profile picture in small grey writing)
- A link to a website where you are listed (work, community, college, club, association…)
- A digital photo or scan of your Driving License or passport or work ID – or any official photo ID.
How do I turn off the email notifications? I’m being flooded by emails from Google Plus!
- You turn off the email notifications by clicking the ‘bell’ symbol underneath the GW logo on the GW+ Community.
- You may not be able to see this on an iPad or mobile phone but you will be able to see it on a computer screen. It’s worth looking at the GW+ Community on a computer to see all the features.
Who can see the things I write or comment on in GW+ ?
- Nothing you share in the GW+ Community is visible anywhere elsewhere on Google+ to anyone who is not a member of the GW+ Community. It can be confusing that you’ll see your posts on your own Google+ home page, but that’s because you’re a member of the GW+ Community. You can change your settings so that your own posts from GW+ do not appear in your own home page, if that makes you feel safer.
- If you want to upgrade all your privacy settings (to the point where your even your membership of Google+ is not searchable) please take a look at the “FAQs about G+” posts within the community (see below the GW logo within the GW+ Community. You will only be able to see this on a computer, not a mobile or tablet).
Privacy: should I use my real name? Do I need a profile photo?
- As the GW+ Community grows, there is a chance that someone might join who knows you. If you want to add another level of anonymity, you might like to change the name on your Google Account or open a gmail account just to log into GW+ using a less easily identifiable name (but still your real-ish name please!) You can use an initial, your middle name or a random surname.
- If you do change your name on Google+ please be sure to let us know immediately or we won’t be able to match your subscription payment to your GW+ account and this may result in your access to GW+ being suspended (don’t worry, we won’t delete you!)
- It’s much easier for us to get to know you if you put a picture up, even if it’s a picture of your pet or a flower – but faces are MUCH friendlier to interact with – it can always be you from a distance if you’re worried about being too identifiable.
What the heck are ‘circles’?
- You can ignore all the ‘circles’ etc for the first few days, especially if you are new to the Google+ platform – it’s quite enough to get your head around at first!
- Please follow back (add to circle) both Jody Day and Helen Burke when we add you to our circles. We are both managing GW+ in the background and it’s really helpful for us.
- Circles are private and are not like Facebook “friends”. No one other than you can see your circles, or what they are called, or who is in them.
- When you’re ready, create a “GW+ Community” circle and add those members to it that you interact with most often, as it then you can +name those members more easily (particularly if you’re accessing the community from a mobile phone or tablet).
How do I have a private conversation with another member in GW+ ? (Note from Jody: Google have made a complete mess of this – expect an update soon – so many of us Community managers have asked for one!)
- Click into the “SHARE” box in the top right of your screen (on a computer, not tablet or mobile) and type “+” followed by the members GW+ user name. Be sure to un-click “PUBLIC” in the box below the message before you click send. (Really unhelpful having that ‘public’ button there!)
- As most members have their GW+ notifications turned off, the person you’ve sent the message to probably won’t know you’ve sent it. (So you can see it’s not really much help at all!) If you see a red ‘bell’ in the top right of your screen, this can sometimes indicate that someone has messaged you. But sometimes not! Argh!
How do I do that “+” thing to mention someone in a post?
- To get another member’s attention, use the “+” or “@” sign in front of their name and Google+ will do the rest.
- Google+ attempts to predict who you are hoping to + and if you’ve added those members you interact with most often to a circle, it’ll find it much faster!
- It can be hit or miss whether this works on mobiles or tablets unless you’ve already added those members to a circle.
How do I show I’ve read something if I don’t want to make a comment?
- If you read something and wish to show that you’ve read it, please click the “+1” sign. It does not mean you ‘like’ it – sometimes, it might be that someone is having a tough time, and you just want to show that you’re listening, and your care. That way, others within the GW+ Community can see that you’ve read it and that in some way you’re sending your support.
- It does not show up anywhere else with Google+ (unlike the Facebook ‘like’).
How do I cancel my membership?
- Let us know at email@example.com If you’re leaving because you can’t afford it at present, let us know and we may be able to offer you a free membership.
- Cancel your PayPal subscription via your PayPal account or cancel your UK standing order via your Bank. We can’t do this bit for you.
- We’ll do the rest for you.
- If you are leaving because you have got all the healing and friendship you came for we now have a separate community for women who are moving on with their Plan B, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take a look.
- You are welcome to rejoin at a later date if you miss us!
What is the ‘admin’ that Gateway Women does in the background to support the GW+ Community?
- Supporting members through the application process: Many women who request to become to members of the GW+ do so at a moment of extreme crisis, perhaps after years of suffering in silence or being told that their last IVF has failed, after a crushing comment, a terrible breakup or a hideous family event. Handling such applications takes time, gentleness and sensitivity.
- ID checking of new members: All new members are asked to provide verifiable digital ID such as a Facebook profile or LinkedIn profile. Sometimes, if these profiles are not available and members can’t direct us to a company or community website they are listed, we request scans or photographs of photo ID such as driving license or passport. Such steps are taken to keep inappropriate people such as men, mothers and women under 18 from joining our community.
- Updating FAQs and technical support: G+ is not a particularly intuitive platform and is constantly being updated in the background.
Co-ordinating and e-introducing members by geographic region
- Because G+ does not enable us to share our geographical data in a way that is helpful, it only GW HQ that knows where we’re all based! This is because of the data that you provide on the sign-up form, and is nothing to do with Google.
- All the data collected from members is 100% confidential and is regulated by the UK Data Protection Act. No way do we share it with anyone, ever.
Producing a monthly update newsletters purely for members of GW+
- Each month we email a newsletter with all the various meetups (both from GW+ and also within the Gateway Women Meetup Group) and create a group email so that everyone knows what’s happening.
Promoting GW+ in the media
- Spreading the word about GW+ is a vital part of what keeps it vibrant and brings it to the attention of new members. It is vital that we have new members as they keep everything fresh and also offer us the chance to give the help to others that we have received, which I believe is an important part of our healing.
- Most members join after Googling something and coming to the GW website or reading or hearing about GW in the media. Writing article, speaking in the media and at conferences and events, meeting with professional bodies etc is unpaid.
- It has taken almost 60-100 hours per week for almost 3 years to raise the issue of childlessness in the public consciousness. Gateway Women is passionate about creating social change around this issue.
Who are the moderators of GW+ and how are they appointed?
- Moderators are volunteers, and usually have been members for quite a while and may often be known personally by Jody.
- We aim to have a moderator in most time-zones across the world and in the countries where GW is most active.
- Perhaps because GW+ members are carefully screened, there are thankfully very few occasions when moderators need to intervene in discussions.
- If you are ever concerned about a conversation taking place in GW+, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll take a look and moderate it if necessary. GW+ is a very good-natured and sensitive space and it’s rare that there’s a problem, but if it does, we’ll take care of it.
Is there a charge to use the Gateway Women Meetup group or other parts of Gateway Women?
- It is only the main GW+ Community that the membership fee applies to.
- The Gateway Women Meetup Group is free and remains free www.meetup.com/gateway-women You need to be a member of meetup.com to request membership of this private group. We also have GW Meetup Groups for the USA and NZ with more to follow soon.
- The Gateway Women Living the Life Unexpected Book Club is at http://ow.ly/umyP1 and remains free. You will need to be ID-checked to join it for confidentiality reasons. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request membership if you’re not already a member of the GW Online Community and therefore already ID-checked.
- Within GW+, take some time to read the posts filed in “FAQs about G+” by looking for this section under the GW logo (only accessible on computer version, not tablet or mobile).
- Within GW+, post a question for other members – we’re a helpful bunch!
- On this page: Post a question in the comments box below for questions that you think would be helpful to be added to this list of FAQs
- By email: email email@example.com and either Helen or Jody will get back to you and do our best to help.