MSNBC Code of Conduct - How to behave in Chat Rooms and Discussions Boards

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about MSNBC Chat. We hope this helps you enjoy’s real-time, online encounters with newsmakers and ordinary folks interested in discussing the day’s news. Before you enter MSNBC Chat Rooms, please review our online MSNBC Code of Conduct.

MSNBC Chat offers real-time online encounters with people from around the United States and around the world who want to talk about the day’s news. You will need to download the free MSNBC Chat software to participate.

MSNBC offers two kinds of Chat experiences. is an open forum for people to discuss the news with others. are online encounters with special guests — newsmakers, authors, entertainers and experts. Often, out of respect for a high-profile guest, Event Chats are conducted in a virtual auditorium, where cross-talk is silenced and only chatters’ questions and guest answers are visible. On other occasions, however, chatter comments are visible during Event Chats.

Check the MSNBC Chat Schedule for the latest updates.

To participate in an MSNBC Chat, you must sign in. The sign-in process allows you to identify yourself with a nickname that will identify you to others in the room. Here’s how:

On the Chat Schedule, page click on NewsChat or Event Chat link. This will bring you to the Chat Sign-in Page.

Enter the year of your birth date in the box provided

Enter a nickname in the box provided

Click “Enter.” This will take you to the NewsChat or Event Chat room you originally selected. You are now ready to join the conversation.

When you enter a Chat Room for the first time, the MSNBC Chat software will automatically download. If changes to the MSNBC Chat software have been made since you last chatted, the software will download again.

Click “Yes” in the Security Warning box to complete the download. (If you click “No,” the software will not install and you will be unable to chat.)

The Security Warning lets you know that you are downloading a Microsoft program. It also verifies that the program is official and components will be installed on your hard drive. These components include cookies and the actual software.

If you select “No,” the software will not download, and you will be unable to use MSNBC Chat.

A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your hard disk and contains data you provide or information about the choices you make while visiting a Web site. Cookies also function to allow you to participate in MSNBC interactive features such as Discussion Boards, Chat, Live Votes, surveys and quizzes. Your browser must be set to accept cookies for MSNBC Chat to work.

To change your Internet Explorer browser settings to accept cookies:

On the Tools menu, click “Internet Options.”

On the Security tab, click the “Custom Level” button.

Scroll to the Cookies section and click “Enable.”

Make sure that both the general cookie and the persession cookie sections are enabled.

Click “OK,” and then click “OK” again.

On the Edit menu, click “Preferences.”

Under Category, double-click “Advanced.”

Click “Cookies,” and then click “Enable All Cookies.”

Click “OK”

In order to chat you need a nickname, which identifies you in MSNBC Chat Rooms. Signing in provides you with your “identity,” which is how others in the Chat Room “see” you.

MSNBC Chat must verify your age to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other federal regulations.

In November 1998, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was approved by the U.S. Congress. This measure provides parents with specific rights regarding their children’s privacy. This was followed in April 2000 by the Federal Trade Commission rule requiring certain commercial Web sites and online service providers to obtain parental consent before collecting information from children under 13. If you are under 13 you will not be allowed to chat on MSNBC.

The process varies, depending on whether you are in or in an .


Place your cursor in the narrow pane below the conversation pane, where the chat scroll unfolds.

Type your message. Longer messages may not be visible in the Chat scroll.

Click “Send.” Your message will appear in the conversation window identified by the nickname you chose at sign-in.

In Click the “Submit a Question” button, and then type your question, using 50 words or less.

Click “Submit.”

Your question will be sent to the host moderating the Event Chat.

In a Chat Room, click the appropriate button, word or icon to perform the corresponding action.

Next to your nickname:

A tiny coffee cup icon shows you have temporarily left the conversation

Next to the input pane:

“Send” allows you to post a message

An exclamation point icon allows you to send an action message

Below the Member pane:

A slashed circle icon allows you to ignore a member’s conversation

A check mark icon allows you to “tag” or follow a member’s conversation

The Options page allows you to change what you view in the conversation pane. You can get to the Options page by selecting the link from NewsChat or Event Chat page.

Your options allow you to:

Change the appearance of the Chat Room text

Change member arrival and departure notifications

Assign sounds to chat room events

You can choose the font, style, and color of your message, select a size for all text, or turn off others’ text formatting.

Click “Settings” near the top of the chat room.

Under “My Message Format” and/or “My Display,” choose the options you want.

Click the “Done” button to set the new options.


Click “Cancel” to exit the window without keeping the changes.


Click “Use Default” to return all original Chat options.

Arrival and departure notifications are turned on by default, but you can turn them off this way:

Click “Settings” near the top of the chat room.

Under “Event Notifications,” select the notifications you want.

Click the “Done” button to set the new notifications.


Click “Cancel” to exit without keeping the changes.


Click “Use Default” to return all original Chat options.

Here are five of the most common difficulties:

The chat client may not have download correctly. Write to for instructions on how to remove the client from your machine to perform the download again.

You may experience technical difficulties due to browser incompatibility. If that is the case, before signing in, open a fresh browser window by going to “File” and clicking on “New.”

AOL users: MSNBC Chat supports AOL browser versions 4.0 and later. For the best chat experience, we suggest upgrading to the latest version of AOL, or double-clicking the Internet Explorer icon on your Windows desktop to launch Microsoft Internet Explorer

If you are connecting to MSNBC Chat from your workplace, you may be behind a company firewall designed to discourage chatting during the workday. Check with your supervisor or network administrator to determine your company’s policies on chatting at work.

You may have been banned or ejected from the Chat Room for violating MSNBC’s Code of Conduct. These temporary controls, activated by the hosts who monitor the Chat Rooms, are designed to help MSNBC maintain order and coherence in the Chat Room. To be clear about standards of behavior online, please review the MSNBC Code of Conduct.

MSNBC hosts keep order in the Chat Rooms and help keep the conversation focused by providing updates on the news and links to stories on Hosts also act as moderators for Event Chats. You’ll recognize hosts in the Chat Room by the “MSNBC” in front of their names and by the butterfly icon in the right-hand pane. Hosts are able to change the status of any member in a chat, eject or ban disruptive members for a set period of time. A Chat Room can have multiple hosts.

You can block all messages any member of the chat room sends. Messages sent by this person will not appear in the conversation pane.

In a Chat Room, click the nickname in the member list that you want to block.

Click below the member list pane.

Click “Exit” above the conversation box.


Click the “Back” button on your browser.


Click a new section on the MSNBC news menu, which is the vertical display on the left-hand side of the screen.


Close your browser.

Joining multiple chats requires opening multiple instances of your browser and following the sign-in process for each new room. You can participate in only one chat per browser instance.

Click Settings near the top of the chat room.

Under Event Notifications, click “Sounds.”

Scroll down to MSN Chat and click the event whose sound you want to change. (To hear the current sound, click the “Play” arrow next to the Browse button.)

To choose a new sound, click a new sound title in the “Name” list. (To hear the new sound, click the play arrow.)


Click “Browse,” click a sound file, and then click the “Preview” play arrow to play the new file.

Click “Apply,” and then click “OK.”


To return the default sounds, follow the first three steps above. Under Scheme, click “Windows Default.”

In the Chat Room, you can make following a conversation easier by “tagging” one or more nicknames.

Click the member’s nickname in the member list.

Click below the member list pane.

The nickname will appear in bold text with a check mark next to it whenever the person posts a message in the conversation pane.

You cannot whisper to other chatters. However, you can whisper to the Chat hosts to ask questions or report problems.

But in the interest of keeping our Chat Rooms safe and secure, whispers — private conversations that take place out of sight of hosts or other chatters — are not allowed on Please refer to the MSNBC Code of Conduct for more information about online behavior.

MSNBC Communities offer a variety of ways for you to stay connected to the news, via Chat Rooms and Discussion Boards.

MSNBC MSNBC Chat Schedule

MSNBC Discussion Boards

MSNBC Code of Conduct

MSNBC Chat Archive

MSN has a list of codes that make the various faces and symbols that can be used in chat.


Direct your questions and concerns to Chat Producer Will Femia. He can be reached at

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