WebMD Community: FAQs

Font Size

Getting Started

How can I get my questions about WebMD Community answered?

We have compiled some of the more popular questions and their answers here for your convenience. However, if you do not find the answer to your question, you can always post in the WebMD Welcome Community and allow both our moderators and other members to help you.

What is WebMD Community?

WebMD Community is a health information community – a place where people share information through discussions, helpful tips, and favorite resource links with experts as well as people like them. This community destination provides access to experts via WebMD-moderated Communities and also allows people to create their own Communities on topics that are important to them. Members will have the ability to decide if their Member-created Community is open to the public or invitation-only, which provides a unique layer of customization.

WebMD-moderated Communities: These groups are moderated by WebMD and feature health professionals chosen by WebMD staff to provide reliable, credible, and comprehensive information. Within these Communities, users will be able to interact with and receive feedback from these health and wellness experts. Participants also are able to post their own Discussions, Tips, and Resources to share with others.

Member-Created Communities: These groups are created and operated by people like you. Choose a topic that is dear to your heart, interesting, or relevant to you and create your own Community where you can share ideas and information with other members with similar interests! Your Member Community can be public or invitation-only. A public Community can be accessed and joined by anyone searching within Communities or through outside search engines. An invitation-only Community cannot be found through either WebMD or external searches and can only be accessed by an invitation from the administrator.

I'm new here. What should I do first?

Simply browse WebMD Community and read what others have to say. This helps you get to know the topics and the personalities who keep the conversations alive. You can see a short preview of the contents of a post, or you can click the expand button to open the post and read its entire content. In a vibrant community like WebMD Community, it won't be long before reading just isn't enough. You'll want to add your own voice. You don't have to be a member of WebMD to browse, but to join in the Discussion, add your own Tips and Resources, or create your own Community, you'll have to register.

How do I join a Community?

You will find a "Join this Community" link on all Community pages. Click on it and you will automatically join the Community. Users who join Member-created Communities will have the opportunity to add themselves to the Community Member Directory. The Member Directory lists all of the members of that Community and will showcase those who have created a Member Story in the "Spotlight: Member Stories" module.

Joining a Community will add it to your My Communities navigation bar in the left-hand column for easy access.

Why do I have both a username and a screen name?

When you register with WebMD, your username will be your email address. This is the information you'll use to log in to your WebMD Account. Remember, you can only have one account per email address.

You will also have to choose a screen name. Your screen name will be your identity in WebMD Community.

This system is in place to keep your account information secure. Be sure to record your username, screen name, and password somewhere safe so you won't forget them.

When choosing a screen name, think of something that protects your privacy. If you don't want others to know who you are, don't choose a name your friends, relatives or co-workers will recognize, and don't use a screen name that you use on another website.

Why can't I use my professional title in my screen name?

WebMD has a policy restricting screen names that include professional titles. In order to protect our members and prevent confusion, only WebMD-contracted health professionals will be allowed to use professional titles in their screen names. You will not be permitted to choose a screen name that includes such titles.

How old do I need to be to use WebMD Community?

You must be 13 or older to register with WebMD and contribute to our site.

What do I need to register with Communities?

When you register with WebMD you are automatically registered with Community. All you need is a valid email address to get started. It is that easy!

When you register with WebMD, you will be asked to enter the following information:

  • Email Address
  • Password
  • Date of Birth (to ensure that you are at least 13 years old)
  • Screen Name (your public identity in WebMD Community)
Do I need to be registered in order to use Communities?

You do not need an account to view the content in Communities. However, you must register to participate in Communities. You must be signed in to add Discussions, Tips, Resources, or other content to a Community. If you're not signed in, either click "Log In" in the upper-right corner of the page, or you'll be prompted to sign in when you try to post.

Using Communities

How can I find the Community I want?

Communities can be viewed by category or in an A-Z list. There are new Communities being created every day, and we have worked hard to make it as easy as possible for you to find a Community that is right for you. Visit WebMD Community Home Page to search for a Community.

Communities that are created and administered by WebMD Staff all have "WebMD-moderated" above the title of the Community and/or "WebMD" in the title of that community.

"Anatomy of a Community"

Explore any Community and you'll notice the following:

Community Title and Description
At the top of each Community is the title. Member-created Communities also have descriptions written by the administrator. Both WebMD-moderated Communities and Member-created Communities have an "About this Community" link in the left column. This page provides detail about what topics are covered.

WebMD-moderated Communities feature health professionals or other experts. The Expert Spotlight on the right side shows participating experts and links to their profiles with more information. WebMD Member-created Communities feature members who have created a Member Story to share with the group.

What's Popular & Helpful?
Under the Spotlight are Popular Discussions, Helpful Tips, and Helpful Resources. These links are to content that users have voted as helpful or have the most activity.

Community Moderators

The WebMD Community is monitored by a staff of WebMD Employees who ensure that members adhere to WebMD's Terms of Use. Our moderators are trained to provide guidance to our members, making sure they follow our policy and rules, as well as preserve the integrity and trust of the WebMD brand.

Moderators review content reported or escalated by our members on a daily basis. They also look in on WebMD-Moderated or Expert communities.

Some of the duties performed by Community Moderators at WebMD include:

  • Providing guidance to members in the form of content relevant to their questions and concerns.
  • Welcoming new members.
  • Offering support to members where needed.
  • Inform members of new tools, features, content and more on WebMD.
  • Providing crisis information to members in need.
  • Start conversations and encourage member engagement
  • Warn members who violate WebMD's Terms of Use.
  • Close accounts of members who are repeat violators of WebMD's Terms of Use.
How do I start a Discussion, post a Tip, or post a Resource?

You can post your own Discussion, Tip, or Resource by hovering your mouse over the "Post Now" button at the top of the page. You also can find a "Post Now" link within Popular Discussions, Helpful Tips, and Helpful Resources in the right-hand column of the page.

Once you have written your post and submitted it, you will be directed to the thread-level page where your post will be included.

How do I reply to a Discussion/Tip/Resource?

If you would like to respond to a post, simply click the "REPLY" link at the bottom of that Discussion, Tip, or Resource. A box will open in which you can type your reply. After submitting, you can click "View Your Reply" to see your post in context.

I posted a discussion, tip, resource or reply. Can I edit or delete my own post?

Once you have posted your discussion, tip, resource or reply you've agreed that the content (post) belongs to WebMD, and members may not edit or delete that post. However, if you'd like to request removal of your post, you may click the "Report This" link within the post and complete the form. We will need an explanation of why you'd like the post removed. Our staff will review the post or posts and decide whether it can be removed from the site.

Who can see my message once it is posted?

If you create a post on a public community, the post is viewable by all other members who visit that community. It is important to understand that your post is searchable both within WebMD and through outside search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. For this reason, we caution our members to create a member screen name that protects your privacy.

If you post to an invitation-only community here at WebMD, your post is not searchable by any means, either within our site or through outside search engines.

What type of content can I post?

When joining in or starting discussions in the WebMD Community we ask that you adhere to WebMD's Terms of Use, which all users must agree to when they create a WebMD member account. It's a good idea to be familiar with these Terms before taking part.

If you're starting or replying to a conversation about studies or research or information from another site, we ask that you do your best to provide links back to that content as a reference for other members.

We also ask that all of our members be courteous and respectful of others and their opinions, and adhere to the proper Netiquette when interacting in our community.

Help! I can't find my post!

For easy access to Discussions that are important to you, click on the "Add to My Watchlist" link within a Discussion you created to follow it in your Discussions Watchlist; or for a Discussion posted by another user, click on "Watch this Discussion" to add it to your Watchlist.

Your Discussions Watchlist can be found in the left column of WebMD Community. When you're logged in, it will show Discussions you have selected. Whenever a member replies to a Discussion in your Watchlist, it will alert you to the number of new replies.

You can also search for content using the search box in the upper right corner of your Community page.

NOTE: The search will only find content posted within the community you are on at the time.

How do I add a Discussion to my Discussions Watchlist or Bookmark a Community?

Whenever you join a Community or click "Bookmark this Community" in the upper-right corner of any Community page, the Community will be added to your "My Communities" list in the left navigation pane.

To add a Discussion to your Discussions Watchlist, simply click "Watch This Discussion" within the post. Your Watchlist will display the number of unread posts for your watched discussions.

You can only add Discussions to your Discussions Watchlist. Tips and Resources can't be added at this time.

If you are watching a Discussion, you also can choose to receive daily emails updating you to any new posts in the Discussions you're watching.

Can I be notified when there are new replies to Discussions I am watching in my Discussions Watchlist?

Yes. You can choose to have a daily email sent to you when new replies are made to Discussions in your Discussions Watchlist. Simply click "Preferences" below your Discussions Watchlist and turn on the email link for each Discussion you want included in your daily email update.

Remember, you must be signed in when you view your Watchlist threads for our software to "see" you. If you view your content without being signed in to your WebMD account, you may receive a Watchlist alert for that content, even though you've already seen it.

If you have problems receiving your daily email update, please write to WebMD Community Support.

How can I remove a bookmarked Community or a Discussion in my Discussions Watchlist?

To remove a Community, click on My Communities in the left navigation when you are signed in on any of our WebMD communities. At the bottom of the drop-down, click Edit. Then, select the red dot beside the community you wish to remove from your bookmarks.

To manage your Watchlist alerts, just sign in to any of our communities – such as our Welcome Community at http://exchanges.webmd.com/welcome-exchange - and look on the left side of the page until you see My Discussions. Then, click on the down arrow to the right of that heading and a menu of your discussions will show up. Choose Edit, and the Preferences box will pop up. You'll see your favorite communities listed and then a list of the discussions you are watching under My Discussions. Simply click the little envelope icon next to the discussion name for which you no longer wish to receive email updates. Or, to remove it altogether so it's not even listed under your Watchlist, click on the red 'remove' button to take off the threads you no longer want to watch.

What should I do when I see posts that aren't appropriate?

Most of the time, Communities are helpful and supportive. However, sometimes a disruption can occur. It may be a series of improper posts or simply a disruptive person. The best way to handle any problem is to not reply directly and to alert the WebMD staff. (See "How can I report content that is offensive or inappropriate?" below.)

How can I report content that is offensive or inappropriate?

Any content that is created by our users can be reported for violating WebMD's Terms and Conditions. This includes Discussions, Tips, Resources, a user's Member Story, Profile Image, or a Community.

To report content you find offensive or inappropriate, simply click Report This within the content and complete the form. To report a Community, click Report this Community in the upper-right-hand corner of the Community page.

You'll be offered several reasons within the Report This form, or you can write a short description of why you're reporting the content in the optional Description area.

Your report will be sent to WebMD Staff who will review the content and take appropriate action.

How do I know content on Communities is accurate and appropriate?

WebMD Staff Moderators actively review WebMD-moderated Communities to foster conversation and remove inappropriate content. On Member-created Communities, WebMD strongly encourages users to self-police and report inappropriate, false, or offensive content. In order to report content, simply click the Report This link within any content you feel should be reviewed by our moderators.

NOTE:Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

My post was removed. What now?

There are many reasons why your post may have been removed from a Community. Your post may have violated WebMD's Terms and Conditions, or it may have been posted beneath another message that was removed as a violation.

If you have any questions about your removed content, please write to WebMD Community Support and include your screen name and the name of the Community where your content was posted.

Why would my post be removed?

Masked/Veiled Profanity
WebMD doesn't allow profanity on Communities, even when disguised. Posts with those words are automatically blocked by our filter. We'll alert you when that occurs, by highlighting those words in red. Please edit your content and then resubmit your post.

Our Terms of Use state that you cannot use WebMD for purposes of advertising or solicitation, whether commercial or non-commercial.

Writers, Reporters, and Researchers
Writers, reporters and researchers must obtain permission from WebMD before requesting information from our users.

Discussing Personal Physicians & Recommending Physicians
For legal reasons, we ask users not to discuss their physicians or recommend anyone by name. If you want to share physician information, please do so privately, outside Communities.

Children's Privacy
We are committed to protecting the privacy of children. You should be aware that this site is not intended for or designed to attract children under the age of 13. We do not collect personally identifiable information from any person we actually know is a child under the age of 13.

Inappropriate Screen Name
Harassing, offensive, vulgar, abusive, or hateful screen names, especially those aimed at sexual orientation, gender, race, color, religious views, national origin, or disability, are not tolerated.

Protecting Personal Information
Discussions that include personal information such as addresses and telephone numbers will be removed to protect privacy. When you share your personal information in the Community, you're also sharing it with countless numbers of people that you don't know who read but don't post.

Copyright Infringement
WebMD's Terms and Conditions state that users cannot "upload or transmit any communications or content of any type to the Public Areas that infringe or violate any rights of any party." Per the Fair Use Act, WebMD has determined that users may post a one or two-line excerpt of an article or content from another site, along with the URL to that content. Please be sure that you follow copyright policy when posting Discussions, Tips, Resources, or other content in a Community.

Personal Attacks
Personal attacks on others could result in the revocation of your membership. Everyone is welcome to state his or her views and opinions, but challenges to other's viewpoints must be respectful and thoughtful, without insult or personal attack. Harassing, offensive, vulgar, abusive, or hateful communications, especially those aimed at sexual orientation, gender, race, color, religious views, national origin, or disability, will not be tolerated.

Using WebMD for any commercial purpose or to obtain direct financial gain is expressly prohibited. Communities may not be used to promote chain letters, junk mail, spamming, solicitations (commercial or non-commercial) or bulk communications of any kind. This includes posting the same message in several Communities. Posts to promote your product, service, site, or advertisements are not acceptable and will be removed.

What is an expert?

Content in a WebMD-moderated Community with an "expert" tag next to the contributor's name signals information from a reputable source.

WebMD invites academics, medical professionals, subject-matter experts, and individuals with training or experience in their fields to serve as experts in our WebMD Community.

WebMD also may invite other experts to contribute briefly to a WebMD-moderated Community. Posts by these individuals will display a "guest expert" tag.

Most of the experts who provide feedback in community are volunteers. However, some may be paid for their participation:

Funded Experts/Guests -- Participation by some of our guest experts may be funded by a sponsor or an advertiser. These guests are still vetted by the WebMD staff and their content or postings are not controlled in any way by the funding sponsor or advertiser.

Sponsored Expert/Guests -- Some experts on the site are solely provided by our sponsors. If that is the case, content created by those experts will clearly display an orange "Sponsored" tag. And the Sponsored label will be hyperlinked to the Sponsor definition. You can also read our Sponsor Policy to learn more about sponsors and how they are labeled on our site.

Members can read about experts' background, experience, and credentials by visiting their Expert Profile pages.

I posted a message to an expert, but I never got an answer. Why is that?

Health professionals and experts participate in WebMD Community to educate and inform – they're not able to diagnose or offer medical advice. Experts cannot answer every post on their Communities. If you post on a WebMD-moderated Community and don't receive an answer, it may be for several reasons:

  • The expert didn't have time to answer your question.
  • The expert has addressed this topic many times before and an answer is already available.
  • The question is too detailed and would require speculation or diagnosis.
  • The expert simply missed your question.

You may want to scroll back through the Community or perform a search of the Community to see if a similar question has been answered recently. If you're sure that your post is not asking for medical advice or diagnosis and that it has not been previously addressed, you may want to try posting your message again.

How do I create a Poll?

A Poll can be added to any new Discussion. Entering a Poll question is optional when you start a new Discussion.

When you view a Poll you created, you'll see it in its "View Results" state, which displays the number of votes for each of your Answer options. When others view your Poll, or when you view someone else's Poll, the "Vote Now" state with answer options is visible.

After voting on a Poll, the content will change to the "View Results" state.

How do I change the name of a Community I created?

Once a Community has been created, its name cannot be changed.

What if I've created a Community and decide that I no longer want to manage it?

The most successful Communities have an administrator committed to maintaining it. If you have lost interest in a Community you created, here are two options to consider:

  1. You can invite another user to become the Community administrator so that members do not lose the opportunity to share with one another.
  2. You can request the Community be deleted. If so, WebMD staff may choose to delete it or, if the Community is active, may decide to temporarily manage it or invite another member to become the administrator so its members can still participate. If you're the administrator and wish to request deletion, click the "Manage this Community" link in the left-hand column, and then <Request Deletion of this Community>. Complete the form and submit it to WebMD staff, who will review your request.
Is the content I contribute to WebMD Community searchable by external search engines?

All content members contribute to WebMD-moderated Communities and public Member-created Communities is searchable by external search engines. WebMD-moderated Communities also are searchable through WebMD's search engine.

Content on an Invitation-Only Community cannot be searched by either WebMD's search engine or external search engines. It remains accessible only to members of the Community.

Can I block or ban users from a Community I create?

Only WebMD staff can ban a member from using or viewing WebMD Communities.

While you can't ban a user from viewing or participating in your Community, you can create an Invitation-Only Community where you can manage who is permitted to participate.

(See "Can I create a Community where I control who is able to participate?" below.)

Can I create a Community in which I control who is able to participate?

Invitation-Only Communities allow administrators to control who can view the Community and who can invite others to the Community. One setting allows only administrators to invite others, while another allows any existing member to invite others to the Community. Whichever you choose, the Community remains visible only to those who are members or invited to be members.

Invitation-Only Communities cannot be searched by either WebMD's search engine or external search engines, and a user who is not a member cannot join the Community without an invitation.

While these permission levels are unique to Invitation-Only Communities, once a user is a member of the Community, he or she cannot lose their membership status.

Can my Community have more than one administer?

a Community can have any number of administrators. However, once a user is made an administrator, he or she will have the same rights as all other Community administrators and their status can't be changed by any other administrator. Once a member is promoted to administrator, he or she has control over the Community settings and can only be removed by WebMD staff.

Why can't I see the content I posted to a Community?

There are several reasons why you may not see your content. First, make sure you're viewing the correct page. In an active Community new content is contributed constantly and your post may be further down in the Community. Check the timestamp of the posts on the current page to see if your post would appear earlier or later in the page count. Content that has been reported as potentially offensive or inappropriate may have been removed by WebMD staff. If you feel there may be a technical problem or that your post has been removed in error, please contact our staff at CommunityManagement@WebMD.net for further information.

What can I do if I received the message "your browser does not allow cookies" or that a pop-up has been blocked?

Some aspects of WebMD Community require you to allow cookies and/or pop-ups to be enabled.

Whichever browser you use, it should allow you to adjust settings to permit these for Communities while still enabling you to prohibit cookies and pop-ups from sites you don't trust or with which you're unfamiliar.

What are the Terms and Conditions for WebMD Community?

There are no separate Terms and Conditions for WebMD Community; however, all registered members must agree to WebMD's Terms and Conditions.

Creating & Updating Your Profile

How can I add/edit my own story to the Spotlight: Member Stories area?

To add your story to a Member-created Community, you must first be a member of that Community. If you're not yet a member, simply click Join This Community in the upper-right corner of the page.

If you're already a member, click Edit Your Story in the Spotlight: Member Stories area to either add your story or edit a story you've already written.

Remember, you will have to create a separate Member Story for each Community you join.

Who can view my Community Member Story?

Your story will be viewable to other members of the Community and may be featured in the Spotlight: Member Stories area within the Community. Be sure that the information you include is something you're comfortable with sharing in a public setting. Member Stories on Invitation-Only communities are viewable only by the members who have been invited to be a part of that community.

Image Guidelines

Adding an image or photo to your Member Profile is a great way to express yourself and allow other members to get to know you better. You can change your image as often as you like.

Terms of Use
Before uploading photos or images, please read and agree to WebMD's Terms and Conditions. This helps protect both you and WebMD.

Image Size
You are able to upload an image of up to 5MB, which WebMD will resize to fit within the application in which you are participating.

Type of File
The preferred image formats are .JPG, .JPEG, or .GIF files. Animated files are not a preferred format and may not perform correctly on our site.

Click the My Account link in the global header in the upper-right corner of your page, select "Change" next to "Picture" on the My Account page, and then browse your computer for the photo or image you want to display as your Profile Photo. Only one Profile Photo will be stored at a time. Any updated Profile Photo will overwrite the prior one.

Why Will My Image Not Upload?

  • The file size may be too large.
  • The image format may not be supported by WebMD.
  • If neither of these is the problem, you may want to post your issue on our WebMD Welcome Community.

WebMD Default Avatar
If you don't want to upload an image from your personal files, a default avatar will be set for your image.

Reporting Offensive Images
Have you come across an image for another member that doesn't adhere to WebMD's Image Terms of Use? You can report the photo by writing to our Customer Service team using the Contact Us link in the footer of our site or by writing to WebMD Community Support and include a link to the page.

How do I edit or change the information associated with my account?

If you need to change the personal information you provided at registration, click "My Account" in the upper-right corner of your page and follow the links to change the information.

Crisis Assistance

I am feeling unsafe or I am thinking of hurting myself

WebMD provides a link to Crisis Assistance on each of our Community pages. The link to these resources can be found on each Community page below the Community navigation links and above the ad in the left-hand column. These resources are phone numbers and links to sites where members can find information and support when in crisis.

If you find that you are in crisis for any reason, we urge you to use these Crisis Assistance Resources or call 911 for immediate help.

Emails & Email Problems

What can I do to make sure I stay safe while I'm online?

WebMD has no jurisdiction over your private email. That's why it's so important not to give out your personal email address on Communities. In fact, this is a good time to go over some rules of basic Internet safety:

  • Never give out too much personal information. Whether it's your full name or detailed information about where you work or live, keep such information private.
  • Never use your first and last name as your member name.
  • Never put your phone number on a public Community for all to see.
  • Never give anyone your account password.
  • Never give your private home address.
  • If you really want to share an email address, create a free, throwaway one like those available through Yahoo or Google.
  • Be careful whom you trust. We want to take everyone at his or her word, but it's possible that some of the people who post messages are not who they seem to be.
  • For more information, review our Privacy Policy
Will I ever get emails from WebMD Community?

There are several types of email notifications:

  • If you create a Community, we will send you a welcome email with important information about your new Community.
  • If you turn on the email notification for Discussions in your My Discussions Watchlist, you'll receive a daily email when new posts appear in those Discussions. If you later decide you no longer want to receive email updates, you can turn it off by selecting My Discussions in the left navigation bar on a community page, and clicking Edit.
  • If a member wishes to share a Community with you, we will send you a link to that Community along with important information about the Community.

Sharing Your Ideas

I have an idea I really want to tell you about. How can I share it with WebMD Community?

You can post your ideas for WebMD Community on our WebMD Welcome Community, where both users and moderators will have the opportunity to read and discuss your ideas. Who knows? You may see your idea grow into something entirely new, and it may even find its way into WebMD Community!

I have a complaint. Who should I write to?

If you have a complaint about something on WebMD Community, we want to hear from you. Write to us at WebMD Community Support.

WebMD Gets Social

Did you know that WebMD has sites on social spaces such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+? We hope you'll visit us there as well!

Like WebMD on Facebook

Follow WebMD on Twitter

Add WebMD on Google+

Advertising & Sponsorship

How can I advertise with or apply to be a sponsor for a Community?

If you're interested in sponsoring a Community, please send an inquiry to WebMD Ad Sales Inquiries and include details about your advertising needs.