Questions about the site: Getting started and using the site.

What is ChicagoNow and why should I use it?

ChicagoNow is an online community created for Chicagoans by Chicagoans.

Every day, ChicagoNow bloggers post more than 100 entries to the site about local topics. And every day, thousands of ChicagoNow users comment on those entries. The result is a lively, authentic conversation about all things Chicago.

Who owns ChicagoNow?

The site was created by the Chicago Tribune Media Group, which also operates chicagotribune.com, TribLocal.com, ChicagoShopping.com, Chicago's metromix.comredeyechicago.com and ChicagoMag.com among others along with a few print publications. ChicagoNow is run by community manager Jimmy Greenfield.

What is the difference between Chicago Tribune and ChicagoNow? Why do you have two different content sites?

Both aim to inform, entertain and engage Chicagoans. Chicago Tribune content is produced by journalists; ChicagoNow content is produced by the communities that make up the site. We expect different audiences--we want different audiences--so we have different sites.

One other difference: There is no space between Chicago and Now.

How can I participate, how can I become a part of ChicagoNow?

You can participate as a user by registering for a profile on ChicagoNow. All users can post comments on ChicagoNow blogs. The only way to have an avatar to appear with your profile is to create an account at Gravatar.com with the same email address you used for your ChicagoNow account.

If  you are a blogger and think your blog may be a good fit for the ChicagoNow network, please pitch us right here. For more details, see below.

Where should I start and what should I know about before starting?

For starters, you can read our Community Guidelines, Blogger Guidelines, Terms of Service and Comments Policy. After that, skim our homepage to see some of our freshest and most popular content. Look for blogs that interest you on the "Explore Blogs" pages. See a comment that annoys you? Then post your own response to that comment! We love a heated discussion at ChicagoNow.

Do you have a newsletter I can/should receive?

To receive the latest headlines, you can subscribe to the ChicagoNow RSS feed. Each blog also has its own RSS feed. You can access each blogs RSS feed by adding /rss to the end of the main URL. For example, for the Cubs Den blog it would be http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/rss.

How can I get ChicagoNow on the go?

Visit chicagonow.com. Our site is responsive and should work with most Web-enabled phones.

Where are you on social-media sites?

We aren't hard to find.

Twitter: @chicagonow

Facebook: Facebook.com/chicagonow

If I have a question not listed above, how can I get in touch?

We welcome feedback at staff@chicagonow.com. We receive many e-mails, but will do our best to get back to you quickly.

Questions about the commenting policy and comment moderation.

What is your commenting policy and why do you have one?

For our complete details, see our Comments Policy.

Why do I need to log in (provide credentials such as e-mail, etc.) to leave a comment?

We believe this will encourage more responsible comments and generate a higher level of discussions across the site. It also helps cut down on spam. We have also given our bloggers the option to install Facebook Comments as their blog's commenting format.

Why was my comment removed?

Your comment was most likely removed for violating our commenting policy. If you feel that this was a mistake, do not hesitate to get in touch via email at staff@chicagonow.com.

Can I edit or delete a comment I made?

No. If for some reason you want to do so, contact the ChicagoNow staff.

How do I report a comment that violates the Comment Policy?

The bloggers are responsible for maintaining community on their blogs, so please contact the blogger first.

Questions about registration and related features.

How do I sign up?

Go here: http://www.chicagonow.com/#join

How do I change my password, request a new password if I forgot mine (and don't have the log-in email)?

To change your password, click on "Sign in" on the right side of any page and sign in with your current information. Once you are signed in, click on your username in the upper right and you can choose a new password from the pop-up box. If you've forgotten your password, click on "Sign in" on the right side of  any page then submit your email address on the "Forgot password?" box that pops up. A new password will be e-mailed to you if you have an existing ChicagoNow account.

It says I'm already registered but I'm not. What do I do? How do I report identity theft, someone pretending to be me, or an impostor or fake profile?

If you think someone has signed up for a ChicagoNow account by fraudulently using your e-mail address, send an e-mail to staff@chicagonow.com and one of our staff members will work with you to resolve the situation.

Is it okay to make multiple profiles or fake profiles on the site?

No. If we find that you've created multiple profiles or fake profiles, they will be removed by our staff.

Questions regarding privacy, security, and reporting problems.

Why are you asking for my information?

We require only two pieces of personal information from you to register as a user: a valid e-mail address and a zip code. We need the e-mail address to confirm you are you and we want the zip code so we can see if we are actually creating the Chicago-focused site we hope we are.

What are you going to do with my information (and under what circumstances)?

Our Privacy Policy outlines what we will and won't do. We will use your information only as permitted by law. When you register, you are given an opportunity to opt out of receiving e-mails from advertisers.

What information is private and what information is public? Do you have different levels of privacy settings? How do I block some people to prevent them from looking at my activity?

Other users can generally see your user name and display name on the site as well as any biographical information that you choose to add to your profile page. They can also see your site activity in the form of public comments on blogs. At this time there are not different levels of privacy settings on ChicagoNow and you are unable to block others from seeing your comments on the site.

What are some precautions I can take to protect my privacy and participate on your site safely?

First, always keep your account information private and do not share your log-in information with anyone. If you are concerned about privacy, you may also want to consider choosing a user name and display name that do not display any personal information like your real name, e-mail address. You may also want to refrain from providing overly specific biographical information in the customized areas of your personal profile page.

How do I report spam, misuse of site features, harassment, abuse, etc?

E-mail your blogger or the staff@chicagonow.com. All users are expected to abide by our Terms of Service and offending users will be removed from the site.

How do I safely delete my account, what information will be retained?

If you wish to disable your account, please contact us at staff@chicagonow.com.

Who monitors and moderates ChicagoNow?

ChicagoNow's bloggers are charged with maintaining their communities as they see fit within the Community Guidelines and Comment Policy.

The site also is staffed by a community manager who works with bloggers to help them cultivate their audiences.  The manager keeps the homepage fresh, discusses ideas with bloggers, respond to users' emails, monitor the site as a whole, brainstorm new features and represent ChicagoNow at public events.

How do I distinguish between spam and content?

Any official correspondence with ChicagoNow central should come from an @chicagonow.com or @tribune.com address, although individual bloggers may not. If you have any concerns in this area, the best thing to do is e-mail us at staff@chicagonow.com and one of our staff members will help answer your question.

How do I lodge a complaint or file a support ticket?

E-mail us via staff@chicagonow.com and one of our staff members will work with you on the problem.

Is there a minimum age requirement to use ChicagoNow or specific ChicagoNow blogs?

ChicagoNow.com does not knowingly collect or solicit personal information from or about children under 13 except as permitted by law. If you believe ChicagoNow.com has any information from or about anyone under 13, please contact us.

There is not a minimum age requirement to read ChicagoNow's blogs. However, a number of ChicagoNow blogs feature
content that is intended for mature individuals and language that some might consider offensive. Bloggers are  encouraged to warn their readers of sensitive topics or content, but readers participate in the site at their own risk.

I find a specific post to be offensive, how do I voice my concern?

The comment board is the best place to register your concern. Bloggers should be reading their comments and they can reply to your comment.

I find a factual error in a blog post, what should I do?

We have a Corrections Policy. We want you to start by reporting the error to the blogger and usually the comments section under the post is the best place to lodge the complaint.

Questions regarding features and usability issues

What operating systems and browsers do you support, what combination do you recommend for the best experience?

We do our best to make ChicagoNow work in as many browsers and on as many computers as possible, but we are optimized for display on more modern browsers like FireFox 3.0 and later, Internet Explorer 7 and later, Safari 3.0 and later, Google Chrome 2.0, etc. Internet Explorer 6 in particular presents problems for ChicagoNow (and many other websites) and users who can do so are encouraged to upgrade from IE6 to a more recent version like IE7 or IE8 for their safety and an over all better browsing experience.

Why do you have so-and-so feature but not so-and-so feature?

We are constantly working to improve the ChicagoNow experience for all our users. If you have a suggestion for a particular feature you'd like to see on the site, send your thoughts to staff@chicagonow.com. We have an ambitious vision for ChicagoNow and plan on taking our time to perfect new features before releasing them.

How do I submit an error report if something isn't working as expected.

E-mail us via staff@chicagonow.com and one of our staff members will work with you on the problem.

Questions about partnerships and collaborating with ChicagoNow.

How do I spread the word about ChicagoNow or share specific posts or blogs I like?

We encourage you to share your favorite posts and blogs with friends via email,  sites like Twitter and Facebook,  and your own blog if you have one.

I'm an entrepreneur, and I have a start-up that I think will be of interest to you. Who should I get in touch with?

We like ideas. If you have a good one, please send it our way via email at staff@chicagonow.com.

I'm a PR person. Who should I get in touch with to get a product reviewed or featured, and what should I know about the process?

If you want to reach a specific blogger, please contact them directly. You will find each blogger's contact info on his or her blog's about page.

If you want to reach the ChicagoNow staff, please email us at staff@chicagonow.com.

I don't have my own blog but I'd like to start one with you. What do I need to know and where do I apply?

We're always looking for new bloggers to add to the ChicagoNow network. Even if you're not a blogger yet but you have the drive and a great idea for a Chicago-specific blog, we want to hear from you. Send us your pitch here.

I'm an active blogger, and I have a blog that I would like to bring over to ChicagoNow. What do I need to know, where do I apply, and what can I expect?

We receive many pitches from bloggers who run great sites. The blogs we're most interested in are Chicago-focused, have a specific niche, are frequently updated and already home to an engaged community of users. If this sounds like you, send us your pitch here.

Who owns the content on ChicagoNow if I post something to the site?

Great question and one of the first we got when we approached bloggers about joining the ChicagoNow network. Our deals with the bloggers say we have nonexclusive rights to the content. The bloggers retain ownership of their content. This will mean more to community members when we move toward functionality that will allow all ChicagoNow users to post text, video and photos. We're working to come up with a fair and practical policy.

I would like to advertise on your site(s). What do I need to know and how do I get started?

Display ads and sponsorship opportunities are available at a number of levels to meet your business' specific needs. To sign up, contact Mary Eileen Weber at MAWeber@Tribune.com.


Questions from programmers and developers.

What kind of tools and applications already exist for extending the functionality of ChicagoNow?

At this time, ChicagoNow offers RSS feeds for each individual blog and for the site as a whole. We are always looking at useful new tools that would benefit our user community, though, and if you have any ideas or suggestions send them to us at staff@chicagonow.com

Do you plan on having public APIs and is there a timeline in place to release them?

We do not currently have a public API or a timeline for releasing one, but we are always considering our options in this area. If you have particular suggestions for us in this area, send your thoughts to staff@chicagonow.com

I have an idea for a tool or application for ChicagoNow. What do you recommend I do?

If you have particular suggestions for tools or applications we should build, send your thoughts to staff@chicagonow.com