Once a web forum "takes off" and becomes popular, all sorts of different users will sign up ... and with those who have a genuine interest in the topics being discussed ... I celebrate. Very quickly, some new members fade away (the "one shot posters"), others fit in and become regular members who may (or may not) grow in stature over time. And there's the occasional new member who land with such a thump that (s)he rocks the board - the new member who cannot fail but be noticed by all the regulars and semi-regulars. Sometimes, this arrival is a very welcome expert and contributor of real experiences, but at other times it can be a newcomer who is looking for their place and isn't experienced and practiced enough at life to fit in easily.
Here are a few thoughts for newcomers:
• Please don't start a new thread along the same subject line as one that's already running, but equally don't re-open a very old thread without good reason.
• When you're quite new to a forum - when you've only been there for a week or two, compared to regular members who have been there for a year or two, please fit in with their ways and styles.
• Please think what interest your post will be to others before your post, and how it will keep the board moving forward as an interesting place / fun place / information source.
• Think about the security of what you post - could your post help potential lawbreakers, compromise the safety of someone, get someone targeted for email or IRL spam ...
• Please use the ability to call in the moderators / administrators for help sparingly, and where you do, ask for rather than demand help. If you're asking about something that's already been happening or around for a while, ask yourself "have they already looked at this" before you get in touch.
• If you ask for help, you should follow up on the advise given not just disappear for days. And you should remember that you can cause real offense by seeking advise and having a lot of people give their free time to help you ... just to ignore them or to go ahead in such a way that makes it appear that you had never intended to take the advise anyway.
I suspect I could say very much the same things with regards to a real life club, association or class - these days, the Internet is really just another of life's communication channels
When a new stone lands in one of the ponds that I help run, there's sometimes a bit of a splash, and where the newcomer needs help with the basics of human interaction in an online world, it can lead to a lot of discussion and some frictions between current moderators and regular members.
Some new members find it very difficult to fit in and become team members - they may be the people who don't naturally fit in with others, who are young or who had everything done for them by a parent so lack experience, or have learning comprehension problems which make it hard for them to take in even a handful of bullet points.
The robustness of a forum is confirmed by how it can handle newcomers - and the robustness of a forum's guidelines by how well it suggests to new posters how they can best helpfully contribute and quickly become trusted and welcomed full club members. (written 2010-06-20, updated 2010-06-21)
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First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30) 
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Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09) 
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