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)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG903 - Well House Consultants - Running and moderating forums and social media sites 
Falling out over the silliest things - (2004-08-21) 
Silence is Golden - (2004-08-26) 
Expiration dates or times on web pages - (2004-11-12) 
Spelling and grammar - (2004-11-25) 
The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06) 
Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28) 
Use me, but use me effectively - (2005-03-16) 
How not to run a forum - (2005-08-24) 
Open source questions? Anyone can ask. - (2005-12-03) 
Please Register with Opentalk - but just once! - (2006-03-19) 
Check your user is human. Have him retype a word in a graphic - (2006-07-17) 
Freedom of speech and freedom to post - (2006-08-10) 
Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21) 
Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09) 
Why shouldn't I spam? - (2006-11-13) 
Running an on line campaign - (2006-11-27) 
Why use BBC code not HTML? - (2007-02-21) 
Save the Forum - A regular clean sweep - (2007-05-17) 
No Thank You - (2007-09-23) 
The Horse goes on and on - (2007-12-15) 
Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26) 
Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29) 
Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05) 
A forum is not always the best vehicle - (2008-02-14) 
Guidlines for posting on a forum - (2008-03-04) 
I dont care - goodbye - (2008-03-09) 
Please don't shout at me! - (2008-03-16) 
First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30) 
Software - changes and delays. But courses must run on time! - (2008-06-15) 
While the world sleeps ... - (2008-08-19) 
Making it all worthwhile - (2008-12-04) 
Pettifog and forum boards away from public view - (2009-01-03) 
Ask the Tutor - Open Source forum - (2009-03-25) 
Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation? - (2009-04-03) 
Stopping forum spam - control of the signup process - (2009-05-04) 
Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forum - (2009-05-09) 
Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12) 
Forum membership - a privilege not a right - (2009-06-22) 
Computing under the influence of alcohol - (2009-08-29) 
A reluctance to move from old shoes to new - (2009-12-05) 
Flying tonight - (2009-12-05) 
How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10) 
The 500 pound question to get you started - (2010-05-26) 
Practical Extraction and Reporting - using Python and Extreme Programming - (2011-10-14) 
Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02) 
Acceptable User Policy / vexatious interacter - (2013-02-24) 
Backups, Codebase, Strategy and more - dealing with forum incidents - (2013-03-03) 
Handling requests to a forum - the background process - (2013-04-17) 
Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31) 
Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19) 
Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11) 
Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27) 
Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers - (2014-11-16) 
The unbalanced relationship between customer and provider - (2015-01-21) 
Almost so wrong, but perhaps it's right for some? - (2015-05-11)
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