Naked Newbie Coming Out

::cautiously approaches lectern, gathers his courage, and speaks to the Teeming Millions::

Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is algernon… and I am a newbie.

I feel a little exposed, hence the title of this OP (plus of course the attention getting aspect of the word “naked”), for newbies seem to be looked upon with a certain amount of skepticism and disdain. Low posters in general often seem to generate a cold sneers, as if the post count is a leading indicator of intelligence or ability to contribute. To be fair however, I’ve also seen courteous warm welcomes extended to newbies. Yet I still feel like I’m a stranger attending a cocktail party where everyone already knows one another.

First, a bow of admiring appreciation to all you out there (well, all of you but you… and you know who you are)… as a group you are intelligent, witty, thoughtful, engaging, and entertaining… which is all a bit intimidating to a mere mortal like me.

What leads me to these attributions? As I think you would describe it, I’ve lurked within this space for a couple of years. I start every day with my daily dose of Calvin and Hobbes and the Straight Dope. I personally feel that lurking seems a little too sinister of a term for what I’ve been doing, but nonetheless, it’s a term you all seem to understand.

Being a newbie, I’m a little afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes don’t seem to be tolerated very well, but here goes…

I actually have three questions that I think are appropriate for this Forum.
[li] I can’t figure out how to modify the font or fontsize, or how to do other non-trivial text tricks. Can someone please direct me?[/li][li] Reading about BANNED members, I think I understand what a “sock puppet” is, and this was originally going to be a question asking what “trolling” was, but that has now been answered, so my real question becomes “would my gently misleading title be classified as trolling?”[/li][li] And I also think I understand the term “hijack”… but could someone please clarify it for me?[/li][/ul]

And one more question which may be more appropriate for the IMHO or MPSIMS Forums, but here goes anyway… (mods, please be gentle with me)
[li]Where do you people find the time to do all this posting??? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not accusing you of not having a life, but heck… don’t you have a life? I have a more-than-full-time job, and time consuming kids, and a house and spouse to maintain, etc. A mere peek into the SDMB and I get pulled into time-sucking vortex. When I get spewed back out, I often find an hour or more has passed. And this was before I was a member! I shudder at the possible consequences of actually having the ability to post replies. Are there time-saving tips anyone has to keep up with all the interesting threads, so that I don’t become addicted, lose my job, and end up as a broken down street beggar?[/li][/ul]

Lastly, I’d like to give public thanks to TubaDiva for her incredibly responsive and helpful email answers to the questions I had prior to officially becoming a doper.

To the rest of the Teeming Millions, I feel honored to be a member… I will try to not disappoint you.

::humbly takes his seat and anxiously awaits a response::

Welcome to the board!

I’m the master of the poorly-researched off-the-cuff answers, so here goes.

You can’t edit the font, except for using the symbols font, which I don’t remember how to do.

You can change type size to small by using the {sub} and {/sub} commands (substitute square brackets for the curly ones). I don’t think you can just jump to a different type size.

However, if somebody has done something cool and you want to look at it, hit the Quote link below their post to see what they typed.

Nope, not trolling. Trolling is posting an intentionally misleading OP purely to get people to fly off the handle and blather on, when you really don’t care what they have to say. Don’t do that.

Hijacking is when you have an important point to make that has absolutely nothing to do with the OP. Like this:

Flowers joke line forms to the left.

I have the ragged-edge-of-destruction job: I’m here 40 hours a week with maybe 2 hours of work to do. I have told my bosses about this, and they say don’t worry, we’ll find you work… eventually. So, I have a lot of time on my hands to post responses, balanced against the possibility of getting fired.

Flowers joke line forms to the left.

Ahhh… that’s very tricky (and smart). Thank you.

What an unfortunate waste of your time. My staff and I have the opposite problem: each of us having 80 hours of work to do in a (supposed) 40 hour week.

Hi, algernon, have a flower.
Welcome to the Boards.

Ahhhh, to the left was it, Ethilist?

**That’s an illusion. Lots of folk here do know one another and have met up too, but there are teeming millions of us who’ve never done anything more than sit here commenting on whatever happens to trundle past. Fortunately this board is one in a million, because its denizens make a conscious effort not to become a clique. The mods are also excellent at avoiding cliquism.

Once again, the newbie thing is a bit of an illusion. You’re not a newbie just because you have a low post count - I consider myself a newbie with over 600 posts, and you’ve been lurking far longer than I’ve been posting. Regarding mitsakes, it’s well to remember that dry humour and sarcasm often doesn’t translate awfully well on screen. That is to say, if someone responds to a mistake with what seems like a heartless and hateful diatribe, he/she may well just be taking the mickey. I believe the official line is that you stop being a newbie when you’ve made mistakes, been debagged, and genuinely don’t care. If the person berating you makes a good point, take it on board. Otherwise ignore it, or if they keep on, either take it to the Pit if you’re feeling argumentative, or complain to a mod. Chances are most folk’ll be on your side.

If I were to enter a thread on dentistry, and if I were to find that this thread was veering dangerously towards old, tired and repetitive arguments I’d heard a thousand times before, and if I were to try to draw attention to this by pointedly changing the subject, for example posting an entirely incongruous comment on, say, the amount of hazelnuts one can realistically expect to find in a modern day Topic bar, then that would be a hijack. The number of people who join in the new conversation is exactly proportional to the number who support my mutiny. This is a complex manoeuvre best left to experts who have a good feel for board opinion. Otherwise your hijack will be ignored, or far worse, a mod may take exception to it. The modern fashion is to use pseduo-code like “[hijack]” and “[/hijack]” to surround and deprecate one’s own pointless meanderings. This is however a departure from the original point of hijacking, which of course is not to return the thread to its original course as soon as one’s point has been made.

I do so have a life. Once, back in the Beforetime, in the Longlongago, I posted many times a day. Now I show up maybe once a week and post as much as I can. I miss the place, but my postcount continues to rise. It is of course true that postcount is largely irrelevant (it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with your post that counts) but we all measure our, um, postcounts occasionally, don’t we? Here’s hoping there’s a prize for the biggest postcount once Cecil receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

Welcome, algernon. There is a FAQ page that you can access from the question mark button ("?") at the top of this page. It grew from a “how do I…” thread here in this forum. It has lots of info regarding vB coding (how to do the “tricky” stuff. (also, if you find something in a post that you want to see the coding for, you can hit the “quote” button at the bottom of that post. It will bring up the post in vB code format. It’s sort of a cheat sheet.

So, what we know of you thus far:

You have a literary reference in your name
You use correct spelling and grammar
You bothered to learn at least the basics of vB code (at least enough to italicize) before posting
You care enough to not want to troll or commit other misdeeds, and ask when you’re not sure of the regulations
You like Calvin and Hobbes

All of these are good things. You’ll fit in just fine here; don’t worry about being ostracized. If it sometimes seems like newbies are treated harshly, that’s probably mostly a selection effect: If a person doesn’t fit in here, then they’ll leave before they become anything more than a newbie. Welcome, and may your stay with us be a long and pleasent one.

Thank you Chronos for your kind words of encouragement. I feel less trepidation already.

Thanks for the welcome Hamlet (from one literary character to another).

PS - You have no idea how happy it makes me that people know the source of my name (not that it surprises me though)

So… you’re saying size does matter?

Seriously… thank you for your thoughtful explanations to my questions. I really appreciate it.

Mis-subjectizing, as in this case using ‘naked’ when it’s not appropiate, is a big no-no in my book. But welcome anyway.

But as a sin, how does using an “inappropriate” word stack up against making a word up yourself? Just curious.

Welcome, Algernon! You’ll do great here. :slight_smile:

Welcome to the SDMB, Algernon.

You’ll do just fine.

Faulty accusation? I just reread the OP. The subject is explained as follows:

So, Algernon’s use of ‘naked’ was not merely attention-seeking.

If there is a prize for the best introductory post, Algernon would have to be a candidate: humor, interesting questions, impressive layout, good spelling and punctuation. I’ll bet he can’t keep it up!

Algernon has already given another great name for a rock band: TIME SUCKING VORTEX. Welcome a-board.

I read the OP DopeyDave, it says clearly: "(plus of course the attention getting aspect of the word “naked”)

Welcome, algernon.

I once performed in the play version of “Flowers for Algernon.” Deeply moving show. I cried every night.

Have fun here.

Believe me, I thought thrice about doing it… I knew it teetered on the edge of what is acceptable, but I didn’t do it completely gratuitously (as DopeyDave noted), and I feel good about it in a perverse sort of way, for after all, it generated a comment from handy… and any comment to a newbie from a 11,000+ poster is something to be (sort of) proud of.

I read the book when I was young, and I was similarly moved (hence the Username). I can’t imagine performing it night after night. My hat’s off to you.