Things a newbie should know (Help!)

Hey, in YOUR humble opinion what are some things that a newbie must know in order to survive the SDMB?

im talking about unwritten rules, cliques, things not to talk about, things i should know.

I want all the juicy stuff. :smiley:

Hit me with your best shot.

J. Jay

The first rule of the Elite Clique is Never talk about the Elite Clique.

The second rule of the Elite Clique is Never talk about the Elite Clique!

The third rule is: Now Wash Your Hands.

There are lots of in-jokes and witticisms that are so tired and irritating that we will beat you with sticks if you repeat them. I can’t even bring myself to tell you what they are, they bug me that much.

Such as that whole rumor about Ukelele Ike and the gerbil. Or, that time Ukelele Ike got on an elevator with Eddie Murphy. Then there was that whole time Ukelele Ike was hungry, angry, and something else that I can’t quite remember.

But my favorite was the time Ukelele Ike was staying in a hotel with a couple of friends and had to send $30 back to the front desk with the bellboy. Talk about hilarity.

Never forget to cite…i got burned pretty badly a while back…

The rules vary enormously between forums, especially the unwritten rules. People are merciless in General Questions - they will (rightfully, IMHO) demand hard facts and reliable cites to back up any assertions you make. In MPSIMS you can get away with pretty much anything (within the bounds of legality). Check out the forum descriptions and the “sticky” posts describing rules and etiquette for each forum.

There is a list somewhere of “questions we refuse to answer” that cover most of the annoying, “aren’t I clever” questions that newbies often ask and that have been done to death on here. Maybe someone can post a link to that list?

Since I’m not as funny as Mullinator, I’ll just give you the serious answer.

First, we can’t call you jayjay because we already have one. Maybe J.Jay will work.

Second, if you see what looks like an inside joke, but you don’t get it, please, please don’t repeat it just for the sake of doing so. As Ike said, they’re overdone.

Third, as you can tell by my post, it’s customary to bold other users’ handles. It’s not required, though, and no one’s likely to say anything if you don’t.

(I’m tired of counting.)

If you offend someone by making bigoted statements, don’t be surprised if you get jumped on by a LOT of people. (Not saying you’d do this, obviously, since with only 5 posts, I have no idea what your beliefs are).

If you do get jumped on, for whatever reason, don’t take it personally. People can only know you for how you express yourself in the written word, and it has nothing to do with who you really are as a person. Step back, take a deep breath, and everything will be okay.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar are your best friends. This is the most literate board you’ll find just about anywhere thanks to holding these basics to high standards.

In Great Debates and sometimes elsewhere, people expect you to back your opinions with cites. I stay out of Great Debates for the most part. Those people are very, very smart, and they know how to debate a topic. Obviously, no one expects a cite on why blue is your favorite color.

If you stick around, you’ll learn people’s basic demographic information through their posts (such as gender, race, approximate age, marital status, sexual preference). You might get called to the floor, however, if you ask and you don’t seem to have a legitimate point in doing so.

SO (for significant other) is a good way to refer to someone’s, well, significant other, if you aren’t sure. It’s easier than saying, "Your spouse/gf/bf/partner).

Um, I can’t think of any more.

Well, I’ll take a shot at a (semi-)helpful answer for you J. J..

  1. The search function is your friend. It’s usually bad form to ask a question that has already been answered elsewhere or bring up a debate that’s been beaten to death eighty times already unless you’ve got new data or a different angle to bring up.
    Exceptions to this seem to be the “What’s your handle mean?” or other personal polls that come around every six months or so because of all the new blood.

  2. If someone cheeses you off in a thread, ask them to clarify in that thread before you go running off to the Pit screaming bloody murder.

  3. Learn the coding. Really, it’s not that hard and it makes reading the boards much easier. My biggest pet peeve is the quote tags. Learn them, love them, never neglect them.

  4. Remember that everyone here is also a person with their own feelings, issues, and opinions. Don’t be knee-jerkingly hateful just because the anonymity makes it easy.

  5. Chances are, at some point you’re going to get called on something stupid you’ve posted. It’s really the best lesson there is for thinking twice/posting once. Try not to take it too personally, own up, and move on. It’s not worth a melt-down.

  6. Don’t give up! There’s tons of interesting, intelligent, and friendly people around here; but because there’s so many it sometimes feels as if no one’s noticing you. I was here for nearly two years, one year as a lurker, one as a registered poster, before I really felt “at home”.

Welcome to the Boards!


You do not have to include as number 3 on your list “Hi Opal!” Really. Really and truly. You won’t be banned for neglecting to do so.

You also aren’t required to swear in the Pit. Really. Nobody will seriously complain if you don’t.

Grammar, capitalization (to a lesser extent), punctuation, syntax and word choice all help us to understand what you’re saying. Use them well. Remember, this is not a chat room:)

tHaT wHoLe ThInG wHeRe YoU (gEnErAl “YoU”) wRiTe LiKe ThIs? wE aRe NoT iMpReSsEd. ReAlLy:)

I’ve got a question that doesn’t stray too far from the OP (maybe this is a detestable thing to do too…) But what about renewing old threads, is that okey dokey or do we leave them in the ground once a certain amount of time has passed?

stpauler, it depends on what the new post contains. If you’re adding information that is helpful to the original post in that thread, it’s a good idea to bump the thread with that info. If you’re just bumping it so that more people will respond, however, it’s not a good idea - with one exception, if you were the OP. You can bump your old thread once (unwritten rule).

There’s no shame in being wrong, as long as you’re willing to acknowledge it. If someone corrects you, it’s an opportunity to learn. I always try to ask for more information when someone shoots me down, and I’ve learned a lot that way.

#1 - Don’t be a jerk.

In general, if an old thread contains one or more posts by a banned poster is it wrong to bump it?

That’s really a judgment call. If it’s the train wreck that got them banned, then I wouldn’t. But if it’s a random thread that they just happened to post in, and you’ve got a good reason to bump it, then I’d say go for it.

While the mods and admins aren’t gods (and not all of them claim to be), they have paid a great many dues watching over this board and should be listened to.

If you have something you want to take up with them, it definitely is wisest if you email them rather than calling them “stupid fashist/socialist/capitalist/communist pigs” in the Pit (however, if you do decide to do that, email me first. I don’t want to miss the vivsection).


“vivisection” damn it!

Another suggestion…always preview so you don’t look like a complete idiot.


Post a link when commenting on an article in ‘Comments on Cecil’s columns.’ It’s so easy to forget and embarrassing to be reminded.

If you ever make a list, on #3, just put “Hi Opal”, everyone will love you for it.