Let's Make Robots!

Guidelines for new users and first time posters - aka newbies

A while back I think there was some talk about having a questionnaire  or test when a  new user signs up. I, at first did not agree with this but as more and more newbies join, I think that this may be a good idea if nothing, to instill some ground rules for said nubes.

I know this forum is super kind to all of it's users but as of late we've started to see postings that in some peoples(mine) eyes are unnecessary and in some cases downright silly.

Now I understand that we all start out as noobes and from there we learn about this great little world of the wide interwebs that we live in.  So lets help to teach these newbies by pointing them in the right direction and letting them find the info on their own, not just spoon feed it to them. We don't need to do this, in fact it helps nobody and we end up getting posts on how we use the shout box...or how to delete a shout(eventually).

Anyway, sorry for the slight tangent, back to guidelines. Lets consider this and see if we can come up with a new faq that the user can read quickly and learn to help themselves.  Additionally, we should have a set of rules that pop up when a user posts for the first time. It can mention such things as, have you googled this yet or  have you looked at the manual. Hopefully this will help them to learn to help themselves.

 

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Yeah, I agree with you guys, there has been a ton of new accounts and that number practically increases expnonentially every year. A lot of nice guys joined, bur I'm willing to bet you not all of them came to build robots. I mean, I joined like a year ago ( I think?) and there was very little spam, if any. Now this site is filled with spammers, linking everything from drugs to porn. Jeez.

But I know that's not what you guys were really talking about. In my opinion, noobs are fine just so long as they act realistic. For the most part, this site doesn't have many text-geeks, especially since most "change their ways" soon after joining. I used to be one of those, but I look back in my e-mail trash and past commens and I think ,"What an idiot I sounded like!" This is a great site for help, as there are many great people. So naturally, fellow robot building noobs come here first. Then of course they ask seemingly stupid questions (although I do agree with the shoutbox one) but you guys just have to see both ways. 

 But anyways, I agree with all you guys. Some people though just get too stiff. Be patient.

This thread didn't last very long, I was hoping we'd hear more from more people. I want to thank voodoobot for starting it, Frits for giving immediate "high up" acknowledgement, and emuller, TheGrue, and TinHead for being newer visitors who cared enough to weigh in on the subject. I will buy you each a beer one day.

This type of thing has come up again, I just wanted you guys to know it's not been forgotten. I know there still needs to be something that enforces the reading of these pages as well. As I'm sure you have heard, we are currently in the midst of some big (but hopefully nigh-invisible) changes "under the hood". After that work is done we'll be able to look into the best way (for everyone) to make this required reading for newcomers.

<begin little rant>

As my daily job is as a support guy on Linux and VoIP solutions I get stupid questions every day, and it beats the crap out of me to answer them. For gods sake people, please read the manuals and use Google!!

Or at least if you don't post a clear and understandable question like:

Ok I tried this and that, but I get the following error <... error ...>, what is wrong?

Not like:

OMG my thingy does not work, WHY?

</end little rant>

Ok little work related trauma here ... back to you. 

I dunno, voodoo, maybe this should have been a blog instead of a forum topic... *ducks* Sorry, had to say that ;)

Seriously though, I'm all for getting the general consensus and adding it to the FAQ and Best Practices pages, or maybe even consolidating the two, then having it be part of the "welcome process". Almost every forum I've ever met has a checkbox at signup saying "Yes, I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of use for this website". Our TOS could instead be the FAQ, and the FAQ should clarify "RTFM, Google is your Friend, Think Before Posting".

While this place is generally kind to people, I'd really like it if we could put somewhere in the signup process something to the effect of "We can be a bunch of assholes, tread appropriately", or "If you act like a dumbshite you will be treated as such".

I believe Frits created this place to meet like-minded people, and to help noobs figure out that they, too, can build robots. I don't believe that means "You, too, can build a robot, here, we'll hold your hand through the entire process. Aw, hell, just let us do it for you.". Please correct me if I'm wrong, Frits, with as much flame as possible ;)

@emuller, you may be new here, but that doesn't make you a noob.

@voodoo, re: "...at times written responses to some only to cancel out and leave it be"; It took me over 30 minutes to write this post, rereading parts and deleting/modifying sentences.

re: I dunno, voodoo, maybe this should have been a blog instead of a forum topic... *ducks* Sorry, had to say that ;)

General discussion seemed to be appropriate.  :)

 re:"We can be a bunch of assholes, tread appropriately", or "If you act like a dumbshite you will be treated as such

I lol'd  :D

Frits did a great job  in creating this site. We have a great group of people and it is ever expanding. I guess we're just at a point where we should look at setting some ground rules so things don't get carried away.

 

Here is an example from another site that I'm on. this is rule #4 of posting on forums.

Rule #4: Common or Repetitive Questions

Be sure you've done research on the question before you ask. This site has been around a while now, and most of the basic questions and topics posted by newbies have already been covered here and in other resources. Nobody wants to answer the same questions over and over again. We've put together a list of links that should answer 95% of all  questions you might have in one of these areas. Read through them before posting a question.

 

This is an example of what comes up with the posting form.

Make sure you've researched this topic before you ask a question. Do not post a common or repetitive question alreadyanswered in the FAQ Forum or the Tech Guide or you'll be Warned/Suspended. And do some keyword searches too.

Be sure your post does not violate our posting policies.

Be descriptive with your thread title.

Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation if posting in our Tech Forums. Internet Explorer users should download IEspell. We suggest using . Use Dictionary.com if necessary.

Failure to follow these steps could result in a warning or possible account suspension. 

 

This may seem draconian but the posting are for the most part clear and understandable. 

Being a Noob here myself but not to other forum sites I am suprised that something like this was not in place. I just assumed that it was and followed the netiquette that I have learned from using other sites all these years. Yes I believe that a FAQ with what is acceptable netiquette for this site [or any] is a must. Like:

[Samples]

1) Robot projects have to be actual robots under construction not plans for a robot that is not under construction.

2) Plans or "I want to build this robot" should be posted in Blogs until robot construction is starte.

3) Before posting a question in the forums check all archive posts for the question [I stole this from other sites]

[end of samples]

This info along with Voodoo's "example" from another site should be created. I would LOVE to see it so that I can make sure that I do not step on anyones toes or offend.

Please! if you find THIS post offensive, don't take it out on TOBI. He is just a helpless robot hoping to run some day...

As Frits pointed out to another user where to post web links. I also think a "Feature List" should be included with a "This is were you look for and post..blah, blah, blah"

I now know where to post web links, I just don't know where to find the comprehensive list of everyone's postings to the web links. I know what you would say [Google it].

Well, I think guidelines are sensible. and to be honest, I was a little suprised that such a thing didn't already exist here. The only disadvantage I can see is that deciding to suspending/warn somone can be subjective - as long as it the guidlines are clear enough and not open to reinterpretation, then I don't think they can hurt.

As a noob, my 2c.;

Please read this with a grain of salt - it's difficult to convey my thoughts over email and I think this is a topic of some delicacy. Above all, please remember that I DO appreciate the intention for streamlining the site and making it easier to use. okay. whew.

There are sites that have tests and they come across as hostile;  arrogant, pretentious, unfriendly, elitist and egotistical.  A "boys own" club for the people who have made the grade, who all sit around in quiet confidence that everyone has exactly the same opinions, view and ways of expessing it. Having ranted about that, I think a guideline about the appreciated language and style would be absolutely appropriate.

Okay, I didn't meant that to sound as nasty as it did - really. I'm a nice guy. even if I am a noob.  Please don't kill my bots.

I  don't see why it's not possible to simply ignore a post that is objectionable or irrelevant. For example, presumably it is possible to read the mindboggling deluge of prepubescent crap (and sadly enough, the postpubescent crap too)  on youtube and ignore it. People are free to choose which posts they want to read, and similarly people post by choice; noone is forcing anyone to read, or post at all! It is just as irritating to read a series of basic newbie questions as it is to read a series of posts about people complaining about newbies (more so actually, because of the expectation of some level of maturity and tolerance..).

I think it's fair enough to require that some reasonable approximation of english (or whatever language is best, but my danish is bad)  is used - as opposed to that breathtakingly stupid text speak.  I think it's fair enough to insist that questions be coherent and answerable, and I think it's a good idea to have an easy link to it such a guideline so that it's possible to quickly point it out to people who aren't being helpful (this would include flamers and trolls).

But an initiation ritual??! That's soooo '80's dude!