What would you say to newer members of the CD community?

It’s that time of the year again! It’s the off-season, and we have nothing better to do than to flood the gallery with a bunch of non-sense pictures and chit chat all the time, right? Wrong! (I am just kidding about the pictures and chit chat of course, please don’t rain me with negative reps :wink: )

Off seaon is when we have some time to contemplate what has happened over the past year or so. We can use some of that contemplation around here just about now. After all, you’ve gone through another stressful year, and suddenly have all these time on your hand with nothing serious to talk about. So? Let’s talk about some serious stuff!

Most of you are now officially regular members of the Chief Delphi Forum. You’ve spent a year asking and answering questions, so you have no excuse to post things like “I NEED HELP WITH PNEUMATIC RIGHT NOW PLZ HLP!!!” in the general forum. Now that you are regular members to the Chief Delphi Forum, I want you guys to think about the following question and get back to me after at least 10 minutes of thoughts.

What would you say to a rookie member to the CD community who has absolutely no clue what being on Chief Delphi is all about, and need a lot of help settling in?

You could answer in the form of: “Don’t post things like ‘I NEED HELP WITH PNEUMATIC RIGHT NOW PLZ HLP!!!’ in the general forum.” or “Go read this this and this thread”.

OR you can come up with a little friendly introduction to help them understand what Chief Delphi is all about

OR better yet, you can come up with tutorials on:

  1. How to post questions in the appropriate place with the right manner.
  2. How to answer questions the right way.
  3. What’s appropriate behavior around here.
    and so on…

You get the idea, right? I am trying to get you guys to think about next year when newer members are coming in without a clue what this is all about, and you suddenly find yourself wanting to 1. scream very loudly at them, and 2. write endless messages in the comment/suggestion forum telling them what they did wrong. Why do all that when you can think about this ahead of time and prepare yourself for the inevitable?

So think about it, will you, and get back to me. The person with the best tutorial(s) will get a check in the mail by the end of the summer.

Ok, maybe I am just kidding about the check. But at least there will be lots of positive reps, I hope :D.

After some careful thought…I decided that there is one major issue that new members should have guidance with. Anybody can learn to search before they post, to check the manual before they ask for rule help, or to de-flood the gallery. I would like to step up in teaching new members how to overcome criticism.

So, without further ado, I present the outline of the “Making a Mistake” tutorial, a newbie guide to not getting caught up in the little things, and to adapting to a different climate and learning from their mistakes. I’d like to think a bit more carefully on how exactly I will write this out, but for now I’ll present a few ideas I have:

  • A brief explanation of rep, and how to handle a bad rep if you recieve one, including commentary on the three Rs: reply, respect, rebound
  • Suggested steps for handling complaints from users about signatures or pictures
  • How to contact moderators if you see a problem
  • Working with peers: the ins and outs of avoiding cliquiness and prejudice

These may seem redundant, but I think a bit of positive reinforcement in these areas will encourage new students to feel like they’re not alone in these issues, and that almsot every mistake is redeemable if the right actions are taken.

I suppose that if I could offer one piece of advice to any new CDer, it would be to use complete, proper, your-English-teacher-would-not-keel-over-dead sentences. The end result is far easier to read than “omg d00d wut iz wrong with my robot!!!111!1!1111!!!111oneoneone!!1one,” making tips and advice more likely from other members of the site. (Granted, some folks will try to help regardless, but others who may be busy are more inclined to skip over the thread, since it takes more mental gymnastics to decipher.)

In the same vein, when you’ve got an issue with anything technical, make sure to post what you’ve tried to do already in as much detail as possible. Not only does it keep folks from suggesting things you’ve already tried, but it also serves as a way to make sure you haven’t inadvertently committed some easy mistake. (The robot works a lot better when you plug in the battery, y’know.)

I’ve already started on a “tutorial” for tagging the pictures of CD-Media. (I hope to make some more editions of it by the end of the summer. So when they do start flooding CD-Media with nonsense pictures they’ll at least know how to tag them right :slight_smile: {Kidding})

This is a link to the white paper.

I’d have to agree with Billfred on this one too, I’ll admit when I first started here I was guilty of the not so good English syndrome. I’ve been trying to improve! :slight_smile: It makes it a lot easier to understand the problem or statement being posed if there is not any slang involved in presenting it to the community.

I’ve been thinking about this a bit myself, and came up with a list:

Watch spelling, grammar, and leet. Having the occasional misspelling, particularly on a hard word, is fine, but it’s a lot easier to read a post if you don’t have to deal with spelling and grammar issues. There is a spell check, which can help you with a lot of these issues. Leet can make a post unreadable without a translator. Dave Lavery has a quote in Spotlights that goes something to the effect of “bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and leet are not professional”. (This is not a direct quote, as I don’t remember the exact wording and Dave can write things like this better than me.)

On posting questions in the right place: first, do a search to figure out where similar threads are placed. This will also help you determine if there is an active thread addressing the topic (particularly in some forums, such as Rules/Strategy), and help deflect the dreaded “search before you post!”. Second, look at the forum list (click the CD icon in the top left) and see which forum is the appropriate one, then see if it has subforums that are even more appropriate. Figure out where it needs to go, and then start the thread. If there are two places or more, put it in what you think is the most appropriate.

Answering questions the right way: First off, read the entire thread. You may gain insight into what others think on the matter. Second, think about your response. Third, be respectful. Nobody wants to see “I think your idea is stupid, don’t do it!” when all they want to know is if a new drive idea is likely to work, even if it is a bad idea. A better way to respond to this situation is “I’m not sure this would work because XX and YY. Have you considered option ZZ?” or “It might work, however, you might consider AA.” This is known as constructive criticism, and is a much better way. Fourth, preview the post to see what it will look like. The post composition window is not all that big! Fifth, don’t just say something like “yeah, what he said!” Try to offer a different view, if possible.

Try to remember that you represent your self, your team, your teacher/mentor, your school, and FIRST when you post in CD. There is no getting around it. Tolerance, forgiveness, humor, and lessons learned are tools we can find here.

These are all great ideas, and definately should go in the sticky “Read this First” category.

I would also like to see some how-to’s for folks who are new to the whole forum concept. When you decide to reply to a post what are all those buttons? What do the response fomatting icons really do? What is a PHP tag? The big thing I have searched for is the how-to on adding quotes to your responses. I can make the shaded box, but where does the “originally quoted by” come from?

And it took me forever to realize that if you click on a photo in a post that was “automatically generated…” it takes you to CDMedia and the caption of the photo is there. Is this written somewhere? And yes, I’ve looked!

And I’d love one on signatures. The rules are scattered everywhere. Not too big, user bars … but I can’t find anything on the basics.


Slow down and think before you post, this isn’t like most other forums. People here are likely to see you at some point or another, don’t give them a reason not to like you. Keep the smilies to a minimum, they aren’t there to replace text, they are there to enhance emotions that cannot be shown easily with text.
As for sigs, I love them to an extent:
-Make it your own ~ please do not steal a persons signature
Any image you see someone else has made and you wish to use on a website or anything ask the creator directly if possible.
-keep it within the rules
-if it is a gif image/animated image keep it to a reasonable file size, remember some of these members still run on dial up
-keep it moral
-also if it is a gif keep it 29.97 (heh)

I’d probably tell the new members to wait a few days after they join to just poke around and look at the content of the forums, what threads go where, when to start a new thread, etc.

Like Morgan (MercuryRising) said, CD isn’t like most other forums. You are on here representing yourself, your team, your sponsor(s), and FIRST.

It has been said time and time again, and it is the one thing rookies should always remember: Think before you post!!

EDIT: I’d also tell them that separate paragraphs are good. It makes everything so much easier to read instead of having one giant paragraph.

#1 rule: DO NOT LET A NEGATIVE REP DRIVE YOU AWAY! If you mess up, guess what, it happens. I got a negative rep as my third rep. It’s no big deal. Learn from it, PM them back and ask what you did wrong.

#2: Be respectful. A lot of the people on here are very, very intelligent people. They deserve respect for that. They also volunteer a lot of time to this program. They deserve it for that too. And a million other reasons that I will not list. If you care to debate a point they’ve made, do not name-call or insult. Make your point, back it up as solidly as you can and be done with it.

#3: It’s been said already but it’s important to say it again. “What you say or do can and will be used against”(/for) your team in the future. If you come on here and represent yourself poorly, people will note what team you’re from. It’s going to happen, if you intend it to or not, even if you write a little disclaimer at the bottom. If you’re a flaming jerk, people will think of your team as the flaming jerks. That is not a reputation that you want.

#4: Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and opinions! We want you here! Promise! Every person in FIRST has something to share, something to contribute. Be it your extensive engineering knowledge, or your way with sponsors, your team includes you on the roster for a reason. Find your place and shine!

I was going to write “abandon hope all ye who enter here,” but the rest of you are all serious and stuff. Furrfu.

(Bonus points for understanding “furrfu.”) :slight_smile:

Seriously, you could do a lot worse than following the old Usenet posting guidelines: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/usenet/posting-rules/part1/. It’s an amazing document from the kinder, gentler, smarter days of the Internet.

Watch and learn: Watch other posters on the forum over a few days and look at how they act by example. Its the way that I have learned within my first year on CD, and it has made it a lot easier for me.

I took me several months to discover all the features on these forums. I’ve started working on a Hitchhiker’s Guide to Chief Delphi that goes and explains what anything and everything does with screenshots of the many of the features. So far I have about three pages written. The paper would focus on learning all the feaures of Chief Delphi, like learning what all the buttons do in the posting area do, how to do all the profile settings/avatar/who am i?, what UFH and WFA are, about CD-Media, CD-Swap, and CD-Event, what the spotlight list is, what is appropiate for signatures and avatars, etc. Almost like a giant orientation video. :wink:

To help answer your question, the PHP tags are only need if you have PHP code to post. The PHP tag will color-code the PHP code depending on it’s syntax. Here is an example use of the PHP tag:

 * Directory File Size Generator
 * Author: Arthur Dutra
 * Function Syntax = getDirectorySize([directory_location]);
$totalsize = 0;
function getDirectorySize($dir, $pos=2){ 
    global $totalsize; 
    if($pos == 2) 
    $handle = @opendir($dir); 
    while ($file = @readdir ($handle)){ 
        if (eregi("^\.{1,2}$",$file)) 
        getDirectorySize("$dir.$file/", $pos+3); 
        }    } 
    return $totalsize;

And here is how you get the “originally posted by” in the grey quote box:

If you want to see exactly how these were used, click the http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/images/buttons/reply_small.gif at the bottom right part of this quote in order to see the code used. :slight_smile:

Be concise.

Become nice.

Wit helps.

Andy B.

Probably shouldn’t be posting here since I’m new myself…

But I’ve noticed that I tend to skip massive posts because I’m too lazy to read that much. (Accept of course when I posted the thread and I want to read everyone’s posts/advice)

I’m not saying that people who post massive texts have nothing important to say. I’m just saying your thoughts are not likely going to get heard (at least by me they’re not).

**My Hero! ** :yikes:

That is so simple and so obvious!!! And I never noticed it before! Somebody give artdutra04 really positive rep for me! I don’t have enough posts yet to count!


My advice would be for them to look at and read the descriptions of each area in the forums list. This is an easy way to get to know the place and you might find the area where your post needs to go. Also I would tell them don’t feel intimidated if someone with 700-800 or even 1000 posts disagrees with one of your thoughts. It can be very discouraging if it happens, but you don’t need to go and avoid subjects because it happened once. The old saying of “when you fall of the horse, you’ve got to get right back on” is what you need to do.

I know it say it in the rules of posting, but I think it needs to be said and applies to everyone. If you just agree with some one, don’t just quote them and say “I agree”. In the rules it says that if your post doesn’t ad anything to the discussion, then you shouldn’t post it. Its not a BIG problem, but the little times when it happens is when its annoying.

This next one isn’t for the new people, but for the people who will say “search before you post” or “this is in the wrong place” and thats all they say. Most of the new people on the forums don’t get past the General Forum until they have explored the site a bit. Once that happens, it goes down a lot.

About the half a page posts, I usually wait until I have the time to look at and read them if its on a subject I want to read about. I agree that its easier to read them when you have posted in the thread.

This is a great thread to have because we can gather advice from people who have been on here scene the start and people who have only been here a year or less.

Yep, Yep. Keep it professional. Keep it short and to the point. Who wants to read a convoluted, highfalutin question/explanation/point? FIRST teaches us to be Gracious & Professional. There’s no reason for that to stop when you walk off the field.

Some of the threads will get very long, like this one (almost 300 posts…):

Championship location from 07 and onwards

Before you post to threads like this, take the time to read the other posts. If you’re not planning to offer something new to the thread, don’t post to it. If it’s already been said, you’re not contributing to the discussion. (I admit that in this thread, I refer to my own posts made earlier - a year earlier. I did that to illustrate that the thread was rehashing prior discussion).

Maybe the reputation system can include a “signal-to-noise” meter for its members. A member with a gazillion posts and relatively few reputation points is what I’d consider a “noise source”. Whereas a member with high rep points and relatively few posts, is generally contributing “signal” - messages that have something (i.e. insight, perspective, and/or solutions) to offer to the readers. A really simple metric would be reputation points divided by number of posts…

No matter how many times you say “this is my opinion, not my team’s” you are representing your team and the community is judging you and your team based on what you post and how you interact with others.