Iwaku's Treatment of New Members

  • So many newbies lately! Here is a very important PSA about one of our most vital content policies! Read it even if you are an ancient member!

What causes some New Members to have a bad time here?

  • It's the Staff's job. They should educate Newbs before letting them into the Cbox and posting areas

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • It's the members fault. We're not helping the Staff to make the forum a welcoming place.

    Votes: 12 60.0%
  • It's the fault of Newbs. They shouldn't come here if they're that dumb.

    Votes: 8 40.0%
  • It's the Forum's fault. It's layout is causing a lot of the problems.

    Votes: 1 5.0%

  • Total voters
Not open for further replies.


Certified Subdomain
Original poster
Posting Speed
  1. Speed of Light
Writing Levels
  1. Douche
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences
Some of you may know that I pretended to be a new member on April Fools Day.

It was a good joke, but at the same time it raised some concerns.

When I was getting into the "NEWB-MINDSET", I went for straight-out logic and posted a thread in the Welcoming Board and then a thread in each of the genre sections I was interested in. This seemed to make perfect sense to my persona (I didn't want to read the Guide and all of Diana's tutorials - I was here to roleplay, not read War and Peace).

But my "logic" earned me only intolerance. My threads were moved without warning and the whole ordeal only added to my ridicule in the Cbox.

Take a look at the My Iwaku Experience thread. It seems the reason people didn't like Abaddon was because he used "a name from 40K" and had bad spelling and grammar.

These two reasons completely overrode the fact that he was a genuinely nice kid who was trying to get to know people and was offering to join games. When he found out that Torsty was a staff member he treated him with respect and followed his advice.

But then Jinx savaged me, my minunderstandings were used against me, people attacked me with asterisk violence, Darkness was brought in from outside to troll me, and no one really backed Torsty up (except to send me bitchy MSN messages saying "Asmo, we have a jackass in the Cbox, shall we ban him lol?")

I know this is an extreme case and I probably did it at a bad time, but one thing was proved - WE HAVE A LOT OF BUILT-IN ASSUMPTIONS.

Don't get me wrong, assumptions are great shortcuts and we can't function without those shortcuts. But in this case we had three things that caused the problem:

- Members trying to be "insanity lulz".
- Instant dislike for someone with bad grammar and certain username.
- Text-heavy information-overload forum index.

So we need to decide, do we try to find ways to compensate for the above?

Or do we affirm that a Member must have thick skin, basic grammar and patience to sift through information as prerequisites for joining?

Do we help new members to get over the barriers?

Or do we leave new members to prove themselves worthy by getting over those barriers themselves?

I have no bias. I've dallied in both camps. I can't really say how I would have treated Abaddon. Given his name, I would have probably assumed he was a stupid kid trying to play with the big boys and joined in the hazing.

Yay for grey areas. :|

I don't know if I am really thick-skinned, or dense, or dumb or all that or something else to have not noticed any ill-treatment during the time that I was new. People in the Cbox were generally friendly to me, and I wasn't really 'flamed' or 'harassed'.

Like what you did with Abbadon, I didn't care to read the prerequisite information *that much* and simply went ahead and made an "intro thread" and all that. Also, since I joined because I wanted to take part in IW, I went ahead and made a character sheet immediately.

Of course, I received my fair share of criticism but that was mostly because of how I made my character... but yeah, I was treated well in general.

Or... maybe all that was because I was recruited by somebody already in the forum so I already had some preferential treatment as soon as I had made my account.


About the poll, we can't really expect the members to be welcoming to all newbies, but at the very least, the staff should be accommodating enough to the newbs. If a member can't handle the 'noobishness' of a newb, he/she can and should call the attention of one of the staff.

It is the forum staff's job to make sure that the newbs grow to be good and contributing members to the forum, helping them with the ropes, and basically initiating them to the ins and outs of the forum. Also, the staff (this is something extra, but I think the staff should do this also) should guide the newbs to the *unwritten* rules of conduct and manner in the forum. Yes, the unwritten rules. Any forum can't be expected to codify all and any rules of behavior they expect their members to follow, so at the very least, some member would teach the newbie this unwritten rules.

Okay, I've got to stop ranting, or I will surely be flamed by... never mind.
Jesus.... Wish I had been there!

I'd say that what worked well when I was recruiting was to send them info on everything I could think of... Then tell them to contact me if there were any problems.
I have to say, I wish I had witnessed first hand what has happened April first. Not only was it a good practical joke, it's an interesting personal thought experiment to crawl into the skin of a newb and re-apply to the forums as this newbie alter-ego.

Personally, I think things MIGHT have gotten a little out of hand, and I mostly blame myself and several other 'older' members for it. As long as I've been on Iwaku, I've experienced a trend amongst members to engage in 'unfriendly friendly' banter. Usually this worked out okay, because we knew each other and were pretty thick skinned as a whole. To a certain extent, this has always extended at least a little bit to the new people joining, as they trickled in.

However, I must admit that I'm one of the people that at one point began actively 'hazing' new members, it put new members in the spotlight, instead of having them ignored, and generally prepared them for the community as a whole (or so I believed.) I believe I made sure to never cross any lines, though I may have gotten close at some point.

However, I set a bad example for those who came after me. I think the hazing now has gotten to a point that members are actually made to feel unwelcome at times. We are a pretty damn elitist bunch, but it doesn't help us much if we don't get any new blood. The recent bannings have also had their impact on things, as I'm sure the annoyance over some of the more glaring 'noobs' we've had has triggered many a persons anti-newb defenses.

The staff are kind, and generally helpful.

The lay-out on the forum is understandable, and I've never had trouble with it.

Newbs will be newbs, and they happen to be people too.

I think if anyone would ever be at fault for not making a new member feel welcome it would be the members.


Having said all that: I do adhere to the idea that a little hazing makes sure that there's LESS drama between members on the forums.

Hope my post made sense, I'm terribly tired now, so I'll look it over later.
Was absent during the whole fiasco. I do think we all need to pitch in to make new members feel at home. Iwaku is here to not only provide a fun enviroment to role play in but also to help people with their writing. Keeping that mindset is important and if what Asmo says is true about how he got flamed for bad grammar, I think it might be time for some serious self reflection. This isn't a "Good Grammar Only" club, we don't run golf, and we don't require that people have a membership card to get into the club, get in on events, or even chat.

So please think carefully about what you do to new members. People have to get on the inside before you can make jokes on the inside. Again only my opinion.

Writing in the Moonlight,

Tough call.

I believe it's a member issue more than anything. But it's one of those things that seems kind of unavoidable. I believe personalities and ideals will eventually clash no matter what kind of behavioral guidelines are imposed on people. I personally find such guidelines distasteful and stifling anyway. But for a new person, maybe a grace period is in order.

Or some sort of special name coloring for them to let everyone know, "Hey, this one's fresh."

That being said, it also doesn't hurt to give the newbie a "BEWARE OF CRAZY PEOPLE" notification either. Suffice to say I've already seen members doing so in Member Central, in their own little way. Ultimately though, the newbie either finds their way or they don't. It's up to them and their own social skills (or lack there of). That's my take on it.
I went for the newb option. Most members we get here are recruited by other members, and picked because we think they'll stick around.

Newbs with poor grammar are not always instantly destroyed.

Maverick, if you'll remember, was repeatedly told that people will start jacking around with him when he brings up political debates in the C-box, and to just post it in general instead.

With the Abbadon stuff torsty did help out, leaving everyone else free to mess with you. The people in the C-box were behaving in a way that should have made it pretty darn clear they were messing with you. Failure to grasp the concept of sarcasm did not much help senor abbadon gain a place on the forum.

If it makes you feel more helpful then a "NEWBIES READ THIS TOPIC NOW" thing might come in handy, warning them that good grammar and a thick skin are generally expected, and that people may mess with them in insanity and the C-box. If memory serves there is still a post limit on the C-box, where members have to make at least 5 posts before they can use it.
I'm sorry, but in the case of Abbadon, I'm going for option 3.

'Cos seriously, guys, just... fucking seriously. The board isn't that hard to understand the layout of. Rules, Announcements and the Welcoming boards at the top, the Roleplaying boards in the center, and the Insanity and the CBox and what-have-you at the bottom.

Boom. Simple. Stuff is here, here and here. Is it really that hard to follow?

The Guide is right next to the User Control Panel, in BIG GREEN LETTERS. It's not exactly hard to miss. As for the claim that the Guide's too long for some new peeps, do you really want someone on the site who's immediate reaction to anything over a couple paragraphs in length is "TL;DR LOL"?

'Cos we're a roleplaying board. You'd expect people to be prepared to do a bit of goddamn reading.

We're perfectly welcoming to newcomers; new members arrive all the time and become well-respected regulars on Iwaku quickly. Tain and Grandmaster Karsikan, to name just two, are excellent examples of this.

Personally, I reckon AsmoAbbadon received the treatment he got because he was going about things entirely the wrong way. He was brash, impolite, whiny, not reading the PRETTY GODDAMN OBVIOUS rules and then getting snappy when told he was going about things in the wrong way. Basically, I was getting a distinct 'Maverick 2.0' vibe.

Basically, calm the hell down everybody. Iwaku works just fine, provided you have a better attention span than a fish.
Many a day do I decipher posts. From newbies as well as some of the old guard. If the 'old guard' is still here, but we flame newbies, what are we doing different that we didn't do then? I know I'm relatively new in respect with well... most anyone I fraternize with - but every thread in the New Members section that I've read, granted I don't go in there much at all, has been courteous.

And yet we flame an Asmobot without even realizing it based on some elitist standard that everyone should be on the same level as people who are college students, high schoolers, drunks with a computer and time to burn, ect.? What the fuck guys? Where's the magic gone?
I think what the true problem is... Iwaku has taken a "Club House" mentality, and so if you're not in the club... you're not in. Iwaku has always, and will always be... a Writing forum. I think that due to the stagnant (and I say this do to the vast amount of current members who have been here, including the rest of the Old Guard such as myself) populous, we've begun to slowly, and subconsciously forget that this is the internet, and that it takes more thought to portray, and say what we mean in the correct tone, and manner. For some people that doesn't require proper grammar, or puncuation. Hell I think we can admit that we all know people here that have terrible spelling, but we don't tear into them.

All in all, I didn't see the event, but from what I heard... I'm certainly dissapointed. : (

This reminds us that there is a lot of room for us left to fill with positive understanding.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people

Staff Members should already know it's their job to help out newbies and members. Staff Members alone cannot make a community enjoyable for newbies.

Regular Members, Especially Old School members forget what it's like to be a newbie. They don't remember how awkward it is being brand new and not knowing anyone. They forget that they too were a moron at some point and time and probably sucked at typing skills.

Not every newbie that comes to Iwaku will be a forum-savvy individual. >:[ Some people have never joined a community before and Iwaku might be their very first.

It's a pretty asshole thing to do to judge someone as stupid right out of the box. Every newbie needs the opportunity to learn and be taught how things work. They just won't KNOW unless they get the support of members. And they sure aren't getting support when they're getting their asses ridden about typing skills, dorky names, or accidentally posting in the wrong forum. c_c
Hmmm, I just had an idea. What if the staff send a "first 100 days survey" to newbies? By that time if they're still around they've gotten use to the place but still relatively new so that likely have a fresh prespective of their impressions. The surveys can be used by the staff to see where improvements could be had and informatin from the surveys, but never the surveys themselves, can be presented to members so they can see how things stand too. Asmo's newbie was intense which was the point of the joke and so while an eye opener I doubt is a good indication of how things stand.
Yes, I did tell Darkness on MSN something like "LOL!CHECKTROLLNCBOXYO!!", what I don't recall is telling him "GOTROLLTHESHITOUTOFTHATFAGLOL".

Yes, I did speak to Jinx during the time this happened, I do remember we discussed counter-trolling. After some discussion going back and forth we did assume that Abbadon was a troll, not a newb.

So with that in mind, my view was that it wasn't a "poor little newb Abbadon being bullied by the crowd" but a "troll named Abbadon screwing with us in the cbox and spamming the board with a bunch meaningless threads all over the place being counter-trolled". Which is my reasoning for why I didn't tell anyone to back off from newb-flaming(counter-trolling from my POV at the time of the incident) him.

Still, I did go on to try and help Abbadon by telling him where to post which RP-genres(A character sheet was never mentioned) he was most into, thinking the RP-advertisement-thread would do for the time. Asking him for his MSN-address so I could get time to really talk to him and asked random questions like where he was from and his age(which he didn't wanna answer to, so my troll-radar went up).

No, I didn't tell him right away that his posts were moved to the archives because they were considered as spam. I did however tell him right away when he did ask for a reason. I'll keep in mind to deal with this sort of issue differently next time.

That doesn't make any good excuse, but thats how it went.

Arachy Said:
With the Abbadon stuff torsty did help out, leaving everyone else free to mess with you.
Yeah, so I guess from now on if I see any sort of similiar situation(newb or not) I'll hand out a warning to the offenders and ban whoever who just won't stop with such behaviour after that from the cbox. Sour-pussies will be reminded of CBox #1, which I expect you all have read, with your superior understanding of how forums work, right?

Anyway, here it is:
"1. Respect your fellow citizens and don't be a douche. If you really hate someone that much, we have an IGNORE feature. When you have a serious problem with another member that can't be resolved, contact one of the Staffies and don't hash out the fight in the Cbox."

I've never heard that having good grammar was expected when joining Iwaku. This unwritten norm must have evolved during the last couple years. I will not support this kind of elitist-culture in a community thats supposed to be open to anyone in the whole wide world. A world where the English language is spoken fluently by a minority.

What we can do is try to help new members better their grammar and help them evolve from one-line-posters to posting 2-3 paragraphs or more in RPs.

Shit, I remember some of my time starting out as a new member on Iwaku. First time joining a role playing forum, first time being active on a english forum, didn't know anybody, only 16. All I can remember was getting help to get on the "inside" of the community by Gabriel Zero, and Rory helping me with my writing. I did have my first "Brits vs Vikings"-feud with Asmo shortly thereafter, but I never felt like I was going through some process of fullfilling the 'thick skin'-test.(Keep in mind GZ was that time's Asmo/Diana while Asmo was described as "cruel, narcissistic and high on sarcasm(which wasn't as accepted as it is now back then)).

The first thing I did was write some wierd Final Fantasy-fanfic taking place in "United States of California". Didn't get flamed once for it.

I fail to see how Abbadon was being impolite and whiny.



Hey Asmo, remember how the Elli-place did it?
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
*shudders* Damn, that place was scary.

And yes, as Torsty said I used to be an asshole, but I think I've made amends. I have many people to thank for that, including Sakura and Diana, who've set a great example for me in the Cbox.

Hopefully people have noticed that I'm a lot nicer in the Cbox now, using more smileys, letting people beat me up, even "huggling" on rare occasions. o_O

And I think if an old fart like me can change then so can (most) newbies.

It all boils down to whether we think people can be changed and if we're prepared to wait for the evidence.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person

I think, when we welcome new members we don't make it clear what Iwaku is really about. We tend to go overboard with our Insanity-Lulz and forget to point the person in the right direction concerning Roleplaying, the Forum Rules, and stuff in general. Some people do this, but links and references can sometimes be daunting to a new member.

I especially think Torz gives us a great example. He says hello, he follows people around and continuously offers them advice and I can see his methods working :) I think the Staff just need to be more in tune with the new members to show them how things work before letting them go straight to enjoying the Kingdom of Insanity or the Cbox~ because those things should be more like privileges/goodies or extras to being on Iwaku when put alongside the Roleplays :P

I had go through my "thick-skin" test on Iwaku, too. xD And it was mostly because I had stuck in the roleplays and never ventured into Insanity. In the same way, but quite the opposite, we should balance our new members with both aspects of our forum, because that's what really makes it great.
Like some other people, I wasn't present for this event, and to be perfectly honest, I tend to leave welcoming new people to other people because they do it a lot better (I think), so if I had been there I probably would have done something very much like ignoring it. And I really wish I had a better memory so I could tell you exactly what things were like for me when I became a member. In any case, though, I'll try and respond how I can.

From what I can remember, I had already been in RP guilds in Gaia before (which are sort of like mini-forums, and generally not nearly as bad as Gaia at large, at least not back then), so I already had the gist of how an RP board is supposed to run. It kind of seemed (and seems now) like common sense to me. And even when I first started RPing on forums, in a guild on Gaia, I easily got a handle on how it worked, and that wasn't vastly different from how Iwaku is organized right now. To me, it seems like common sense that this kind of post goes there, and that kind of post goes here, etc. And I'm a guy who's occasionally lacking in common sense, so can it really be that hard to figure out without intentionally creating a persona that doesn't get it?

Thick skin...hmm..I personally feel I'm a bit on the thin side even today, but I joined Iwaku anyway, and haven't left yet. I think it's more a matter of understanding bizarre humor and sarcasm and such, which is something I've gradually learned...or at least I think I have, a little bit.

Bad grammar...oh man. I don't like bad grammar. I personally have a tick in my brain, so to speak, that just makes me want to stop reading or correct every mistake I see, even minor ones, and I'm always having to stop myself from getting annoyed. To me, it's one thing if you make some mistakes, or don't have English as a native language, or something like that. But when a person just refuses to put in the slight effort to make something readable, that just annoys me. Of course I still respond as respectfully as I can and try not to judge people in general, but..y'know.
If it makes me 'elitist' that I think honest attempts at communication should include the effort to ensure that it isn't garbled beyond recognition, so be it. I can't help it. It's something I've had since way before Iwaku.

So overall...I'm just not sure there's that big of barriers to honest attempts at memberships, which means I don't think there's much of anything to blame anyone for. Then again, why would someone who knows nothing at all about roleplaying want to join a roleplaying forum? It'd be like me joining a celebrity gossip forum.
I say it was April Fools Day Fault.

Since I was on during that time and was speaking to a few of the people taking part in the "newb flaming", including Jinx who seems to be named Asshole#1 during this whole thing. The general concensus during that time was that "Hey, we got a troll in the cbox./What the hell is this?/Is this for real?" and Troll feelers were a'feelin and red flags going up, whatever.

And hey, guess what, WE WERE RIGHT.

Maybe Asmo thinks he was a perfect actor on that day or what, but when it comes down to it, he wasn't. The shit got counter-trolled out of a troll and a fake member on April Fools Day.

I agree with what Jumi mentioned about "Club mentality". It's turbo clubby around here, seriously. People on Iwaku have really, really distinctive tastes, interests and standards and it's sometimes hard to approach a lot of the people on here as they come off as hostile. Hell, even I feel like I've only befriended a few folks on here and some of those are people I've already known prior to joining.

You say Abbadon was picked on because he had poor spelling and grammar. If it was a real problem, then he would have just gone bopping along or mentioned that he had dyslexia or something. With this being an RP board and with a lot of the people being proficient in spelling/grammer, well then, he just didn't meet their standards. This happens EVERYWHERE on the goddamn Internet. On other boards I was on and one I even ran, it was up to me to help/befriend/protect the dyslexic people and bad spellers because of how much shit they had to put up with just because they weren't motherfucking Shakespeare and people DIDN'T LIKE THAT.

That and people seem to like being trolls on Iwaku.
People on Iwaku have really, really distinctive tastes, interests and standards and it's sometimes hard to approach a lot of the people on here as they come off as hostile.
This part resonates with me. It doesn't help that there's such a blurry line between playful ribbing and seemingly honest belief that members of certain fandoms would only bring the site down regardless of actual personality or ability. The severity and sincerity seems to vary depending on the time of day and which members are involved.

I'll be one of the first to note that the "I hate that you enjoy something I don't like!" mentality is common in real life and seemingly funnels into the internet in concentrated form.

But does this excuse it? Which is most important? Expansion of membership or the right to designate acceptable targets?

More people feeling welcome=more people staying?

I'm open to the idea that as much as I hate false dilemmas, I may be presenting one. And I know I'm biased as favoring some of the media that aren't so well liked, but I'd like to put the question out there anyway.

As I look at what I've typed, I feel it has implications of infringing on the freedom to express opinion. I don't want to do that, but rather I'd encourage members to pay more attention to what really seems to herald problem behavior and deal with it first in a spirit of reconciliation rather than vindictiveness. Then, if that doesn't work, deal out the punishments.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
I remember telling Coffeekins and some others in the Cbox that Internet communities are a lot like Coffee Shops or Bars. Everyone that walks in is there for the same reason, and the people inside are all going to have their own personality - but the atmosphere of each place is very different. They each have a "kind" of people that go in regularly.

So, obviously not every newbie that comes in is going to like Iwaku's brand of people. ....BUT we should still make the effort to give people a CHANCE to check out the community. Enough time to decide if Iwaku is their kind of place, without being run out of town with pitchforks because they're a newbie.

Abbadon was a joke, but it still displayed a problem we have right now. :/ Which is people's want to AUTO-TROLL anyone they get annoyed with.

Ampu is right. D: Iwaku likes to troll. TOO MUCH. We're not 4chan. >:[
I was TOO a perfect actor! >:[

*pushes Amp in a puddle*

And I disagree - I think it was only the minority that had their troll radars up. Everyone else thought he was a young'un, and I did claim to have ADHD at one point.

I don't think we can sweep this away by saying "It wouldn't happen in real life", because we DO get people like this. I played an agglomeration of well-known newb 'errors':

- Posting in the wrong place.
- Taking offence at racist jokes.
- Getting over-familiar with female members.
- Failing to pick up on sarcasm.
- Asking where to post "the character sheet".
- Not revealing age.
- Bad spelling and grammar.
- Fan-based Username.

In my experience, a Newb can get the shit kicked out of him for exhibiting just ONE of these traits. Just because I did them all at once doesn't mean the experiment was flawed, and with people coming in and out of the Cbox they hardly got to see all the traits at once. They saw one or two and then reacted negatively.

Like I said, assumptions were in play.

*holds Amp's head under the water*
Not open for further replies.