Newb's Guide for Newbs
This is a new notice to all those perplexed new members of GTAForums.com, wondering why they are being ridiculed or are afraid of being ridiculed themselves. As is the case, reputation is everything on the internet and it is no different here. You need to go about posting here in the right way. When I first wrote this guide, I was a member for 4 months. I have now been a member for 40 months and *hopefully* have an even better understanding and can offer even more advice.
- Starting Out
- Even though this forum has grown in the past three years, it is still a nice size. There is a community feel but there is still a lot of activity. But as with many large forums, it can be unforgiving. One wrong thread and half a dozen bad replies can send a member’s reputation down the can. More about that later.
Although a lot of new members don’t, it is a very good idea to read the rules. These threads can be found in the Announcements Forum.
- GTAForums Rules & Policy: This spells out the basics of using a forum, such as bannable material and not using multiple accounts.
Signature Size Rules: This thread spells out the guidelines for using forum signatures (images/text under your post) and the use of avatars (little images under your name)
Now a lot of people would leave it at this and go nuts. Once you have found and read the rules, it is pivotal that you remember why you registered at this forum, was it for help on a mission or to get information on an upcoming title? Was it looking for modifications?
Different forums require different types of posts. Be sure that you read the sticky posts and realize what is required of you when making a new thread or responding to one. Now that there are no Public Gang Forums, the more lax boards on this forum are those in The Community. However the way you post in these boards should not be carried over to the others.
Be sure that you know where the "line" is and stay behind it. Nobody likes an obnoxious newbie. Begin posting where you think your opinions are applicable. Don’t deliberately disagree with anyone or post the wrong thing in the wrong place, just lay low, post concisely yet detailed but don’t spam. It is incredibly unfair, but people who have been here longer get away with posting some things others would be warned for.
When all else fails, be polite and don’t overuse smilies and swear words.
- To assist the staff members to deal with spammy posts or members posting offensive material, there is a “Report this post” feature in the bottom right hand side. If you see someone posting in a way which is breaking the rules, never, ever reply to it. That is just as bad as the person spamming in the first place. Always report the post, leave a detailed message for the moderator to follow, and leave the topic.
If you see a member who has a large or offensive signature, you can also report the member by clicking on his or her profile (click on their username) and clicking on the “Report to moderator” option. Then give a detailed description on what is wrong with the member’s conduct or signature, etc.
Staff love members who are helpful, and when you submit reports it is completely anonymous to everyone besides them. They do not appreciate the feature being abused, so only use it when necessary.
- It is the thorn in a forums’ side, members posting with poor grammar and spelling. Many people judge a forum by looking at only a few posts, and the actions of a single member may or may not entice them to join.
It is important to realise that the term ‘Newb’ is warm an affectionate. It is far gone from ‘Noob’ and ‘n00b’. Tim Buckley paints an accurate picture, but these are general definitions.
- Noob, (n) (NOO-b) a member of an internet forum who shows reckless disregard for rules and is unwilling to change his or her actions. Often deliberately shows poor grammar often found on AIM.
Newb, (n) (NEW-b) a member of an internet forum who actively participates in conversation and shows respect for senior members and is willing to learn.
This list from the previous guide was very handy
- Start each sentence with a capital letter
- Use punctuation. (Don’t instead of dont)
- Don’t use large words that you are unsure of and may be taken the wrong way.
- Use full stops.
- Don’t replace words with shortened abbreviations (before > b4)
- Don’t be plain when writing and use humour when necessary.
- Be very apologetic when you cross someone the wrong way.
- DO NOT use smilies in EVERY SENTENCE
- Lay off the Caps Lock.
- This part is fun, it gets you looking spiffy. Some people prefer to go without signatures and avatars, but the overwhelming majority love them.
Signatures are the only place where you can advertise other websites. You cannot slip them into a post and you definitely cannot make a topic about them.
When you have an image you want to put in your signature (either uploaded here, here or made by the nice people here.) you have to access your Signature Control Panel via My Controls here.
The total space your signature takes up must not exceed 500x150 pixels (see image below). This also includes any text you put around it. You also need to be wary of the size of the image file you are using, it must not be larger that 80kb.
For avatars, there are currently no size limits, but don’t let that be open season for large files. Avatars must still be 64x64 pixels or less. Some people are still on dialup (oh yes, a few) and waiting for a large inconsiderate avatar to load can be murder.
Although this forum does have an autoscaler which makes larger images fit the size restrictions, I would strongly urge you to shrink it yourself. This affects a vast, vast majority of users who scroll down and the browser “jiggles” as it has to take that little extra time to load your large avatar. I have been compelled many times to do it for people myself, but it is best that you do it yourself or request that is be done in GFX Requests & Tutorials
- So they stand out, staff member’s names appear as different colours on the “now online” table in the bottom of the main page. This allows members to know who to PM for assistance; it also means that a few staff appear as invisible to avoid this. Moderators appear as blue, and administrators are yellow.
- When a member does something great, a moderator will see it fit to award them karma, in the form of a shiny star under their name. Likewise, a moderator can impose warnings on a member. When they do something which would normally be karma worthy, the warning will be removed.
Negative karma is no longer visible, but people who have positive karma can show it off.
- Yeah, but what about your karma? It spins!
That is because in previous years, spinning karma was awarded to those people who reached the 10,000 post milestone. It was less common then as it is now, so it is no longer awarded. It just means that people like me feel that more special.
Karma is awarded up to +5, ()although there are some special people with +6 and even +25. If you see them posting around the forums, you know they’re hot piss.
- As you may have realised, some people (including me) have little images under our names (known as ‘pips’) and we belong to different groups other than ‘Members’. This is because we belong to official gangs, social groups remaining from what was known as the OGA (Official Gang Alliance) and PGC (Public Gang Chat).
- What was the PGC and why doesn’t it exist anymore?
Before the release of the GTAIV trailer, there was a very large and incredibly active part of the forum called the PGC where new gangs were created with the hopes of being made official. Because it was such a drain on network resources (topics reaching 1000 replies in days) and was acting more like an IRC channel, it was taken down and replaced with just that, an IRC Channel. #gta can be accessed via IRC Software or using the Java Applet supplied by GTANet here.
The official gangs still exist, and it is still possible to join them. Although it isn’t as public as before (there used to be a Recruitment forum as well). If you want to join an official gang, you need to submit an application to the gang leader or a designated Recruitment Officer. The old guide used to contain a large guide on how to join gangs, however their importance and prominence has diminished somewhat (now referred to as ‘Groups’, but we still have our own private forums and the OGA still exists)
- Do you have any tips for applying to an official group? How are applications assessed?
Oh yes. As a direct result of posting the original guide 3 years ago, I received enough recognition to be accepted into LFM. I was helped largely by getting to know other members outside the forum on IRC channels and on MSN. The process for accepting new members (mostly) is that the application letter is posted in the private forum (another reason not to type like a tard) and then members of the group post what they know/feel about the member and a yes or no vote. Democratically, if most of the members want the new member, they are in.
- GTAIV News: This is the largest GTA Based forum in the world, with over 100,000 members. If one of them finds out about breaking news, they’ll post it here to be discussed. If it isn’t already, it’ll appear on the news page.
- CCPD’s Signature Images: The ledby of the Graphics forums has created very nifty animated GTAIV logos for use in signatures if you don’t have your own images.
- GTANetwork Team Forum: This is where you go to post about issues on the board (not to be confused with Suggestions) concerning PM spammers, name change requests, querying why topics were locked, why you were warned, etc.
Also, don’t be afraid to send PMs if you have an issue. I know people like me love to get PMs. Just click on the envelope image under a person’s post.
Before I sign off, I’d like to stress that the members who have been here for a long time have seen and dealt with a lot of new members, and as a result of that you have to be incredibly polite to be given the time of day. If you are polite, you will be treated politely in return. Everyone is here by their own free will and (besides staff) are not obliged to help, so don’t be discouraged or aggressive when you believe you are treated badly, resilience is a virtue in this environment.
Good luck and stuff.