This is a sticky.
Zraver's survival guide to Wabbitdom. 100% unofficial, 100% my opinion and experience, take it for what its worth.
Welcome future Wabbits, and fair warning to trolls, flamebaiters and fan boys, you have stumbled upon one of the gems of the Internet. The World Affairs Board is as you know a portal into many worlds, a community of people from across the globe who are interested in politics, history and international defense topics. Our members come from many nations-who are sometimes enemies and from every political stripe who are almost always enemies and yet as a team we work as a successful community. This combination is hardly unique on the internet, but WAB is.
Normally sites devoted to these topics on the same broad range as pursued on the WAB are either highly selective professional/academic sites or, for lack of a word that wonít get me sued, fan boy sites who allow anyone and ANY idea in: So long as it agrees with the fan boys. The other option on the web are very narrowly focused sites who stick to certain core issues leaving little bandwidth for everything else.
WAB tries to keep some of the professional/academic feel of the former, and the open registration of the latter but without the latterís trolls and creeps. Due to its membership it also usually has a small core of true experts on most of the issues it deals with. This is due to the site attracting a large number of professional warriors, defense industry types and Foreign Service veterans. This keeps the average conversation IQ high, but do to open registration still allows new comers to interject and interact with these type normally so far removed from the mass of internet denizens.
This open access can pose challenges to newcomers seeking to become fully fledged Wabbits. This is my guide to help you make that journey from newcomer to valued member of the community. A few years ago when I joined WAB, the site was already in full swing but still had a touch of a rough and tumble border outpost to it. I got away with a lot of things a newcomer now wonít get away with. Things used to be a lot freer swinging than they are now but the site evolved. This has changed drastically in the past year as the site has matured. This maturation process thus requires you to be mature.
Zraver's guide to surviving Wabbitom and on becoming a Wabbit.
- Read the Forum Guidelines and FAQ. I will touch on some individual ones later but read them all.
- Introduce yourself. "Hi, Iím Johnny from Queensland" might count, but tell us about you. What makes you tick, what you are passionate about, have you worn a uniform or otherwise served your country. These types of things help us get to know you, and in some cases vet you.
- If you have served in or worked in the defense, military or Foreign Service establishment tell us, and details count. You might find someone here you knew, who knows you or knows enough of the details to support what you say that you get awarded the blue name given to Military/Defense and Foreign Service Professionals.
- Be clear, and support your arguments. Even if it turns out that you are wrong: supported arguments earn respect! This comes with an addendum; donít assume your local media, local location or school history class made you an expert. If you want to be an expert on WAB, you have to earn it.
- We donít like ďWhat IfsĒ and ďWho would beat Who topicsĒ, but at the same time we love them. This is a tricky one. There is a knife's edge separating what is acceptable and what is not. If for example after recent tensions you want to know the predicted outcome of Ethiopian/Etrian clash that would probably go over quite well. Asking who is the biggest kid on the block between the US/Russia and China/India probably wonít. A few old threads from the border town days are still open, but new ones get locked.
- If you do jump into a long running thread, see number 4. Jumping into a debate that has spanned dozens of pages and having diarrhea of the mouth/keyboard only makes you look like a fool and adds nothing to the conversation.
- Wikipedia and Google are your friends. While Wiki is not 100% accurate page by page: it is generally a good primer. For example, letís pretend there is a discussion on the Battle of Manizkert. "Maziwhatta?"- you might ask. Go to Wiki, and while reading, follow the hyperlinks and look at the references and citations. You can then Google those references to get even more information.
- Use professional databases if possible. If you have access to them professional databases like JSTOR or LEXUSNEXUS are treasure troves of peer-reviewed scholarly information, as are databases that cater to primary source materials.
- Don't develop a habit of spewing garbage. You will eventually find your name added to the list of the infamous- Banished. So donít do it. If you do, WAB assumes youíre either an idiot as opposed to simply uninformed or a troll, neither is welcome here.
- Prepare to get some abuse. This site deals with topics that have a lot of emotional energy. While WAB is generally civil, tempers do flare. We wonít normally tell you to eat a gun or otherwise go beyond the pale, but you might get called a variety of names. This comes with a Catch-22, if a poster with 4000 posts says you're, ďtoo stupid to breatheĒ, they probably will not get banned. You fire back a similar insult and you probably will. While post count alone does not make one an expert, most of the prolific posters are at least journeymen levels in one field or another and have earned a bit of leeway. On WAB there is no equal protection clause. Stick around and earn your place and the same unfairness you dislike as a newcomer will save your butt as an old timer caught up in an emotional issue.
- Expertise here must be earned. This is important enough to stress again. There are people who could drop in as a newcomer to the WAB and, simply by name recognition, be given on WAB the same respect they earned elsewhere: You're probably not one of them. There is a reason for this, the Internet lets anyone self publish or create any bio they want. It is not impossible or improbable that a sparkite who has developed his own following of fan boys would think he is due the same on WAB, or someone claiming to be an officer in a prestigious unit or rank. Itís undoubtedly happened. Some sites leading members have instant credibility, most do not.
- Show respect for the dead! If there is large scale loss of civilian life, donít gloat over it. Even if it happened to your worst enemy, bite your tongue. This site is rather cavalier about the dead and wounded of those wearing the uniform, but that is because so many of us wore a uniform and a goodly number were put between civilians and harmís way we know or at least accept the risks that these professions call for. This cavalier attitude however does not extend to members of the board. It is a tradition on WAB that if a member is called upon by their country to place them self between their home land and wars desolation- that we wish them a safe return no matter whose flag they fight for.
- Show respect for dead threads If the thread in question has not seen a post in a couple months and is dormant you might be able to breathe new life into it. However unless there is some ground breaking revelation-if a thread has been idle for 6 months or more its dead and leave the corpse alone.
- Be yourself. If youíre just a 16-year old kid with an interest in history, then GREAT! You donít have to have been anybody to be a somebody here. Just follow the rules, ask intelligent questions, give intelligent answers, be respectful to the community and youíll fit right in.
- Youíre not God, so donít speak for Him. It doesnít pop up very often, but it does from time to time. The closest thing we have we seen so far are the Moderators and Administrators who can within certain limitations call down a terrible wrath. The creator of the universe is perfectly capable registering here and telling us Himself.
- Race matters not. What is the difference between an Asian and European? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke doesnít it? It's not, because race matters not. There are times when the discussion of race is appropriate especially when talking about history. However make race an issue, or even imply that race is a factor in regards to a Wabbit and you will probably be banished.
- Genocide-deniers beware! Generally if the public canon says genocide of 1 million or more people occurred, WAB toes the line. A long time poster with a regional view in regards to specific event may be allowed a case by case allowance for divergent views - you will not. No matter how you feel about the event or events in which claimed so many lives or what evidence you think you have we donít care. Most genocide-deniers fall back on the same worn out arguments that have been refuted time and again by people with far more education and far less reason to be Internet warriors than 99 percent of us. Itís a closed topic. In the end it does not matter if the total numbers are not accurate, but still exceed 1 million souls sent to the great beyond: itís still genocide.
- Donít piss off Officer of Engineers, otherwise known as the Colonel. It is very much like not feeding the bears at the safari park. His bite is much worse than his bark.
- Godwinís Law - the longer the thread becomes the probably that a poster will equate a given subject to Hitler or the Nazis becomes certain. This site deals with History so Hitler gets bandied about a lot. But if itís not history, he normally doesnít belong in the discussion. In fact bringing him up is so often the wrong thing to do that it not only has an Internet law, but is a recognized logical fallacy. We know not everyone is formally educated nor do we suppose that anyone knows all the various fallacies both informal and formal. But we do expect that as people grow as Wabbits their debate skills will evolve to use less and less of them.
- "My country tis of theeÖ". Yes,yes I know your country is the greatest eva!!! Blah blah the thing is, it shares that distinction with mine, and his and hers and theirs. Rampant jingoistic nationalism is frowned on. Every country and people has, have had, or have the potential for greatness in some form.
- Chivalry, itís alive and well on this board. The majority here believes that you treat ladies with respect. They are our mothers, wives, daughters, friends, confidants, and better halves. This might not be strictly PC in some circles but it is the way it is.
- Read more than you post. A lot more. Especially when you're starting out, it helps to just observe for a while, get to know different member's styles. This can prevent a lot of misunderstanding and embarrassment. Also, much of the time, if you wait a bit before posting, you'll either discover that someone else says the same thing, only much more eloquently, or you'll realize that what you wanted to say is just dumb.
You might be saying. ďMan all of these 'thall shall nots', how am I suppose to have fun?Ē You can and will; first off this is just a guide not a rule book. But if you do toe the line so to speak you will find WAB to be a rich, stimulating and fun place to be. We argue and fight, hiss and spit and occasionally from all of this a new truth for you emerges. It might be truth with a little t not a big T, but still the scholar in you should be happy to have found it. It is the pitting of the minds and the refinement of argument that is the joy for me. Like most people I self teach best when explaining to others. I am forced to research and dig up evidence if I want to be right. Second to that is being wrong. The admission of being wrong is also an admission of having learned something new. And when you learn something new it is a Victory: capital V.
Knowledge and the pursuit of it in whatever area one has interest is what joins most Wabbers in a kindred spirit. This kindred spirit is my third great joy here. Even if we disagree, you and I are at least interested in the same general topics and this makes us fellow citizens of the community. It is ours to enrich or degrade, I hope that I have enriched WAB, and I hope you will as well.
This is a sticky.
I might add. Please read the threads. Your points or questions may have already been addressed. There are some that may be very long but at least read the 1st ten pages.
How about too stupid to procreate?
Good day, Colonel. (bowing, scraping, groveling)
"The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson
with all my respect Colonel
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.
After what you did in that Christmas night, I wouldn't have expected such an angelic post from you.
And if I may add...
Don't f^ck with a Dianasaur.
You might end up being a breakfast. )
And on the sixth day, God created the Field Artillery...
As a new user i apreciate it.
Oh, and #10:
I am kinda the self-appointed agent provocateur here, and I like to jump all over the n00bz, just to see how they handle themselves. Some freak out and slash-'n'-burn back, which gets a few of 'em a dis-invitation to the Klubhouse. But if you can stand up to it AND come off lookin' sane, you've got some insta-cred.
Either way...you're welcome. I do it because I'm a giver.
So, we have finally found out who Blues' is..Mon dieu)
a person who secretly disrupts a group's activities from within the group; an instigator, troublemaker.
I think he should call himself Inquisitor if he tests the new guys.
By the way are there many neocons here?
I left the.force.net because the guys were way too much into the neoecon ideas for my taste.
The ,,other side'" worshiped Obama to much for my taste.
Last edited by Shey Tapani; 08 Jul 09, at 13:30.
Good job writing the WAB commandments Z.
Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.
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