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Friendly Advice to Young Newcomers

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You're a young newcomer and you want to post or you've been lurking and want to take the plunge, right? Here is what one wise Forum member offers to you (reposted with consent of the author, slightly edited, copyright 21 December 2001, all rights reserved, your mileage may vary, California mileage lower, etc.)


"So... perhaps I can offer a little friendly advice?


This place you have come into is not like most other web chat groups.


While every location on the web attracts a slightly different crowd, this one in particular is not populated by large numbers of young people who have just discovered the joys of having free access to a microphone on a world-wide stage.


The regulars here are older. They don't have much to prove. They've already lived through most of what they discuss, in one form or another.


Two students can sit and talk about what they want to be, or what they might be, or what they might want to be. It is a reasonable social interaction.


But that interaction changes when you are discussing what you might want to be with someone who already is. At that point, your own position becomes socially subordinate. You are speaking to a social superior.


Please understand I am not saying anyone here is better than you in any sense of abstract value as a person. Only that you are interacting with people who have already accomplished much of what you indicate you might want to accomplish. They have more experience and knowledge than you.


If you approach them with respect, you will find this to be an amazing place. Many members of this group really operate tanks, really shoot military weapons, and some have been involved in military actions - including a significant dose of combat experience. They like to meet here to talk about tanks, guns, military issues, and conflicts. If you approach them right, you get to join in these discussions. You'll learn more about military stuff here than almost anywhere else on the web - and more about military people.


You'll find Americans, Brits, Malays, Finns, Russians, Israelis, and many more nationalities are represented here. This brotherhood welcomes any nationality.


However, you should know that you are talking with people whose very lives may depend on the people they work with every day. In general they develop a very short temper when it comes to pretenders. This is a natural survival trait. Most veterans have it. They just don't like people who talk big without having anything behind it.


They've even written it out for you in the reception area. They tend to talk very bluntly. If you earn their respect, then you earn the right to speak bluntly too - but not before.


Prior to jumping into a discussion, I suggest you read the discussions for a while. Watch the personalities at work. When you enter the discussions, don't try to convince anyone of your opinion on subjects you know little about. Instead, ask some questions. You can describe what you believe to be true, but don't take offense if you find the people here have a lot of information on your subject. That's the best reason to come here. You can learn.


I lurked here for more than two years before I made my first post. Even then, I was slapped about a bit for my "attitude" before I figured it all out.


Try not to make a bad first impression. You'll find they are still likely to accept you if you take care and try to work your way in gently.


-Mark 1"

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