A warm welcome to you all. Most new Researchers find h2g2 a daunting place, with so much happening all the time, and so much to read. In fact, h2g2 isn't that difficult to get to grips with, given time and a little help. One thing that makes h2g2 so different is that there are a bunch of Researchers who specifically work together in welcoming new people aboard - the Aces.
While many online communities, especially those with a Guide, dislike off-topic conversation and chatter, here at h2g2 we're so accomplished at it that we even have 150 smilies (known elsewhere as emoticons), especially for the purpose. A lot of communities are also suspicious of newcomers, or don't rate them too highly. At h2g2, your 'age' isn't a problem - all Researchers have access to the same opportunities, and anyone can write for the Edited Guide.
Of course, this is all very well, but new Researchers aren't ready to do all this wonderful stuff on their own from day one - there are some things to learn, and a whole load of stuff to get used to. It isn't that scary, though, and this is a pretty good place to start.
You may already have been welcomed by an ACE. All real ACEs have this badge in the bar to the right of their personal space under their Researcher Name. Their job is to welcome you and to help you to settle into h2g2. If you get stuck, you can just ask one - they'll be happy to help you! Just post below and someone should reply soon enough. The nice thing about Aces is that they don't get annoyed when you don't know something - they'll share their experience and knowledge with you.
According to h2g2's newspaper, The Post, each registered user contributes about 45 words to the Guide. That means an awful lot of not writing is going on, and you can help reverse the trend. If you enjoy writing, and want to develop your skills, you can start off by contributing to the New Researchers' Entry of the week. This week it's 'Insert Entry Here'. You can contribute at the NRC Writing Page. At the end of each week, the collaborative effort is combined into an Entry, which is then submitted for Peer Review, and hopefully inclusion in the Edited Guide.
On h2g2, there is an awful lot of this. But that can only be a good thing! Wouldn't a community be awfully boring if it didn't communicate? Also, without chatter, you'd not be on h2g2 24 hours a day, and that just wouldn't do, would it?
- First Impressions: How was your first day on h2g2? Did you meet anyone new? What have you done, where did you go? What did you read about? Chatter now...
- Signing up: Why did you sign up? How did you find h2g2? Did you lurk before you started, or did you just dive straight in? Chatter now...
- More chatter...
Even in such a refined system as you're using now, not everything can be obvious to everyone - we're all different, and these tutorials should help. So, here are the basics:
- Moving into your Personal Space - if you haven't properly altered your Personal Space, nothing much will happen. You won't get welcomed, and people won't remember you very well. So, click here to find out how to create a luxurious, spacious little empire of your own.
- Professional Posting - you've probably already started out on the 'chatter' section above, but there's so much more to chatter than all that! Find out more about posting like a pro...
- Writing like a Wizard - now you've mastered your Prefs and Postings, you'll probably want to take a stab at writing things. This section will set you scribbling in the right direction.
- Getting Edited - once you've written a few things, isn't it about time you got some of them into the Edited Guide?
- More tutorials...
We hope that you've enjoyed learning how to make the most of h2g2. Feel free to stick around, chat, write and so on, for as long as you like. These pages should set you up for, and aim you towards, the rest of h2g2, and soon you could be back here helping out! Who knows what the future holds? One thing, however, is for certain - h2g2 is what you make it, so make it well!