A Newb. Until When?

Friday, June 26, 2009 Friday, June 26, 2009

We’ve all been there. Rezzing in a strange virtual world. Avatars wandering nearby chatting about unintelligible topics. Unable to move. There’s a box on your head. How do you bookmark a location? How do I get Lindens? What’s a Linden?

Yes, it’s that newbish period of our virtual existence, when we really don’t have a hot clue about practically anything. I stayed in this pathetic state for months.

Well, it really wasn’t that bad. In fact I did eventually learn how to move, chat and take the box off of my head.

But it does beg a question. When, exactly, does one stop being a “newbie”?

Let’s consider some ideas to determine this. What if the avatar:

  • Can competently build objects?
  • Can competently operate chats, groups and land?
  • Can acquire and wear great clothing?
  • Has been around for more than two months?
  • Is well known by many other avatars?
  • Can answer questions from other newbs?

Nope, none of these will do. I know people who clearly are no longer newbs, but could not build a plain wooden box to save the universe. I know people who have been in SL for two years, but still act like newbs. Any other specific factor likely has similar exceptions.

I believe that newbishness is a trait that is very gradually shed over a long period. Successful existence in SL requires a lot of knowledge and it simply cannot be learned quickly. People take months to gain enough experience to do things competently - and even then they might be completely unaware of other activities.

And that leads to my theory: we’re all still newbs one way or another, because there are always things we don’t know. A veteran avatar can suddenly become incompetent if faced with an unfamiliar situation requiring knowledge they don’t have.

So I don’t make fun of newbs, because we’d be making fun of ourselves. Unless, of course, they have a box on their head.


Unknown said...

So true - and you made me laugh with that last line. Thank you!

R. said...

A newb is a potential loyal customer.


Rob / Mo said...

Great post and so, so true. The best part of SL (and UNIX/Linux coincidentally) is that there is always more to learn. Having a great looking avatar, for example, might just mean you are really adept at spending money, a skill in its own right.

Bevan said...

Great post Armi.. I especially remember "Avatars wandering nearby chatting about unintelligible topics." (ruthed, rez, tp ... even the word newb itself :-)

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Armi, well said. The point being, of course, that the "anti-newbie" predjudice and downright cruelty in many cases is a character flaw, not a valid philosophy.

Don't insult new Residents, give them a hand up, answer their questions, be welcoming. To my mind it's a large part of the pleasure of Second Life.

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