Common Anxieties of Newcomers
It would not be surprising if, as a newcomer, you are feeling overwhelmed by the large choice of forums (16 in all). You may be feeling worried about how and where you fit in, or anxious about making mistakes. You may want to join in and make friends, but it may feel like such a big risk. Everyone already seems to know each other, and there are so many different names. Where do you start? What if no one replies to you? Do you really belong here? You may worry that people won't like you, that they'll laugh at you, or that they'll think you are stupid.

All of these are common feelings, fears and questions. We know this because all of us were once newcomers. We know that making your first post can feel very scary and takes a lot of courage. We also know that getting acquainted with folks in the forums takes time, and that it means taking risks and letting yourself be vulnerable. We understand that it can be draining and frustrating to go through the time, effort, and courage needed to progress from initial introduction through becoming acquainted to forming friendships and a full sense of community belonging. AND we know from our own experience that it can be time, effort, courage and frustration well spent. The rewards can be rich: friendships forged, understanding found, the feeling that you belong and are not alone. But it takes patience, respect for others, and perseverance, just as it would if you moved into a new community in 3D.

We want you to feel welcome. However, no advice we can give could make your progress from newcomer to feeling a full sense of belonging a risk-free and effortless process. What we would like to offer you are some advice and some recommendations which we hope will help make your progress as swift and smooth as possible.