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  #1  
Old 01-31-2010
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Sailnet for Newbies Page

A post in the "Suggestion" box got me to thinking, after I fired off a smart-alecky reply, so I thought i'd get a brainstorm brewing here.

Do we need a section devoted to newbies?
Some old salts sometimes get tired of answering the same questions over and over, while others post the same answer over and over. What if we created a section devoted to the FAQs?
Yeah, I know, the search has all the answers (that was my response) but i got to thinking- how effective is the search function if you are not even sure if you are asking the right questions, with the right words, in the right way?

Additionally, sometimes i think the average guppy can get shocked by info overload. There is simply SO MUCH info here- articles, boat reviews, forums, SDs 174,967 posts, plus all of the off-topic stuff- that I think some newbies may get overwhelmed.

How about we start here with a sort of information desk for newbies- links to a glossary, sailboat identifier links, important newbie sailnet threads, SDs boat inspection tips, sort of a Reader's Digest Condensed Sailnet.

Let's make this the newbie link throwdown at this hoedown.

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Old 01-31-2010
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BL,
I've been thinking about this for a while and even exchanged some emails with Brian about the topic a while back.

I think this can be an an intimidating place for new members, and I know I've seen a lot of the same questions pop up often.

How about polling SailNet for a list of frequently asked questions. Everything from how to heave-to, to advice on the best anchor or whether you need in-mast furling. You know the non-controversial stuff

Break that list into two categories: Things that won't change and things that are fluid. For things that won't change create articles under "Learning to Sail" such as suggestions for a first boat, how to involve your spouse, should I try a sailing school?

For things that are more fluid such as "Help! last weekend I did X", create a "New Sailors" forum.

Send links to both URLs to all new subscribers so they have a jumping off point looking for answers. Let's be honest the search function doesn't work all that well.

The tough part is going to be finding people to contribute the articles. There would be a lot of ground to cover, though the material is already there in the posts...

Jim
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Old 01-31-2010
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Sounds cool to me. Whatever helps. There are some REALLY good articles that have sunken beneath the waves in the "Featured Articles" section. It would be good to cycle those through every one in a while - so people can see and comment on them.

There's just so much great stuff on this site - and a lot of it just needs to be dug back up.
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Old 01-31-2010
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Jim,
Good points.
Maybe we can make it really simple.
Post your favourite link, the one link that has helped you the most, whether it is a thread here or a thread on another site, or a whole site elsewhere. We all have something to contribute, we have all been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt wet. Pass it on.
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Old 01-31-2010
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Smack,

Zackly. This maybe the thread where gravedigging is not only not frowned upon, but actively encouraged. Gentlemen, and ladies, grab your shovels!
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Old 01-31-2010
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BL,
Wow, it would be pretty hard to narrow down what has been the most helpful. That's usually the article that I find for the job I'm going to tackle this weekend. Not to mention "most helpful" is a moving target as I gradually get more experience. I still consider myself a newbie.

Smack has a good point to. There is a lot of good stuff buried, and a "newbie" section would be the perfect place to recycle it.

I think a poll of senior members "what questions are you answering most", and a poll of new members "what do you want/need to know might be a place to start. Does your back-end software give you a good polling tool?

Jim
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Old 01-31-2010
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Oh, and I did say software tool. Tools for polling your back end are on a whole different web site!
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Old 01-31-2010
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I think its a great idea!
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Old 01-31-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T37Chef View Post
I think its a great idea!
Sure, it is a great idea in theory but in practice it is an impractical request. A request made by someone who probably hopes to be able to debug every conceivable problem by using his/her iPhone within 5 minutes or less.
There is no single 'page' of information that a newbie could view to help them figure out their own particular problem of the moment. Everyone has their own baggage of experiences and some start out with no experience what-so-ever and some have a bit or even a lot. Some start out sailing a Sunfish on a lake while others want to know the best way to get their older 'new to them' boats ready to sail the seven seas while still others want to know how to do X, Y or Z upgrade to their 'new to them' 40' + sailboat. The flow chart for even trying to figure out where a given individual is starting out from looks like a fine spaghetti & meatballs meal.
I was once younger and impatient but I submit that the only way to gain the knowledge you seek is to be patient and find the answers that you need at the moment. The errors one makes along the way are the teachers that tell us about facts such as our engines actually need oil in them and an impeller in the water pump. It is awfully hard to instruct an impatient newbie with all of the important nuances of 'safe boating' if they haven't ever made a mistake themselves. I know that I have documented a few of my major mistakes in the archives here and elsewhere.
If I have learned anything in the many years I have been sailing and owning a boat is that there is no 'one stop shopping'. This idea is akin to thinking you can stop at a McDonald's drive in for a nutritious and delicious dinner. You are likely to get neither at McDonald's but it will be quick.
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Old 01-31-2010
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Let's start with the basics- what the hell is a beam, or a starboard?

Glossary




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Want more detailed info? Here's the place to go for quick info on displacement, waterline length, beam, rig dimensions, designer info, etc.
SailboatData.com - sailboat database with specs., drawings and photos - more than 8000 listings

Want to know how to tie all them fancy knots? This is the site- it even shows you how!

Grog's Boating Knots Index
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