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What do you bring to the table? (suggestions for newbies)

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Posters come, posters go - and some pop up again after years away. The ebb and flow keep the conversation interesting!

Sometimes a posters initial communications are ignored or put folks off. Other times a new poster is able to jump right in and seamlessly become a valued player. What actions help or hinder?

I am starting this thread in the hope that we can offer suggestions that help a newbie join the conversation more easily.

My suggestions:

Spend some time exploring first. Even if you are returning after a long hiatus, things change.
See what is being discussed. See how things are discussed.

Read the stickies! Every board has them and while they may not be the most exciting part of your day they will help you become part of the gang easier.

Share vs lecture. A factual report is great, but tone is key. Perhaps you are an expert, but if you are unknown to the board it will take time before you are viewed as one. Most people respond better to a post written from a point of sharing and enthusiasm rather than one written from an "I know best" frame of reference.

Skip the self promotion. If you blog or tweet great! Put it on your profile info. If your posts are relevant and interesting then folks will be intrigued enough to look at your profile. As is the case anywhere, respect is earned.

Try not to insult the locals. Maybe you went rural after the big city and things just aren't the same.
Making blanket statements about the inferiority of the food/tastes/traditions of an area just ain't polite! Use this as a chance to ask questions, explore and observe rather than grouse. The natives will like you better and you might learn something.

Search! The CH search function can be less than desirable. Do a Google search on a subject. You'll be surprised at the wealth of information that is here. Reading an establish thread lets you see what has been said and what is left to contribute. This helps keep the site useful and decreases the noise which plagues some of the other food sites.

Baby steps - blanketing a board with new threads will just create wariness. Your agenda will be questioned. Most likely you are starting a post about something that is already being discussed a few lines down.

Stop - Look - Listen. Then you will be in a better position to know what you can bring to the table!

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