Very good information that would benefit newbs on many an interwebs forum, not necessarily just here. Great work (though I'm commenting on something that is 6 years old!). Scumbag link didn't work for me, either.
My fault guys. I kinda fell out of the cigar hobby for a little while and somehow I let this lapse. For those of you who never saw it, it looked like crap anyway (web design is not exactly my forte). If anybody wants, I can make another one, but I believe Rod has most all of the same information here.
Rescued from the files of gee-wish-I-had-read-that-before-it-went-defunct internet oblivion by yours truly, the bumbling noob errant and ankle biter, I present unto one and all what seems to be the most necessary and useful portion of what was once the Cigar BB Newbie Guide (if I can rescue more useful information from this website, I will):
(Note: Some information has been omitted, but nothing presented here has been edited other than for format.)
Welcome to the wonderful world of cigar message boards. From the greenest of newbies to the most discerning aficionado, online cigar communities are a great way to converse, share knowledge, and even trade with other cigar enthusiasts throughout the world. But before you go jumping into the first board you come across, you should get a feel for how online cigar communities work. I have seen many a newbie make an honest, but avoidable, mistake right after joining a board (I made one or two myself). It's unfortunate because they then have to dig themselves out of a hole or they get run off. I created this site as a resource to hopefully create better educated newbies. The information contained here has been gleaned from several different cigar boards, advice from established members, and what I have personally learned from my experience in the online cigar communities.
What does is mean to be a newbie? It means your new to the board(s), and nobody knows you. It doesn't matter if you've been smoking cigars for years and think you know everything there is to know about them. It's the first thing that all newbies have to accept. If you join a board and don't think you should be considered a newbie...you are, get over it. Being a newbie isn't bad, it just means that you're going to have to work a little to get to know the members of that board. You'll find that most boards are very welcoming to newbies, but before you can start to participate in trades or passes, you'll need to get yourself known first. Also, many newbies will make a mistake early on and draw the ire of the established members. It's the main reason I made this site. Newbies don't get flamed off the board for making a common newbie mistake, it is how they REACT to being called on it. A simple "my bad, it won't happen again" will easily resolve the issue. However, if you get pissed at one or two members for calling out your mistake and fly off the handle, you will draw the ire of EVERY member, and your days on the board become numbered before they really began. Unfortunately, I've seen it many, many times.
Here's some general guidelines that it would be wise to follow as a newbie:
1. Use the Search function on your board before you start a thread that is asking a question. Chances are, your question has been answered many times before.
2. If you don't like the attitude of the board members in general, or you have a problem with the way a board is run, then LEAVE. You're not going to be the "new sherriff in town." A lot of members on certain boards have been there for years. They like the board the way it is, and since they were the ones who founded the boards, they have the right to keep them that way. There's been a recent rash of newbies who take offense to the way people who screw up are getting called out, and get the attitude of "well, you're not gonna pick on ME, what are you gonna do about it?" This is a good way to get yourself shown the door. If you don't like a particular board, shut up and find one you do like.
3. READ the boards for a while before you jump in and start threads. When you do start threads, make sure they are relevent to the forum you post them in.
4. A wise man once said: "Read more, type less"
First of all, what does "FOG" stand for? FOG stands for F'n Old Guy. It's a funny little name for a group of people who deserve respect. Most of the time, when a newbie does something out of line (knowingly or unknowingly), the FOG's are the ones who straighten them out. The confusion sometimes arises in what it means to be a FOG. First, let me state clearly that I am not a FOG, so only take my definition as one not being from a definitive source, but one based on what I've learned thus far.
What makes a FOG:
The FOG's are the members who founded the boards. They've been there since the beginning, and without them the boards wouldn't be around now. They have seen many newbies come, and many newbies go. They can usually spot a scumbag within a few posts, long before the rest of us can. Some newbies run into problems when they take offense to a FOG giving a hard time to a new member and try to stick up for the new guy. You've got to remember, when a scumbag shows up, the FOG's have seen his/her kind many times before, and they don't usually jump on somebody without reason. They protect the boards from trolls, price gougers, scam artists, and thieves. They will act quickly in order to keep a scumbag from ripping off the members of the board, or using it for personal profit. So if you, as a newbie, think a FOG is out of line for ripping on a newbie, just watch for a while before shooting your mouth off. You'll find that nearly every time, the FOG is right. The FOG's are generally very welcoming to newbies, and usually happy to answer any questions that haven't been asked a thousand times before.
What doesn't make a FOG:
A FOG isn't just anybody with a high post count. A FOG isn't just a member who has been around for six months to a year, and seems to know what they're talking about. A FOG isn't just a member who has a lot of money and therefore has an impressive stash. The true FOG's have been around for years (that's years plural, with an s). There's been some people who have joined up and after 8 months and 1000+ posts, they think they deserve the same respect the FOG's get. Wrong. Respect doesn't come from a post count, it comes with time spent on the boards and your actions during that time. There are very few true FOG's in the online cigar community. Pay attention, and you'll find out who they are.
You'll here talk from time to time about whether or not somebody "gets it." "Getting it" is not an easy concept to explain, but I'll try to give the best impression of it that I can put into words. To "get it" means to realize that we're all just a group of people discussing a hobby. It means talking to the other members as if you were talking to them face to face. It means showing respect instead of showing off. It means getting more enjoyment out of gifting cigars than getting cigars. It means sharing your knowledge with others while realizing that there is still more you can learn as well. Just reading and agreeing with this doesn't mean you "get it." There's a lot more to it that I didn't mention, because there's not really a good way to explain it. When you finally get it, you'll know. If not, others will tell you.
It's a good idea to introduce yourself before trying to get involved in other aspects of the forums. It's considered bad form make your first post one that is asking to get in on a pass, trying to set up a trade, or trying to sell cigars. Get yourself known first. If the board has a Newbie Trade thread get involved in that. It's a great way to try some new sticks, and get a trade with an established member under your belt.
If you're new to internet message boards in general, you may be asking "What is an asshat?" An asshat is basically someone who is a complete tool. They show up to cause trouble and generally disrupt the board. There are several different types of asshats who frequent cigar boards, so let me break them down for you:
The Troll is someone who just likes to stir things up. They will do this in a number of different ways. Sometimes they will start flame wars (pointless arguments) with established members. Also, Trolls will often start numerous pointless threads that clutter up the board. They will also keep their own pointless threads going for as long as they can. In essence, Trolls attempt to intentionally draw the ire of the other members of the board for their own entertainment. Trolls don't usually go away on their own, so they get banned, often from multiple boards.
THE ATTENTION WHORE
The Attention Whore is someone who is a classic "Look at me!" person. They way too often post pics of themselves and their possessions. (It's not bad form to post pics of your stuff, but these people take it to the extreme) They claim to have been everywhere and done everything. When they feel ignored, they get louder. Attention Whores will usually go away after being labled as such and called out publicly.
THE POST WHORE
The Post Whore is someone who thinks that post count = reputability. Therefore, they post incessantly about nothing to drive up their post count. Most of the time, people are called Post Whores in jest, however the real Post Whores can be incredibly irritating. After Post Whores get called out, they usually straighten up or become Trolls.
The Mooch is someone who is always actively trying to get bombed. Most of the time, they'll show up in an Introduction forum and give some sob story about not being able to afford good stuff, "but I'll smoke what I can." A lot of mooches will make up stories about being a veteran, disabled, recently unemployed, etc., so the members will feel sorry for them and send them a package to cheer them up. The FOGs can spot a mooch a mile away. Many mooches turn into Scumbags if they have success with their mooching, often turning around and selling the cigars that were gifted to them. The true Mooches are content to remain so, and thus very hard to get rid of.
The Scumbag is the worst of the Asshats. Scumbags rip off other members in trades, passes, and buy/sell transactions. They intentionally try to profit from the members of the board. Scumbags sometimes sell cigars for way more than they paid for them. The also like to knowingly sell/trade/pass fake ISOM's. Scumbags aren't usually "officially" banned from a board because they don't have to be. The pressure from the other members and the constant public exposure will drive them from a board. They are also followed from board to board in order to prevent them from ripping off other people.
Q: What is a "bomb"?
A: A "bomb" is a package of cigars randomly sent to another member. It is meant to be a gift.
Q: If I get bombed, do I send something back to the bomber?
A: It is not necessary to "return fire." The package is meant to be a gift, and the bomber (if he's a good BOTL) will not be expecting anything in return. Politely thank them in the forum or through PM. Sometimes, the bomber will hide their identity! Also, do not asked to get bombed. Don't be a mooch.
Q: What is "lurking"?
A: To lurk means to read without posting. I recommend to newbies that they lurk for a while on a board before joining it, in order to determine if the board "fits their style". Also, you can avoid many newbie mistakes by watching other newbies make them first.
Q: I don't like putting my personal information on the internet. Do I really need to fill out my profile?
A: If you want to be an active participant on the board, it helps to fill out your profile. You can fill out as much or as little as you're comfortable with. Keep in mind, many members will be very hesitant to trade with you, buy or sell from/with you, or let you in passes if they do not know anything about you.
Q: I have a lot of questions. Will I come across as annoying if I keep asking them?
A: No, many members will be more than happy to answer your questions. BUT...use the board's search function to see if your question has already been asked before you ask it. Chances are, it has. If not, fire away.
Q: This particular board has something called the Newbie Sampler Thread. Is that worth my while?
A: YES! The NST is a great way to try a lot of cigars, especially if your new to the hobby. You'll find that the members involved are very generous. I used to run the one on CigarSmokers.com. It's fairly new, but fairly successful. The one on CigarPass has been going on for a long time, and is very well-run. It's the one I did when I first joined up.
Q: What's this "Scumbag List" I keep hearing about?
A: Click http://www.scumbagslist.com/]here[/url]. The Scumbag List is a list of known internet scumbags and their transgressions. If you get yourself put on here, it can stay with you for a long time. Be cool fool.
I've quoted this excerpt as it is pertinent to this site, with some minor edits:
"I believe that [Cigar Pass] strives to maintain a community that is in the best interests of the membership. Sometimes that includes controversial or unpleasant conversation that is meant to expose those members who joined for the sole purpose of profiteering, as well as scam artists and thieves. There are certain forums who do not allow such conversations in the name of 'keeping the peace.' Doing so creates a safe haven for these scumbags to operate."
Miscellaneous links to the remainder of what's left of the site, somewhat redundant with what is available on this forum: Trades, Passes.