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What is the point of the Beginners section?
I am starting this thread with some misgivings, but I felt that it was high time (in fact, long overdue) that we asked ourselves this question. My points here are not facetious ones and I would appreciate it if facile replies or those intended to provide humorous but unproductive comment were avoided.

When this section was created several years ago, the intention was for it to feature a few useful entries or threads which would provide answers to some of the most common questions new members asked, rather than the same questions coming up time and time again. It was for the convenience of everybody and was not in any way intended to replace any of the other RAT fora.

However, before long, new members started getting the impression that it was where they, as new members, should be posting their threads. This should not have been the case, but it was not addressed at the time and has rarely been since.

However, a look over the various threads in the beginners section shows that most are topics which should rightly have been posted in the 'Re-enactment and Reconstruction' forum, along with a few that should really be in the 'History and Archaeology' forum and quite a lot which should really be in the 'New Recruits' thread in the 'Round Table' forum. This means that in effect we have two 'Re-enactment and Reconstruction' fora, two 'History and Archaeology' fora and two fora where new members are announcing their presence.

Therefore virtually all of the 'Beginners section' is doubling up on the roles intended for other RAT fora. I would like to ask: what is the point of a forum like that?

I think (and I feel strongly about this) that the threads in this section should all be migrated to the correct fora they should originally have been posted in and the forum returned to its original purpose. I think that the threads which remain here should only be those which are intended to address common questions and that those threads should be locked to anyone who does not have high enough access privileges to prevent them from becoming confused, distracted or watered down.
Anyone wanting to discuss a locked thread in the beginners section could do do in the correct forum and simply provide a link to the locked thread so other members could join in the discussion properly.

What I am proposing would be quite a lot of work for our hard working moderating team to do, I admit, and I am sure there will be some here who do not understand the points I am making, but I think the present situation is far from ideal, and many threads do not get the attention they deserve because they have been posted in a forum not everyone takes the time to look at.

You thoughts Ladies and Gentlemen of RAT?

Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

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I totally agree. As a new member, I don't see the purpose of this forum : it is doubling others.
And what is a beginner? Beginner on RAT? Or beginner on reenactment?

If beginner's section become a "reenactor beginner's guide", locked, with just one open topic, "open questions to add at beginner's section", it will make sense, I think.
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Yes, I too feel the "Beginner's Section" should be closed and the topics moved elsewhere. While we have a good group on RAT, we are so bustling with new members that we need another section
Quintus Furius Collatinus

Dear RAT members!

Plausible points, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will start a discussion about this with fellow moderators and we will be back when we have reached some kind of consensus about this. :-)
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
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Personaly, I have had a LOT of help from the site when I started out in re-enacting. It was and still is most helpfull! There are some things any beginner in re-enactment should be made aware of, so I do hope we could find a way to make a section with a steep learning curve. Usefull links in a locked thread would be very benificial, I believe. It may also prevent people starting out buying things they believe look nice and have claims of authenticity, then wanting to join a group and discovering what they bought is not up to par, like I did when I started Sick .
Salvete et Valete

Nil volentibus arduum

Robert P. Wimmers Big Grin
I will admit, that I am a beginner on all levels. Research, Re-enactment Re-construction, and a beginner on RAT. There have been times I have posted things in all of the above... only to think... "OH My... Did I post that in the right area?"

Should I just be posting in the beginners area? Do I have a right to post anywhere once I become a member of RAT?

I agree with Robert on the larp/legioxx site. WHat I really wish could happen on RAT is... SERIOUSLY... a "THINGS TO AVOID" section or thread. I have sold a lot of what I have purchase and taken quite a loss in the process because of ignorance.

I have purchased things on ebay... that any seasoned person on RAT no matter what section they post in... could identify as totally avoidable at 10,000 paces!!!

But for a newbie... it has cost me. A thread that would list websites where more information could be found with pictures or photographs would be an excellent help as well! Searching the internet has been both time and life consuming! If someone finds a credible site, there should be a place for it here. I am not demanding by any means... I am just sharing my heart and not an opinion.

So many times i screamed for help! I felt like I was wearing out people's welcome. It would be so much easier for there to be an informative place of either what is "across the boards acceptable" or "totally avoidable" then to think you have researched it thoroughly... and made a purchase... only to have someone say... NOPE... wrong time frame! NOPE! That rivet is off by a quarter of an inch or 4mm... Or... NOPE! That would not be acceptable on our field, after the fact that you have made an investment. Not all of us... including myself, have the availability of a good library <or> a group of well seasoned people to trust in and confide our ignorance in without feeling snubbed in the end.

I appreciate all of the help and guidance I have gotten here. And I appreciate that you are taking the time to read this far. It shows me that you hear me... not as me being a critic, but as someone who continues to reach out for help, guidance, direction and correction. But please... let me learn from your mistakes or misfortunes instead of falling into the same pitfalls or stepping on the same land mines. Thanks everyone... in advance.
Why not replace it with a FAQ that does exactly what Crispus outlines – answers the frequently asked questions with a few links to discussions on RAT or references to easily obtainable books (so, before asking questions about colour, read Sumner!) and so on.

A lot of other boards have gone this route (as did the old mailing lists in days of yore) and some became classics (certainly a typesetting, one which I still have on disk; it's so good!).

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
I have to concur with Crispvs and believe the "Beginners" section should be closed and topics relocated. That being said, it has served a function for me since I join. I posted two accounts and pics of my projects there and to date have a total of approx. 1800 hits or better. Would I have had as many in the regular section, I don't know, but the point I'm trying to make is that no matter what sections you have, they need to be viewed by all. There is the possibility that some senior members may think that there is nothing they can learn from beginners. I have been honored with many senior pay (lol) grades as well as beginners writing comments to me with attaboys, constructive comments and helpful hints. But, I often wondered how many never even looked at mine or the others.
There's some good stuff in there and I'd like to see all share it.
A very long winded comment to say I'm for it to be moved.
Manius Acilius Italicus
Who is called \'\'Paul\'\' by no-one other than his wife, parents and brothers. :!: <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_exclaim.gif" alt=":!:" title="Exclamation" />:!:

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I agree that too many posts here are about topics unrelated to real beginners, which was who this section was meant for. I've now moved a couple of threads to their rightful section. I'll keep an eye on this one for now.
Robert Vermaat
FECTIO Late Romans
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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hi , i just joined the site as i have a roman obsession and wanted to learn more . but my main problem or question is .................... what is this site for ??? is it all about dressing up and re-inacting battles?
i am ignorant and i'm sorry for that .
colin mc
Hi Colin and welcome to the forum!

Dressing up and re-enacting battles is a part of this forum. Then again, all the different orientations in this forum are based on passion about roman military history. There is a wide variety of interests indeed, some are interested in academic discussions and some hacking the pole with a wooden sword. Wink As I said, all this is tied together with the framework of scientific research and thriving for authenticity.
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
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As a beginner it was slightly confusing, but I wouldn't say you'd have to remove it (it was honestly kind of welcoming to see a "Beginners" section).

I would just pin a few topics to the top discussing the rules in the section and what would be appropriately located within it.
What about replacing the existing topics in the beginners' section with older topics who the mods think can be most helpful to beginners?
The current topics could be transfered to other sections, and the new beginners' section would link you to the old helpful threads from whichever part of the forum.
I also realize that this is much more work for the mods, but it also doesn't have to be done all at once.
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
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Some legions have excellent guides to re-enactment with resources and links. I imagine RAT would do a superlative one.
Robert Mason D.Phil (Oxon)
World Cultures, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, 4 Bancroft Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1C1, Canada.
E-mail: [email protected]

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