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A newbie is a new user who’s behavior is indicative of inexperience or a lack of technical competence.
A newbie, sometimes called a newb or noob, is someone who is unfamiliar or inexperienced with something. On the web, newbies are users who don’t know how to use a specific feature, don’t conform to the official or unofficial rules governing behavior on a specific website, or simply display a lack of technical prowess online.
We’ve all seen and committed newbie mistakes. Here are a few common examples we can probably all relate to:
- Making obvious novice mistakes when playing an online game and failing to advance.
- Posting a personal email address in the comments section of a blog post requesting the author to send you an email, not realizing that this is typically an ineffective way to reach the author, and a move that exposes your email address to potential spammers.
- Using a personal image, such as that of a child, pet, or hobby, as a profile photo on a professional networking website such as LinkedIn.
- Typing an email or online message in ALL CAPS may be an example of newbie behaviour or simply poor netiquette.
- Unintentionally violating the terms of service that apply to a website or online service.
The term newbie is sometimes used in a derogatory manner, but more frequently it is simply used as a term to explain why a user lacks the knowledge an experienced user should possess.
Some communities offer resources intended to help newbies rapidly learn the basic behaviours, skills, and policies that experienced users take for granted. Examples of these types of resources include:
- Frequently asked questions: Many websites have a section of FAQs which address the most common questions a newbie might have.
- Training videos, documents, and tutorials: Some websites offer a short primer to help newbies master basic skills before granting them access to the resource they signed up for.
- User guidelines: Communities which solicit user involvement, such as Wikipedia, often establish guidelines intended to both smooth a newbies introductory period, and to encourage experienced users to treat newbies kindly.
Also See: Netiquette
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the term newbie come from?
Accoding to Wikipedia, the term has an uncertain background. It may have originated in the 1850s as a derivative of “newie”, “new boy”, or “new blood”. The term was used on a limited basis during the Vietnam War to refer to soldiers added to an existing unit. The first known documented use of the word over the Internet was in the talk.bizarre Usenet newsgroup in the late 1980s.
Is the term newbie ever used in a derogatory fashion?
Generally speaking, when someone is called a newbie it is a statement of fact rather than the passing of judgement. In other words, most of the time when someone is called a newbie it’s because they are new at something, and not intended to be an insult.
This is less true when the term is written as n00b. This particular variety of the term is more common among online gamers and hackers, and is sometimes used to refer to a community member who should demonstrate increasing competence, but who continues to exhibit newbie behaviors. In other words, while a newbie is typically a new user, a n00b is often times an experienced user who hasn’t learned how to act like an experienced user.