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LSW Meebo Room Etiquette: One Woman’s Guide for the Newbie

LSW as a whole is kind of opposed to rules, but like any ecosystem some order appears out of the chaos after a sufficient amount of time. I find this process fascinating, so I thought I’d start a list of the social norms (from the trivial to the foundational) I’ve observed in the LSW Meebo Room (listed in mostly random order).

  • You can change your nickname by right-clicking on it in the room’s roster. Most people do, and it’s totally up to you, but expect people to ask you your real life name or place of employment. There’s very little anonymity in this room.
  • People like to greet you as you enter and bid you farewell as you leave. They like it if you give them warning that you’re about to leave and then hang around for a bit so they have a chance to send you off in style… or at least send you off.
  • Don’t worry if the conversation doesn’t stay “on topic” (whatever that is).
  • Don’t worry if the conversation lags. Think of it like your living room on a quiet night… you know how it is. Somebody’s reading, somebody’s watching TV, and every once in a while somebody says, “Hey, guess what I just read,” and you talk about it for a bit and then go back to what you were doing. LSW is this living room.
  • You aren’t obliged to look at all the pictures or watch all the videos in the media window. Just close the window if it bothers you and click the links to the things that interest you (I do).
  • Assume we all know each other. And assume we all like each other. (Many of us have hung out there for well over a year, now.) Read everything with this assumption in mind, and share things with that in mind.
  • It’s ok to ask questions and get help with everything from reference questions to technical questions. Basic questions are just as welcome as advanced questions. Really. I promise.
  • It’s not ok to force people to respond to your comments. Either people have stepped away from the keyboard for a bit and the conversation moved on, or they just didn’t want to respond. If you didn’t get help with a question, though, ask again (especially if new people have entered the room).
  • No TV spoilers! We come from many time zones, remember.
  • If you have really personal stuff to share, try using the private IM function (right-click on the name of the person you want to talk with).
  • If you want to show the room off at a conference or other public place, please stop by and give the room some warning so we can cleans the buffer if necessary. Things aren’t always neat and tidy in our room and we want it to look its best for company.
  • It’s a great place to vent and get help with frustrating circumstances, but don’t sabotage your own career, please.
  • Sharing food or beverages is always encouraged. If you don’t know how, just ask.
  • Use of the Pacman emoticon is strictly prohibited… at least when I’m around. It’s the only thing I hate about the room. Any of the other emoticons are fair game, and are quite fun to play with.
  • The room tends to be full of hard-working, intelligent, and generally cool people. Enter, know yourself to be a peer, and don’t be shy. We really are happy to see you.
  • Remember, there’s a buffer of about 100 lines of chat transcript that newcomers can read when they enter. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to have show up in that buffer.
  • Library folks from all kinds of libraries hang out there and genuinely respect each other’s work. In fact, Respect is the currency of highest value, edging above Fun by the narrowest of margins.
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  1. Steve Lawson Steve Lawson

    Yes, very nice. The only think I can think to add is that some of us (like, uh, me) like to joke and tease other members (though not usually new people). So don’t take that stuff at face value when said about someone else, and realize that there is a fair amount of silliness going on.

  2. Catherine Catherine

    Oh, this is so helpful. I’ve been thinking about getting my feet wet in the LSW room (in my, um, copious spare time) for a while now, but aside from one brief peek I’ve mostly stayed away.

    You might add to the list, “if you need to ask Joshua Neff for the password, don’t be intimidated because he’s totally nice and friendly, once you explain who you are and why you’re randomly IMing a complete stranger.” Kinda fits in with the ethos you’ve described already, actually.

  3. Iris Iris

    Those are wonderful additions! This is why I should have written it somewhere on the LSW site so people could have added to it.

    Steve, I think that’s what I was thinking about most when I wrote that people should assume we all know and like each other. But more specificity is good when it comes to the joking around. There’s a goodly amount of that, thank goodness. :-)

    And Catherine, you should *definitely* come join us. Who needs spare time? While we’re at it, who needs time for sleeping?

  4. waltc waltc

    I’ve heard a nasty rumor that someone’s using my name in the LSW Meebo Room. This is, of course, a vicious truth (probably started by Steve Lawson), since I would never stoop to such nonsense. I’ll be filing an appropriate legal action as soon as I can find a jurisdiction in which truth is not a defense. (We should know by now that if you’re important enough, you’re perfectly free to deny things that are provably true. I may not be important enough…)

    Until then, a good list. Even for those of us who only use emoticons by accident.

  5. Laura Laura

    And don’t forget that if your name is Laura, you’re part of the LSW LauraCon. If your name isn’t Laura, feel free to change it!

  6. Jo Alcock Jo Alcock

    Thanks for this, great list. :)

    I’ve been in the Meebo Room a few times but not for a while and I am still very much a newbie. I’ll have to start visiting the room more regularly, thanks for reminding me about it.

  7. Iris Iris

    I propose that we launch a full investigation into Walt Crawford’s claims. This can probably only be accomplished by spending more time in the LSW room, which you can justify to any who ask by responding that you are participating in a highly classless inquiry. “I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation” is also a handy phrase to remember.

  8. Aaron the Librarian Aaron the Librarian

    Heh, It was *me* Walt (so you can be sure nothing was *too* over-the-top; no, really…)

    Yes, yes I am, I’m a bit late to this thread (but I’ll cop to this, too)


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