First of all, let me just say that I'm not a mod, I'm not the owner, I'm just another member. I've been here for a few years but not since the beginning and not as long as many others. This is just me saying welcome...and making a few observations and possibly suggestions. This is not directed at anyone in particular, so please don't take offense. Anything here in this post (can't speak to the entire thread, just what I've written) is meant in a general sense and to anyone and everyone. So, with that out of the way, Welcome! Good to meet you. I hope you can get as much out of the monkey as most of the rest of us do, and share a little along the way. When we all share, we all grow. In that hope, the hope that you stick around, share, learn, grow, I hope that some observations may come in handy. I don't want to beat around the bush, and while I hope that the observations and, well yeah, suggestions, will be taken in the spirit in which they are intended, I'm just going to get to the point. I, and I assume others, want your experience here to be good. We want you to join the fold as it were. Generally, we're happy you are here! Please don't poop on the living room floor. Okay, that was blunt, because sometimes it needs to be. So, on with the observations. If you've come here with an honest desire to learn and share, to ask and answer questions, to give and receive advice, you will find your time here uplifting and fulfilling. If, however, you have come here with deep seated preconceptions about prepping, self sufficiency, the end of the world as we know it, world without the rule of law, the $hit hitting the fan, etc. and only want validation for your notions...you are going to run headlong into a brick wall. That isn't because we are mean or cruel or don't like you or think you are deficient in any way, it's because nobody likes having their time wasted. Nobody likes to invest in anything to find that it was a bad investment so to speak. If you ask a question, you will get answers (at least at first) and they will almost always be based on experience. They may not align with what you want to hear. Getting yourself all worked up into a lather because someone didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, but may very well have told you what you needed to hear turns people off. Which leads to... If you came here to cause trouble, be disruptive, only stir the pot and otherwise make a nuisance of yourself, save your effort. It's really not worth it and you'll get a vacation at the very least and shown the door in short order at worst. Why bother? Life's too short, don't be a jerk, m'kay? If you have an honest question, ask it, but do so in what would normally be considered a non-confrontational way. Avoid the use of sweeping generalizations or wild assumptions. Engage in conversation and, if you've asked a question and someone responds with a well thought out, reasoned reply, take it for what it is. Someone else's time and energy to help you. You may not agree with it, but that doesn't take away from its usefulness. If you ask a lot of questions and then argue about the answer, it puts people's hackles up (see above). You asked, they answered, don't fight them on it. You'll likely find yourself labeled a troll (whether or not anyone actually tags you with that moniker) and treated as such, even if you aren't...and believe me, that stigma is tough to shake. If you have experience with something, share it. If someone else has experience with that same thing, and they engage with you, don't take it personally. Unless you are asserting that water is wet and someone is questioning your IQ and parentage and stating that water is clearly dry and moreover you are a sheep for falling for the corporate media blitz about supposedly "wet water", it's likely a debate, fueled by experience...not an attack. Don't treat it as such. Use the search feature and follow the linked posts/threads at the bottom of many existing threads. While the search feature isn't perfect (but you can also use Google to search this site and that's pretty darned spiffy), it's still pretty good. The monkey has been around for over 10 years and while there's fluff and poking and ribbing, there's also a huge amount of useful, sometimes detailed information on literally hundreds of topics. Take some time and use the search feature. To that end, don't get too grumpy if someone points you to the search bar at the top of every page. It's not that we don't want to engage, it's not that we don't care, it's not that the mods are jerks and don't want to help. It's very likely because what you are asking has been asked (and answered) at least once before and there's a good chance there is a fairly detailed answer ready and waiting. There are some on the site who get grumpy because old threads get resurrected as "Featured". Well, those featured threads aren't always for the old-timers, they are for everyone and in many cases they are for the new members because they have good, solid, useful information. Lastly (and I reserve the right to modify this post and add to it at a later date), you will be poked, prodded, ribbed, teased and "hazed". Sometimes just a bit, sometimes a lot. If you show up for class in your underwear, we're going to call you out and likely point and laugh just a little (or a lot...some of us just can't help it). The better we know you the better we'll know the limits but, just like in real life, the better we know you the harder we're going to tease you too. We're a community and I say you're welcome to join, but just like any community we have our warts and our fights and our pot stirrers and our "troublemakers" (although they are good kids at heart dontchaknow). Deep down, we're happy you are here and that isn't predicated on: Your ethnicity, Your political persuasion, Your educational background, Your nationality, Your religion, or Your stance on the 2nd amendment (or any of them for that matter) Or a whole host of other things that don't really "define" you. What we are interested in is that you are here to learn and teach, to be a member of the community, to give and take. Welcome, from one member to another!