newbie onesieDATELINE: Anyplace in the IP Suite where are laypeople.

while true remains that most of our motd’s here at the grapevine are vague and exploratory in nature, this particular entry differs in that we begin with a clear, concise & declarative thesis:


whosoever has ever used the word “newbie” – or any variant thereof – in an insulting &/or derogatory manner – is an idiot.


i’ve been wanting to write this up for a while. and multiple instances of interaction with idiots via internet have triggered me to think on the subject of discrimination against new users, specifically as it relates to the varied subjects of linguistics, sociology & community. i assumed that at least 100 articles entitled “the new n word” or “the newbie word” or other obvious crap like that had already been written – this assumption didn’t deter me from wanting to write my own, but informed me (falsely) that i’d need to read 100 already-existing articles first then come up with a much more clever title.

to my shock, a cursory search-engine query for n-word OR n word AND newbie OR newb etcetera returned nothing. i wonder how many original ideas i throw away on assumption of them having been too obvious & thus already done (don’t i love the way that one motd begs topics for handfuls of additional motds here at the grapevine?!).

what do you think about my stance against this new n-word? i will tell you what you think. you will say “i see what you mean, but i don’t think it’s necessarily harmful to use the word in a teasing manner sometimes.” please note that i already know what you think, because i do, and if you deny that, neither of us is fooled, and the both of us know it.

let me tell you about being new. when unix became standardized into the GNU/Linux we all know and love today, there was a lot of talk on IRC instances such as USENet, EFNet, Freenode, DALNet etcetera. the rising distributions such as Debian and SuSE made veridical the running of an open-source operating system on one’s personal computer. before the internet and all these network-expanding protocols started to begin being hacked together, it was much more difficult to find a copy of a *nix operating system and succeed in creating an instance of the distribution on your own machine. so naturally, jargon evolved, and one term that proved useful was GNUb which, of course, meant “GNU’s Not Unix-beginner” and was devoid of connotation; it was simply necessary to quickly communicate one detail of a situation to other users in the channels of the day.

have you called someone a “n00b3r” or whatever after they grenade themselves in Call of Duty, or get incapacitated by common infected in Left 4 Dead 2, or in any other such circumstance? when you did it, were you aware of the term’s origin regarding GNU/Linux? i highly doubt it. and did you realize that the server hosting your game is most likely running some distribution of Linux? either way, do you know how to use *nix systems in an administrative capacity? i highly doubt it. and when you used the technological n-word, did you send the message over a chat protocol that you would have NO IDEA how to write from scratch yourself? i bet rather that you never even noticed that you were utilizing the IP Suite, Transmission Control Protocol, and standardized sockets, buffers & stream systems with specifications that would blow your minds galore; i bet you were too busy taking all of it for granted. for, one who isn’t taking what the hackers have built for granted will not write “you’re a new user and i think that’s wrong!” – no – you would write “thank goodness for this wondrous shared virtual space and its various mechanisms!”

and when you call someone the n-word for new user in a derogatory manner, to what is it that you refer vis a vis the user being new? is it something you could make yourself? i.e. when a new player messes up your wheat field in minecraft on accident, and you utter “f–king n–bie” — doesn’t it seem that you should be able to write minecraft’s console, its hud, its graphical user interface, its server, registrar and client along with the specifications for communication between the three etcetera? — because if not, you might as well be posting twęëts from your smartphone to some server in 15th century Italy disparaging Leonardo Da Vinci, f’cking n00b is logged into history books as an inventor and he can’t even come up with the iPhone i’m using to call his ass out.


newbie onesie
* not original work – for sale at, uh, thinkgeek dot com *

unfortunately our grapevine is picking up a cult following very slowly, so we do not have as much power as i’d like.. but it should be a good idea that we incept the collective unconscious with a meme that will destroy the currently-status-quo memetic idea object that supports notions of that one should feel badly about being new to something. obviously this insane memeplex has been put in place by the (or ‘illuminati ‘whatever) in order to subjugate the common folk and keep us from gaining new sets of competence that could threaten the semper-vera mind-control of the governing bodies that be – not to mention in order to trick the common folk into discouraging one another from gaining new abilities and skill via experience.

more to come on the topic of some global consciousness meme theory hacking soon. i’ll sign this motd/grapevine for the moment, quite happily. as all i really wanted to say, i feel i’ve said, and i’m confident that if you objected at first you are surprised at yourself for so doing by now and are on board with the revolution of the remarkables. i would love for someone to disagree with my thesis intelligently – if it is possible, i need to know. for those just tuning in, that which i meant to posit was, of course:

if you use the n word, i.e. newbie, you are an idiot.

1 Comment

  1. Ah, but GNUb isn’t the origin of the term. GNUb is, itself, derived from “newbie”, which predates the GNU system by at least a decade. I’m afraid there aren’t really any grounds for GNU/UNIX people to be proprietary about the term.

    A newbie is a person new to any context. The new guy at work, the new guy on your game server, the new person in a mailing list — you can be an elite h4x0r on the computer, but an utter n00b at childcare. You can be a veteran ace at a video game, but a complete newbie at software development.

    Actually, in your example of the gamer with no knowledge of coding, design, engineering, or systems administration, they don’t even qualify as a newbie at those things. To be a newbie you have to at least be trying to learn, to participate, or to simply be present in a new context. So, if you wanted to take the most positive spin on it, calling someone a newbie is at least an acknowledgement that they are taking part.

    People throw around “newbie” because the inexperience of others can be irritating. It really can, let’s be honest. I never use the term, or any of its derivatives, because it’s rude. I object to it because it’s rude and I think the people who use it derisively are rude people. But, I have no problem with a person who is a veteran in one context being irritated by the inexperience of others new to their context. A champion boxer is not invalid in his feeling of superiority over an unskilled rookie on the grounds that he did not build the ring, design and manufacture his gloves and boots and shoes, weave the towel, mine the ore for the bell, &c.

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