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Thread: The Beginning Fencer FAQ

  1. #1
    That Guy Craig's Avatar
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    The Beginning Fencer FAQ

    One of the things pointed out to me are the number of times the same questions are asked and how that repetitiveness has led some of the older members to respond with a bit of snark and "use the search" instead of typing in the answer for the umpteenth time.

    Based on the number of shoe questions, I made the big fencing shoes post on the main site. Now I'm looking for more things to do as beginner guides and FAQs.

    Ultimately what I'd like to have is a set of primer articles to point any new user to when they register - sort of a welcome packet of information. We already get lots of downloads of our Parent's Guide to Fencing, so maybe just re purposing some of that content into guides that are easier to navigate to.

    Post your thoughts/ideas on topic areas or FAQs here.

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    Senior Member D'Art's Avatar
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    A few random thoughts -

    Beginners - stick with the basics mainly, ie basic target area for each weapon, how to hit, links to the training tips (rather than re-hashing them), point out that progress is not linear and there will be plateaux and even a few troughs as they learn and improve, maybe a small guide explaining about buying equipment (ie different brands are well, different, you get what you pay for, not necessary to buy FIE kit after two months) , links to competition FAQs/more in-depth equipment guide and reviews/basic armoury FAQ/how to use the site effectively FAQ.

    FAQs - some suggestions above, but generally speaking, maybe more bullet pointed than they are currently for ease of reading quickly, with just basic info (and a click here option for a more detailed answer?), and links to diagrams/videos where appropriate?
    Also maybe a good idea to point them in the direction of which videos and channels to look for on youtube, so that noobs and newbies don't get bad habits from crappy videos. How about a "How to get the best from your fencing experience FAQ"? Obviously, everyone is different, but if kept general, like how to set realistic goals, eating properly, cross training etc, it could easily be helpful for the inexperienced.
    I'm happy to answer pointed questions as respectfully as my mood permits

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    I imagine that one of the biggest questions parents have is: which weapon should my child begin with?

    Another topic might be the chest protector debate. Even as young as 7, my son was made to feel by his clubmates that wearing one was cheating, but it infuriated him that other kids wore them (don't even get him started on the fact that some Cadets still wear them). I was torn up about the ethics v safety issue.

  4. #4
    Gav
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    One of the things pointed out to me are the number of times the same questions are asked and how that repetitiveness has led some of the older members to respond with a bit of snark and "use the search" instead of typing in the answer for the umpteenth time.

    Based on the number of shoe questions, I made the big fencing shoes post on the main site. Now I'm looking for more things to do as beginner guides and FAQs.

    Ultimately what I'd like to have is a set of primer articles to point any new user to when they register - sort of a welcome packet of information. We already get lots of downloads of our Parent's Guide to Fencing, so maybe just re purposing some of that content into guides that are easier to navigate to.

    Post your thoughts/ideas on topic areas or FAQs here.
    Craig,

    I have a short document written that explains what I believe a rank beginner should know (and tell the coach) before they turn up to a session. I'll send you it. I also have an essay on buying equipment somewhere that I am happy to share if I can find it (no guarentee though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    One of the things pointed out to me are the number of times the same questions are asked and how that repetitiveness has led some of the older members to respond with a bit of snark and "use the search" instead of typing in the answer for the umpteenth time.

    Post your thoughts/ideas on topic areas or FAQs here.
    Wait, wait! I know the answer to this one! Use the search.

    :)
    Lady Quindecim likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    What about directing fencers specifically to posters who are likely to be patient in answering questions, and have enough information to help? There's a reason that, on the web, we have "Too long, did not read". Most people coming to the site have specific questions they want answers to. Providing them might take more work but...

    ...and yes, I'm willing to take my share of questions.

    A
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    Senior Member Mitlov's Avatar
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    FAQ topics:

    * Which shoe should I buy?
    * Which weapon should I start with?
    * Should I train in multiple weapons or just one?
    * French or pistol grip, and why?
    * What sort of cross-training should I be doing?

    I like Allen's idea of having a referral list of members who are willing to be kind to the newbies. I'd volunteer for that list. I fenced epee 1995-1999, returned to epee and started dabbling in saber in 2010. I'm a parent and I've got a time-consuming job, so I only fence twice per week and I'm currently unrated, but I'd like to think that I'm a nice guy with enough grasp on the basics to help some newbies out.
    Craig and dharmaqueen like this.

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    A document about National Competitions -- which seem to baffle most beginner-fencer parents (with good reason).

    What is a Div 2 NAC, what is a Div 3 NAC, can my kid just sign up for Div 1A? What is the difference between Summer Nationals and the July NAC? What are ROCs? SYCs? etc...

    Even simple things like "the regular registration for NACs closes two months ahead of the tournament -- so be on the lookout or you will end up paying a ridiculous amount if you want Junior to go to the tournament with his friends." And "National competitions require you to check in your equipment before you compete....and to check-in your fencer every day he competes."

    Perhaps a nod to Isol (or whatever the hotel reservation service is called)? (In fact, if I were Isol, I'd publish this little booklet and send copies to clubs who requested it...with some sell copy on their organization!)
    Craig, MyrddinsPrecint and Mitlov like this.

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    That Guy Craig's Avatar
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    Great ideas. Allen - I like the idea of having referrals. What would you suppose - a rotating list of people up to receive Q&A questions?

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    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    I think that might depend on the usage you expect. 20 questions a day might demand a different approach than 2 questions a day.

    Think of this as a support desk for new fencers on F.net. What is the volume, and how long might each question take to answer?

    Also, what' the liability for F.net if someone gets a question wrong and a member acts on it?

    A

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    That Guy Craig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Evans View Post

    Also, what' the liability for F.net if someone gets a question wrong and a member acts on it?

    A
    Getting yelled at by an FOC for giving the wrong answer.

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    Senior Member Mitlov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Evans View Post
    I think that might depend on the usage you expect. 20 questions a day might demand a different approach than 2 questions a day.

    Think of this as a support desk for new fencers on F.net. What is the volume, and how long might each question take to answer?
    Thankfully, I can't imagine 20 questions a day. Lurking on the forums, it seems there's a newbie with typical newbie questions perhaps once per week, not once per hour.

    Also, what' the liability for F.net if someone gets a question wrong and a member acts on it?
    Aside from issues related to tournament registration, and I suppose intricacies of specific rules and how they're applied (which isn't often a newbie question), I can't imagine this coming up often. I mean, while there are better and worse ways to approach shoe buying, cross-training, french versus pistol, etc, those aren't the sort of things where an answer can be objectively "wrong."

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    Senior Member jkormann's Avatar
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    At the risk of being (further) ridiculed and (further) ignored, respectfully site organization could be improved.

    The scenario: You're new. You use google to look up keywords and FdN shows up. I can drop you into the middle of a thread, the forums site or the main site. If the person is not registered, display a "New Here - Find an Answer" at the top. And that drops them into the FAQ or the 'Parents Corner' sub-forum. Yes, that's buried b/c it's not as interesting to the regular site visitors. To a parent who's trying to figure out what their kid signed up for, it could be gold. Maybe sticky threads of "Weapons", "Gear", "Tournaments", "Fitness".

    The idea of patient volunteers is great and they could be moderators on that forum. And for Nadi's sake, make the SEARCH function easier to find. Most people expect to see a text-block with a "SEARCH"-type icon: magnifying lens, etc. A pull-down isn't intuitive.
    Right-of-way doesn't matter if there is a single light.

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    Senior Member erooMynohtnA's Avatar
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    A "what kind of blade should I get/what are different blades like?" FAQ

    I can write a boringly comprehensive article for that if you want.
    >:U

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    Senior Member Mitlov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkormann View Post
    At the risk of being (further) ridiculed and (further) ignored, respectfully site organization could be improved.

    The scenario: You're new. You use google to look up keywords and FdN shows up. I can drop you into the middle of a thread, the forums site or the main site. If the person is not registered, display a "New Here - Find an Answer" at the top. And that drops them into the FAQ or the 'Parents Corner' sub-forum. Yes, that's buried b/c it's not as interesting to the regular site visitors. To a parent who's trying to figure out what their kid signed up for, it could be gold. Maybe sticky threads of "Weapons", "Gear", "Tournaments", "Fitness".

    The idea of patient volunteers is great and they could be moderators on that forum. And for Nadi's sake, make the SEARCH function easier to find. Most people expect to see a text-block with a "SEARCH"-type icon: magnifying lens, etc. A pull-down isn't intuitive.
    I dunno, I don't think that the entire forum needs to be re-arranged. Fencing.net should cater first and foremost to the regulars, who are all experienced fencers. A complete overhaul isn't warranted, because fencing.net serves those regulars well. But frankly, this forum is less welcoming to novices (who, by their nature, often ask similar questions) than many other internet forums I've seen (not all, but many), so I like the idea of having a central FAQ and a few volunteers who are encouraging and patient with newbies who have newbie questions.

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    Senior Member riceboy's Avatar
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    What about all the questions about italian grips, classical fencing, and other non-fencing things you can do with swords?

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    Senior Member D'Art's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riceboy View Post
    What about all the questions about italian grips, classical fencing, and other non-fencing things you can do with swords?
    I'm sure you could volunteer your services But seriously, it is a good question, and maybe the FAQs/newbie guides could include links to some of the various classical/historic fencing forums and a message along the lines of "we're very sorry, but this is not our area of expertise. Here are some alternative sites to find better and more comprehensive answers to your query/needs"?
    MyrddinsPrecint likes this.
    I'm happy to answer pointed questions as respectfully as my mood permits

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    Gav
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    I agree. This is a fencing site not a classical fencing site. People who insist on asking questions would be better directed to people more forgiving

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    Senior Member riceboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Art View Post
    I'm sure you could volunteer your services But seriously, it is a good question, and maybe the FAQs/newbie guides could include links to some of the various classical/historic fencing forums and a message along the lines of "we're very sorry, but this is not our area of expertise. Here are some alternative sites to find better and more comprehensive answers to your query/needs"?
    I think that's a great idea, but I wanted to point out that such threads have do seem to pop up regularly (with pretty much the same results).

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    Senior Member D'Art's Avatar
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    There's no point in trying to BS people, as you get found out pretty quickly. IMO it's best to be upfront and honest about what you can and can't do. As Gav pointed out, we're by far and away mostly geared towards FIE fencing, and not any other type, so why claim otherwise? It just wastes everyone's time and energy, while also potentially damaging the reputation of the site.
    riceboy likes this.
    I'm happy to answer pointed questions as respectfully as my mood permits

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