It is interesting to see, having been on this forum for only a couple of months, the influx of new folks after holiday season.
Traditionally, new people get into model railroading around the holidays--the "model train as Christmas present" tradition is still around.
I'm no exception--I got into the hobby as a kid, gave it up in college, and then rediscovered it when I borrowed one of my friend's old model-railroad books on a whim when visiting for the holidays a couple of years ago. I discovered this forum a while later.
Some of these new folks, it seems, are new to the hobby as a whole: either adults who got a trainset for their kids or discovered the hobby as an adult, or kids who got a trainset for Christmas. In either case it behooves us to show a little tolerance for people's lack of knowledge and resulting curiosity. I've been online since the late nineties, when the online community was a much wilder and woolier place, and sometimes have to resist the urge to flame people--I have to remind myself that this isn't the Old West of USENET, and, frankly, the Nscale forum is a lot nicer place to post than an old-fashioned board partially because the moderators encourage civility, and, frankly, model railroaders tend to be pretty good sorts.
Some, like me, are folks returning to the hobby after an absence of years or decades. They, like I was, may be amazed or confused by the big changes that have occurred in the hobby: I was pretty mind-boggled by DCC, laser-cut kits, home-laser-printed decals, and the much wider selection of high-quality RTR equipment available since my early years in HO.
And some are folks who are old-hand model railroaders who may have got a computer or set-top box or other means of getting online for Christmas. They know the hobby, but might not know the Internet.
To those of you who are new: Please don't take offense if some of us bombard you with knowledge, tell you that you're doing something the wrong way, or ask you questions you don't understand. This is a hobby with a lot of rather fervent adherents--we are nuts about trains, and some of us spend a lot of time researching, discovering and figuring out how to do things that the rest of the world is generally totally unaware of. We LOVE to share that knowledge and sometimes get a bit too enthusiastic about it. We WANT more model railroaders--it means a bigger hobby, more community, more fun, and more people who know what we're talking about when we say "I'm a model railroader" to someone. If you can get around our little incongruities, you might discover to your joy that you are one of us.
To old-hand forum members: At first glance it's hard to tell from a posting whether a new member is a 10 year old with his first trainset or a 50 year old old-hand who just can't type very well. Try not to take offense when new folks might get confused or upset at your responses--they might not speak the language, or might just be a teenager who still knows everything (dang, how I miss those days!)
And yes, before anyone asks, this post is as much for myself as anyone else. I am particularly susceptible to foot-in-mouth disease at times, and definitely have to remember that, while not everyone has my level of experience in model railroading or typing, there are plenty of folks who have FAR MORE experience--and I have a lot to learn from them!--and these folks might have just recently discovered this forum...