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I swear I'm not a Newb

While I've never played an MMORPG, I have heard my fair share about how they work, and one of the common threads is a general hostility to "newbies," (or Noobs, or newbs, or N00bs, or whatever). Many more experienced players will prey on, mock, or otherwise act in a generally unwelcoming manner toward new players. This is not to say that there aren't just as many experienced players who are happy to lend a hand to someone just starting out, but the phenomenon of hostility is prevalent enough to be consistently mentioned in a generous proportion of anything you might read about these games.

This indicates to a certain level of territoriality to me when it comes to various forms of online communities. Ideally, one would think that the very accesibility of these communities should mean that they would generally expect a constant influx of new users, so why the negative reaction? Is it simply backlash to a swelling of the community, a way of saying "we liked it better in the old days like in indie music circles? While the broader online community may be a democratizing force in a lot of ways, it seems clear that in its various subgroups, there are definitely oligarchies of a kind. We saw something similar to this in the blogging community, where the elite bloggers basically set the standard and others follow. If an elite blogger links to you, then you're in the club, and I suppose on WOW if one of those guilds likes the cut of your jib you're in too. I just find it strange that in infiinitely expandable communities, people often act like new members are going to take their slice of the pie or something.