I wrote this a year or so ago for a new person, I thought you might find it useful. Some things have changed, but for the most part, this will still be true. If it's a little overwhelming, you can just ignore this. The SAMB isn't actually that complicated, but these are some things I wish I'd known when I first started out.
Hi! I know everything is kind of confusing when you first arrives. Here are a few basics:
SAMB: Stands for Spirit Animals Message Board. You probably knew that, but there it is anyway. People on the SAMB are known as SAMBers
Nicknames: You can choose your nickname. I chose my nickname (Windsong) because Windsong was just something I called myself in my head. You can choose yours from hobbies, sports, adjectives, pretty much anything. Sometimes you can use a word that has a hidden meaning. For example: Cat, might mean you're agile and independent. You have complete control over your nickname, and may change it. Most of us keep ours for a long while, but some people don't. I suggest making a new topic (a.k.a. a new thread) and asking if someone already has the nickname you were going to use. Some people don't mind sharing their name; but don't just assume unless it's a friend.
Wars: A serious argument between people on the SAMB typically sparks a war. During this time, the argument is the only thing people will talk about, apart from the occasional roleplay. (RP) Many people might leave the SAMB permanently, some just wait until the war is over. Anyways, wars are horrible and leave many hurt feelings. Occasionally someone will inflict injuries upon themselves in real life if they feel depressed and people are hurting them further on the leaves SAMB. So, we try to avoid wars whenever possible. Wars are rare. They aren't worth worrying about unless you come across a horrible, horrible conflict between at least two people. Wars end a little bit after the conflict is resolved, someone from the original argument leaves, and in rare cases, people forget about it. Sometimes, however, wars continue after one person from the original argument leaves, because people's nerves are even more frayed since the war caused people to leave. Some wars can be more serious then others. You can choose to not be involved in wars by posting on the few posts that are not about the war. I suggest doing that if you're ever on the SAMB during a war.
Siggy/Sig: It's short for signature. In your signature, often people will put things they enjoy. Your signature helps SAMBers tell apart one person from the next. It often presents your hobbies, personalities, and extremely occasionally, personal things, like if you're trans, bi, etc. Your signature appears after your post. My signature currently says: "It turns out this skin is not named Windsong. But until I find a name, please call me so."
Roleplays/RPs: It's just like pretending you're something you're not. It's like a story. You get to write a paragraph or so, from the point of view of one of the characters in that story. You get to create your own character with a form, provided on the RP thread. POV stands for "point of view" and you're typically supposed to write (Your character's name)'s POV at beginning of your part of the story. Make sure to use punctuation in a roleplay. It gets irritating having to read someone's POV when they never put any punctuation in it.
Gangs: These are just groups of friends on the SAMB. Sometimes people create a personal gang, full of characters they've made up, or people they want to meet in real life. Sometimes when they post, they'll write out skits with these characters, each character part written in a different letter coloring. Your Spirit Animal can be a part of your personal gang. you get to choose everything about your personal gang, like your nickname.
Bump: If someone posts "bump/teleport/up," they want there post to be seen by more people. It doesn't always work, but it does after a few tries.
Stars: The SAMB's version of liking a post. Click it when you think someone's post is well-written, if you laughed, etc. Some people use them as bookmarks, so they know to come back to that thread, or they use them to remind themselves they've already been to that thread. That's juat fine, but it wasn't the intended use. DO NOT star-farm. This is creating a post asking people to star your post. This is against the SAMB rules, and not only that, but people on the SAMB will freak out. The post will be deleted, and if it happens again and again, you will be banned. You can see how many stars you have in the top right corner of your screen under your username, and the "log out" button.
Bans: Moderators and Admins can ban you for breaking rules. I myself got banned for 7 days once, for accidentally giving out information I should not have. Saying, "it's my birthday!" counts as personal information. A lot of people don't know that. You can be banned from 24 hours to 20 years. (If you get banned for 20 years, it's a perma-ban a because you're of the SAMB permanently.
MB B-Days- The day your first posted on the SAMB is when you were "born." You may celebrate with a thread every year you're on the SAMB on that day. This is not the same as saying, "it's my birthday!" You can view your first post by going to the last page in "my posts."
Font Coloring: If you want, on all your posts, you can choose a certain color you're going to use for all of your posts. It isn't needed. Please try to use a readable color, so not yellow, but if you do, ignore those who complain about it.
In the end, the SAMB is a great place to be. It can distract you from boredom, it lets you show your creativity. I feel it's amazing it's become what it is. Not just a random forum, but an insane place full of people and personality. (I forgot to mention, a lot of the people here strive to be different, weird, and crazy from others. It's a great confidence-builder if you need help not caring what others think of you.) It can make you sad, being here sometimes, but all in all, it is a great website to be at.