Much of what Lolita has to offer is learned through lurking; simply watching the community and soaking up information. But, when the answers aren't simply flowing by, a question might form! So, it's one thing to shout, "USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION!" And quite another to know how it works. Don't worry, soon your google-fu will be strong. That's what I'm hoping this guide will do.
The first thing to do is:
This is where the rules are. No one really likes rules, but in a community as large as EGL is, it can be difficult to manage without them, and while EGL is moderated, our moderators are human and can't babysit the community every second. Even inside the rules, there are helpful links to help you get started! New members, be sure to note rule #7; this is a common mistake most people make!
After that... The second thing to do is find the FAQ!
Here it is!
This is a basic overview of most beginner's first questions with Lolita. While it is older, don't judge it by the date, it's constantly being edited. Give it a read-through, and be well-informed!
EGL is split into two (or three, depending on opinion) different communities. This makes things far easier to search through.
egl is the general community. News about brands, discussion posts, photo posts, anything having to do with Lolita in general, goes here.
egl_comm_sales is the sales community. Nothing will ever be bought/sold on egl, and it is inappropriate to ask to buy or sell things on egl. That is what the sales community is for.
daily_lolita is another community; it's at the very least closely associated with egl, though it has a different set of moderators. This is for members to post their day-to-day coordinates. egl photo posts are reserved for more intentioned, well-put-together shoots. A quick snapshot of what you wore today is more suitable for daily_lolita.
There are many other sister communities to egl, though they are run by a different set of moderators than the ones here, so rules might be a little different there. They are under the "communities" tag.
What are tags?
TAG, YOU'RE IT!
It should be stated that the tagging system isn't currently active in EGL (as of the original date of writing this...) But, there is still good information buried in the tags, so they're worth a look.
To find the tags, Simply write "tag" after the URL for egl, or go back to the profile and click the little tag button to take you to the tags page. Or, hey, click here!
Tags are what keep your posts organized; for example, if I were writing about a particular event, say, Otakon, I would tag the entry with "otakon." Find Otakon on the tag list, click it, and it will show all entries with that tag. Currently, tagging things yourself is locked only to moderators. But searching through the tags might find what you're looking for.
If that doesn't work, then...
WHERE IS THE SEARCH??
Go to the egl main page by either clicking "egl", or going to the URL. For the record, I keep EGL bookmarked. It's handy.
Here you'll see our pretty layout. Along the right is a header that says "Link List." The fifth one down is "Search EGL." See that Memories is there, too, but we'll get to that later.
Now. Something that looks very similar to google appears! It's run by google, but the moderators were good enough to isolate this particular search only to EGL, so it makes your search far more fruitful!
Okay, so, what are we looking for? I'm going to use an example here... Alright, say if I were looking for a particular Angelic Pretty series that is to be released soon... I'll use a relatively new one.
Angelic Pretty Miracle Candy
Uh oh, completely not what I was looking for! A bunch of random lists, meet-up posts. Oh, no! It picks up on each word separately, and heaven knows AP has lots of series with the words "Miracle" AND "Candy" in them!
So, now what? Well, let's start using quotes.
"Angelic Pretty" "Miracle Candy".
This means that the search will keep those pairs of words together. Aha, here we go, this is far more what I was looking for. Pictures, links, and even shopping services. Quotes streamline your search so that it can find exactly what you're looking for, rather than grasping at each word independently.
What if you're searching along, and it is coming up with some good links, but they're drowned with a lot you DON'T want? Let's say you don't want meet-up photos.
"Angelic Pretty" "Miracle Candy" -meet
This will eliminate posts that have the word "meet" in them, which should shave off all of the meet-up photos.
USING BIG GOOGLE
Searching the internet for Lolita things is done the same way as above when searching EGL. However, since it's not limited to just the EGL community, you'll get a lot of material you don't want. (Including porn...)
So, how do you do that? String the words you need together. Be specific, and don't use abbreviations! Google doesn't know "EGL" stands for "elegant gothic Lolita" (well, it does now, but typing the full words out gets better results.) For example:
"Lolita" fashion -Nabokov
This finds things that include Lolita, might include the word fashion, and don't use the word Nabokov, the writer of the book, Lolita. Which, while excellent, isn't what we're looking for here.
If you're looking for images, it's a good idea to use the image search function, but be sure to check the text links, too. Sometimes the images themselves don't register, even when they're the first link!
Alright, let's go back to the main egl page. Click the "memories" link. This can also be accessed on the profile by clicking the heart icon.
Memories are LJ's version of "bookmarks." Think of them as putting a tab in a notebook on a page with useful information. EGL has these sorted into handy categories. As a beginner, it's really interesting to just go through all of them at least once. My personal favorite is the patterns section! The memories will give you good, pertinent information, or, just really interesting reads!
THE LOLITA STOCK PHOTO FLICKR
If what you're looking for is a particular brand item, take a look through the Lolita Stock Photo Flickr group. This is a huge database of nearly all brand pieces. Even if you're not looking for a specific item, it's good to flip through and familiarize yourself with Lolita garments.
IF YOU STILL CAN'T FIND IT...
No good? If you've tried everything, you can post on EGL asking for help. Searching can take practice, and I know people far more adept at searching then I am! Let people know you have searched, place your question under a cut, and be polite and concise! Hopefully someone will help you out! But keep this as a last resort.
WHAT'S A CUT?
Just like how you clicked my link to get to the full entry, a Livejournal cut snips an entry until you click to see the rest. It's nice to trim down longer entries, because otherwise, you'll clog up all of the members' friendslists. Which they do not enjoy, I'm sure.
The code goes like this:
< lj-cut text="Put whatever text you'd like as your link here"> Put the entry here < /lj-cut>
Take out the spaces of course, and there you go!
...YOU DIDN'T ANSWER MY QUESTION...
Put a comment and maybe I can help?
Dude, you missed something.
I'm not surprised! Comment and I'll edit it in.
Okay, cool? Cool.