There's a certain joy in being in a hobby about forty years and having an area of that hobby that you still can use a guide to.
As Hans Gruber once quoted, "When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept because there were no more worlds left to conquer," and even though I would substitute "explore" for "conquer," the sentiment is relatable. Replaying your personal "greatest hits" of Sherlockian discovery gets tiresome after a while, and ten years ago it seemed like an older Sherlockian was down to that. So it was with some delight that I saw Caroline's "Online Primer for Sherlockians" published on AO3 this week.
Caroline, if you haven't run into her, is one of the hard-working souls behind the Three Patch Podcast and is constantly out on the web digging up new things, so her perspective on the online Sherlockian world is not the work of a dabbler. And when I say "online Sherlockian world" here, I'm talking the new world of Sherlockiana, not the list of website links such a guide might have been before social media became a part of our lives. (If you are and old school Sherlockian and want just that, good old Sherlockian.net might suffice.)
Caroline's explanations of the platforms make a good starting place, and her words on Tumblr alone were worth a lot to me -- that beast has been confusing me for years now. The significant portion of a chapter she devotes to avoiding conflicts is something that those who really need it most may never read, but serves as an excellent bit of coaching for those of us who actually struggle with that on a daily basis. (I grew up with fiesty brothers, and as a result, sometimes enjoy a verbal tussle a little more than I should.)
Fanspeak is an area that can always use more explanation, as I'm still googling terms I hear at 221B Con after five years, and there's a good starter bit on that here. (Like any language, it's an every-evolving one, so we'll probably always need Google to translate the new bits.) Strategies for finding fan fiction you'll enjoy are a definite must, that ocean being so large, and Caroline gives some worthwhile tips on that.
I've paged through the "Online Primer for Sherlockians" a couple of times now, and it will definitely be a good resource to head back to when the need arises. As with any travel guide, it can offer a taste of places you may never want to go, especially if you're an old school Sherlockian who is satisfied with the well-settled lands of original Canon study. But for those who like trips into the newer realms, or even have spent most of their Sherlockian lives there, you never know what corner you might have missed, and a look at a primer can still have merit.
And Caroline's "Online Primer for Sherlockians" is definitely worth a look.