FAQ's of the Brown Ajah

From Tar Valon Library
Jump to: navigation, search

UPDATED - 3/31/2021 by Zashara Sho'am

What if I don't read a lot? I thought that all Browns read like 10 books a week.

Zashara: Your problem is that second word - "thought". Ya thought wrong. As if anyone has the time to do that.

Shaerlyn: It may be poor form to simply roll my eyes at this but I don’t have any other response. I kind of doubt this is a serious perception, but if it is, shoo.

Yarrow: Browns are all different kinds of people. Some read a lot. Some don't.

Alenya: I can only get through 10 books in a week of I'm in a reading mood and ignore all other responsibilities, so like, twice a year.

Rhed: Some do, some don’t. No big deal either way.

Thaddius: If you don't read a lot, then maybe you should bump up those numbers. Those are rookie numbers.

Aintza: I am only concerned if you don't/can't read at all....in which case why/how are you here?

Loraella: Some individuals read more than others. A person reading habits are up to that individual and there is no judgement associated with that. I personally read every night before bed, it's part of my winding down ritual before sleep. Does that mean I expect everyone else to do the same? Hell no! You do you!

Adolla: Eh, it's not a contest. I mean we all like to read fiction or we wouldn't be on this site right? But being brown is less about racing through books just to check them off a list an more about seeking knowledge and being open to experience. That may or may not involve reading. For myself I have muscular issues with my eyes so reading is slow and following anything for more than a sentence can be down right impossible at times. Does that make me not Brown? I don't think anyone would say no.

Leira: I mean that's cool, I go through phases where I read voraciously and then some when I don't read at all. You do you.

Stasia: That’s fine. You do you.

Serenla: Yeah, we really don't care how much you read, just that you know how.

Alexstrasz: Why are you such a slacker???

Eluial: If you want to be a Brown you have to fill out our "books read per week" form for at least 6 weeks in advance of aspiring. You must get the form notarized. We will rate you both on the quantity and the quality of the books on your list.

Keara: That's cool. Also, doesn't everyone on this site like to read to some extent?

Shara: Nothing wrong with not reading lots of books, but that pile of To Be Read, will always be there, judging you...shaming you.


The Brown sisters in the book seem kind of well... frumpy. Is that what the Browns are like here?

Zashara: Yes. Go up to a couple Brown Sisters and call them frumpy. I dare you. May I suggest Serenla, Pylar, and Shara to start. They are definitely the frumpiest of sisters. Also, I prefer you refer to my style of wearing yoga pants and t-shirts as being a #bossbabe

Shaerlyn: No more or less than any other group that met online as a result of liking a fantasy series.

Yarrow: Book Brown and Site Brown are two totally different beasts and comparing the two is like comparing apples and airplanes. You'll have to get to know us to see what we are like.

Alenya: Define frumpy.

Rhed: Yes, of course.

Thaddius: Seeing as how I'm not a Brown sister, I can't really answer this question

Aintza: I mean, I am a tattoo covered potato but my siblings are definitely NOT frumpy. #rude

Loraella: Frumpy is not a word I've ever used to describe myself or another person. So nope.

Adolla: I mean like it's a global pandemic I'm not putting on real pants ever again. But I still wouldn't say I was frumpy.

Leira: Meh. What is frumpy?

Stasia: Firstly, no; secondly, who cares?

Serenla: Nope. This is an oldie, but pops up in the convention/fandom scene a fair bit.

Alexstrasz: Totally. No one frumps like us.

Eluial: Yes.

Keara: No.

Shara: :| no.


I haven't got a college degree/I don't plan on getting my Masters or Ph.D. Would I still fit in with the Brown Ajah?

Zashara: Maybe. Edit: What Leira said. Don't be anti-science and stupid. Just don't.

Shaerlyn: Sigh.

Yarrow: Being a part of Brown has nothing to do with your level of education and everything to do with what kind of person you are.

Alenya: Formal education not required.

Rhed: Yep! We care that you’re curious and open to learning, not how much school you've done.

Thaddius: You'll need a degree in sarcasm. You'll be fine, then

Aintza: Neither do I, so sure?

Loraella: I withdrew from university in my second year, that has not stopped me from succeeding in what I set out to achieve. The fact I don't have a degree doesn't prevent me from being Brown.

Adolla: I don't have one and probably won't be getting anything higher than an Associates degree.

Leira: Look, I'll be honest. If you're stupid and anti-science, I won't like you, and you won't fit in. However, that isn't tied to what degree you have (or don't). Just don't be stupid.

Stasia: It’s all good. Formal education does not equal Brown by default.

Serenla: I don't have one either, we don't care. Just don't be intentionally stupid.

Alexstrasz: Sadly, no.

Eluial: Yes. In fact, you'll fit in even better. We stuff nerds in lockers around here.

Keara: Yes.

Shara: Yes, street smarts is still smarts.


I'm really not a shy person. I love to go out and be the life of the party. Doesn't that mean I wouldn't fit in the Brown Ajah?

Zashara: If you're asking this question, you haven't met any TV.net Browns.

Shaerlyn: Come on, this has to be an ancient question from back when Brown was quiet. That hasn’t been the case for ages, and even when it was this would’ve been a dumb question.

Yarrow: Again, Browns are all different kinds of people. Some are outgoing, some are not. The key is that we accept each other as we are and don't ask that someone alters their socializing preferences to suit someone else.

Alenya: You'll have to ask one of the life of the party types.

Rhed: Absolutely. We’re all wallflowers and our meetups are soooooo quiet and uncomfortable.

Thaddius: You can go be the life of the party, sure. I'll stay behind and be in the chill zone, though.

Aintza: I think a better question would be how many drinks do you need to become the life of the party? Mine is about 3.

Loraella: We're a mix of introverts and extroverts. Some shy, some less shy. But all fun.

Adolla: I guess someone has to do it.

Leira: We run the whole gamut of the introversion/extroversion spectrum.

Stasia: We have a good mix of introverts and extroverts.

Serenla: I used to be shy and can sometimes still be. As at least 80% extrovert, I learned how to overcome it.

Alexstrasz: Who do you think you are, a 1-up mushroom?

Eluial: I see that you've fallen into the introvert=smart/extrovert=fun dichotomy. I suggest you find yourself a way out of it.

Keara: That's fine, just don't drag me with you. I'm not shy, but I'd rather be chilling at home with my cats by the fire.

Shara: love to the be the life of the party, but I also love my bed and sleeping for 10 hours, so you know something in between all that.



I'm interested in all sorts of things. I don't really study one subject or anything in particular.

Zashara: Your point?

Shaerlyn: See first answer

Yarrow: And this is a bad thing how exactly...?

Alenya: Me too.

Rhed: And?

Thaddius: So a jack of all trades? I'm more of a Master of none, myself.

Aintza: Cool. I too, like multiple things.

Loraella: So are we all. Life would be boring if we didn't explore multiple topics or interests.

Adolla: Please feel free to peruse my collection of abandoned hobbies and interests. Just be careful there's sharp things in there.

Leira: Ok, cool? This isn't a question?

Stasia: Join the club! (Also check out the TED talk on multipotentialites, maybe?)

Serenla: Cool.

Alexstrasz: Can we reword this? It's not actually a question.

Eluial: Thanks for letting me know. That's not really a question though.

Keara: That sounds about right. Most of us are interested in numerous things. We're generalists.

Shara: I love documentaries and learning, but if that ain't your jam, the bread and butter of reality shows are also a good time.


What's a "brownout"? And do the brownouts make the Brown or are they just an added bonus?

Zashara: I'm sorry, what are we talking about?

Shaerlyn: Re what: it’s being forgetful about something, or absentminded. Re second question: I would imagine we have a higher than average level of forgetfulness in our group. IF YOU ARE BROWN AND READING THIS GO CHECK YOUR TEA

Yarrow: "Brownouts" are those little moments of forgetfulness that we all have, like making your tea and then forgetting about it for the next 5 hours. I think we just latched on to the absent-minded Brown stereotype, gave it a name, and ran with it.

Alenya: It's like that time you knew you had to take something with you when you left the house and then had to drive around the block to go back home and get it. Just me?

Rhed: Added bonus.

Thaddius: Congratulations, I Browned out on my answer for this one.

Aintza: Wat.

Loraella: This is a very good question. I'm a victim of this phenomenon. But I do not know if it happens because I am Brown or for other reasons.

Adolla: Huh? What were we talking about? Oh dear my tea is cold.

Leira: A Brownout is when you forget you made coffee even though it's sitting in front of you and then you have to drink it cold. Or when your cat barfs and you don't clean it up right away, then later step right in it. Or even though your mask is on the same hook as your coat you forget to grab it anyway. I don't think Brownouts are unique to Brown by any means, but we just talk about them and are amused by them.

Stasia: :blink

Serenla: I don't remember.

Alexstrasz: I'll tell you when you're older.

Eluial: A brownout is when a utility company (generally electrical), which has a state-approved local monopoly, has not invested enough in infrastructure to withstand high demand periods, and therefore systematically turns off the power, rotating through different sectors of the service area. Most often, poorer neighborhoods are given worse hours for the power to be off, while richer neighborhoods tend to have their power turned off in the early morning hours. This is an example of where capitalism and systemic racism go hand in hand.

Keara: It's basically being absentminded or forgetting something. Like, "what was I doing in this thread again..?"

Shara: It's like when you say, I need to go to the kitchen and do dishes, then you go into the kitchen, forget why you were there, leave, then immediately remember, oh yeah dishes, go back into the kitchen, forget again, get a cheese stick out of the fridge and go about your day, only to remember the dishes as you are falling asleep.


I've heard the Browns are very laid-back. I can get quite fired-up sometimes, so does that mean I wouldn't make a good Brown?

Zashara: See above comment about not having met Browns. But really, we don't take ourselves too seriously. Our group is pretty informal with each other which I guess can give an impression of being 'laid-back'.

Shaerlyn: See above comment about this being an ancient question

Yarrow: Browns? Laid-back? Are you sure we're talking about the same Ajah?

Alenya: You should ask us about vaccines sometime. Or pretty much anything else that has some opposing views.

Rhed: Yep. See above — we’re all quite quiet and reserved.

Thaddius: Fired up is just like, a state of mind, man. If you get yourself fired up, you'll create a domino effect. You'll be fine.

Aintza: I still don't know who decided we are laid back. Lol.

Loraella: I'd like to know who your source is. What is this laid back you speak of?

Adolla: lol

Leira: Lol, honestly, if people actually think this I don't think they've interacted with many of the Browns here.

Stasia: Hahahahahaha

Serenla: We're laid back until we turn into rabid monsters who will argue about something we care about deeply. Or for some of us, until there's a party and we turn into rabid extroverts.

Alexstrasz: Does getting fired up sometimes mean you are incapable of being laid back other times? Do you only have one emotional state?

Eluial: I'm going to say you've never actually talked to one of us.

Keara: Laid-back in everyday interactions maybe, but challenge us on an issue that we're passionate about.

Shara: We chill, till you poke us, we don't like being poked.



What attracted you to the Brown Ajah?

Zashara: Sela. Pylar. Serenla. Allin ... oh wait, you mean qualities, not people. Well, I felt like I could be myself, quirks and all, and the Browns would just accept that and kinda "make room" for it. I love learning things just because I'm curious about them. That's probably my defining trait honestly. I hunger for knowledge the way a hellbeast hungers for the souls of people. Also, the sense of humor - not as gross as some groups out there that I won't mention, but still deliciously dark.

Shaerlyn: This is the first question that feels worth taking seriously and I’m not in that kind of mood so will come back to this.

Yarrow: I felt like I could be myself without having to alter or hide certain parts of me. I feel accepted, simply as I am. This is home.

Alenya: This is my home and these are my people. There's no one thing, I'm just Brown.

Rhed: Other than being unfashionable and quiet? It’s the place I could let my hair down.

Thaddius: I liked saying the phrase "Welcome to Brown Town".

Aintza: One word. GIFs.

Loraella: My dust bunny, Cedric.

To answer seriously, there are many reasons that are difficult to describe. The key thing for me though is that Brown is where I felt most comfortable. I'm able to be my geeky self and not be judged for it. And to this day I still feel comfortable in Brown.

Adolla: I am Brown.

Leira: I am one of those who joined the site thinking "I'm totally a Brown, if I were in the books I'd be a Brown," which, I would be. My RL job is doing research. I have done a million years of schooling. I'm pretty stereotypically book Brown (I maintain that this shy, laid-back-ness people associate with book Browns has no canonical evidence. Dreamy, sure, but retiring? No. Let's talk about Saerin, she's as fiery as they come) in terms of being a spacey academic. That doesn't mean I would necessarily be a site Brown, though! However, the site Brown also appealed to the other parts of my personality, like being sarcastic and having a dark sense of humor. I also appreciate that we don't take ourselves too seriously, you know? We are who we are. Deal with it or don't, that's not our problem. I love having a group of friends who are unapologetic about who they are and what they stand for.

Stasia: Cheese.

Serenla: The realness. The lack of pretense and crappy made up rules.

Alexstrasz: The people.

Eluial: Since this is a social, community based site, the people in Brown were what attracted me to it, and what keeps me in it.

Keara: The authenticity

Shara: The comradery and honesty, also the rum.


What do you consider the core values of the Brown Ajah?

Zashara: Curiosity, bluntness, honesty, independence of thought, a twisted sense of humor, intolerance for bullshit, a belief that vaccines do not cause autism

Shaerlyn: See previous answer, tho the short answer is curiosity and love of learning.

Yarrow: Zasha said it best, so I'm quoting her: "Curiosity, bluntness, honesty, independence of thought, a twisted sense of humor, intolerance for bullshit, a[n understanding] that vaccines do not cause autism".

Alenya: A thirst to know things and get outside the box you know to learn about the things outside it and be better and know things.

Rhed: Curiosity, siblinghood, and eating babies.

Thaddius: Be who you wanna be. Screw whatever anyone else says.

Aintza: Curiosity and the strength of our bonds. We are very passionate about the people we care for and love.

Loraella: Honesty, authenticity, curiosity and passion.

Adolla: Curiosity and openness

Leira: A willingness to learn and be taught -- that's important! We're not about people who like learning from books but not from each other. A curiosity about the world around them.

Stasia: Passion (for those you care about, for learning, for sarcasm, for gifs).

Serenla: Curiosity and basic respect for each other. Being honest with each other even when it causes tension.

Alexstrasz: Direct honesty, social justice, curiosity, believing in science, ykinmkbykiok.

Eluial: Ethics. Goodness. Other high value coded buzz words.

Keara: Being decent human beings. Acceptance, celebration of difference.

Shara: Be honest when it's hard, be supportive when it's needed, but mostly be like RBG, be cool and iconic.


Some of the Browns seem to have very strong opinions and personalities. What's up with that? How does that reconcile with laid-back attitude of the Ajah?

Zashara: Y'all really think that we like to be all RAWRRR OPINIONS all the time? Nah, we're like Cthulu, slumbering peacefully until someone summons us to destroy the world. Having that home to chill out in is very much required.

Shaerlyn: People are complicated.

Yarrow: Again with this whole “laid-back” thing... where that came from I have no idea. But mostly we’re pretty chill until there’s something to be worked up about. After that, watch out.

Alenya: We research and learn and do better and will offer Brown Healing to anyone who won't do the same. Are we laid back or just occasionally lazy?

Rhed: You kidding? Ever seen two scholars get in a shouting match?

Thaddius: It truly is Thunderdome here sometimes. I hope you're ready. No one holds things personally though.

Aintza: Meh. We are passionate but usually talk it out and move on.

Loraella: Again, who is your source on this "laid back" opinion? We are all human, we have opinions, this is a good thing.

Adolla: Look I have opinions and as long as you aren't a racist Nazi then we're probably cool. I'm also not wasting my energy on you if you aren't hurting anyone.

Leira: Lol, to quote one of my favorite meme posts, "How dull for you to live your life without any hills to die on while I reign supreme over the lush, rolling highlands of stupid stuff I have irrationally chosen to stake my entire identity on." Again, do people really think we're laid back?

Stasia: We’re very chill, until we’re not. Brown Healing is a thing for a reason.

Serenla: I defy you to say I'm not laid-back. I am totes chill. Just don't piss me off.

Alexstrasz: Reconciliation is a social construct. Personality is a sandwich. Members of society construct sandwiches.

Eluial: Wait. How is this question in the same list as the "I can get fired up" question? Anyway. We're not actually laid back. It's a facade we put on to mask the deep layers of pain inside us.

Keara: Are these things mutually exclusive?

Shara: Like I said, we chill, till you poke too hard.


I know many Browns have their "research" areas that they are interested in. What are some of those?

Zashara: Biomedical research in general - microbiology and bioinformatics specifically. Knowing everything possible about Mass Effect and Dragon Age that there is to know. Bullet journaling. Mental health. Child development.

Shaerlyn: Theatre, Leadership, Cat behavior, Fitness, Nutrition, Mindfulness, Mental Health

Yarrow: Archaeology, paleoanthropology, mythology, tea, science fiction and fantasy, and attempting to understand why humans are so damn weird.

Alenya: History of war, music, movies, Star Wars.

Rhed: Women’s issues.

Thaddius: Do you really want to know the answer to that?

Aintza: I'm all about whatever I am obsessed with at the time. I dive deep and hard into the lore of whatever show, game or thing I am doing. I'm a pop culture whor....person.

Loraella: For me, it's whatever I'm interested or obsessing over at the time. Usually something geeky.

Adolla: What ever looks interesting right now. And music.

Leira: My degree and job are in space science. So, more specifically, my research area is on the atmospheres of various planetary bodies throughout the Solar System. I love planets! On a more fun note, I am also irrationally obsessed with maps in fantasy books.

Stasia: ADHD and mental health education, travel tips, UX/UI design, music, video games, Star Wars, general nerdery.

Serenla: I like to know all the hot gossip. Spill that tea.

Alexstrasz: Linguistics, gardening, Star Wars lore, how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

Eluial: I'm interested in all sorts of things. I don't really study one subject or anything in particular (see what I did there?).

Keara: Oh gosh, everything. I'm a historian, but I love learning about ecology, astronomy, religious studies, fandoms, weird facts, gossip about my neighbors. I think most of us just love learning stuff.

Shara: I'm a librarian by trade, but love learning about all sorts of things, a lot of murder, death, and diseases, using that knowledge to insert dark, gory facts over dinner, you know, to lighten to mood.


Do you use your hands to eat your pizza like a normal, decent human being or are you a dirty heathen who uses a fork and knife to eat pizza?

Zashara: Look, there's nothing normal and decent about me, but I eat pizza with my hands THE WAY GOD AND SATAN INTENDED.

Shaerlyn: Can’t I be a dirty heathen and do whichever suits my mood?

Yarrow: I use my hands, but I also use a napkin. Also, you can thank/blame Zasha for this question. (Editors Note: Stop exposing me.)

Alenya: Hands are the only acceptable way to eat pizza.

Rhed: Hands of course.

Thaddius: Anyone who uses a fork and knife to eat pizza is a communist.

Aintza: Hands. I am no Communist.

Loraella: If being civilised by using a knife and fork means one is a heathen then all I have to say is "I am heathen, hear me roar!"

Eluial: Hands. I am a communist.

Adolla: Ok I lied earlier, I'm ok as long as you don't eat your pizza with a fork. Come on, I can only tolerate so much.

Keara: for sure Fork and Knife. And Communist.

Leira: I do both, although I never use a knife. I usually use a fork for the pointy, floppy half, then switch to my hands when I get closer to the crust. Look, it's a system, and it works for me, ok?

Stasia: Pizza, like a fire-roasted baby, is a finger food.

Serenla: With my hands, but still a heathen.

Alexstrasz: I use my mouth, weirdos.

Eluial: I used my hand-mouth.

Keara: I've already answered this, but it bears repeating. Fork and knife, because I'm not disgusting. ^^

Shara: I am a Chaotic Good, with admitted strays into the fork and knife realm. PS Leggings are not pants.



An older version of the FAQ done in the before days can be found here: Archived FAQ's of the Brown Ajah


Visit the Brown Ajah HQ