Dear Mindy: The basics of the gaming community

Greetings all; this is the introductory post for a special series of features highlighting the basics of the gaming community, specifically tools that facilitate online gaming and interaction as well as basic conventions that influence gaming life.  Most readers will no doubt be familiar with most if not all of these elements, and that’s not only fine but good for all of us gamers.  The information in our following Dear Mindy articles is primarily for those new to gaming or at least to the major online aspects of it.
For everyone not familiar with programs like Steam and Origins or services such as Mumble and Battlenet it is my objective to inform and assist you with these posts.  If you find this helpful in any way please refer your burgeoning gamer friends to the information presented here that they too may experience the myriad options available to gamers of all levels and preferences.