Exploring polyamory should be enjoyable, peaceful, and enlightening. The keyword here is should. In Poly-curiosity 101, we lightly covered some things to watch out for; however, there must be more coverage to protect those seeking to learn, date, and experience the community.
Like any other community, there are teachers, and the teachers may be self-appointed or considered valid by the community. It is not uncommon for poly-curious people to be forwarded to these teachers in the community. The issue with this is if a poly-curious person has a problem with discernment when receiving education. Every teacher is not teaching the ethical or consensual way of polyamory. If you feel like their teachings are manipulative, one-sided, sexist, promote isolation, and/or don't curate space for being challenged - this may be a sign to find a different teacher to follow. Always take the time to research what someone has told you, even if you think what they said was correct. you are in the learning stage and can be misled by misinformation. Suppose a teacher offers misinformation, and your attempt to correct them is met with anger, condescension due to your poly-curiosity, or even shame. In that case, this is a sign that this teacher is not the one to follow.
Despite the small size of the community, there are a lot of influencers/leaders with social media and community presence. Their presence does affect the lean of some in the community. They could be podcasters, lifestyle content creators, event curators, etc. There is power in these positions. Just because everyone else follows a particular polyam influencer does not mean you have to. Nor does this mean this person is the end-all-be-all of information related to polyamory. Often the position of influencer/leader overlaps with the teacher. There isn't anything wrong with this, but this again can strengthen the power dynamic and influence over those in the community, which leads us to the next point...
No Mentor Lovers!
Some community influencers, leaders, and teachers prey on newcomers to polyamory. They will use their position to offer mentorship, guidance, and access to privileges in the community. Sometimes some people work alongside them to help seek out and groom newcomers. Those people can be their partners, friends, or supporters. Setting up a personal boundary to not date anyone in the position of your mentor (past or present) can help buffer potential grooming. It may be exciting to feel like someone in these positions wants to help you on your journey, and that's okay. However, this can be catastrophic if their mentorship blurs into s-xual and/or romantic intimacy. Also, if someone is a mentor and tries to blur the lines ethically, this is problematic. Mentors influence our perception and choices, especially when new to something. If a mentor is using their position to gain access to you beyond a platonic relationship - they probably aren't a good match for you at this time. Also, if someone in these influential positions in the community happens to be toxic, turning them down or breaking up with them if you dated could get you ostracized from the community.