As a newbie FREDder, I'm... really not sure what I should be posting, or even why I'm typing this, as usually when I start typing pointless things like this into the message I end up not posting anything anyway. Clearly however, that's not going to happen this time so I guess I'll have to figure out something useful to say in this post. Er... oh yes. I'd like to point out that I never FREDded using the original FRED2, and as such I have no idea what its limitations are (what sexp's it doesn't have) or what the graphic glitches are, beyond the obvious. This is partly because vanilla FRED2 doesn't even work on my system.
Anyway, my question is what's the major differences between FRED2 and FRED2 Open? Why would it be better for newbies to start with the original? Also that, even though I'm well aware I'm still a newbie and need to get more experience, I'd only join the newbie campaign based on whether the story and campaign itself interested me enough. I don't think I would be able to work on a campaign that didn't interest me, and I'm fairly certain that'd be the same with others. Newbies probably wouldn't be drawn to work on it, being the impatient people they (we) are, if it didn't interest them as a campaign as well as a learning experience.
With that said, ShadowWolf's idea (at least, how I understood it) is a good one. If this newbie campaign was a series of mini-campaigns where each group worked out their own individual story for that campaign, I think this could work. It's got me interested, at least. Because generally every newbie wants to do their own thing, which is why this thread is here in the first place. It'd be good if they were still allowed to do that, but in a more controlled environment.