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Apparently Mountainhome is happy with my colony, so I got to appoint a baronness, and chose my legendary miner. Now she spends most of her time doing the activity "Noble" in her room. What's that? Should I avoid appointing important dwarves to high positions?

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    Normally it would be a good idea to avoid appointing important dwarves to certain 'lazy' noble positions, as they won't do any work. However, in the current version lazy nobles are glitched, and will still work. – SaintWacko May 11 '12 at 15:42
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    @SaintWacko: That's not intended? Well crap, I thought toady just had made the game better.. – Daenyth May 11 '12 at 17:18
  • I'm not sure it's a glitch. Dungeon masters used to forge stuff. You can use Dwarf Therapist to change their work preferences, you cheater. – kotekzot May 11 '12 at 21:25
  • @kotekzot: I think my baronness/miner kept mining after becoming a noble. I've set Dwarf Therapist to no-cheating, so I can't have accidentally changed her labour preferences. – Anna May 12 '12 at 5:46
  • Yes, I meant to give them new labors, not enable the ones they had pre-nobling. – kotekzot May 12 '12 at 7:37
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As the Wiki says:

Nobles are snotty good-for-nothing parasites

Jokes aside, noble dwarf are quite demanding, but they are useful because they unlock the possibility to appoint other nobles.

Your baroness, as you can see in the table in the link, will let you appoint Champions and Dungeon Masters (and Tax Collectors in the future)

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Being "Noble" means they are doing their own thing. They might be doing nothing, or they might go forge themselves some items and then go tame some monsters (dungeonmaster in older versions of dwarf fortress, for instance).

You cannot give them jobs or tasks, just like you can't give children jobs or tasks (through the game interface, at least). And like children, they will do whatever they want.

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