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I think something that may encourage users is if they are greeted with a warm welcome. The only time I really see users being welcomed is with a cookie cutter "Welcome to Skeptics!" and then being asked to provide references.

I've also seen new users ask questions or give answers without any welcome or acknowledgement that they are new, or in some cases having their first questions closed without further discussion.

Examples:

From what I have gathered on other SE sites, users with less than 10 rep are pretty much always welcomed with links or invitations to join the chat. I think it would be a good idea to adopt such a policy, esp when we have a higher standard of quality than other sites.

An example might be something like:

Welcome to Skeptics.SE! Feel free to join the chat, look at some of the issues being discussed in our community or participate in the topic of the week program. If you have any questions, check the FAQ or ask in chat where someone will be happy to help.

That's not necessarily a great example but I think it gets the idea across.

I will start to do my part, but I think it would be good as whole if the community could be more welcoming wherever possible.

Thoughts?

  • FYI: Some of these examples would be helped by a new initiative we are trying - linking to a closure FAQ. Already, one new user with a high rep on StackOverflow accused a mod of being patronising, so it hasn't been 100% successful :-( – Oddthinking Feb 14 '12 at 3:13
  • I've removed three of your examples: in two cases there was nothing wrong with the post (up voted, no comments on it), in the third the delete answer was actually converted to a comment - it's the software that calls those answers "deleted". We try to always leave a comment when doing so, but it's human to forget (and once they are converted, it's impossible to add a comment). – Sklivvz Feb 19 '12 at 16:01
  • @Sklivvz: I think Sonny's point is that, if an user is new, we should comment to welcome him or her. We should not wait until he does something wrong. – Borror0 Feb 19 '12 at 17:12
  • @Borror0: sure, they were not valid examples of that. – Sklivvz Feb 19 '12 at 20:18
  • @Sklivvz I don't understand why you removed the examples. I chose the examples simply because it was showing new users contributing without any real acknowledgement or welcoming. It has nothing to do with answers converted to comments or things being wrong with the post. I'm reverting the edit for that reason. – Sonny Ordell Feb 19 '12 at 20:32
  • For example, while in the last example the post is upvoted, a comment welcoming Alex to the community might not have been out of place. It's a perfect example. – Sonny Ordell Feb 19 '12 at 20:34
  • @SonnyOrdell: I can see reasons why you'd say that for the other two, by why is Faust's answer not a valid example? – Borror0 Feb 19 '12 at 21:20
  • @SonnyOrdell they were acknowledged because they were up voted, which in turn gives rep. It's the basic reward mechanism on this site. The deleted example, though was not a positive contribution. – Sklivvz Feb 19 '12 at 21:38
  • @Sklivvz I'm talking about more than up-voting. That's kind of the point I'm raising in the question. – Sonny Ordell Feb 20 '12 at 1:13
  • @Borroro Faust's answer was his first and only contribution to the site. I am suggesting in such situations a welcoming comment would be beneficial. – Sonny Ordell Feb 20 '12 at 1:14
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If any user wants to welcome new users, I encourage them to do so.

To make the task easier, there is the pro-forma comments script which allows you to register pre-written comments for specific occasions, saving you the need to always rewrite the same comment over and over again. Instead, it's only a few clicks away.

For example, here's my saved comment requesting for references:

Welcome to Skeptics! As skeptics, we require claims to be backed by references. Additionally, speculation and anecdotes are frowned upon and should be avoided. Please edit your answer accordingly.

Additionally, there is the review tab which allows you to spot new users' first answer or question as well as low quality content. More users checking it frequently couldn't hurt.

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