17

Once in a while I see a large spike of generic comments which welcome pretty much every new user to the site.

Should we encourage or discourage such practice?

This doesn't apply to post-specific comments, which include the welcome as part of directly addressing something in a given post - in other words, we are only talking about comments which would NOT be posted if the user wasn't a new one.



Comments in-scope for this question:

  • Welcome to the site, perhaps you'd enjoy perusing the FAQ, which is located here, blah blah,

Comments out of scope for this question:

  • This answer can also add {point X} to enhance it. Great first post, welcome to the site!

  • Welcome to the site. This answer has information which can be a spoiler, so I edited in the spoiler tags for you.

  • Welcome to the site. This answer seems like a personal opinion not backed by canon, please read FAQ here.

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  • I was waiting for this question to show up, after noticing a particular spike in these comments. – user31178 Jan 15 '15 at 6:34
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    On the basis of the positive response to my answer, I propose we start flagging irrelevant welcome messages as "too chatty" – Valorum Jan 15 '15 at 19:57
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    @Richard - You just want your gold badge for flagging :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 15 '15 at 21:03
  • I personally am all for messages to new users (since I'm one of the people who started doing this a few months ago). After all; we are a community. Also, there's a reason why it's too chatty and not just "chatty"; I think we're allowed some chattiness, no? – Möoz Jan 16 '15 at 2:39
9

I think we should heavily discourage them.

  • They don't serve any real purpose

  • They can be very easily misread as a chastisement

  • They're a bit creepy : "Who is this person and why are they messaging me?"

  • They're basically a form of spam for wannabe moderators.

  • They encourage other low-value comments.

  • They give a false impression that the commenter is a moderator or has some kind of special connection to the site.

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    So, if I want to win my next moderator election, I should start posting welcome comments? – Jack B Nimble Jan 13 '15 at 19:14
  • @JackBNimble - Maybe. Or maybe not. – Valorum Jan 13 '15 at 19:17
  • I agree. I would only put that if offering advice to someone on how to post a question or answer. Basically a substitute for "I realize you're new, so..." – Omegacron Jan 13 '15 at 22:31
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    @Omegacron - Exactly. "Welcome to SF:SE. You can create spoiler tags by..." is perfectly fine. "Welcome to SF:SE" on its own is not. – Valorum Jan 13 '15 at 22:35
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    @Richard -- I agree with your answer, but I don't think a blanket "Welcome to SFF" is wrong if individual users want to take the time to reach out. I know when I was a new user I appreciated it when established users would drop me a "Hi" or a "Welcome to the site". Really, though, I think people respond most to positive feedback about their contributions to the site, such as complimenting an answer or a point made. That said, what's far more authentic than a perfunctory Welcome to the site, perhaps you'd enjoy perusing the FAQ, which is located here, blah blah, is a genuine compliment. – Slytherincess Jan 14 '15 at 3:19
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    On the basis of the positive response to this meta post, I propose we start flagging irrelevant welcome messages as "too chatty" – Valorum Jan 15 '15 at 19:57
  • @Richard - post that as a separate Meta proposal – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 16 '15 at 14:25
  • @DVK - Done. See here – Valorum Jan 16 '15 at 17:10
4

How about we allow them, but remove them after a while?

I think welcoming new users is a good thing. I try to make the comment relevant beyond just "welcome to SFF.SE, see the [tour] and the [help]".

But if the message is just that, it's still valuable to a new user, to be welcomed in the community, especially if the user is new to the Stack Exchange Network.

After a week or so, the user either has read the comment, or hasn't come back and is likely to be a drive-by user. Either way, the comment can then be removed. If the original commenter forgets, it can be flagged as obsolete.

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3

I'm of a split opinion on this.

If a new user does something wrong, I say go for it. It's a polite way of saying "hey, you're new here, you might not have been aware of this BUT..." rather than coming down hard on them and making them feel like they aren't welcome or they need to read and memorize EVERY single rule, regulation and policy.

On the other hand, if there's nothing wrong with what they're posting and the poster is doing it just to up his/her post count or feel important, then the practice should absolutely be discouraged because it serves no purpose and there is so much useless junk on the internet that serves no purpose that we don't need to contribute to the pile.

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    "If a new user does something wrong" - that is specifically outside the scope of the question. So your opinion seems to be a non-split "No" :) as far as my question was concerned :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 14 '15 at 22:21
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    You're right, I should have read the question better. Mea very culpa :/ – geewhiz Jan 14 '15 at 22:24
  • Welcome to Meta! Don't forget to read the FAQ! Exclamation marks rock!!! – Valorum Jan 14 '15 at 23:17
  • @DVK But if the new user is doing everything right and a comment like your in-scope example in the question is posted, it's entirely possible to interpret it badly as geewhiz says here - something I've said before, and others seemed to agree with.. – Izkata Jan 15 '15 at 1:08
  • @Izkata - I was one of the 10 people who agreed with the linked comment of yours :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 15 '15 at 2:49

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