Information to new users

Don't you think that it could be good to explain to any new user, at least the first time he or she connects, what are the rules of the site concerning : accepting answers, upvotes, downvotes, ...

• It would. Lots of them don't care though, at least until their questions get downvoted, closed and deleted. – Asaf Karagila Nov 12 '13 at 10:56
• This is why there is a badge attached to going all the way through the help section; not that a badge is much incentive, granted. – Nick Peterson Nov 12 '13 at 13:02
• It would seem that you would need to have new users take a quiz for this to actually work. – Thomas Nov 12 '13 at 14:32
• I think it would help to put the 'how to ask a question' at the top of the first help page, and it would help to have a small example at the top of that page showing how the mathjax works. – copper.hat Nov 13 '13 at 17:25
• Why don't we just a comment template which contains all that information? or better yet, we can just have a bot or something - recognize it's a first post from review and then post a comment that has all that information. – Jeel Shah Nov 14 '13 at 16:29
• @Thomas A small quiz might actually not be bad before people post for the first time. One question where a user needs to write something simple like $\int 3x dx$ in mathjax and another 2 short questions or so about the rules that apply here. Might do quite some good filtering. – dreamer Nov 19 '13 at 9:16

Absolutely!

Perhaps the best thing you can do to turn first-time users into valuable contributors is to encourage their first efforts. This is also the best moment to educate new users on the distinctive features of your community. The site's About page was designed to do just that. There's a handy way to link to that in the comments:

Have you seen our [about] page?


Sometimes you might want to prompt a user to edit their post either because it's poorly formatted (though feel free to fix such problems yourself) or is unclear. Again, it's easy to provide a link in the comments:

Would you mind making an ?


When someone fails miserably to ask or answer a question, you could politely include a link to How to Ask with [ask] and How to Answer with [answer]. To point to this meta site, use [meta]. (For a complete list of shorthand, see the comment formatting help.)

Not everyone who posts on the site will be a solid contributor in the future. But you can increase the odds by being part of the site's welcoming committee. There's even a review queue for just that purpose.

• I knew about edit, but now I know about a few more of these auto-links. Is there a list? – Asaf Karagila Dec 7 '13 at 9:15
• @AsafKaragila: Yes there is. – Jon Ericson Dec 7 '13 at 16:31