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In other Stack Exchange sites (mostly on TeX website), I have seen that the users with longer period of membership welcome newer users. I really like this action as this warms the new users' heart and helps them to feel safe to stay in a friendly environment website.

However, I can see that welcome comments are rarely found on our website. They are only posted when we want to inform new users that they have to edit their questions or improve their answers. Simply welcome posted comments are also in the danger of being flagged and deleted as a too chatty comment.

By posting this question, I want to ask users to welcome new users by posting a simple Welcome to Academia website! comment and we leave them and do not delete those comments. This will help our community be more friendly and have nicer look.

Please post your answers if you feel this suggestion is a bad etiquette for Academia, or how we can build a more friendly community.

  • I remember the discussion on meta.tex.sx : the point was that people would say "welcome" and make that welcome a link to the "read before posting" post. But it doesn't really make sense to welcome only people who need to read that post. So some people (no idea how many) decided to add a welcome comment, with or without additional comments, on every "First post" that they review. ( As I'm not really active on this community, I don't want to "run around and give advice about policy", so it's only a comment, not an answer. ;) ) – T. Verron Mar 25 '15 at 8:43
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    Relevant discussion: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/3503/9517 – T. Verron Mar 25 '15 at 8:49
  • @T.Verron Perfect link. Thank you. :) – Enthusiastic Engineer Mar 25 '15 at 9:24
  • I could probably find a hundred comments in an hour that are more chatty (and/or obsolete) than a welcome post. However, in TeX-SX it serves the nice purpose to hint to special markup that is used on the site. In chemistry we do the same, because a lot of new users do not have any experience with mark up. I also find it a good way to improve the accepted answer ratio, but I guess this is of minor concern here. – Martin - マーチン Mar 27 '15 at 6:03
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    If it's just "Welcome to this site!" I approve. But often, not sure if I've seen it much on Academia.SE specifically but certainly on other SE sites, it comes off as a more condescending "Welcome to this site! Our policy is to cite your references blah blah. Your answer can be improved blah blah." – Kenny LJ Mar 28 '15 at 17:57
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I usually don't post these Welcome messages because, well, I see no real purpose to them, and if there is a policy to post them always, the entire exercise becomes incredibly fake and dishonest fast.

I have no quarrels with a policy of always welcoming new users, but frankly I remain unconvinced that this will make new users somehow feel more at home more quickly.

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I usually welcome the OP if I have something to say in the comment. But I guess it's to everyone's taste. If this is to become a trend then the only annoyance would be skipping one more line of comments, which is not a big deal.

There are a few thoughts:

  1. Most of the time when I see those "welcome" comments they are from users with, say, around 100-200 reputation and I feel kind of weird about that. Like someone just visited you in the morning and by afternoon he is running around welcoming guests for you.

  2. It's a Q&A platform. I'd rather express welcome by putting more thoughts in the answers and comments, give them what they asked for rather than just a plain welcome. Sometimes I saw questions with no answer but a 100-reputation user's "Welcome!" comment, I couldn't help but felt kind of sad.

  3. Another more practical way to welcome newcomers is to upvote their questions given their questions are good. This is a lot more welcomed (pun intended): by giving them more reputation they can unlock more functions and get to integrate into the forum faster.

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    I am feeling uncomfortable with your last point of view. Not all the posts by new users are worthy for an up-vote. – Enthusiastic Engineer Mar 24 '15 at 16:32
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    @EnthusiasticStudent, edited. I agree. And perhaps same goes for welcoming. There are also malicious flaming trolls or users with irrelevant rantings whom may not deserve a welcome. – Penguin_Knight Mar 24 '15 at 16:40
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I normally (on all SE sites), post welcome messages of the form.

"Welcome to X.SE. Your question is a bit too Y for our format. You could improve it by doing Z."

The welcome message is not there to welcome them, but to soften the blow when giving (constructive) criticism.

So as not to drive the new user away, while they are still learning the ropes.

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I think welcoming new users with a comment is fine. I think it is also fine to flag welcome comments as "too chatty" a few days later. At that point the comment has served most of its purpose (i.e., welcoming the new user). I guess the argument for keeping it longer, is to let other new users know we are welcoming.

I tend to only welcome new users when I have something else to tell them. Typically, I welcome them as I am telling them I am deleting or closing their question/answer. Generally my welcomes include asking them to look at our help center.

I would have no problem with new users getting a welcome comment in general.

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    Why is it problematic to leave welcome comments un-deleted? – Enthusiastic Engineer Mar 24 '15 at 12:45
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    @EnthusiasticStudent I don't see it as a big problem either way. If the community wants them to stick around, then that is fine. If we want them to stay for at least a day and then be flagged for deletion, that seems reasonable also. I do not have a personal preference. – StrongBad Mar 24 '15 at 12:47
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    Exactly. There are a number of users who will go through old (>1 month) content and flag "thanks!" and "hi!" comments as "too chatty"; based on previous discussion, I usually delete those. – eykanal Mar 25 '15 at 11:00
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    I have known new users to mix up comments and answers. That's one argument for deleting comments: make sure not to distract anyone from the important information in the answers. – David Z Mar 27 '15 at 5:26

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