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I often see (and sometimes post) comments such as this one:

Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site.

Are there any rules about doing this, or a specific format to use?

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    $\begingroup$ And can we create larger, easier to see links to the Tour and Help Center? $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 21 '17 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I was pretty unclear...I mean a clear link or button or something in the Right hand sidebar or across the top of the page. Easy to see and get to is what I meant. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 22 '17 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI might be worth making a Feature-request in a separate post actually. $\endgroup$ – Aric Aug 22 '17 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't meddled much with that sort of stuff, but you are right, Feature Request. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 22 '17 at 14:51
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No, there are neither rules nor a specific format for such comments

There are no rules about this. And that is my standard comment to welcome new users if their posts are not especially good or bad so they don't seem to need any special feedback. Anyone can comment like that and is encouraged to do so to welcome new users and guide them to useful resources.

Here are some standard phrases that I use:

Normal first post

Welcome to WorldBuilding username! If you have a moment please take the [tour] and visit the [help] to learn more about the site. Have fun!

"Good" first post

Welcome to WorldBuilding username! Interesting first answer. Haven't thought about that. Looking forward to your future contributions to the site! If you have a moment please take the [tour] and visit the [help] to learn more about the site. Have fun!

"Bad" first post that needs some tips on what to improve

Welcome to WorldBuilding username! While you raise a valid point your answer currently doesn't really address the question asked. Could you please [edit] it to focus on question asked? Otherwise there is a chance that this answer might get deleted. If you have a moment please take the [tour] and visit the [help] to learn more about the site. Have fun!

In the examples you should replace the cursive with appropriate content, though you will sometimes see that I write the username in cursive on the Main Site. But, again, this is just my personal taste.

BTW: The links I used in the above examples are magic links that don't need an explicit link in parentheses. Normally you would write a link like [take the tour](/link/to/tour), but in comments you can just write [tour] and the system replaces it with the correct formatted link to the tour. There is a pretty long list with magic links for comments on Meta.SE. I especially like [tour], [help] and [edit].

Useful links for new users

Other useful resources to guide users to that I regularly use are:

General stuff

In general: always try to give the best feedback you can if you want to give feedback. These are my personal resources that I often use and I made a few "canned comments" for myself that I use quite regularly. It makes it easier to type and focus on the relevant stuff.

I also vary from time to time a bit: "Welcome to WorldBuilding!" or "Welcome to the WorldBuilding.SE!" and stuff like that.

But as I already said, you can use whatever you want and however you feel new users should be greeted. I found a similar comment shortly after I started and so I continued to do something like this. But it can go a completely different route if that's what you prefer. The first comment I ever received was the following:

+1 for specifying what you're asking in the first paragraph

Very good and precise encouragement for a new user.

I remember that some people like to point out that new users get a badge for taking the tour to encourage them a bit. This, again, shows that you can use whatever you think would motivate people to contribute to the site. Try to be welcoming and supportive if you want to welcome our new users.

Mod opinion on this matter

Here is also a little feedback from one of our mods, Monica Cellio, in the chat:

I just saw a flag on a "welcome to the site; here's our tour"-style comment from somebody who wondered if this sort of thing should be a prerogative of moderators. I can't reply to the individual flag, but I wanted to pop in here and say: please, continue to welcome and guide folks! No, it's not something that should be restricted to moderators or high-rep users or anybody else. When I see our users helping and guiding our new users it makes me smile. Our strength is in our community.

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  • $\begingroup$ Awesome. I just wish there was some mechanism to guide new users to the tours and FAQs in a little more obvious manner. I only learned of their existence because I went looking for them. And that was the problem, I had to look... $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 21 '17 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI That's why I am trying to point new users to these resources. As more obvious pointers to these resources probably mean a change on the whole network it is not very likely, though you can alwas make a question on any Meta Site tagged with feature-request and see if the SE admins think it might be possible. As far as I remember you are shown the tour at the beginning when signing up, but I am not sure. It's been some time. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Aug 21 '17 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ I commend you for your efforts. I have tried to duplicate what you put in the comments, but I'm WAY more ham handed $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 21 '17 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty much this yeah. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 22 '17 at 21:44

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