There's this answer already. Why are there high rep users not even stating why they put this comment here?

We should understand that we put this in the comments as a way to help, not confuse, the user. I would like to ask: can there be a way to have some sort of format?

For example, if it's a new question, we guide them there. Then we don't stop at that point. Instead we (the user who posted this comment) should guide the new user up until they actually posted their first question that is well bounded according to the rules and guidelines of WB.SE. Posting it just for the sake of badges and or reputation is, frankly, not needed. Just flag the question if it does not conform to the guidelines of WB.SE.

If it's a good question, then praise the new user, along with why you think it's a good question, along with the "tour" so that we can help them to post more good questions.

If it's bad, add the reason why it is bad, and at least try to help the person asking the question. Edit the question to conform to WB.SE rules and guidelines before putting the link to the "tour".

It's infuriating to see these comments on good questions. They are like chewing gums underneath your desk (if you had that problem). I'm sorry for rantíng like this, but what I would really like say is: if we want to help new users on posting great questions, we have to actually help them in the process, not just posting this comment for no reason.

As requested, here are the examples.

Could Cobalt bind to nitrogen the same way iron would to oxygen in an alien respiratory system?


And another one

How would I create a society in which the known world has collapsed due to a demon influx

But this time, take a look at JBH comment, and that comment of Gryphon, which is more welcoming? Which is more helpful? I am actually all ears in this, because I do think this avenue can help new users on how to post good questions, or answers.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just to be clear: you don't like that people just copy-paste the exact same comment over and over again without adapting it even slightly to the specific post, right? $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus I want them to be clear, so that, the comment will be helpful. Please understand I might have portrayed it in a different light, but this is what I am just pointing out. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 8:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What makes you think the comment isn't helpful? The Tour and Help Centre are designed specifically to help get new users used to the site. $\endgroup$
    – walrus
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 9:30
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ A few examples might be good to see what exactly you are talking about. And I don't know what you mean with "Posting it just for the sake of badges or reputation". There is no reputation for comments and only the commentator badge for writing 10 comments in total. And I am still not clear whether you just don't like people copy-pasting for example this comment or mean a different kind of beahviour. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 11:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There isn't really an actual question here. If you're asking why users simply use the standard comments, we do it to link to useful resources for new users, and politely welcome them to the site. As this question stands, I'm not entirely sure what the main question is. $\endgroup$
    – Gryphon
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 13:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Mr. J can you try rephrasing your concern? I am not sure what the problem is from what you wrote. Is it the pre-built comments that come from the review queues? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 14:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @James there's no pre-built "welcome" comments from the review queue AFAIK. All of them are posted manually by users (or userscript)... and I think the OP tried to discuss about "Welcome to Worldbuilding!" comments without any additional details (which was discussed before on Meta SE) $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ @James as a mod, maybe you could help me with these 3 questions, 1) Should we JUST put that comment, that welcome thing, to any first question good or bad? 2)shouldn't we put something like why we put it there because IT will actually help the new users to get the idea of what they did bad, or good? 3) are my concerns clear? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.J --- I'm hazarding the guess that Gryphon added that welcome comment because Randy Smith joined WB.SE something like three days ago (as of 7.AUG.2018). I think that every new member deserves a welcome! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas correct me if I'm wrong but, we could welcome someone, AND help them by telling them that their question is ok or poor, right? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.J --- the example question you gave, in my opinion, was neither awesomely interesting nor closeworthily poor. It's up to you: if you want to tell a newcomer that their question is good or bad, or too hot or too cold or even just right, feel free! If it were me making that welcome comment, I would not make a big deal about my subjective feelings about said question. I have in the past made comments to the effect that a particular question was very interesting or a perfect fit for this community (usually when said question is threatened by VTC). I don't see the point in this case. YMMV. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:30
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas Then I can conclude that this particular comment is to show the links on SO tour on new users, with no particular reason to help them, If they go to the links or not, its not your fault anymore. Added effort on your part would be the actual helpful comment, but.. YMMV. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr.J --- Looking at the question you linked to, I'd say that with 7 badges, 229 reputation points, 46 question likes (only one dislike) and all that within 3 days of joining SE, Randy Smith doesn't need anyone's "help" other than what was given. He asked what the community thinks is a very good question and the community gave him half a dozen rather long and thoughtful answers. Res ispa loquitur. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:51

4 Answers 4


To welcome them to Worldbuilding!

To answer your title question, I write a comment like this on anyone's post who hasn't gotten a welcome already. That's the only motivation. It doesn't matter if the question is excellent, average, or needs a lot of work. The sole purpose of this comment is to be welcoming and include them in the site, as well as (hopefully) providing them some resources that everyone on the site should be familiar with. We don't have a mandatory tour or a required lecture before you can use the site, so it's sometimes helpful for new users to get a better sense of the scope and feel of Worldbuilding.

I still remember getting a comment like this on one of my first posts, and it really made me feel welcomed and special. It's quite possibly the reason that I've stuck around here a lot longer than I normally do on these Q&A forum-style sites, and I like to think it makes everyone else feel welcomed too.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Exactly. Even when I don't do reviews, even if I don't leave a critical comment on a post that needs it, even if I have barely any time to do anything else, I always take the time to copy+paste my welcome script. Maybe it's cold and impersonal if I do it a hundred times, but each and every time it's greeting a new user to the site and pointing them to crucial resources. +1 $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 23:52

I've written some Welcome Comments and other assorted / related comment types in the past as well. My take on the matter is as follows:

  • A Welcome Comment's purpose, and its sole purpose really, is to extend a virtual hand of friendship to a newcomer to the forum. Whether that person has been on SE for years and is just new to WB.SE in specific or whether that person is completely new to SE.
  • It is a common and I think sensible custom for welcome waggon members to point new members to the important resources that they will find most helpful (the tour and so forth).
  • Anything else is extraneous.

Mr. J brings up a valid point, though, about good questions, bad questions, questionable questions, and the like. Like I said in my comment above, it's completely up to the welcoming member(s) if they want to add any further commentary.

  • My practice is indeed to add some kind of extra commentary to the base welcome message if and only if the extra commentary is deemed necessary. I know I've written a couple to the effect of "your question is interesting but WB.SE isn't the right forum - try That Forum instead" and also "you've got a good start to a question, but pretty soon the VTC crowd is going trounce it into oblivion for reasons X, Y & Z. Edit accordingly and your question will be fine!"
  • My practice is most definitely not to offer an "attaboy" comment just to stroke the new member's fragile self esteem. Anyway, that's really what the UPVOTE (and DOWNVOTE) buttons are for!

Alright so a couple points here.

  1. Welcome comments are good for the community. SE can be a harsh place, particularly for the newly arrived. As far as internet communities go we are a weird weird place, and I am not even talking about the WB.SE content.

    • The rules we (rightly) enforce shouldn't go away.
    • Said rules can be frustrating and difficult to get used to if you have only ever known discussion forums.
  2. New users are the life blood of any community.

    • A site that stops getting new users is a site that dies. Attrition is a thing on the internet, so we need these new people.
  3. Welcome comments can help dull the blow around here.

    • Comments on posts from new users can make all the difference in the world.
    • The system recognizes new posts and we have a dedicated queue for first posts to help identify them.

Note: Those of you active in review queues should be very intentional about how you address posts in said queue. If you don't have the time to address posts properly you should leave them alone. Posts in the First Post queue should be reviewed carefully, but the same goes for close and re-open queues. If you don't have time to comment and explain your vote, leave it for someone else. We have no shortage of reviewers.

In response to this question in the comments from @Mr. J :

1) Should we JUST put that comment, that welcome thing, to any first question good or bad? 2)shouldn't we put something like why we put it there because IT will actually help the new users to get the idea of what they did bad, or good? 3) are my concerns clear?

  1. We don't have a standard comment. I for example have a post it note on my desktop that I copy and paste some standard comments from. Each time I do edit said comment to the scenario. If the post itself requires attention I usually post a second comment addressing any concerns. So in short, yes every new user should receive a welcome comment on their first post, but automating that doesn't seem necessary and to me personally defeats the point of a personal welcome from a community member. Auto-generated comments are hollow.

  2. We should definitely be guiding and helping out new users. Comments are an obvious way to do that...and really the only avenue to do that until they can get into chat.

  3. If I answered your questions, then yes :) I was clear on your concerns.

In short: I don't really see a current need to change what we do today. All in all the WB community is very welcoming, especially by SE standards.

There is very little rep/badge related to commenting, I think there is a single bronze badge you can get for up-voted comments, so people are not commenting for the rep or imaginary internet points.

That is not to say we can't improve and make an effort to stay on top of helping new folks get used to this place so conversations like this are a good reminder to keep that going.


Yes, it could be better... but we're not paid to do this

Because SE is not a discussion forum, there is rarely immediate feedback to new users, and when that feedback does arrive it is often perceptually negative (can you clarify this? Why would you do that? This doesn't make sense...) and usually permanent. How often does anyone go back and remove comments that are no longer needed?

The problem, of course, is that you can't see the cherubic face of the other participant. You can't see the smile, the friendliness in their eyes, etc. All you see is what they wrote and if the Internet has proven anything is that written text is frequently souless. What to me might be a funny bit of flippant sarcasm might be to you a deep and abiding offence, and who am I to claim that you're wrong in believing so? SE has rewritten its code of conduct because if this very problem.

The canned comments we use are a valiant (and frequently successful) means of breaking the ice and reminding new users there are resources they can use to better understand this world. Would it be better to mentor new users? Of course it would. Except that this isn't a discussion forum and most of us are volunteers who spare what time we can to participate. Taking each new user by the hand is a great deal more work than it may sound like (it's a LOT more work than it may sound like... I've done it... hours spent monitoring a single question until the new user got it right...).

So, canned comments are the bridge. They're the first line.

  • They anchor to the question or answer the reference to an experienced user the new user can contact. They have no other way of doing this, unless they invade someone else's question or answer. (And I'm going to improve my canned script to include a sentence explaining the @ symbol so new users can take better advantage of it.)

  • They introduce to the new user a handful of links to important aspects of the site. Remember, we're volunteers, we sincerely hope the new users click those links and read a bit. It would solve 90% of the new-user-problems.

  • They allow us to quickly process the increasing number of users, votes, flags, and other indicators. You'd be surprised how few people are actually helping with this process. Those queues really aren't there for the purpose of handing out badges. The badges are there for the purpose of tempting people to actively participate in making the site a better place.

Would that there were a better way. Regrettably, without seriously investing more time (remember, volunteers...), there simply isn't a better way.

  • $\begingroup$ I'll be that volunteer Sir, I'll just try to do my best, and seek your guidance time to time, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 1:50

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