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It seems to me that two of the most helpful pages for introducing new visitors to the StackExchange network and methodology are the respective about and help pages of any StackExchange site.

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However, if I go to Blender (where I have not registered), these two links are nowhere to be found!

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No about or help here.

Oh, wait, here they are, relegated to the footer along with the privacy policy and advertising info links.

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And we all know how often people look at a website's footer.

I mean, when was the last time you saw that footer?

If users had more of an opportunity to see the well-organized and important information on those pages before they were prompted to register for an account, we would see an improvement in the quality of posts and participation by new users.

I propose that these links be made more visible to new visitors who don't yet have a profile so they can get a better understanding of the website before being prompted to register for it.

Personally, I think that placing them next to "sign up" and "login" would be great, but increasing their visibility at all would be an improvement.

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Definitely agree with that. I don't even know why these 2 links are hidden for visitors. – Old Checkmark Jul 30 '13 at 21:04
The "tell me more" box (which actually links to /about) present when not logged in isn't sufficient. I never want to take a tour; I know how SE sites work. When I want help or faq information about SE sites I'm not registered on, it's generally to look at what's on topic there so I can make sure I'm suggesting an appropriate migration target. I'm also lazy so I don't want to bother to type "help" in my address bar and hit enter. Mouse movement plus five keystrokes, who has time for that? – Esoteric Screen Name Jul 30 '13 at 21:24
FWIW, I didn't even realize there was a "Tell me more" box - my eyes completely jumped over it to what I recognized as the actual content of the page - the questions. I had to do a double take and look back to see that the box was really there! Even then, I never realized that box linked to /about because I've never clicked on it. – Cory Klein Jul 30 '13 at 21:37
Maybe we'll get this in the new top bar – Richard Tingle Nov 15 '13 at 11:02
This will be fixed when the new top bar rolls out across the network – Jeremy T Nov 15 '13 at 23:36
The "Help" link has just been added, and is functional on meta. – chue x Nov 15 '13 at 23:37

Often I find myself going to Stack Exchange sites in which I do not have account looking for the /help page to see what is on-topic or off-topic for a specific site. Sometimes I am interested in that site and sometimes I am looking to reference it for another user on Meta.

And I have never even noticed the help and about links in the footer. I always just manually type the URL of those pages to visit them. For users unfamiliar with Stack Exchange this workaround will never work since they don't know it, and they are exactly the users those pages are targeting.

I think those links need to be in the header for all users, not just signed in members.

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This! Exactly this! Especially when you're a moderator looking to see if a migration is appropriate to a site you're not experienced with. I mean, you could just create an account, but if you're never going to use it... I always ended up navigating to the /help on a site I was a member of, and then changing the site name in the URL. But having it more easily accessible would be great! – WendiKidd Nov 15 '13 at 3:48

As Jeremy noted, the new top bar features a "help" link for anonymous users. The rest of the sites in the network will also be fixed as we roll out the new top bar everywhere.

We didn't add an "about" link in the top bar for anonymous users because we have a large banner shown to anonymous users that points to the about page.

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Are you sure that banner is large enough? Have you considered an interstitial, a modal view, a popup, a popunder... – BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 18 '13 at 15:05
@Bolt blinking banner. – Shadow Wizard Nov 18 '13 at 15:22
@Sha Wiz Dow Ard: Yes, ideally any of those things would have some sort of blinking or other animation ;) – BoltClock's a Unicorn Nov 18 '13 at 15:22
@BoltClock'saUnicorn Oh, did I forget to mention that we're going to do all of those simultaneously? Get ready; we're going to get every. single. person. to read that page! – Laura Nov 18 '13 at 15:26

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