I have been looking at the endless stream of first answers users post on the Stack Overflow.
As it stands over 500 answers are posted a day on Stack Overflow, that are the first answer by users.
These answers are often thank you type answers. Sometimes they are I just don't know how to use the website answers. Sometimes they are spam. Sometimes they are insightful instructions on how we should be using jQuery. Sometimes they are soliciting work. Usually these first answers have 0 votes, rarely answers are very good.
How do we go about teaching these first time users the error of their way, when they are clearly misusing the site.
If we downvote a "thank you" we may scare new users away.
If we delete a "thank you" the user will have no idea what happened and why stuff vanished.
If we leave a comment, well we also leave yucky information rot around that may never be cleaned up.
How can we properly combat the "zero value" answers first time users are posting, while teaching them the error of their ways and encouraging them to participate properly in the site?