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Proposal

All new sign-ups* should be required to obtain the Informed badge, which simply means taking the tour, before they are allowed to post their first question or answer.

* During the feature launch transition period, this could include all existing profiles with <100 points.

Rationale

I think if new sign-ups take a moment to go through the tour and have a basic understanding of how the site functions, it will greatly reduce the amount of uninformed misuse we get from the new signups. Some of these include:

  • Treating the site like a forum (posting their follow-ups as answers)
  • Not taking some time to phrase and format their questions properly (esp doing code dump)
  • Not upvoting or using the green checkmark.
  • Wrongfully downvoting answers that are attempting to help asker, but are not quite there yet (yes, this actually happened!) (This requires some rep, so not applicable.)
  • Not tagging properly (just putting one tag because user is forced to).
  • Asking questions that shouldn't be asked in the site.
  • Not being aware of the ability to edit questions or answers.

Edit:

Comparing the tour (a very short and visually interesting overview of the site) to an EULA or TOS (a long, boring, full-text legal document) is not a fair comparison.

People who aren't going to bother to read, still won't. But people who will read, would only need to be encouraged to read and they will. (Mandating something is also a form of encouragement; severe I admit, but effective.)

About it being a barrier, it's a rather easy barrier to cross, and anyone who can get along just fine without it, can also get along just fine crossing it easily.

I don't propose this to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but at least it could help reduce some of the problems. We can't be searching for that ONE solution that will solve ALL problems on the site, but rather solve each problem with a unique solution tailored to it. We have to let all the solutions work together in solving all the problems plaguing the site.

So this is proposed as a solution to take care of a few problems in the site, not everything.

marked as duplicate by random Jan 4 '14 at 20:00

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 2
    The problem with this is that people can simply scroll on the tour page and get the badge without actually reading anything. – Dennis Meng Jan 4 '14 at 19:50
  • I realize that, but at least people were there and many would take time to look at it at least. Right now, no one actually bothers about the tour page. It's better to be in the tour and grasp at least something, rather than not grasp anything at all and start using the site already. – ADTC Jan 4 '14 at 19:52
  • 1
    Related and only not closing as a dup since it is a different badge and that question is closed: Require analytical badge before asking questions – psubsee2003 Jan 4 '14 at 19:54
  • I don't get all the downvotes. When you enroll in an university, in the first year before classes start, you're required to attend an orientation to get familiar with the university. This is something similar too, and will greatly improve the quality of stuff we get from new users. – ADTC Jan 4 '14 at 19:56
  • @psubsee2003 Unlike the Analytical badge (which is retired btw) which requires going through every section in the FAQ (a long and tedious process to ask of a new user), the Informed badge can be easily obtained by simply going through the tour which only takes a couple of minutes. It will also get the new user acquainted with the feel of getting a badge (the last stop of the tour is actually about this), so it's a win-win. – ADTC Jan 4 '14 at 19:59
3

I see a couple of problems with this idea.

  1. People who aren't going to bother to read still aren't. They'll simply scroll to the bottom and move on anyway. (Honestly, when was the last time you read a EULA or Terms of Service agreement?)
  2. Certainly some people can get along just fine without ever reading the Tour page. For instance, people who have used other Stack Exchange sites. Why put this barrier up for someone who is joining a new site?
  3. By and large, the problems plaguing Stack Overflow aren't really covered in the Tour. I don't think the dozen or so people who come to Meta Stack Overflow every month wondering why they've been post-banned would have been saved from themselves if only they'd read the Tour.

But, really, the first one is all that counts. Why spend that time forcing people to jump through a hoop that it's trivial to jump through without learning anything anyway. Better to spend time on things that will help people who are willing and/or ready to learn.

  • 1
    Comparing The Tour (a very short and visually interesting overview of the site) to an EULA or TOS (a long, boring, full-text legal document) is not a fair comparison. People who aren't going to bother to read, still won't but people who will read, would only need to be encouraged to read and they will (mandating something is also a form of encouragement, severe I admit, but effective). About it being a barrier, it's a rather easy barrier to cross, and anyone who can get along just fine without it, can also get along crossing it easily. – ADTC Jan 4 '14 at 20:05
  • I don't propose this to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but at least it could help reduce some of the problems. We can't be searching for a ONE solution that will solve ALL problems on the site, but rather solve each problem with a unique solution tailored to it. We have to let all the solutions work together in solving all the problems plaguing the site. So this is proposed as a solution to take care of a few problems in the site, not everything. – ADTC Jan 4 '14 at 20:06
  • "So working is not going to make me a millionaire, why should I work at all?" I'm sorry that doesn't count as an answer, it's an excuse. Is it really that hard to see that the current landing page for new users - stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask - is a LOT worse than the tour page. All that has to be done is replace that wall of text on how-to-ask with the Tour page and you are done. Same purpose served in a MUCH better manner. Why isn't that a good idea? I consider myself conscientous and I stopped reading that how-to-ask within 2 paragraphs. – Dev Kanchen Jul 10 '14 at 18:32
  • 1
    You aren't going to catch the REALLY bad fish with this (I would contest that too a bit) but at least reward the ones who ARE willing to read with complete information! The how-to-ask page is a wishy-washy preamble on posting ethics, whereas the Tour page offers a concise, visual, quickly scanned report on WHAT the site is actually about. Why would it be so hard to replace page X with page Y and why does this type of question get brushed under the carpet so often? – Dev Kanchen Jul 10 '14 at 18:36

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