I just had that rare case of a newbie who barges in with off-topic content, it gets closed, and instead of starting to spew invective, politely asks "what are the rules". Currently, his or her question is on Cooking meta.

The question text mentioned a curious thing:

Admittedly I only use the app so maybe that is where I am going wrong but I can't seem to find any rules about what can be asked, what sort of answers are allowed and what format it all has to be in.

The whole network already has a problem with getting new users to accept our high-moderation and strict-rules culture, especially when their expectations are set by general discussion forums which don't restrict themselves to objective non-poll questions. I think that the rules might be even harder for the users of sites outside of the trilogy, because the interested population is not made up of geeks who automatically value the information-content-aspect of information above the other aspects. Even for users who have easy access to the help center, there is lots of friction to get accustomed to our rules (and many leave in anger instead). So, for the people who are willing to RTFM, I think that we should make the access easy.

I admit that I hadn't expected somebody who hasn't used the site to start using the app, but now we have observed it happening. So, I think that it is important to include a link to the help center in an easily accessible place in the app. Even if at the beginning, it cannot be brought into the app format and has to be a link which opens in the mobile browser, it will be useful for the poor confused new users.

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    There are some things a closed testing process just doesn't catch! This is why it had to go from closed alpha to public beta before being eventually released.
    – Caleb
    Feb 15, 2014 at 19:36
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    I posted separately, not realizing rumtscho had posted too. My specific suggestions were that the help page in the app should have a pointer to site-specific metas, for questions about rules, a disclaimer that the app does not have all the features, and pointers to help centers (making it clear that each site has their own). On top of that, the app might want a more up-front (maybe interstitial) warning that it's not complete yet, and if you can't figure out how to do something, you should visit the main site. And the easy fixes shouldn't wait - people are trying to use it now.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 15, 2014 at 19:39


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