The Code of Conduct is still new right now, so it appears in the notification bar at the top of the page:

Join us in building a kind, collaborative learning community via our updated Code of Conduct »

That won't always be the case, presumably, but the Code of Conduct will continue to be important to Stack Exchange. Are there any plans for permanent ways to draw attention to it, especially for new users?

For example:

  1. It could be added to the tour. It doesn't seem to be there at the moment.
  2. A new badge could be added, although the feature-request I've just linked to is currently heavily downvoted with a score of -8. This badge could have a nice name like "friendly".
  3. It could be in the notification bar for all new users permanently.
  4. It could be linked in other places. (Where?)

Does SE have any plans like these to promote the Code of Conduct? I'm afraid if it's just sitting in the Help Center, a lot of users will end up not seeing it.

  • A suggestion for 4. is meta.stackexchange.com/q/313794/215590 – PolyGeo Aug 8 '18 at 0:19
  • @DonaldDuck Right now it's in the notification bar, not the top bar. See the notification-bar tag for a brief description and other examples. – user215040 Aug 8 '18 at 0:23
  • I really like the idea of adding it in some form to the tour - that's where I send new users who seem to be a bit confused. The tour is a great place to "sell" our vision for what SE is supposed to be, and the CoC should be a part of that. – ColleenV Aug 8 '18 at 18:48

There's a few opportunities to do this in a way where it would provide meaningful help. We can really just jump right into it:

Points of entry:

  • Welcome email sent on joining a site ✅
  • Posting (anything) for the first time
  • Editing (anything) for the first time
  • Making any customizations to a new profile
  • First time using chat
  • ... other things

Points of reinforcement:

  • Comment was flagged as abusive and the flag was validated
  • Posts chronically collect rude / abusive flags (even if not enough to delete them automatically)
  • ... other things

We have abbreviated versions for both chat and general Q&A use cases to show in these instances. The mechanics of how we'll do it have yet to be worked out (we're also trying to transition all new stuff that shows modal-style dialogs to the new stacks theme / architecture which complicates it a bit), but the general idea is to show it at first entry into places where you can type text, and as reinforcement when moderation patterns indicate that the user might benefit from another look at it.

I don't know that we'll explore live (as in as-you-type) just-in-time prompts because people use english in vastly different yet benign ways depending on their location and level of proficiency. We're not ruling it out, but we definitely don't see a solution in that coming to fruition soon.

But, the idea is show it just in time, just often enough for most people to avoid encountering more serious moderation cases. I know we're going to link to it more prominently in the help center area, but I'm not 100% sure on what that's going to look like just yet (again, we're trying to convert information architecture stuff to stacks as we touch this, to sort of force repayment of technical debt).

  • 1
    I think a link to the CoC should be at the bottom of the tour, and that where it says "Remember: we're all here to learn, so be friendly and helpful!" should be expanded into it's own section that has the "expectations" text from the CoC. – ColleenV Aug 8 '18 at 18:55

This would be one area where a heuristic that detects known hot words or phrases could pop up a context specific warning and draw attention to the code of conduct.

If I’m going to say “I felt [untrained|lazy|like shit] as a result of this mistake coding” it might fly but when I characterize someone else’s post or code as [untrained|lazy|shit] that would be a violation of the be kind / no put-down conduct.

Were this language readily detected, an automated and clear “hey — some of the text you’re about to post tends to get flagged or may violate our code. Here’s a link to the code, are you sure you want to post this for the world to see?”

That messaging could help put a pause for someone careful, and would be hard for someone to plead innocence when they post it. Since you would log a history event that a confirmation was displayed before posting, and even stop that after one account has dismissed the warning three times or opted out from the grammar police warning, we’d have a solid coaching system in place. Delivered at the point where it’s most needed, right before posting.

Rather than just blocking potential name calling across the board, it draws increased review and/or auto flagging after an explicit second step to post is provided by the OP. By slowing down a potential harm right before it goes live, it could be a stitch in time for some (and make it less easy for those intent on violating the code to plead — but I didn’t know...)

I wouldn’t start work on this until we have an actual problem, though. Hopefully the experienced users adopt the code, self-police, set examples that are easy to emulate and over time everyone gets the hint (kindly) when they might stray from the norms. Just having the code linked to the tour and help and normal comments + flags and moderation might make the need for any extra “promotion” a non-issue.


The question never explicitly takes a position on drawing more attention to the Code of Conduct, but it heavily implies that more attention is needed. I disagree with that premise.

Obviously there's room for improvement in how the userbase as a whole behaves; I get that that was a big motivator for the Code in the first place. That said, using "average Internet forum/platform" as a baseline, I think things are pretty good overall.

To use the long-running meta phrase about documentation and policies, "People don't read." And then there's the corollary: the few disruptive people who you most wish would read, tend to be the ones who do it (or care about it) the least. Most people will be perfectly well-behaved and productive without ever reading any help docs, and the rest likely won't be deterred by a doc's presence.

The point of all this is that putting more mandatory text in front of people will end up wasting most everyone's collective time, however well-intentioned the effort may be. The Code of Conduct is a better reference document than an introduction; it is most suited to just-in-time (not necessarily meaning automated) situations. Let's save displaying it for those situations, instead of putting links or text everywhere and training people to ignore various areas of the screen.

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