Before anything, this should be made clear: I am not currently a moderator on any Stack Exchange sites; most of what I will be proposing here is based on statements I myself have read from moderators (namely @JoonasIlmavirta in the CONLOQVIVM chat room).
I'm not going to beat around the bush: the tour page is a bit of a mess. The information usually provided under "Get answers to practical, detailed questions", "You earn reputation when people vote on your posts", "You earn reputation when people vote on your posts", and "Unlock badges for special achievements" is fine; explaining what is on-topic and off-topic and explaining the relatively simple aspects of the site (those being badges, voting, reputation, and others).
The problems begin to appear in the sections where example questions, answers, and comments appear; questions and answers which fit a set of arbitrary requirements appear to moderators in a list, from which moderators can then select a few, or in the case of comments, one. This presents a number of problems:
- Often it is the case with many sites that short posts are rarely good (take Code Review as an example, short reviews are rarely good; short questions are sometimes well-written, but not often).
- By extension of point one, short posts are often not demonstrative of what a quality question or answer might be.
- Comments are cut from their context, which has the potential to be quite confusing to a new user reading the tour page. Take for example the provided comment under the "Improve posts by editing or commenting" section on the Latin.SE tour page: it makes little sense and does not serve as a good example with its context removed.
In addition, there are several problems with how the tour page presents the moderator-selected questions and answers:
- Question and answer votes are randomized, which removes one of the only true indicators of what a quality question or answer actually is, more so in the case of answers.
- The accepted answer for the example question under "Ask questions, get answers, no distractions", like vote counts, is randomized, again removing one of the only indicators of quality. Why?
With all this said, I propose the following:
- Allow moderators to select any question they deem to be good, regardless of length.
- From that selected question, allow moderators to select any answers they deem good, once again, regardless of length.
- If any of the selected questions and answers are too long to display in a clean manner, simply fade out the text into the display box and provide a "show more" button, which can either link to the original question or simply expand the display box.
- Allow moderators to select multiple comments, so that context can be included.
- Do not randomize vote counts or the accepted answer. The point of voting and accepting is to help determine the best questions and answers; randomizing them goes completely against this.
If I have left anything out or if anything can be improved, please let me know.