-3

A couple of remarks regarding the new contributor banner:

  1. If a new user is actively engaging on the site and posting regularly, it doesn't take long for them to become familiar with the site guidelines and rules, in which case the "new contributor" tag doesn't apply to them anymore. It would be appropriate to remove the indicator after a certain number of posts/reputation (or after a week has passed). This is not to say that a new user who has several posts automatically understands everything about the site; the wait of seven days isn't enough to fully understand the site either, but it is sufficient enough to remove the 'new contributor' banner.

As an example: Suppose I post a question on a site, then remain inactive for a couple of months. If I come back, I will no longer have the 'new contributor' tag, but I think I would still count as one. Whereas if I had actively contributed, I wouldn't be so 'new' after a couple of days.

Personally, I don't like having this displayed whenever I post a new question/answer:

screen shot of user badge

  1. Here is the message displayed when hovering over the indicator:

[user] is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

First of all, doesn't the Code of Conduct apply to everyone, not just when interacting with new users? Also, what is meant by "Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering"? It's almost as if we are supposed to treat new users as some sort of delicate object, and it's honestly kind of degrading. I think most new users here are mature enough to handle the expectations of the site, without having to be 'babied' by more experienced veterans.

As long as all interactions as civil and constructive, the new user should not have any reasons to feel discouraged or unwelcome. This applies to all interactions, new user or not, per the Code of Conduct.

Three courses of action:

a. I would be in favor of getting rid of the message and just displaying the icon. If this is impractical from a coding perspective, something like "[user] is new here, say hi!" should be sufficient. This should be enough to remind other users to have a little more patience.

b. Getting rid of the thing entirely:

something like this shows a lack of trust in the community to take care of our own. It somehow indicates that we need reminding/nagging about new users, and somehow they'll wither in the scathing heat of our sites without a little extra care.

I feel like its very much a reminder that at the time, the company didn't trust its existing users to take care of the new ones. I guess the question is - can/does/will it, and does it see the reminder/nag to have the intended effect.

I'd rather have a reminder when there's a potentially negative interaction, perhaps with a downvote or a comment, rather than having that hanging there all the time, but that's just me.

(Quotes from Journeyman Geek's answer)

Toxic users are going to be toxic regardless, nice users will still be nice, and the banner reminds us of the deep rifts that existed/still exist between the company and the community.

c. Leaving it as-is, this seems to be what the majority wants at this moment.


Here are some related discussions when the feature first came out.

14
  • 6
    Related status-deferred feature request: Add a way for users to "opt out" of the new contributor indicator on their own posts
    – ColleenV
    Jul 11, 2023 at 15:55
  • @ColleenV its run for quite a while now...
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 11, 2023 at 15:59
  • 12
    I'm against this proposal: this banner reminds to be more patient with new users. I believe it's unreasonable to expect new users, even if they are very actively posting, to know every nuance of community they are in. Grace period of one week gives other members a gentle reminder to proceed with care and provided needed information if new user missed something or misunderstood rules.
    – markalex
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:52
  • 9
    Also, I don't think that this banner is belittling or degrading in any way. And truly don't understand why you feel otherwise.
    – markalex
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:54
  • @markalex I'm not suggesting getting rid of it entirely, just changing the wording or not having the description at all.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:54
  • maybe my wording was a little too harsh, but the wording is vague and seems to suggest that new users are 'delicate' in some way
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:57
  • 4
    Not having description is a bad idea from UX perspective, and also will lower usefulness of the banner. And if you propose change of wording - show your attempt, it will be more productive this way.
    – markalex
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:58
  • Maybe something like "[user] is a new user"? The other stuff is unecessary imo and the banner alone should be enough to remind others to have a little bit of patience.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 11, 2023 at 19:01
  • 1
    Text is also displayed when commenting on a new user's post: i.stack.imgur.com/P8mCu.png I personally think the admonishment to "be nice and don't forget that you agreed to abide by the Code of Conduct" is off-putting, but I don't notice it any more unless I look for it. I use touch devices most often when interacting with SE, so I don't see any hover text. I do like to see a new contributor indicator for people who may be posting on a site for the first time even though they may have been lurking for a while.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 11, 2023 at 19:31
  • @ColleenV I agree with what you are saying. I always notice it even when I'm not looking for it, and the banner slightly ticks me off each time :P. Like, I know how to be nice. The Code of Conduct applies to every interaction not just to the ones with new users.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 11, 2023 at 19:38
  • 5
    If you know how to be nice why does it tick you off? Just be nice regardless of banner or user's experience level on the site. And how is "[user] is a new user" supposed to be any different/helpful from whatever it is now?
    – user13267
    Jul 12, 2023 at 0:44
  • @user13267 that is kind of my point, we should be nice regardless and we don't need a banner telling us that. But if there really needs to be a hover description it should be "[user] is a new user" without all of the extra information.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 12, 2023 at 0:58
  • 4
    Your feature request appears to, at least to a significant extent, ask for the new contributor indicator to work exactly how it already works. Please edit your question to make it clear what changes you're actually asking for. See answer to: 'What are the exact criteria for the "new contributor" indicator to be shown?' for the current criteria for showing the new contributor indicator.
    – Makyen
    Jul 12, 2023 at 4:33
  • 2
    I'd almost argue we don't need it. Or maybe we might want the 'reminder' when there's a negative interaction, rather than all the time. Jul 12, 2023 at 5:41

2 Answers 2

3

Bit of a controversial viewpoint but, something like this shows a lack of trust in the community to take care of our own. It somehow indicates that we need reminding/nagging about new users, and somehow they'll wither in the scathing heat of our sites without a little extra care.

User growth is part of the process of keeping a community healthy and sustained. I think the best of us would probably care less about whether someone's a new user, but rather look at the content and where they need help. We're imperfect beings so the better of us might see that 1 or 101 rep, look at the content, and maybe decide the user needs extra help. Or sometimes "ooh, NICE first post" and throw an upvote and good wishes their way. Maybe even a little bounty.

Helping these users is - for an engaged and active community, very much an investment in our future, and to an extent, I think quite a few folks understand this.

The worst of us will be the worst of us. Mean. Some of us might not be mean, but tired, bitter, jaded. Believing they're fighting a good fight against a river of garbage1. Telling someone is a new user... doesn't help with those folks. Frankly the really toxic folks, the ones washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things2, will take a lot of time and effort to win over. (The folks who think they're being helpful is another story, but that's out of scope here).

So... who is this for? To tell users "Yeah, we have your back?". To remind the 'good' and 'better' parts of our community to do what they would do anyway? To put a target on the backs of new users for the 'mean' and 'disgruntled'?

I feel like its very much a reminder that at the time, the company didn't trust its existing users to take care of the new ones. I guess the question is - can/does/will it, and does it see the reminder/nag to have the intended effect. 3

I'd rather have a reminder when there's a potentially negative interaction, perhaps with a downvote or a comment, rather than having that hanging there all the time, but that's just me.

1 Well the old Server Fault folks used a word starting with C and ending with P, that I consider unsuitable for the delicate ears of meta
2 Yes, I quoted and linked a Taylor Swift song. I'm entitled to a little fun :D
3 Oh my god, so many footnotes on such a little post

6
  • Hmmm... that's an interesting point of view. I have seen some 'tired' users on other sites before, and I didn't think much of it at the time. I will edit your questions into OP.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 12, 2023 at 1:12
  • Eternal september is an 'issue' both ways. Both in terms out onboarding new users, as well as the prickliness of the old ones. And sadly, to me, the 'tired' users are a missed opportunity since they care enough to still try, yet they're feeling unsupported, forsaken and ignored. Jul 12, 2023 at 1:23
  • In fact, I don't think a new user banner would have made the tired users any less 'mean'. It would have just reminded them, "oh look, another new user who didn't bother five minutes to read site guidlines ughhh". I think we have to evaluate whether the icon is actually helping who it is supposed to help and whether it is actually having an effect.
    – bobeyt6
    Jul 12, 2023 at 1:28
  • 1
    I blocked it because the feature existing pissed me off, I figured it'd paint my actions if I didn't. :shrug: it's a lazy solution to a very real problem.
    – Kevin B
    Jul 12, 2023 at 5:12
  • 3
    For me this banner reminds to leave a comment about something I'll consider obvious otherwise, if I dv or vtc question. Also, if I feel tired on some day, it reminds me to keep away from such posts, not to spill my toxicity on them.
    – markalex
    Jul 12, 2023 at 5:36
  • 2
    We regularly get complaint on SO meta that user was new and we should be nice to new users, when the actual complaint was about regular moderation activities. I think we would be better off without this reminder. And from new user perspective, having this notice glued to your posts wouldn't make me feel any better. Of course, it is hard for me to truly assess that POV. Jul 12, 2023 at 6:02
-3

My reaction echoes a comment made by @markalex.

1 - If the poster is new, it can be worthwhile to point out things that long time users most likely already know. And pointing out such things in general isn't a good idea, as some users get incredibly disproportionately angry if you point out something they already know.

2 - New users can require more time and energy to respond to, so if I'm feeling lower-energy I might pass on their question, and let someone else handle it.

So my vote is "keep it".

5
  • This is actually a good reason to remove the label. You're not old enough to remember this, but we've had something similar - accept rate - that was used as an excuse to "pass" on someone's question. I don't want to revisit that nightmare again.
    – Makoto
    Jul 12, 2023 at 15:13
  • 2
    @Makoto - You're right, I wasn't around then, so I don't know what the nightmare was. But I can say the language you're using "excuse to pass on someone's question" is very weird to me. I'm not an employee; I don't need to provide anyone excuses. And "pass"? It's not like reading one creates an obligation that I have to decide to pass on. Information that helps me decide what are good questions to reply to, and how to approach the user, only help make the interaction better. The "New User" label has helped me in the past.
    – JonathanZ
    Jul 12, 2023 at 16:12
  • @JonathanZonstrike: It's always been a weird dynamic. People come to a Q&A site to get their questions answered. People who can answer questions look for any reason not to answer the question. At first it was acceptance rate. Then it became "lacks minimum understanding". Now it's the new user banner. I just see history repeating itself and I'm calling it out, is all. Now no one's forcing you to answer anything, let me be clear. But I wouldn't want the system to actively promote a workflow where you simply don't volunteer to answer because of some label.
    – Makoto
    Jul 12, 2023 at 16:57
  • @Makoto I do understand not answering questions that are unlikely to "go well for you" though, whatever that means. There are some sites I'm on where one particular user never accepts answers. I don't necessarily always care about that, but it does annoy me somewhat that it's his policy not to accept answers, and I feel underappreciated for taking the time to research and answer his questions. I don't know that I would answer his questions again.
    – Esther
    Jul 13, 2023 at 16:50
  • 2
    As for the "new contributor" tag, to me that's either just noise, or tells me to post a "welcome but really your question is off-topic read the tour" comment instead of just voting to close as off-topic.
    – Esther
    Jul 13, 2023 at 16:51

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