Many, many new users get frustrated by their deleted comments, answers, closed questions, etc. I've heard a number of high rep users complain about HNQ voting from the 101 rep users. I don't think this is fair to complain about 101 voting, but I do think it raises an important issue; IPS can be a confusing place for new users. We are stricter about commenting (read suggesting improvements) than other sites, we can't answer questions about mental health, and our standards for topicality aren't always intuitive and can fluctuate.

The controversy over new user content, particularly coinciding with HNQ, has often been met with requests for increased moderation which is probably more of a last resort than a sustainable solution.

Let's make the tour a requirement before any activity is allowed. Anyone who has not yet earned the Informed badge will get a message directing them to take the tour when they attempt to vote, suggest improvements, ask a question, answer a question, or flag content. As extra credit, we could even create badges that indicate you have read the help pages relevant to each privilege, and make those badges requisite for using their respective privileges.

If we implemented this feature, it may require a bit of a redesign to our tour page - at the very least it should point out the extra requirements for each privilege and provide links to fulfill those requirements. I don't think this feature will solve all of the new user issues, and it will probably slow down new user participation, but it will reward users who are willing to read the rules and follow them, and discourage those who don't wish to play by the rules.

Edit: What I'm hoping this feature will achieve is to end the cycle of new users that only go back and read the rules carefully after they have had a number of comments removed or questions/answers closed/deleted. The goal is to divert them before moderator intervention is needed.


3 Answers 3


I'm going to vote against this because the majority of the time, users shouldn't need this.

If you choose to use any website (even outside of Stack Exchange), it's on you to read the rules. In fact, you should probably already have a general idea of how a website works because you have decided to actively participate in it by studying it and deciding it was right for you.

Moreover, a reasonable person will usually question why action was taken against them by asking questions, re-reading the rules, or taking a break from participating while they browse other threads to learn what's acceptable/not.

I think the recent problem lies more with a few select users stubbornly persisting that "mods" and "high rep users" are voting against them in particular, without ever stopping to actually go read said rules.

All of us were new at some point, and we are still seeing more and more new users join and slowly become successfully integrated members of this community. A mandatory tour/quiz is not going to help with users who wish to barrel in with no care or caution and then point fingers for their removed content.

  • It is on you to read the rules, so why not make it mandatory and save the site from the extra moderation? New users should read the rules, and study it out, but how many actually do?
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:16
  • 1
    @BlackThorn I have 11k rep here and I've honestly only read rules when linked to them. Why should we put time and effort into trying to fix the small handful of users who likely won't read or care about a mandatory tour or quiz as they blow through it to start posting whatever they want? Users that want to be here and care about the community will take the appropriate steps to do so.
    – Jess K.
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:19
  • 1
    If it was just a few users, I'd agree with you. Maybe I'm misreading the situation, but it seems like IPS tends to generate a lot of activity from well-meaning new users especially on HNQ. I, for one, was very frustrated at first with the strict commenting enforcement here when I first started IPS because I was used to how things were on other SE sites. Making me read something that said "We are more strict here with comments" before I posted my first comment would have helped me integrate faster.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:24
  • @BlackThorn Given that you get the "Take the tour" badge by visiting the tour page, and scrolling to the bottom. Making it mandatory will do exactly nothing to change people's existing behavior.
    – sphennings
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:27
  • @BlackThorn I see your point, but I think most people see that after their first comment being deleted. The majority of actual discourse here is because of people who come to meta and blame mods for being aggressive, are told exactly why their content wasn't on par, but then do the exact same thing again. It doesn't matter how many times they read anything, it seems, they'll keep doing it.
    – Jess K.
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:30
  • It's impossible to say how exactly this would impact behavior, but those just seeking the badge will probably continue just scrolling to the bottom. Those who join IPS really quick to add a comment and are instructed to take the tour or read the comment help page before commenting may be more likely to actually read it.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:33
  • 1
    @BlackThorn I think it's quite the contrary. If the site forces you to read some rules first, the majority will skip it (scroll down and not read it). One only reads them if they have their own motivation for doing so. Let me ask you this: How many times have you read the terms and conditions for a new software you were about to install?
    – kscherrer
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 9:21
  • @Cashbee I almost always at least skim it, but I know that's the exception. The point is to draw people's attention to it. Obviously they will choose for themselves whether or not to pay attention.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 15:20

I'll have to try and dig out the original post; I recently read a comment where a new user appeared frustrated at the down-votes their off-topic question was getting and when the common have-a-look-at-the-tour comment came up, they dismissed it with a response like 'I'm not a take-the-tour person, this is just a Q&A site, right?'

I have seen other posts on the other StackExchanges (that usually end up deleted) where advice to take the tour or read the FAQs is often ignored. I would think that new users who do not take the time to determine how a site like this works are unlikely to retain anything from the tour if forced to go through it, like how many nowadays will scroll through the EULA of a new video game without reading it. As good an idea as it is to take extra measures to make sure users take the tour, it would probably not significantly improve the quality of new posts. If this has been tried and proven on other sites, I'd be happy to see some examples.

  • I saw that exact comment. Can't remember where though.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 15:12
  • 3
    @BlackThorn It's this comment
    – sphennings
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 15:16
  • @sphennings Thank you, yes, that was the comment. I really incorrectly remembered its contents!
    – user8671
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 15:25

I am one of those trouble users. Maybe it's helpful to see my perspective:

I think an extended tour, maybe even with an exam (make 50 points if you answer all questions correct) makes sense. It makes sense to learn that questions like "Should I ...?" don't belong here and some other rules. When I posted here first I did not know the rules and I made mistakes with answers and with comments. Then I read many of the IPS rules and there are lots of mistakes which I won't make anymore. The point is I understand why those rules exist and they make sense and this is why I will follow them.

And now comes the part where I think the tour requirement does not make sense: Personally I don't like some of the rules. And especially I don't like the strict enforcement. It's like telling people "I will go for a coffee break for 10 minutes" and when I return after 11 minutes someone will complain because I am 1 minute late. That's no fun. And it is often not necessary to complain and it is not necessary to 100% enforce rules. It just annoys users, at least users like me. I think rules should be seen here as suggestions and not strict rules. Nobody get's hurt if rules are not enforced all the time. Take it easy, that makes life so much easier for everybody involved.

The future of this site is in your hands. Maybe after some time you can proudly proclaim that all questions and answer follow all the time 100% of the rules. Because if you have just 3 questions and answers a day that can be easily done. Or the future might be 100 or 1,000 new questions and answers every day. But I doubt that will be happen with the current policy.

  • 1
    I return after 11 minutes someone will complain because I am 1 minute late -> again, where do we draw the line? If 1mn is ok, after a week, why not 12mn, 2mn late? it's like speed control. Over 30 for 30 / 50 for 50 or whatever, you get a ticket. :)
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 7:57
  • @OldPadawan: Yes, I get the ticket. Be flexible and don't let rules ruin your life.
    – user8838
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 10:50

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