2

I read through the comments for the second answer to luchonacho’s question, and I feel the user never received any welcome message or positive vibes from the community at all. I do not disagree with the answer being completely wrong, and have commented on the things I feel I could provide a qualitative answer to, but I do disagree with the way the user was received. Even bad answers from new users – and given the way both the answer was structured and how the user actually made an attempt to provide an answer to most parts of the quote – should allow the user a proper welcome first, then (constructive) criticism (which they did receive) below.

I fear that this user may have come from that account the same way I did when first posting on Music SE, feeling that ‘God, this community is hostile’, and that is not at all how we have previously treated new users.

Two questions then follow:

  1. Did we fail in welcoming this user properly?
  2. If we did: How can we mend this?

I would like to stress that unlike with many other new users (most? all?), there were no first comments along the lines of a proper Latin SE welcome.

2
  • 1
    Following our policy on low quality answers, the answer has now been deleted. High reputation users (who I think form the target audience of this meta post) can still see the answer and its comments.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Aug 5 at 7:51
  • 1
    Also: Thanks for bringing this up on meta! Sometimes discussions like these start in the comments under a new user's post, and that is suboptimal. No one should be welcomed by disagreements between older users or other such meta discussion. This is a good discussion to have.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Aug 5 at 7:54
5

Did we fail in welcoming this user properly?

I don't think so. Look at the opening of the first comment:

Hi user9910. I'm sorry to say, but…

This is an unusually warm welcome, really, given the type of the answer. The user is greeted, and we are sorry to point out the shortcomings rather than happy to beat the user up. The comments are harsh to the content, not to the user.

When the content is of low quality, we have to treat it as such. The shortcomings have to be challenged, in posts of new and old users alike.

In fact, using a more flowery greeting would strike me as somewhat disingenuous when combined with heavy criticism. Mismatched tones would make up a confusing overall message:

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to this site, but your answer is utterly nonsensical.

Having different tones from different users makes far more sense, and your warmer welcoming message balances the message nicely.

Over time many users — especially moderators who deal with and discuss such issues more than others — develop a sense of what is salvageable and what is not. There are hints in the tone of the answer that suggest that pointing out its shortcomings is unlikely to lead to improvements rather than anger. Comments might receive no response at all or the response might be counterproductive.

Considering the risk level of the answer from this point of view, one could make the point that, in fact, we spent too much energy to being constructive about it all. But we want to be the nice SE site, so we treat politely all new contributions that are not spammy or abusive. In my book this instance is actually yet another proof of our welcomingness.

4

In regards to question one, I read through the comments and I don't think they were overly harsh when taken in context with the rest of the comments. I don't understand any greek at all, but the criticisms seemed fair. There were prompts for further engagement included as well, which should indicate that we want the person to continue to be active.

For question two, I don't think we need to take further action. I don't think it would hurt if someone else commented and suggested making edits to improve the answer, but it seems overly repetitious to me and probably wouldn't affect that particular user.

2
  • Although I did tag this as a discussion (which would mean more open-ended answers), I do not see my actual questions addressed clearly; I can read it into your answer, but maybe you could elaborate your thoughts more and incorporate answers to the questions? I added a clause to q2 in order to make it more open, as I realised my questioning was to closed – it stated that I was right, which is not a very good way to facilitate a proper discussion.
    – Canned Man
    Aug 2 at 20:30
  • 1
    I edited my reply to make it less obscure. Well... less obscure that it's an answer to both questions, at least. :P
    – Adam
    Aug 2 at 20:39
3

I am on the fence about this one.

On the one hand, I agree with every single comment. I think each comment was good.

On the other, a welcome at the beginning would have been nicer. And it seemed like a bit of a pile-on.

Then again, the sequence of comments was also because the user posted comments of his own which were bound to be refuted.

And it would be very hard for me to sound sincere if I had to welcome a user with a very bad first post. I would feel almost as though I were lying.

But etiquette sometimes demands that we should be pleasant even when we feel the opposite. So I don't know. I feel unhappy about the situation, but I cannot decide whether or not it should have been handled differently.

At any rate, I think all commenters certainly acted within reason.

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