If you're at a loss for how to respond to introductions by new members, here are some hints.
(1) Read Before Writing
Don't just skim-read their introduction post. Read all of it, and make a note of any interesting points they make, such as where they are, what they're interested in, what they came here for, etc.
(2) Be Welcoming
Some of our best members posted some pretty poor introduction posts when they first joined. Even me!
The thing is, someone's introduction isn't always a good indication of whether or not they'd make a good member of the site.
They might be nervous, unsure of what to say... unsure about what this community is about, etc.
Think back to when you first joined. Were you a little nervous? Did you know what to do?
Now that the community has grown, newbies might feel even more worried and intimidated by the idea of making their introduction post, and so they are more likely to make mistakes and represent themselves badly, even though they are good people.
When thinking about an introduction thread from the newbie's point of view, ask yourself what would have made you feel welcome, back when you joined.
Ask yourself what you would have wanted to hear to show you that this was a friendly community, one that would accept you into it.
So, your main objective should be to be nice to new people.
Even if their introduction is not that good, they can learn and change. Don't just write them off based on their introduction post.
(3) Help Them Make Connections
Simply posting 'Hi, and welcome!' or 'welcome!' gives the impression that you have not read their post, and are not really engaging with the new person.
Remember, every introduction is made by a real person, with feelings, who is looking to make a connection to someone.
So, help them to make that connection. For example, if they say they're from Chicago, and you've visited there, say so.
- Cool that you're from Chicago... I went there a few years ago, and found that their hot-dogs are awesome!
- Good to see another person interested in TF2! There are quite a few of us already.. maybe we should play together sometime!
- Nice to see another person interested in <TOPIC>. You might be interested in the <TOPIC> social group too, at <LINK>.
- Since you expressed an interest in chat, have you tried the IRC? You can get to it from the 'Live Chat' link in the top-middle of the page.
- Yay, another Aussie! You might want to check out <A> <B> and <C>, they're really active in the Australian AB community, and could help you find other Aussies.
The key is to pick something good and informative in their post, and respond to it in a way that shows you read their post, welcomes them into the community, and either makes them feel good, or provides them a link to something they might be interested in.
(4) Ask Questions
If they don't provide much info, you might want to ask them for some, to help get them engaged, and more comfortable talking about themselves.
For example, if they mention they like music, you can ask them what kind of music. Then, when they reply, you can comment on it, show them a helpful link to a social group about that music style, etc.
(5) No sarcasm or in-jokes, please
There are some things that you should avoid in welcome posts.
They include sarcasm (other people might not get it), in-jokes (they can alienate newbies) and anything rude (they might be offended).
(6) Aim for threads with no, or few, replies
If a thread has zero replies and has been posted recently, make a point of replying to it. The poster will appreciate it!
You can search for these threads by looking at the bottom of the greetings forum. There will be a few menus there. Set them to "Number of Replies", "Ascending" and "Last Week", then hit "Show Threads", and you will be able to quickly find the threads most in need of replies.
(7) Above all, be nice!
If you aren't in the mood to be nice, or have a problem with a certain newbie, it is best to simply go do something else, and return to answering introduction threads when you are in a better mood.