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treating newbies: mandatory reading

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Raccoon

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I am disturbed at how we are perceived by many newbies, and by the outside world, when this perception is at odds with who we really are.

One step we could take is make this: http://www.adisc.org/forum/greetings-introductions/11497-howto-welcome-newbie.html and http://www.adisc.org/forum/announcements-news/697-rules.htmlmandatory reading; auto-pm it?

All a person would have to do is open the message, then mark as read (using an I agree button at the bottom; maybe with checkmark boxes that must be checked to activate "I agree" which is necessary to get registered.

Overbearing and complex? I say no. People could check boxes and click "I agree" with the thing unread; but ANYBODY who reads the thing is bound to have their behaviour improve, if there is room for improvement. Change those stickies from "suggested reading" into "mandatory reading."

Is it too much to ask that people know what we call "good behaviour"? Can we not automate people knowing the things THEY NEED TO KNOW in order to be able to function here? Should we not eliminate the problems with people who just want to dive in and post - and get yelled at and neg-repped to oblivion for not having read http://www.adisc.org/forum/greetings-introductions/11497-howto-welcome-newbie.html and http://www.adisc.org/forum/announcements-news/697-rules.html
The site is big now; automating things is more important since the information in those stickies is not traveling via social contact, not being absorbed and understood through the process of participation.

I once erred on another site, where I called a supposition a "conjecture" and got flamed and negged to oblivion; a site where social policy was assumed to be understood if you were there in the first place. But it was not a support site: This Is.

<No, we should let our rules be absorbed through osmosis, business as usual; anyone who opts not to read FAQ's, stickies, and wickies has only themselves to blame. Natural selection is the best model by which to run a support site. Lazy or stupid people clutter up the place and lower its entertainment value, and the quality of the membership. They wreck the "vibe" with their immaturity, their boring moaning about life issues and their illiteracy. And unfunny suggestions and debates and "TL: DR posts>

A big part of a support site is indeed being a social space to gather and have fun: the fun is at least as therapeutic and helpful to the soul as advice on ickinesses: being suicidal, not knowing which tapes stick best, how to ask for Molicares in Finland.

Do we want to be a support site that entertains as part of the support, or an entertainment site, that offers support as a sideline?

Oh, I apologise deeply to the experienced members who will resent having to take time from their busy schedule to check 2 dozen boxes and click "I agree." This is a heavy burden I know, and I would spend my time better participating and having fun, than long-winded suggestions and explanations when the site works just fine for all, and can never reexperience the recent drama as long as everybody takes their "chill pills" and shuts the f*** up about improvements and site issues. Heard it before. It is an imposition to force anything on anyone; "ignorance of the law is no excuse" while "knowledge of the law" is voluntary, and only required for some (ie newbies): not those outside the law (you know who you are: you proclaim it.) We have no right to insist people be nice to newbies, or know a good meme from a bad one; if they can not be bothered to figure this stuff out for themselves that is their own lookout.
 
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Jeffy

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Your message is clear and your intentions are good...
What your trying to do is noble and well-needed in my opinion!
But what your trying to do seems a little unethical in the stance that making an account would take much longer now that we're trying to enforce this mandatory reading of the rules and how to treat newbies...
Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea, just a couple flaws I'm seeing here.
How can you make anyone online read anything?
Like you said, they can just scrooooll on down to the very end and click the "I Agree" button or checkbox or whatever. You can't force anyone to do anything online. Have you ever read all the legal agreements when you install a new game on your computer? No! You just click "I Agree" then "Next"... NOBODY would. Especially a gigantic wall of text...
What COULD be done, however, is maybe a condensed version. Like...

1. Be nice! And people will be nice to you!
2. Always re-read your post!
3. Don't spam!
3. Keep in mind that this is a SUPPORT COMMUNITY and new people come here to get help for something that they don't quite understand fully yet. Let's make a good example of ourselves.

If you follow these simple rules life here on ADISC will be pleasant and helpful :D

Allthough I doubt if anyone will take the time to read THAT :/

but this also gave me an idea :D http://forcedreading.ytmnd.com
 

Raccoon

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Can't actually force anyone to read something. But strong encouragement will have some measure of success, reach some people. A project that might not FULLY succeed is not worth trying?
 

dogboy

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I just neg-repped you for confusing supposition for conjecture. How dare you sir! You were on a harsh site indeed. It sounds like a site for English college professors. Only they would be that anal. Of course that would include my daughter..haha!

That said, I think the shortened version might work. The problem may be deeper than just rules however. The heart of it all may lie in the fact that not all members are created equal. Some simply are shallow and mean spirited, and no rule in the world will change their personalities.

Then of course there is the newbie who is not representing themselves honestly. That kind of new member is usually a spammer trying to get a reaction. "I was just wondering, should I change my incredibly poopie diaper today, tomorrow or next week. I just lost a bet to my dominatrix and she put me into this locking diaper, and I was just wondering."

I'm not sure anyone should treat someone like that with any respect. To me, they are goldfish in a barrel just waiting to be shot, usually by a ridiculous Dogboy story.
 

Pojo

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Please tell me what is wrong with the current situation to where you feel the need to constantly bring up threads and ideas regarding newbies? Sure, there are members who can be harsh to some new threads and whatnot, but it's only because their thread looks iffy. That being said, it's not a huge problem. It's really making me tempted to actually block you, so I don't have to see your constant "newbie-related" posts.
 

adaffme149

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Your message is clear and your intentions are good...
What your trying to do is noble and well-needed in my opinion!
But what your trying to do seems a little unethical in the stance that making an account would take much longer now that we're trying to enforce this mandatory reading of the rules and how to treat newbies...
Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea, just a couple flaws I'm seeing here.
How can you make anyone online read anything?
Like you said, they can just scrooooll on down to the very end and click the "I Agree" button or checkbox or whatever. You can't force anyone to do anything online. Have you ever read all the legal agreements when you install a new game on your computer? No! You just click "I Agree" then "Next"... NOBODY would. Especially a gigantic wall of text...
What COULD be done, however, is maybe a condensed version. Like...




Allthough I doubt if anyone will take the time to read THAT :/

but this also gave me an idea :D YTMND - Forced Reading
But, in stating that these are the rules, you are now supposed to read them, here they are, when you reach the bottom, you can continue. and are thenceforth assumed to have read the rules, and will be treated as such, you have taken away all possibility for ignorance. Just as if a cop were to be reading you your Miranda Rights, and you cover your ears and go "ADADADADADADAAAA I can't hear you!", you were read your rights, and are expected to know them; the fact that you chose not to listen, is your own perrogative, and something that you will have to deal with yourself. It removes all ability for innocence of the rules. Plus, if it were stated that not reading the rules was against the rules, skipping that in and of itself would be a violation of the rules, therefore saying "I didn't read them, sorry" would be a violation of the rules in addition to the previous violation. Rock. Solid.

Just as if you skip the EULA whilst installing software. I've never carefully read the MS Office EULA, for example. But, I'm assuming it is just as all commercial software EULA's, "Do not decompile this software". Although I haven't read it, there's most likely also a "By clicking next you agree to be bound by these terms" line in it, or something, and thus, if you install it and then decompile it, you are in breach of the EULA, even if you have not read it. Simple. No force necesary, force them with words.

And, accepting a PM before posting would serve two purposes: The afforementioned, AND, it would reduce spam to ONLY those done by real people who bother to read and all, if we ever were to have that issue.
 

Raccoon

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Please tell me what is wrong with the current situation to where you feel the need to constantly bring up threads and ideas regarding newbies? Sure, there are members who can be harsh to some new threads and whatnot, but it's only because their thread looks iffy. That being said, it's not a huge problem. It's really making me tempted to actually block you, so I don't have to see your constant "newbie-related" posts.
The site's nature constantly changes, as it grows, and as people age, some leave and others join. Just like the law, it should be stable but not stand still. Constant improvement prevents stagnation.

As a support site ADISC is meant to serve the members who need its help: and chief among those are the newbies. Having many members who don't know how to fit in alienates them, and also the veterans by making the site less closely-knit. Being nice to people is site policy.

If we pretend the recent drama didn't happen and don't prevent its recurrence it will happen again; and ignoring it might not make it go away next time. By all means ignore any of my posts you don't like, if that would make the site a better experience for you. And I will work on making the ADISC experience better for others, new members especially.

While most of us have a good time , there really are others whose experience is less than it might be.
 

Raccoon

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What recent drama?
All the stuff that inspired these threads: and many more like them.

http://www.adisc.org/forum/regulars-forum/11485-cleaning-up-adisc.html

http://www.adisc.org/forum/regulars-forum/11470-why-do-you-come-adisc-your-ideal-adisc-site.html

There was a lot more going on around here than just Kraiden leaving. Read those threads; Ask around.

This captures the flavor of that unfortunate period:
 

Moo

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I am disturbed at how we are perceived by many newbies, and by the outside world, when this perception is at odds with who we really are.
If there is an issue with newbies perceiving us in a negative light, and you find more examples, please PM them to me.

As to the idea of an 'I agree' checkbox - I don't think anyone would read it. Do you read the legalese you're shown when you sign up for a website?

The rules are accessible already (though I should probably link to them from all forum pages).
The 'how to welcome a newbie' thread is a sticky in the greetings forum - it is already very visible.
 
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I don't think that having an "I agree" check box thing that people have to check before becoming members would actually cause people to read the things. I think that a lot of people would probably just treat it like one of those software legal agreements. If some one doesn't want to read it then they won't. If some one is going to read the things then they don't need some check box thing to make them seance the would have read the thing anyways. I read all those things like the rules and the other things when I joined despite that it takes me a wile to read things.


FYI: If I'm not making much seance it's probably because I'm really tired.


WOOT!!! 250 posts!!!
 

adaffme149

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If there is an issue with newbies perceiving us in a negative light, and you find more examples, please PM them to me.

As to the idea of an 'I agree' checkbox - I don't think anyone would read it. Do you read the legalese you're shown when you sign up for a website?

The rules are accessible already (though I should probably link to them from all forum pages).
The 'how to welcome a newbie' thread is a sticky in the greetings forum - it is already very visible.
But the thing of it is, even if they don't read it, say if we make it unavoidable to scroll through the entire Rules List [and presumably read it], and then check the box, then they should have, if they've followed the rules, read through the rules, and therefore there should be no reason they don't know the rules. And, if they don't know them, any punishments garnered should be just as strict as they would be on a person with 5,000 posts. Misinterpreting/having a little trouble getting them cut-and-clear, is a whole other story, however.
 

covvie

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Freck! I had a detailed post all set and accidentally hit back button and lost it all. Should have been using Opera.

I actually have an opinion on this as a fairly new user to ADISC. I like Raccoon's idea although I think the implementation can be tweaked a bit.

First though, I think what many people are doing is assuming that new users are going to read the stickies and thus figure out how to fit into the community. While that is the purpose of the stickies the assumption is incorrect.

Almost every forum has stickies for some reason. In every forum I've seen with stickies, the sticky posts are never the most current posts. How old they are varies but I have never seen a stickied post that has the most current date & time stamp on it. Why does that matter?

One of the ways people weed through information is to determine relevance by date. Older dates are less relevant when there is so much more information that is newer. If it doesn't seem relevant then it isn't going to get looked at. The first response would be to simply change the date & time on the sticky posts. That won't work either.

Again, almost every forum has stickies for some reason. In most cases people can get along just fine without bothering to go into the sticky posts at all so they get used to just skipping over them. Or they tried to be conscientious in the past but had to go through so much useless stuff in the stickied thread to figure out what the reason was for it to be stickied that it was a waste of time and they're adverse to doing it again. In short, these stickies aren't looked at because other stickies at other sites in the past were crap.

It seems the same assumption is made regarding the wiki. Just because it is there, even fairly prominently on the top bar, doesn't mean people will go look at it. Heck, I never looked at the wiki until the catheter entry was posted and I needed to edit it. I didn't come here to poke around a semi-static wiki, I came here to talk and listen to other people in the forums. In that context there was no incentive for me to go look in the wiki. I would imagine new users looking for contact would be similar. Wiki is a source of information, forums are a source of contact.

Basically, don't assume that just because something is available that people will avail themselves of it. Unless it is something they are looking for already it is a faulty assumption. This concept also applies to putting links to The Rules on every page.

Now, back to Raccoon's idea. Taking the above into account, I really like the idea of sending a new user a PM with a nice overview of the site, what resources are available, and what the site expects from the user. For example, it is expected that every new user will post an introduction. I believe it is actually required but it isn't boldly pointed out or immediately enforced, it is just hinted at at the top of the screen making it appear to be optional. Give them a link to a new post screen in the introduction forum directly from the PM. Make it very easy to follow.

Putting in rules that have to be checked off? That is one approach, and it is very direct, but does not give a very good impression to new users nor will it actually achieve the goal of having people adhere to the rules. As others have said, the annoying EULA click-through behavior we all know (and do) without actually reading the annoying EULA will wind up happening. Check boxes will be checked, users will be irritated, but the goal of getting people to actually read the rules is unlikely to be achieved. In my opinion receiving a PM right after joining is just enough out of the ordinary to pique the user's interest. If the user is interested then there is a good chance that the message will actually be read, or at a minimum quickly skimmed.

So that covers new users. Part of this thread is also covering current users. There is no reason that this approach could not be taken with current users as well. I see no harm in sending the same new user PM to current users, much like newsletters are PM'd to everyone. That will let everyone know what is expected of the entire community, current users and new users.

It may also be a good idea to take that introductory message and stick it in the wiki. Actually, use the wiki for the introductory message. The PM itself would be a fairly quick overview of the site and link to the wiki. The wiki would have more detail and give a link back to the forums, specifically the introductions forum as I said earlier.

That would help to make the wiki a more integral part of the site and increase the chance that people will notice it earlier. The wiki won't necessarily replace the stickies but I do think that anything that is in the stickies should be in the wiki.

Oy, this is long. I did not intend to sit here for over two hours typing this up. Time for a change and bed.
 

Iggy

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I really don't see what's wrong with the current system. It was already more demanding to register here than typical forums. The rules aren't too far out of the norm in regards to general forum conduct and it really boils down to not being a pest. I generally don't see moving beyond that, the people that come here and get banned (already saw a couple since I joined now) seem to come here...post once...and get banned. They weren't looking to stay here in the first place.
 
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I don't think its unreasonable to expect people to read the rules, search the wikis, and get a feel for the social expectations around here before vomiting all over the forums with posts like:

"Derrr, do you think these diapers will fit me? I am do stupid to read the sizing charts"
"ZOMFG Di you like to poop your diapers/pants"

Or my personal pet peeve of resurrecting a thread and adding NOTHING TO THE CONVERSATION.

Being a Newbie on ADISC is just like being new to any social group in real life. You don't walk into a book club and start spouting off at the mouth about how James Patterson is a tool or something to that effect. (Disclaimer, before I get flamed: I don't think James Patterson is a tool) When I first landed here, I signed up, read the forums for a few WEEKS, got a feel for how people interacted with each other, and generally tried to fit in.

I realize this turned into kind of a disjointed rant, and I apologize. In conclusion, I don't think that making the "Rules" link green, or making people check boxes or any other thing you can think of is going to outwit what Penny Arcade calls "The Greater Internet Douchbaggery Theory". That coupled with the fact that parents don't even teach manners anymore just means we are going to have to deal with it. You can force the horses head underwater, he can still choose to drown.

</soapbox>
 
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