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I was recently reading the Skeptics.SE FAQ, and one of the top lines of their faq is:

New users (even users familiar with the StackExchange format) should read our introduction to the site before posting

The link listed goes to a very newbie-friendly meta post which explains what SE is, how it differs from online forums, and the sort of quality expected from both questions and answers. In fact, the top paragraph states:

This post is written for news users of the Skeptics - Stack Exchange (or Skeptics.SE, for short) - especially those who have just asked or answered their first question, and have been surprised by the feedback.

There has been quite a bit of discussion lately about how to maintain quality standards of the site without alienating new users, and I was thinking perhaps this is the sort of thing we need.

I think new users are much more likely to read a page specifically designed to introduce them to the site, than they would be to read something titled "frequently asked questions"

We would be able to teach them how to ask good questions, what makes a good subjective question, and that answers should be backed up with references or personal experience, all without cluttering our FAQ further. In addition, it could help alleviate the perceived hostility that is sometimes mistaken by close votes and downvotes.

I realize that the FAQ is currently meant to be for new users, however it is quite long and contains more than a standard new user is usually willing to read. A FAQ should be for frequently asked questions, not for a manual on how to use the site.

  • Well why don't you write it? I've read the Skeptics one, we can "borrow" a lot, and you can start a discussion in chat for what we could include and get others to chip in (I can help during the weekend). But there's little to discuss here, yes it would be helpful, start writing. ;) – yannis May 2 '12 at 23:40
  • @YannisRizos I'd be happy to help write it, but want to make sure this was something Workplace.SE wants first. Also, I'd like some help writing it.... I never did like writing :) – Rachel May 3 '12 at 12:14
  • we can "borrow" a lot <wink> – yannis May 3 '12 at 12:15
  • Do we have anything productive to tell new users yet? – Rarity May 4 '12 at 19:12
  • @Rarity I think so. The post could introduce SE in general and how it differs from forums, including what makes a good question, how to write good subjective questions, and how/when to write good answers (i.e. your back-it-up rule, don't repeat other answers, don't post just because you have a similar experience, etc). I'd also want to add a paragraph or so addressing why we downvote/close questions, and not to take it personally. We can always edit it later if we think it needs more – Rachel May 4 '12 at 19:24
  • Actually with our broad appeal a post introducing SE in general might not be a bad idea – Rarity May 4 '12 at 19:55
  • I'm trying yo get a start for this potential post here: meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/261/… – Rarity May 10 '12 at 16:56

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