Proposal talk:Welcome all useful new users, if necessary by a bot

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My question would be, what should we tell a new user? There are different types of new users, e.g. users who just want to correct a misspelling and others who want to write new articles. Should we give them the same information? --Goldzahn 18:04, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Ideally no, you would tailor the welcome to what you know of them. The advantage of waiting until they've done a few edits is that even a bot could put something relevant in the welcome. But the default can include several bits of useful information for any editor. en:Category:Welcome templates lists most of the ones used on EN Wiki. I'm sure other projects will have their own variants. WereSpielChequers 21:01, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Time delay before welcoming

Waiting 7 days may be too long, especially as the English Wikipedia has no email notification of edits to user talk pages. Most people will not come back a week later, log in again, and see the message. If it was sent instantly, they almost certainly would see it and be more likely to stick around. The benefit of having genuine users welcomed immediately far outweighs the downside of accidentally welcoming a few vandals. Angela 12:55, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you, but I was careful with this to address the arguments typically used to oppose this on EN wiki. A seven day delay leaves this as a backup for those who don't get manually welcomed, and a desire not to welcome vandals was one of the other motives of past opposers. WereSpielChequers 18:52, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Although I did appreciate being welcomed immediately on Commons, a new user may want to directly contact the person who welcomed them. A new user who tries to communicate with a bot will likely be disappointed when their questions go unanswered. For this reason, I think real human interaction is important. If after awhile they still haven't been personally greeted, then a bot could do it. Seven days seems too long though, as a potential editor may be long gone by then. Has any research been done that shows how long new users stick around without being greeted? Reach Out to the Truth 22:08, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
The message can be made to appear as if it came from a real user so that the new user does have a contact on the wiki to talk to. On Wikia, the message is signed either by a specific person or by the most recently active admin. The settings can be changed on a per-wiki basis depending on who they want the welcomer to be. You can also have different settings and a different message depending on whether the user being welcomed is logged in or not. You could easily set up a new user group of "welcomers" and always have the message appear to be sent by one of them. Angela 12:50, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Bot welcome messages considered harmful

Many people consider bot welcome messages harmful. We've never done any systematic survey to see if people actually like receiving these messages -- I've certainly seen several anecdotal comments that not being welcomed at all is actually preferable to what is perceived as a "fake welcome" by a script. While it would be useful to have stronger empirical support for either position, IMO it's better to focus energies on creating better mechanisms for human-to-human interaction: tools for connecting with mentors, finding active users who may need help, etc.--Eloquence 05:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Good point. I've added a test for this into the proposal. Clearly if bot messages did turn out to be counterproductive that would be an important finding, especially for those projects that currently use them. WereSpielChequers 13:02, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Generic bot messages are usually unwelcome because everyone gets one. These bot messages should indicate in the subject line that the message was sent because the recipient was identified (albeit programmatically) as being 'special'. If a new contributor sees that the system is recognizing their contributions as significant, or recognizing their contributions as more valuable than contributions of others (vandals), I think the message would be welcomed. The subject could catch their eye with: "Recognition for edits on the Battle of Antietam article", and the body could give some stats: "Since your edits were made, this article was viewed by 470 readers, and so on... Thanks for your contributions to Wikipedia... etc." --Outjet 22:56, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
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