SE sites operate differently from most forums, and it's common to point new users to a link to give them an overview of how the site works when their first post indicates that they aren't familiar with the basic concepts. What link is the best to use for this purpose?

I've always seen the site tour used for this, and that's the link I normally use. Recently, I've seen new users being pointed to the code of conduct. It's certainly good for new users to be aware of those expectations, and perhaps that link should be included in the site introduction (maybe even referenced in the site tour). But if we're providing just one overview link in a comment, I'm wondering if the code of conduct is the best for this purpose.

I've seen it used on a couple of recent first questions, and it struck me the wrong way. Neither question contained an obvious issue that is addressed in the code of conduct, so it wasn't clear why that was the link being presented. Referencing that link seems to imply that the new user did something wrong and is being gently educated as to site expectations for behavior. If I was a new user, I would find that more confusing than helpful, maybe even a little off-putting to receive apparent guidance about behavior that didn't violate any rules. Even if I didn't take it personally, it would leave me with the impression that behavior rules of such apparent importance might mean I would need to tiptoe on eggshells to use the site.

Users should be aware that there's a code of conduct, but I don't see that as the general overview of how the site works that's conceptually different from other sites. Should we embed a reference to the code of conduct within the site tour, and use the site tour as the overview?

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    Did you see links to the CoC here on A&C, or elsewhere on the network? I can't remember seeing them, and it seems like a strange things to do, indeed.
    – Joachim Mod
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:09
  • It could of been me in my attempt of helping new users. Please, if there is anyway we could address this. I agree with what Fixer is saying, would like to use the site tour as an overview, when CoC isn't appropriate.
    – Lyssagal
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:33
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    @Lyssagal Ah, okay. Do you think my answer is appropriate?
    – Joachim Mod
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:34
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    @Lyssagal, I didn't know whether maybe SE was pushing mods to publicize the CoC, or something, so I tried to keep this anonymous. :-)
    – fixer1234 Mod
    Jan 27, 2022 at 22:58
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    I had no issue with anonymous. I like to admit when I am wrong so it can be corrected. I don't want to cause issues, or others of feeling unwelcome. I do have an issue with being too much of a bot when I read factual information and regurgitating information. Want to learn to be less bot-like and more welcoming especially in the art community <3
    – Lyssagal
    Jan 28, 2022 at 1:50
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    @Lyssagal I can relate to that. I have this auto-comment script in my browser, but I rarely use it, since I also like to write to each user a specific message. Of course, we have a small community, so that's doable. And I do wonder if first-time (and often only-time) users would care for custom messages, so it's mostly for myself, I suppose :)
    – Joachim Mod
    Jan 29, 2022 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


I tend to follow a tailored approach when adding comments on posts of new users that seem to need specific guidance. I will always recommend:

  • The tour, because it’s the obvious place that’s designed as starting point.
  • Often I will reflexively also include the Help Center - it’s simple to type [help] and I feel some users may be put off if sent to a “tour”, the term Help Center is self-explanatory.

Then it depends on what I see and I like to use the shortcuts:

  • For users where the question is off-topic or not that well-written, linking to How do I ask a good question? ([ask]) leads them closer to the appropriate information.

  • Likewise for answers How do I write a good answer? ([answer]).

Apart from that, it’s a case-by-case decision, but that’s not what was asked in the question.

The Code of Conduct is the core of how we interact, so it’s good that it’s linked in many places, but unless a user‘s first contribution is already dangerously close to the boundaries listed, I don’t think including it in any form of welcome message is helpful.

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    @Joachim I think we both (and others) agree on the Tour as the first link. But I wanted to throw the thought of “not just one, but two to three links in a welcome comment” into the discussion. Looking back that seems to have worked very well for me over quite some time. In the cases where new users gave feedback (rare, as we all know), it was pretty much always appreciated.
    – Stephie
    Jan 29, 2022 at 13:40
  • Yes, you're absolutely right. Every specific problem requires an appropriate response. That's the best way to help users, especially those who are new to the network/site.
    – Joachim Mod
    Jan 29, 2022 at 13:59

I think as a way to introduce new users to the way our platform works, a link to our Tour is indeed the most logical and helpful action.

At the end of the Tour there is a big button that leads to the Help Center, from where the link to the Code of Conduct is easily reachable:

"Looking for more in-depth information on the site? Visit the Help Center"

What's important is that the basic rules of conduct that apply on most community(-driven) websites also apply here, so any user who genuinely wants (to) help won't need to be referred to those, I think.
That is only necessary whenever a user either behaves completely inappropriately or repeatedly violates the code, and even then I think it would do little good, as it is often quite clear that their behaviour indecent, and there are more effective ways to deal with that.

Nevertheless, if someone can make a good case for adding a link to the CoC on the Tour page, we can certainly link to it directly.

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    Thank you, Joachim.
    – Lyssagal
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:43

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