I have noticed over the past couple of days a rather large increase in first posts by new users. Especially new users who haven't earned the bronze badge for taking the Tour.

Surprisingly most of the questions asked have been perfectly fine as far as I can tell. However, over the past day I have flagged 5 posts as not being answers, all of which were deleted. And all of those answers were by new users who had not taken the Tour.

I accept that from time to time there will be posts by new users who don't understand how the site works, but those posts seem to be have increased just recently.

Other than commenting on posts explaining how the site works and telling them to take the Tour I don't think there is much else that can be done about this.

I only review posts on this site, so I'm not sure as to whether our site gets an unusually high proportion of posts by new users, but I would be intrigued to know if its the case. As well as any thoughts as to why we have seen a spike in posts by new users.

  • 2
    What is your question?
    – MadMike
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 9:34
  • My question is are we seeing a sudden increase in posts by new users and if so why that would be the case? I tagged this as a discussion as I'm interested to here other people's thoughts on the topic, I'm not necessarily looking for any direct answers.
    – Darth Vader Mod
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 10:44
  • Sorry that I asked you so bluntly to formulate a question. I do think it is important to do so to give the discussion a direction.
    – MadMike
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 11:15
  • 1
    Goldilocks answer below seems pretty solid to me. Mods have access to some relatively limited site analytics (I'm afraid I can't share specific data) but, as far as I can make out, they're not showing anything particularly dramatic over the last month or so. The stats on the factors related to your question are all doing pretty 'normal' things.
    – goobering
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 15:38
  • 1
    Not much to add to goldilock's answer, just saying that your effort to flag posts as "not an answer" is very much appreciated and the respective posts are usually deleted by us moderators.
    – Ghanima Mod
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


I have noticed over the past couple of days a rather large increase in first posts by new users. Especially new users who haven't earned the bronze badge for taking the Tour.

The badge is 'informed', for those who don't know. I usually only check for this if I'm going to post a cookie-cutter comment about "Please take the tour", which I'm inclined to do:

  • When people post questions as answers.1

  • When a new looking member posts a question that might work as the start of discussion forum threads but really don't suit the format here.

Ever since I have been doing this, which is probably a couple of years, a clear majority of these cases haven't taken the tour (maybe 90%+ of the first category, and 70%+ of the second). I don't know what the broader average is, but I think pretty high.

There is a bit of a caveat since people who are already members of other exchanges likely do not bother. I don't have 'informed' most places I've joined; I'm more likely to have just looked at the local "on/off topic" page.

WRT to spiking, I can't say whether this is true over the past couple of days, but in the longer term I'd say the number hasn't increased dramatically. It's pretty normal that there is a small handful of "questions posted as answers" (which, if caught, all come to the attention of a moderator) on a daily basis. Sometimes stuff like that does seem to spike in the short term, but I think that is mostly happenstance. Likewise, in a 24-hour period I can pretty much always at least a few unclear or too broad questions from a new users who have't taken the tour.

The "questions posted as answers" are easy to deal with. The inappropriate questions take a little more time, and of course it would be nice if more people did take the tour and this reduced that number. I'm not sure that it would, however, unless the tour were a little more emphatic, since I would guess this is the product of tunnel vision and optimism of the sort whereby "this will be okay".

1. Those get deleted, but the poster should still get the comment. A perhaps interesting behavioral observation about that is it seems to me 90%+ of people who are told, "this is not an answer to the question...please take the tour...you can ask questions via the "Ask Question" page, linked top right" never repost their question as a question. Go figure.

  • I have noticed this, too. So you might notice that I am posting comments for new users to suggest they do it. Especially if they ask one-sentence questions and such.
    – SDsolar
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 19:44

I am only registered on one site other than this one so I am no expert. I registered XDA a few months back. They are clear about the rules on posting and comments by new users also, but almost no new users read the guide or take the tour. It is way worse on that site. My guess is that people do not care or realize that forums are made and run by a community of people. It seems that some new users have the impression forums are search engines and just want answers now.

This is only my opinion based on observation. I could be totally wrong. I am personally very happy to be in this community. I am new to programming and forums but very excited to keep learning and helping others learn too.

  • 1
    "some new users have the impression forums are search engines" -> Yes, and that's exactly what we shouldn't be. I think some people who are new to the venue let their desire to understand something now cloud their perspective on what's involved. You may find this interesting: raspberrypi.meta.stackexchange.com/q/794/5538
    – goldilocks Mod
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 11:07

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